Bomber Boys

  Toneman 17:39 06 Feb 2012
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Unless I have missed it, no one has yet commented on last evening's programme. I must say I was a bit disappointed at the meagre amount of film showing the inside of the Lancaster, cockpit with control columns, radio equipment etc., most of it just showed the pilot "enjoying" himself, apart from the war footage and the former pilots' reminiscences of course...

  Forum Editor 17:51 06 Feb 2012

I enjoyed the programme, mainly because my father flew in Lancasters (as navigator)during WWII, and because he took part in some of the raids mentioned. It was good to see a Lancaster in the air.

I thought the Mcgregor brothers did the programme pretty well.

  Toneman 18:13 06 Feb 2012

Have to confess I flew in a Lanc during National Service in 1950 so was hoping to see around the old kite a bit more!

  csqwared 19:44 06 Feb 2012

Agree with FE on this one. I've just an interest in things aviation and thought the brothers did a well balanced presentation on the use of the aircraft in WW 2 and the consequences of this type of bombing. I was extremely surprised at the lack of recognition these amazingly brave boys (I use that word intentionally) received.

  morddwyd 22:11 06 Feb 2012

I recently re-read Len Deighton's "Bomber"

With those iconic images fresh in my mind any television recreation was pretty pale in comparison.

It is still a scandal that aircrew who flew in the Battle of the Atlantic without ever opening their bomb doors or firing their guns got a medal, but Bomber Harris's boys didn't.

The absolute raw courage cannot be imagined - the long flight out there, knowing what was coming, the stark terror of the time on target, the reflection on the long flight back knowing you had to do the whole thing again a few days later.

Not much time for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder back then, there was a war to be fought.

  john bunyan 22:15 06 Feb 2012

I also enjoyed it, tinged with sadness as my father was a Lancaster navigator, shot down on the Dutch/ German border by a night fighter on 23 Aug 1943 on the way back from Berlin. RIP

  Condom 22:25 06 Feb 2012

I didn't see the program but it must have been something else to fly in one of them. Comfort was certainly not on the agenda. I still recall on my aircrew selection at Biggin Hill being put through the hearing tests with the sound of a Lancaster being played in your headphone at the same time. My god they were noisy things.

  flycatcher1 23:07 06 Feb 2012

I saw the programme and thought that it was quite good. However, as usual, the concentration was on the pilots with a little bit about the gunners and only a mention of the work carried out by the Wops, Navigators and the Bomb Aimers. I managed only one trip in a Lancaster but found it very similar to its big brother the Lincoln. They were noisy and uncomfortable but at least some lessons were learned because the Lincoln had .5 machine guns and two 20mm cannons.

How the navigators coped in wartime I never knew - it was hard enough in peace time when nobody was trying to kill you. I lost a Navigator cousin in 1942. The Bomb Aimers had a better time, their bombsight was good enough to be developed for use in the V Force aircraft.

On the subject of medals. As far as I can see only Coastal Command crews could get a specific "trade" medal. They got the Atlantic Star plus the Aircrew Europe, pre D.Day, or the France & Germany post D Day. Fighter and Bomber crews could only get the Aircrew Europe or the France & Germany although The Battle of Britain crew got a rosette to wear on the 39-43, later 39-45 Star.

  flycatcher1 23:11 06 Feb 2012

Aircrew who qualified for the Atlantic Star and the Aircrew Europe could not wear both medals. The second award was treated as a Bar and was indicated by a rosette.

  hssutton 23:32 06 Feb 2012

Living relatively close to Coningsby I see the Lancaster on a regular basis and for anyone willing to visit The East Kirkby Aviation Centre you can see a Lanc and if you so wish can go on a taxi run. At a cost of course.

The following links will take you a photo I took last year.

Just Jane Taxi run

  morddwyd 09:55 07 Feb 2012

I've actually flown on an operational mission in a Lancaster!

No, not quite what it sounds.

They were used for long range maritime patrol and reconnaissance pending the arrival of the Shackleton, and we were just keeping an eye on Russian trawlers.

(I've also flown in a Wellington (Lichfield) but that was just a training mission!)

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