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JohnM

Bomber Command

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Following up on the Bomber Command references in Obituary Corner, I thought I'd start this topic.

Living as I do in what can only be described as Bomber country, I have learned so much over the last seven years. Visiting the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight,the Lincs Aviation Heritage Centre, Thorpe Camp etc on a number of occasions, the full horror of it all, the huge sacrifice starts to hit home.

- Bomber Command crews suffered an extremely high casualty rate: 55,573 killed out of a total of 125,000 aircrew (a 44.4% death rate), a further 8,403 were wounded in action and 9,838 became prisoners of war

- no stats, but a number of crew were killed over Britain, crashing on take off, colliding in mid-air, on landing, engine failure, bomb going off in flight, it seems. here is one list

http://www.rodcollins.com/wordpress/lancaster-crashes-in-lincolnshire-lancaster-crash-sites

- ATC Corps' 31 Squadron was founded in 1941 to provide young people with Royal Air Force background training and experience. Sadly, a number of these kids died over Lincolnshire when doing nothing more than being taken up in planes to see what it was like.

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I work on an old airfield. 171 B-17's failed to return from missions, 10 crew on each. It can be spooky at night!

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The moralilty of our carpet bombing German cities night after night has to be questioned. But then as Harris said "they have sown the wind they will reap the whirlwind" Harris followed orders and when Churchill refused to back him up after the war he retired to New Zealand.

Whatever the morality no one can take anything away from the bravery ot the aircrew - the knew the danger and still went back night after night. They certainly deserve more recogntion than they're received. I don't think I could have done it. I tend to take Yossarian's view of war.

"They're trying to kill me," Yossarian told him calmly.

"No one's trying to kill you," Clevinger cried.

"Then why are they shooting at me?" Yossarian asked.

"They're shooting at everyone," Clevinger answered. "They're trying to kill everyone."

"And what difference does that make?"

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Its hard to imagine that, these crews were taking off knowing it was almost 50-50 if they would come back, its a very brave man that puts his life on the line with those sort of odds.

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Have a listen to Mike Harding's "Bomber's Moon" in memory of his father, who was killed in action in a bombing raid over the North Sea. I'm not sure how he gets through that song, it's tough enough listening to it.

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My paternal grandfather flew as a tail gunner in the RAAF. We still have his flight log and some of the entries are horrific but written in a matter of fact way (e.g., flying through the wreckage of an exploding Lancaster).

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The moralilty of our carpet bombing German cities night after night has to be questioned. But then as Harris said "they have sown the wind they will reap the whirlwind"

I tend to think that different rules apply when you're in a life or death struggle against unquestionable evil.

And as you say, the bravery of the Bomber Command crews was extraordinary.

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- no stats, but a number of crew were killed over Britain, crashing on take off, colliding in mid-air, on landing, engine failure, bomb going off in flight, it seems. here is one list

http://www.rodcollin...ter-crash-sites

Aviation in those days was pretty hairy anyway without the difficulty of people shooting at you. The Peak District and other uplands are littered with aircraft wrecks from the 1940s. Some of the more remote sites are still largely intact, others have been cleared away or simply scavenged. In a lot of cases the pilots simply became disorientated in fog or bad weather and flew into the hillside.

I have spent a few afternoons over the years up on the moors looking for one or two wrecks, but have never found anything. Not even a nut or bolt.

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The moralilty of our carpet bombing German cities night after night has to be questioned. But then as Harris said "they have sown the wind they will reap the whirlwind" Harris followed orders and when Churchill refused to back him up after the war he retired to New Zealand.

Whatever the morality no one can take anything away from the bravery ot the aircrew - the knew the danger and still went back night after night. They certainly deserve more recogntion than they're received. I don't think I could have done it. I tend to take Yossarian's view of war.

"They're trying to kill me," Yossarian told him calmly.

"No one's trying to kill you," Clevinger cried.

"Then why are they shooting at me?" Yossarian asked.

"They're shooting at everyone," Clevinger answered. "They're trying to kill everyone."

"And what difference does that make?"

Similar line in The English Patient. Something about

"Lots of people could have died as a result of your actions"

"Lots of people did die. They were just different people"

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Aviation in those days was pretty hairy anyway without the difficulty of people shooting at you. The Peak District and other uplands are littered with aircraft wrecks from the 1940s. Some of the more remote sites are still largely intact, others have been cleared away or simply scavenged. In a lot of cases the pilots simply became disorientated in fog or bad weather and flew into the hillside.

I have spent a few afternoons over the years up on the moors looking for one or two wrecks, but have never found anything. Not even a nut or bolt.

There is a memorial near Winterhill, Horwich, dedicated to a crashed military aircraft, resulting in all the crew perishing. A light aircraft did crash on the top of the hill due to fog after taking off from the Isle of Man.

No matter which conflict, servicemen are extremely brave.

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This is a story from local Welsh folklore, regarding bombs that were dropped on the mountains above Blaenavon. No one knows for certain whether it is true.

The town of Blaenavon was, for many years, world-famous for its historic coal mine and ironworks. Prior to the 2nd World War, there was a German manager/specialist who worked at the foundry but returned home. During the war, one of his family, who had visited and possibly lived in the town was a bomber pilot in the Luftwaffe sent to bomb the works. He dropped his bombs on the mountain above the town, not by mistake because it was done in daylight.

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