Mid-under gunner station on the Halifax 

Taken from a book…

Sent by a Facebook friend…

Hi Pierre.  How are things?  I found a very good picture of the inside of the Preston Green Ventral Turret in Wallace Clarke`s excellent book British Aircraft Armament.  I posted it on the Halifax Facebook page, but I am not sure if you saw it.  If not, I am attaching it here.  Yes, you can see that it sure wouldn`t have been much fun being stuck in that turret for 5-6 hours!  All the best.

Ken Marshall’s Facebook Page

Ken Marshall has a Facebook Page honouring Bomber Command. He has written a book in 1996 and a revised edition which I have been reading since January.

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I have now a different view of the role Bomber Command played during World War Two. Ken Marshall has to be commended for his research on Bomber Command and Sir Arthur Harris who has been vilified much much too long.

Lest we forget.


Bomber Command Operations 1942.

75 years ago.

Night Ops, February 14/15th, Monday night and early Tuesday:-

1) Mannheim – 98 aircraft dispatched. 67 claimed to have bombed the city in difficult conditions. Mannheim reports only a light raid with 2 buildings destroyed, 15 damaged, some railway damage and 1 man wounded (he was outside his shelter) and 23 people bombed out. A machinery works employing 15 people had to close down until an unexploded bomb was cleared. No aircraft were ‘lost’, but three came down either in England or close to the coast:-
49 Sqdn, Hampden I, AE397, EA-G, P/O. Allsebrook (why does his name ring a bell?) and crew ran out of fuel and with both engines cutting out, the pilot ditched the bomber off the Isle of Wight. No injuries reported.

49 Sqdn, Hampden I, AT112, EA-?, Sgt. R. N. Hamer and crew also ran out of fuel and crashed while trying to make an emergency landing near Upwood airfield. Again, no injuries reported.
78 Sqdn, Whitley V, Z9320, EY-?, Sgt. J. C. Stevens and crew, while returning to base at Croft with its wireless equipment u/s, the a/c strayed off track and came down in the sea 20 miles S of Bournemouth. All were picked up and taken to RN Hospital Haslar for treatment to their injuries.

2) Minor Ops – 15 a/c to Le Havre and 1 Manchester on a Nickelling trip to France. All returned safely.

Just to keep up the Blenheim crews rest, there were no Daylight Ops on Tuesday 15th February.

I hope you all noticed that yesterday’s new Area Bombing Directive arrived at High Wycombe almost 10 days before Bert Harris!

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Painting by Joe Crowfoot

The Unveiling of the Bomber Command Association’s Statue of Sir Arthur Harris

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Poster by Ken Marshall

Poem written by Ken J. W. Marshall shortly after the unveiling of the Bomber Command Association’s statue of Sir Arthur Harris, by H.M. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother on Sunday, 31st May, 1992.

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In Memoriam

We’ve erected a statue to Harris, we’ve unveiled a statue of ‘Butch’.

Our governments couldn’t be bothered, for a man who gave Britain so much.

We’ve erected a statue of Harris, the men of Bomber Command

Butch’s ‘Old Lags’ have never forgotten the man for whom they’d still stand

But it’s not just a statue of Harris, it’s in memory of all those who died,

The fifty-five thousand five hundred who gave of their all for ‘our side’.

It’s a constant reminder of honour, standing up there in the Strand

Of the selfless devotion to duty by the men of Bomber Command.

We’ve erected our statue of Butch, a leader of stature so tall.

We’ve put up a memorial to Harris, who did what he did for us all

A symbol of all our endeavours, a memorial to all those who fell.

To a man who did what he had to, and he did it so bloody well.

The Germans and others objected, from somewhere they found the sheer gall,

To complain that we shouldn’t remember the man who made Germany fall

They all got up and protested; with moans about Dresden, Cologne

And Berlin and quite a few others, forgetting the guilt that they own.

And what if that shiny black jackboot had been on the other foot?

They’d have erected their statues to Goering, and Goebbels and Hitler to boot.

But they wouldn’t have confined them to Deutschland that we all could tell,

They’d have stuck them in occupied countries, we’d have had them in London as well!

We could understand all the furore, if we’d put Harris up over there.

If we’d stuck him in Essen or Hamburg, somewhere we’d bombed from the air.

But we’ve erected this statue of Harris, we’ve put him outside Clement Danes.

We’ve put him up here in London, which was bombed by Luftwaffe planes.

We’ve erected our Memorial to Harris and to each and every ‘Old Lag’,

For the things we remember and others we can’t, that at our memories nag.

Yes, we’ve unveiled our statue of Harris, it’s up there so noble and new,

For the chaps whom we knew that didn’t come back, it’s for them and Bert Harris too.

A Gunner’s Vow

A friend sent me this poem.

A GUNNER’S VOW
I wish to be a pilot
And you along with me,
But if we all were pilots,
Where would the Air Force be?
It takes guts to be a gunner;
To sit out in the tail
When the Messerschmitts are coming,
And the slugs begin to wail,
The pilot’s just a chauffeur,
It’s his job to fly the plane;
But it’s we who do the fighting
Though we may not get the fame.
If we all must be gunners,
Then let us make this bet —
We’ll be the best damned gunners,
Who have left this station yet.

Author Unknown

An Air Gunner’s Lament

Posted by Ken Marshall

So time for a poem. This was one was written by Sqdn.Ldr. ‘Dusty’ Miller, an air gunner who flew with 38, 69, 115, 148 and 458 Squadrons. He certainly got around and I’d love to know how many ops he completed. It was written, I think, when he was a Sgt. Air Gunner, before he reached his later rank.


 

AN AIR GUNNER’S LAMENT.

You helped ’em get their DFCs
And, now and then odd OBEs
Whilst down the back you sit and freeze
And just press on rewardless.

It seems to be a pilot’s war,
They go on rest – you do four more;
But belt up son, you know the score,
You’ll just press on rewardless.

It would be nice to win more rings
All up your sleeve – or gongs and things;
But till you wear a pilot’s wings,
You’ll just press on rewardless.

And when I reach St.Peter’s door,
It won’t be long, I feel quite sure,
He’ll ask « Just what are you here for?
Shove off Jack. » – Still rewardless.

‘Not Forgotten Lady’

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`Not Forgotten Lady’

We first met in 1944, when I was twenty years old.

She was much younger than I, but I took, to her on first sight.

There was no reaction from her, but then I didn’t expect there would: be.

The relationship, as far as she was concerned, was of a working nature,

As long as I carried out my part of the bargain to the best of my ability I would hear no complaint from her.

Her function was to carry out the purpose for which she and I had been engaged

And in doing just that, we would get along fine together.

We didn’t spend all our time in each other’s company,

I often went out with my pals

Whilst she was occasionally taken out by someone else.

This arrangement in no way affected the close relationship which was forged between us.

I was with her on the eve of my twenty-first birthday and we didn’t get back home ‘til early next morning.

There were times when our partnership hit a rough patch and if it had not been for her tenacity, all my efforts might have been to no avail

The relationship lasted for just over four months, when I was obliged to move on

She passed into partnership with one of my colleagues after I left.

It is now over forty-seven years since we severed our relationship, but I shall never forget her as long as I live.

Farewell- LK809, ‘H-How’ Halifax Mk.III

– ‘One of the very best!’

Ken W Marshall DFC (1991)

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