Ken Marshall is sharing a poem

This was written by an air gunner, Harry Brown of 50 and 223 Sqdns after a visit to a Remembrance Service in the little Dutch town of Dronten with the Air Gunners Association.

Ken Marshall



We did not weep – nor count the cost,
As one by one our friends were lost.
Nor wept we when the war’s great toll
Took all the best of our young men.
We did not weep as we saw them go
Down to the storm of the mighty foe,
We did not weep – not once – not then,
Nor in the years to come,
When on parade to do them honour,
Came Kings and Queens and Chiefs of state
In pomp and splendour to relate,
How their cause was just and justified
By the freedom bought as they fought and died.

We did not weep, not once – until,
In a little Dutch town, in a silence still;
The children came to honour our dead
Quietly – from out of the crowd,
With just a few flowers – their little heads bowed,
In a line they came to lay them down
By the Lancaster prop – in Dronten Town.
And then – and then – despite our will,
We felt our watching eyes o’erfill
With tears – and yet we smiled.
How great the power of an innocent child.

Bomber Command by Ken W. Marshall DFC

Ken Marshall’s son wrote me this message to share on my blog…

This one was written by my Dad in 1944, and he later dedicated to one of his friends, Sgt. Reg Castle Hall, who went ‘Missing in Action’ on 5th December 1944. Dad served a full tour as the F/E on Geoff Saunders crew at Burn on 578 Sqdn, from April to the end of September, 1944.

Bomber Command

You knew them when the skies were grey, those carefree chaps with soul so gay.

You knew them in the local inn, you took them home, you asked them in.

You’ve seen their crazy, happy games, you knew them all, but not their names.

You’ve seen them rolling back at night, ‘another crazy airman – tight’.

But did you know the other fellow, cool – though scared, he wasn’t yellow,

When he helped to fly a plane, he prayed that he’d come back again.

Yes, scared he was but on he flew, the night was cold and friendless too,

For out there in the inky black, were foemen waiting to attack.

He longed to see this horror through, he yearned to see his loved ones too,

The home he loves waits his return, ‘Pray God, tonight is not our turn.’

He sees the target up ahead, a stick of greens, the fading red,

The time has come to keep the date, ‘Press on you chaps, we can’t be late.’

His brow is cold, and yet it’s wet. ‘It’s too damn cold, it can’t be sweat.’

He feels his pulses beating fast, how much longer must this last?

A voice speaks – somewhere in the nose, ‘Left, left, steady – there she goes.’

The aircraft lifts, the bombs away, another little debt to pay.

The flak is rather heavy now, a little frown is on his brow.

A sudden jar, a burst of flame, a shell – it must have had his name,

He strives like mad to gain control, to get back home his only goal.

But all his struggles were in vain, they saw  his prang, they felt his pain.

They came back home the tale to tell, how well he flew, how brave he fell.

Your eyes grow dim, you droop your head, you can’t believe that he is dead.

Your soul within you now is stirred, your mind recalls a poem you’ve heard,

He is not dead, he could not die, so young he was and gay,

So gallant and so brave a soul could never pass away.

Ken W Marshall, DFC.


Please note that the word ‘gay’ in this poem is used in the sense of its original true meaning (Happy and carefree). NOT what it has come to mean today.

Betty’s Bar

This is the list shared by Dave Donaghy. He does not know who listed the names on the mirrors.


collection Laurent Lamontagne

The list…

J. Abilies

Flight Sergeant D.F.Allen, 408 Squadron

F.M. Anderson, Penwortham, Lancashire

R.M. Arevetham

Ashburton, Canterbury, New Zealand, 27.04.40

M. Ashton, 1st North Riding, Strensall, York

John Averwell

G.C. Baldwin, F.A.A. Squadron, S.K.U.A.S.

N. Ballantyne

Charles Barbein, D.C.

Butch Barton 03.07.39

Geo Aubrey Barton

Guy Barton

John H. Barton

H.S. Bath

F. Beckwith

B. Beetmont

Flight Sergeant R.G. Bell 408 Squadron

All Bellingham


Ray Berlsheiser

A. Betty, 1948

W.F. Beverley

General Carl Bin

S.B. Bird

R.B. Birken

M. Bitherlang, Mayoress of Leeds, 1936

A.C. Blair, 1235688 Hutch, Holme on Spalding

K. Bloor

W.N.C.A. Bonnally, B/A R.A.A.F.

G. R. Adam

Allan Allison

Pillipha Ann, 1942

N. A. Arnold, 1939

Sanib D. Arthur

R.H. Aulton

C.S. Awin

Richard Backwell

Billy Bangwell

Discip Barney

G. Barries

Geo Y.W.D. Barton

John Barton

C. A. Basket

P. Baxter

E.V. Bedford

E.V. Belapour

W.F. Bellerby

T. Belt

Ted Benson

J.H. Berrin

E. Bettys


Joan Binkers

Derek Birdes

Criss Biscomb

A.C. Bloom

H.E. Bloor


R. Bond

Boucard, Joseph, (Sailor) Nantes, France

Goe T. Boyes

E. H. Bradley, K.D.G.

S.C.O.M. Bradwell, 1st North Riding A.T.S., Strensall Camp 1939

G.H. Brewer

F.H. Bright

J. Brook

A. Basil Brown

G.H. Brown

L. Brown

R.E. Sapper Brown

L.F. Brunt

H. Buaan

Derek Buder

Sergeant Bullingen

B.L. Burne

Frederick Bush

G. Butler

Al Bryson

R.H. Cairns

D.M. Cameron, South Rhodesia

J.A. Campbell, R.C.A.F. Alberta, Canada

M. Carley

Andrew Castle, Cloumbus, Ohio U.S.A.

L. Cawood

J. Clark

R. Clayton

Sandy Carlos Clarke, 23rd Hussars

R. Clough

G.R. Colt

Bin R. Boredg

K. Boyes

J. R. Bradley, Scarborough

W.L. Brewin

Audrey Brocklebank

J. Browerken

Christine C. Brown

Jean Brown

Meb Brown

G. R. Bruckshank, F.A.A. Squadron, S.K.U.A.S.

Taffy Bruten, 231 Squadron

D. Buckton

J. Bucket

J. Burkton

Geoff Burnley

Geoffrey R. Butcher

Betsy Butson

Jast Byer

Camerons, 1940-1946

E.J. Canham

Bob Canton

Margaret Carlyle-Ball

L. Carter



T. Clarke, London

F.H. McCleary

C.R.P. Cole

G.W. Paul Cambe, IIIIXXXXX

J.T. Common

W.A. McConnell

Len Cooke R.A.F. Engineer

J.H. Wilson Cooper

G.M. Copeland

H.J. Corer

M. Could

Reg. Cowling

C.S. Graig

Tom Cramer Switzerland

Even Cranswick

Tom Creson

G. Croot Wests Australia, R.A.A.F.

E.J. Cunham

R. M. Curray

G.W. Daniels M.B.E.

R.L. Davis

M.W. Day

Dagwood Diving

Margaret Dodds Newcastle

Bud McDonald-R.C.A.F. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

J.F. McDonald

J. Dook

Ray Doral

Ami Dougall

Cyril Dowler 1941

E.S. Dudley

J.W. Duggs

J. Dullan

K. Dunn

J.V. Dyson

Val. G. D.

Bill Ear

R. Edwards

K. Fahy

Edward Farley

G.E. Feaser

W. Comstock Royal Montreal Neg (Reg?) 17.12.33

Anthony Cook

D. Cooper

W.M. Cooper Lord Mayor 7.1.39

R.L. Corby

F. Corpland B.N.A.F. C.M.F. (Paratrooper)

Glen Cove

K.D. Cox 485 Squadron, New Zealand

Mary Craig

R.H. Crampton

L. Cranwick

G. Crook R.A.A.F.

S.L. McCullock 12731 R.C.A.F.

D.C. Cunrew

G.C. Daniel Ghent, Belgium

M. David R.A.F. 92 Maintenance Unit

Lewis L. Darloys

John Dirke

J. Dixon Leeds

J.W. Dodworth

J. Donald

F.E. Donkerley

Paddy Joc Doolin 231 Squadron
E. Doris

Guy M. Dougall

J.R. Drury

G. Dudson Leeds

John Duke

Digwood Dumping

L. Dunn

J. W. Dyson

Vally D.

D.J. Eastham

El Ellon

K. Falim

Chaior Farmers Canada

Margaret Naef Finnish

C. Gamble

A. Gautholma

D. Gibb

W. Gill Aitkinson

J. Gladys

J. Goddard

M. Goggile

F.O. Golding

Leonard G. Golding

J. Gordon-Rice

J. Gouterworth

Peter J.S. Grant
G.W.G. Gray Skelton

S. Green Spr 20805507 49th DN/N.Yorks

J. Greenwood

D.T. Griffiths 1939

Nanette Greves Smith

W. Gull

G.S. Hally Palmerston Both, New Zealand, R.N.Z.A.F.

G.R. Halton 19.1.41

W. Hardal-Spink

L.O. Harrison 12.9.39

A. Harrogate

Cyril Hatton

A.B.J. Hayward

R. Hay****

Jack Henderson

G. R. Henley

R.S. Henley

Blanco Heslop

J.C. Hevero

P.W. Hilliard


D.B. Hobson 22.1.48 ?

W. Holden

John G. Hollis

A.E. Hopper K.D.G.

E. Horsley D. Crew

Ray Gardener 405 Squadron

A. Gawthorne

Cyril H. Gibbs R.A.S.C. 26.6.40

Jack F. Gilly U.S. Army 20.12.42

S. Glover

Weston George

E.P. Golding

F.P. Golding Rushton

Jean Goldsmith

Terence Gorora

R.C. Goy

Gas Gray

R.M. Gray

Winifred C. Gregory

C. Grook Durham

A.W. Guest

K. Guyatt

D. Hanover Ontario, Canada

J. Harrison Texas U.S.A.

Ron Harrod 11 R.T.R.

J. Hastings

Raymond Hawks R.G. R.A.A.F.

A.B. Hayward

W.S. Hayworth R.A.F. Poclington 12.1.42

J.H. Henderson

Pt. Henley H.M.S. Alynbank

G. Herbert

Bertram Hesmond-Halgh


John Hillman

J. Hird D. Crew

Derek Holdband

R. Holderworth

K. Holman

Sally Horlner

D.G. Hudson

Bill Howard A.A.R.E. September 1939

E.M. Hulse

John Hutchinson

G. Hutton South Combe

Paul Hybon

G.C.M. Ireland

N.C. Jackson V.C. 106 Squadron

R.N. Jackson

A. Jalyn


S. Johns

E.R. Jones

Maris A. Jesting

John Kaye

Mark Keer

H.W. Kemp

J.R. Kendall

Shorty Keough U.S.A.


B. Langley H.M.S. Express, Rsweir (****)1946

Lambert Langton

J.R. Larkin

C.H.I. Larsone

Peter Lawman

Brian Leckley Ulster, 1957

F. Lee R.A.F.

G. Letters Barney

L.S. Lidingham Lt. R.A.A.C.

R.G.D.E. Little

Snr. C.T. Levette 11453 New Zealand, R.C.C.N.Z.F.

C. Lowey

J.T.C. Lund Rask B.E.F.

W.B. Mackley Auckland, New Zealand

Frank Maise

Andrew B. Mamedoof U.S.A. Eagle Squadron

Sergeant Marmwick 143 Squadron, 3.9.43

B. Martin R.A.A.F. Australia 405373

Johney Hughes R.A.A.F.

T.W.B. Hutch Holme-on-Spalding

L. Hutchinson

Pat Hybein


R.N. Jackson

A. Jaill


G.C. John****

Thomas Johnson

G. Jones K.D.G.

John H. Key

D. Keeler

Con Kelway Victory and B.C.

John H. Kendal

J.K. Kender Derby


G.A. Peter Koiley

Tom Laplank R.C.A.F. Toronto, Canada

Bun Larmon

Sask Latton

F.B. Leach Sunco Leeds


Tempjos Lenna

J. Lewis

J.D. Lithouse

Rose Lockwood

Roy Lumba

H.M. McKey

T. Maher


D. Margery

V. Mart


Thos. H. Neddar

H. Nelson R.C.A.F.

J.T. Neolham

G. NewleySpr. 2081409 49th A.A.Br.R.E. Sept 12.39

K. Newley-Eric

W.A. Newman

C. P.L. Nicholson W.H. Nomson

Charles Nydd

Maggie Olso Whitley Bay

H.R. Omen

Dodley Osen

N. Palow

J.H. Parkington

B.G. Parrish

Happy Pays

A.B. Percy

Sergeant Peter T.W. Drayton, York

Chris Plaston

Jervis Pomley

N. Puck P/O Poland

Alfred E. PugarS.S. Northumberland 21 31.12.40

P. Quinn

Len Rahaley

G. Rawdin

Les. H. Read

Jim Revill

Allen Reynolds S.A.A.F.

Tom Riley

Elmer A. Rithe

Jean Robertson

J. Roberts


S.A. Roe 1939

Joyce R.B. Roisey

Allen Rose 1940

Jack Rosemary


Tom C. Nelson

B.R. Netherfood

Tom Newman

B.N. Nicholson

Peter Noble April 15th 1946

R. Norris

Chap Oleven

H.R. Omar

M. Optunbery August 14th 1939
A. C. Palfreema

Roy Pana

R. Parkington

J.D. Paterson Scottish Horse

D. Pearce

J.H. Perrin

E. Pinder

J.A. Poad


Bell Punch

H. Rafferty R.A.A.F.

Res. G.E. Rarghchroft K.S.L.I.

F.O. Rawlinson

A.A. Redbond R.A.F. Rolls Royce Ltd.,


Cliff Richards R.A.A.F.

Jean Ritching

I. Ritson

A. Robinson

D.H. Robson

L.Rodgers 22.6.46

Vera Rosamund Roe

J. Rorum

Sylvia Rose

J. Rosergh F. 3Hornsea

Ronnie the Rotter

G. Rommelly

Bert Rusty 1942

Hash Ryan

Yvonne Scarfe

S.H. Sedgewick

Rose Seth Sutherland 49th D.W. West Yorks. A.A.R.E.

Billy Seward 1949

John Shaw

K.B. Shepard

L. Sheppard Spr. 2088050

Diana Sheridan

Alan H. Simpson

Biddery Snith

Eric Smith

Grager Snith York 194?

S.V. Snith Tayape, New Zealand

James E. Sneeton

N.W. Stewb Preston

A.C. Story

John D. Strughia

Ben Stubbs

M. Suthe

D.S. Sykes

W.M. Taishef Jap

Storm Tanner Pilot, R.A.A.F.

J. Taylor A/C8 H.M.S. Rodney

W.H. Taylor

J.R. Thomas

E. Thompson

H. Thorp

D.H. Peare Trent S.S.R. Regina, Canada 11.3.41

Pike Turner 231 Squardon

J. Underwood

D. Vally

N. Verity

W.J. Wallace Valparaiso, Chile, South America

Frank E. Walker

Sergeant Rowland 408 Squadron

Keen Rudy 55th Parabridge 6.10.43

A. Ryan Ducks, Puududel

R.E. Sapper-Brown


Willy Semple R.A.F. Mug

C.E. Sharp

S.K. Shaw D2 Post Observer 1942

W.S. Shepherdson

L.W. Sheppard 2608TT8

J.L. Sim Montreal

B. Smith 485 Squadron (New Zealand)

C.H. Smith London

G. Smith Stockton

Jasa Smith

W. J. Smith

Fred Steward

R.H. Stiles


Mary Stuart

J.D. Suride

G.P. Sutherst 2/8th Lean, Australia

C. Trevor Taafe Hastings, New Zealand, A.S.C.

W. Taisher Brown

A.B. Taylor

R.H.R. Taylor


Tommy Thomas 231 Squardron

L.P. Thompson

J. Toddard

T.C. Tyeson 67 Squadron

G.D. Val

Jack Vendles

Edward Victor 2.2.39

J. Walker

E. Wallis

E.M. Walton

J. Ward

Bryan Watson 12.9.39

Eva Watson

J. Webster 19.1.41

Roy Webster D Crew

J.F. Westwood

R. Whillsden

A.D. White

L. Whitely

H.M. Whittles

Johnney Willis

G. Wilkinson

S. Wilkinson 1939


L. Wiltshire

R. Winship

F. W. Wood 408 Squadron

Frankie Yates 12th May

Allan H. Walsh

Bill Ward

J.C. Waterhouse

R. Watson

Percy Webb 28.4.48

Ray Webster S.S. Dundley

R. G. Wenley

J. Wett I Parkhead, Glasgow

Chally Whit

Kay White

G.C. Whittick

Biddy Williams

L.A. Willmott

Roger Wilkinson

J.H. Wilson

Terry Wilson

L. Winn

Terry the Wolfe 231 Squadron

Charles Wydd

Requiem for an Air Gunner

Ken Marshall had shared this on his Facebook page.

This one was written by a R. W. Gilbert, whom I suspect may have been a gunner. It’s called……

The pain has stopped, for I am dead,
My time on earth is done.
But in a hundred years from now
I’ll still be twenty-one.

My brief, sweet life is over
My eyes no longer see,
No summer walks, no Christmas trees,
No pretty girls for me.

I’ve got the chop, I’ve had it.
My nightly ops are done.
Yet in another hundred years
I’ll still be twenty-one.


The Pilot by Philip Nicholson

Ken Marshall, whose father was a Flight Engineer with RAF 578 Squadron, posted this poem on a Facebook page.

This poem was written by a gentleman called Philip Nicholson. Ken knows nothing more about the author. The poem is about…


Who is the man up front, this Driver-Airframe?

Pilot? Captain? What’s in a name?

Let’s say he’s just another member of the crew

But this description will not do. He’s trained to fly this kite – agreed.

But more, much more, he’s there to lead: To bring us back, unscathed and sane,

Not once, but time and time again.

We looked to him for miracles of mind and will.

For deeds beyond the range of human skill:

What words of ours describe him well?

No words suffice: we called him Skip and followed him to Hell.

This is Ken’s father.


Ken W. Marshall DFC (courtesy Ken Marshall)

Ken W. Marshall DFC wrote some poems also.

I will show you more next time. Meantime here are some pictures from my collection of pilots with 425 Alouettes.

Voices from the Past

This is the transcription below. (source YouTube)



Bomb Aimer:  OK,  bombs gone.

Pilot:  OK…  (mumbled) bomb  aimer.

Navigator:  Was  that  bombs  gone?

Pilot  and  Bomb  Aimer  together:  Yes.

Navigator:  OK…

Flight  Engineer:  Bomb  doors closed.

Navigator:  …well, I can  read  my  watch in  the  searchlights!  That’s…ahh…twenty-one,  fifty-four.

Gunner?:  Flak  coming  awful close!

Unknown:  ??

Flight  Engineer:  Heading  100.

Navigator:  Twenty-one,  fifty-four  and  get  out  of  this lot  as best  we  can.

Pilot:  (labored)  OK.

Pilot:  Speed’s the  answer now.

Navigator:  The  idea  is  to  steer about  020.

Pilot:  Put  020  on  ??

Flight  Engineer:  020,  OK.

Navigator:  Ahh! Flak  directly  beneath us…

Unknown:  Right.

Navigator:  …and  searchlights  underneath us  too.

Pilot:  Come  on,  T-for-Tommy.  Get  cracking!

Navigator:  Ahh,  watch  your height!

Pilot:  I’m  watching  everything!

Navigator:  OK.

Flight  Engineer:  How  many  searchlights  would  you  call  them?

Unknown:  Too  many, I  reckon.

Flight  Engineer:  A  couple  of  thousand.

Pilot:  Yeah,  they’re  searching  for us.  You  bastards! …oh  Hell…

Pilot:  It  certainly  illuminates things, doesn’t  it?

Flight  Engineer:  It  sure  does.

Pilot:  I  could  do  with a pint.

Unknown:  Keep  your  eyes  peeled.

Unknown:  Yeah!

Unknown:  They’re  firing  at  us now!

Unknown:  Are  they?

Unknown:  Yeah. (Loud  Flak  Burst)

Gunner2:  Flak  coming  close  at  the back!

Pilot:  OK

Flight  Engineer:  Flak’s close…

Unknown:  Well, it’s  coming  close,  I can  feel  it.

Pilot:  Yes,  I can  see  it! (muffled rumbles  of  flak bursts)

Flight  Engineer:  Round  to  port  a  bit this  heading, Skipper.

Pilot:  OK.

Navigator:  If  we  press  on  a  bit this way,  we  might  get  out.

Flight  Engineer:  Yep.

Navigator:  My  God!

Flight  Engineer:  You  could  light  your  fag on  any  of those.

Bomb Aimer:  Steady  up  a  bit. (Sound  of  shrapnel hitting  aircraft)

Bomb Aimer:  Ohh!

Pilot:  That  was  a bit  close.

Pilot:  Yeah…

Navigator:  I  think  we’ve  been hit,  personally…

Pilot:  We  have…

Navigator:  Yeah.

Flight  Engineer:  Lose  a  bit  of height,  Skipper.

Pilot:  Yeah.

Bomb Aimer:  That  was  close.

Pilot:  Yes.

Navigator:  Searchlights  looking  for us now.

Pilot:  OK…I’m  pressing  on  more  or less  on  course.

Navigator:  Righty  Ho.

Navigator:  It’s  gone  out  now.

Navigator:  We…we  better  press  on  north  until we’re clear of  this issue!

Pilot:  Yeah,  that’s what  I’m  doing.

Bomb Aimer:  Ah…hello, Skipper.

Pilot:  Hello.

Bomb Aimer:  We’ve  been  holed  in the  front  here…

Pilot:  OK.

Bomb Aimer:  …the…ahh…oil’s leaking  out  of  the front  turret, still it’s nothing  to  worry  about.

Pilot:  OK.

Flight  Engineer:  OK,  Warren. Ah…Duncy, could  you  glance  over  the  temperatures?  On  the  engines?

Navigator:  Could  I what…?

Flight  Engineer:  …glance  over  the  temperatures.

Pilot:  Look  then,  Duncy…umm…I’ve  been weaving  on  your  course. I shall  be  heading  a  little…to  the  east.

Navigator:  OK,  I’ll  give  you  a course  to  steer  if you  reckon  you’ll  go  through  it.

Pilot:  Yeah…it’s…ahh…

Navigator:  OK,  right.

Pilot:  Only  there’s a  few  searchlights  ahead, about  a hundred.

Navigator:  Yeah.

Navigator:  By  God, I’ve  never  seen anything  like  this  before!

Pilot:  Neither have  I.

Flight  Engineer:  Four-thousand  pounder  just  gone  off.

Pilot:  Oh, Good  show.

Navigator:  Ahhh, that’s not  one  at  all!

Unknown:  Yes,  it’s  not  a  bad  prang.





Pilot:  Right  oh…

BBC Sound  Engineer:  Right,  we’re  on  now.

Pilot:  OK.

Bomb Aimer:  Well,  there’s  the target  straight  ahead, Skip.

Pilot:  OK,  now  we’re  over  the  lake  now…

Bomb Aimer:  OK,  now….

Pilot:  …just  coming  up.

Navigator:  OK.

Pilot:  What  was  the  heading  again?

Navigator:  146.

Pilot:  OK,  on  146…

Navigator:  OK.

Pilot:  …and  the  airspeed? Navigator:170.

Pilot:  Yes,  I’ve  got  it. Bang  on.

Pilot:  OK.

Navigator:  Ten seconds.  Two  minutes,  ten seconds, Bomb  Aimer.

Bomb Aimer:  OK,  ??, two  minutes  ten seconds.

Navigator:  Twenty  seconds…

Bomb Aimer:  You  can  weave  a bit,  Skip.

Pilot:  OK,  bomb  aimer.

Navigator:  Thirty  seconds…

Bomb Aimer:  There’s…flares…just  to  the  left.

Pilot:  OK. Bomb Aimer:  OK,  you  can  keep  weaving  for a  while.

Navigator:  Forty  seconds…

Pilot:  Check  the position  of  the flares  by  your  time  run.

Bomb Aimer:  Yes, I can  see  some  ground  detail in  the flash  of  the flak  bursts.

Navigator:  Fifty  seconds…

Navigator:  One  minute…

Bomb Aimer:  Keep on  weaving  skipper.

Navigator:  Ten seconds.  One minute  to  go  now.

Navigator:  F-i-v-e

Pilot:  All  right  now,  you’ll  want  some  last  minute  corrections,  bomb  aimer…

Bomb Aimer:  Yes…

Pilot:  …I’ll  fly  her  straight  ahead

Bomb Aimer:  Steer her nice,  straight  and  level

Navigator:  Ten…

Pilot:  Bomb  doors  open.

Bomb Aimer:  Bomb  doors  open.

Pilot:  Give  her a  bit  of extra  time  if anything.

Bomb Aimer:  Yes…

Navigator:  Fifteen…

Bomb Aimer:  …left,  left

Navigator:  Twenty…

Bomb Aimer:  Steady…steady…

Navigator:  Twenty  five…

Bomb Aimer:  Steady…

Bomb Aimer:  Bombs away!

Navigator:  Thirty.

Bomb Aimer:  There  goes  the  cookie…

Navigator:  Lookie…lookie…lookie.

Unknown:  Oh,  we  got  lucky  going  over  there!

Bomb Aimer:  …and  there  go  the  incendiaries….there  goes  my  bottle.

Pilot:  Umm,  take  jettison  action.

Bomb Aimer:  Jettison  action  now.

Pilot:  OK.  I  think  they’re  firing  at  us.

Unknown:  Yeh!

Pilot:  Bomb  doors  closed.

Bomb Aimer:  Bomb  doors closed.

Pilot:  By  jove!

Pilot:  New  course  now  ??.

Navigator:  New  course….

Bomb Aimer:  Look  at  those  fires  boys…oh  what  a….

Navigator:  …185.

Pilot:  OK,  Turning  on…185.

Mid-Upper  Gunner:  There’s a Lanc  up  on  your starboard  beam.

Pilot:  I  see  him,  yes.

Mid-Upper  Gunner:  He’s  turning  down. move…

Pilot:  Yes,  I can  see  him…starboard  bow  now.

Mid-Upper  Gunner:  Yes, he’s right  ahead…

Pilot:  OK…

Mid-Upper  Gunner:  …cross  over…

Pilot:  Right, give  me  that course  again  ??,  well  north  of  us.

Navigator:  185.

Pilot:  185,  OK.

Pilot:  That  was  direct  hit  over  the  target  by  the look  of  it!

Crew:  yes…yeah…

Pilot:  OK.

Unknown:  Keep  going, Skip, they’re  all  turning  off this  way.

Pilot:  OK.

Mid-Upper  Gunner:  There’s a Lanc  coming  up  on  your  starboard  beam  underneath our…  wing…

Unknown:  He’s  turned off…just  moving  off…

Pilot:  OK.

Rear Gunner:  There’s a  Lanc  on  our  port  beam.

Pilot:  Yes,  I can  see  him…ah…rear gunner.

Mid-Upper  Gunner:  There’s a bloke  still  on  our  starboard  beam,  just  down a  bit.

Pilot:  I  know!

Pilot:  right,  Now,  keep  your  eyes  peeled for fighters, gunners. They’re  obviously  milling  around  the target  now  like…like  flies.

Mid-Upper  Gunner:  OK, Skip.

Rear Gunner:  Searchlight  underneath our  starboard  wing, Skip.

Pilot:  OK.





Navigator:  Hello  Skipper

Pilot:  Hello  navigator.

Navigator:  Half a  minute  to  go.

Pilot:  OK,  thanks  very  much.

Bomb Aimer:  OK,  keep weaving  Ken.

Unknown:  There’s quite  a  lot  of light  stuff coming  up  as  well,  falling  off  a  bit low.

Pilot:  Ah…hello  engineer, Skipper  here.

Engineer:  Yes…

Pilot:  Will  you  put  the revs  up  please?

Engineer:  Yeah.

Bomb Aimer:  OK,  keep weaving.

Unknown:  There’s a lot  of  searchlights  and  fighter  planes,  Skipper,  over  there.

Bomb Aimer:  Yeah,  keep on.

Pilot:  OK,  boys, OK.

Bomb Aimer:  Left,  Left…  ??, Skipper.

Bomb Aimer:  Bomb  doors  open.

Pilot:  Hello  Bombardier.  OK  when  you  are.

Bomb Aimer:  Bomb  doors  open.

Pilot:  Bomb  doors  open,  bombardier.

Bomb Aimer:  R-i-g-h-t…

Bomb Aimer:  S-t-e-a-d-y…s-t-e-a-d-y…

Bomb Aimer:  Bombs going  in  a  minute.

Rear Gunner:  Hey, Jerry  tracer  behind  us boys.

Bomb Aimer:  Bombs jettisoned. (Gunfire)

Rear Gunner:  ??  Jimmy  ??

Pilot:  Where  is  he…ah…rear gunner,  can  you  see  him? (Gunfire)

Rear Gunner:  Down! Down!

Mid-Upper  Gunner:  Down!

Rear Gunner:  He’s gone  Down! He’s gone  down.

Mid-Upper  Gunner:  Yes, he’s going  down.

Pilot:  Did  you  shoot  him  down?

Rear Gunner:  Yeah.

Mid-Upper  Gunner:  Yes, he’s got  him, boy,  right  in  the  middle. Bloody  good  show.

Crew:  (cheering  and  whoops of delight)

Bomb Aimer:  Photograph….

Crew:  (further  cheering)

Bomb Aimer:  Photograph  taken. Keep  weaving, there’s some  flak  coming  up  with…

Pilot:  OK.  Don’t  shout  all at  once!

Unknown:  Alright.

Bomb Aimer:  Photograph  taken.

Pilot:  OK,  photograph  taken.

Navigator:  Hello, Skipper.  Will  you  turn  on  to  081?

Pilot:  Alright.  081, navigator.  Don’t  all speak  at  once  now,  keep quiet,  it’s OK.

Unknown:  OK  Ken.

Pilot:  Ahh…hello,  mid-gunner,  did  you  recognize  that fighter you  shot  down?

Mid-Upper  Gunner:  I…no, I  didn’t  recognize  it  but  it’s  definitely  going  down now.

Pilot:  Good, Jimmy, I  can  see  him  boys, good  show! I can  see  him  now.

Unknown:  Yeah. Unknown:  Look  at  him  burning  doesn’t  he  look  lovely?

Pilot:  Good  show  lads  now  keep  your…

Pilot  and  Unknown  together:  …eyes  open.

Unknown:  OK  Ken.


Computer graphics by Piotr Forkasiewicz

La 33e et dernière mission de Raymond Charles Gauthier


Raymond Charles Gauthier

La moyenne était de 11 opérations pour les aviateurs du Bomber Command.

Après, c’est le destin qui décidait.

René Larivière en était à sa première…


René Larivière

Il était le Mid upper air gunner dans l’équipage de Desmarais et il était bien installé dans la tourelle dorsale avec une vue superbe de la base de Tholthorpe dont il venait de décoller.

mid-upper turret sur un Halifax

Collection Jean-Paul Corbeil

Maurice Paradis, mid under air gunner, quant à lui, était probablement assis tranquillement et non en position dans la tourelle ventrale.


Il ne voyait rien de ce qui se passait pendant le décollage.


Maurice Paradis


Charles était à son poste comme mitrailleur arrière.


Lui aussi voyait défiler sous ses yeux les derniers mètres de la piste.


Le pilote Jean-Marie Desmarais en était à sa 29e mission.Il avait déjà passé près de laisser sa peau…

One night in November 1944, Flying Officer Desmarais piloted an aircraft in an attack on Bochum.  Whilst over the target the aircraft sustained much damage and one engine was set on fire.  In spite of this, Flying Officer Desmarais pressed home a most determined attack.  The fire in the burning engine was extinguished but the propeller could not be feathered. Nevertheless this resolute pilot succeeded in flying his damaged aircraft to base where he effected a safe landing.  This officer set a fine example of skill, coolness and determination in most difficult circumstances.


Jean-Marie Desmarais

Cette nuit il était aux commandes du Handley Page Halifax KW-V transportant des réservoirs plein d’essence et une soute remplie de bombes…

65 000 livres au décollage…

Jean-Marie devait prier chaque fois qu’il décollait.


Que s’est-il passé à 2 h 23 le 18 décembre 1944 au-dessus du village de Alne?

On ne le saura jamais. C’est dit dans le rapport.

Dossier Laurent Dubois 001




Mon petit cousin éloigné, le sans-filiste Laurent Dubois, était concentré devant son poste radio.


Dossier Laurent Dubois 011

Laurent Dubois

Il avait survécu à deux écrasements, un au Canada durant son entraînement et l’autre dans une autre escadrille du Bomber Command. Il devait croire à son bonne étoile lors de sa 30e mission.

Le navigateur Fernando Bernier était concentré sur sa carte en vue d’accomplir sa 27e mission…



Fernando Bernier

Il devait rêver au Canada et aux jours de Noël d’autrefois.

L’ingénieur Blackburn de la RAF, 36 ans, observait son tableau de bord. Il participait à sa 27e mission…


Le bomb aimer Jean-Charles Labrecque en était à sa 29e.

Il était sans doute à côté du pilote pour l’aider le cas échéant, et non pas dans le nez de l’avion à regarder la campagne anglaise…



Jean-Charles Labrecque

Quand Jean-Marie Desmarais a senti que quelque chose ne tournait pas rond, il a dû lui crier…

Brace yourself Charlie!

Maurice Paradis, probablement encore un peu endormi, s’est sans doute tourné machinalement vers l’avant…


On ne saura jamais si ce fut la dernière image de sa vie, lui qui rêvait d’être un instituteur après la guerre.

À la mémoire de …