​​A Pilot's Story

A Chesterfield Hero

619 squadron sent 13 Lancasters​ with 1 loss. 1,114 aircraft - 601 Lancasters, 492 Halifaxes, 21 Mosquitos - carried out major raids on the Bois de Cassan, Forêt de Nieppe and Trossy St Maxim flying-bomb stores. The weather was clear and all raids were successful. 6 Lancasters lost, 5 from the Trossy St Maxim raid and 1 from the Bois de Cassan raid. 1 Lightning and 1 RCM aircraft accompanied the raids.

An extract from the 619 Squadron Operational Record Book (ORB) 3rd August 1944

​​​4th Operation - 619 Squadron -  Bois De Cassan

An extract from the 619 Squadron Operational Record Book (ORB) 1st August 1944

​Bit of a waste of a op this but they all count. 619 squadron sent 12 Lancasters with no losses. 777 aircraft - 385 Lancasters, 324 Halifaxes, 67 Mosquitos, 1 Lightning - to attack numerous V-weapon targets but only 79 aircraft were able to bomb; Bomber Command records do not state why the remaining sorties were abortive but poor weather conditions were the probable cause. No aircraft lost. Siracourt was a V-1 (doodle-bug) launch site. The Allies spotted the construction of the Siracourt bunker almost as soon as it began in September 1943, when two parallel trenches were dug and concreted to form the walls of the structure. Heavy Allied bombing hindered construction but it continued until the end of June 1944, when the site was wrecked by Tallboy bombs dropped by the Royal Air Force. By this time about 90 per cent of the concrete had been completed, apart from the end sections, but the supposedly bomb-proof structure proved unable to withstand the six-ton Tallboy. One bomb fully penetrated the roof and exploded underneath, while another caused substantial damage when it exploded next to one of the walls. The ground around the site was churned up by over 5,000 tons of bombs. By the time the site was abandoned in April 1944, the exterior had practically been completed but the excavation of the interior had only just begun. This fact begs the question why this raid ever got the go ahead, however on another point of interest to those who have a interest, the Siracourt site was a target of one of the first Operation Aphrodite mission flown using 4 radio-controlled war weary B-17s as flying bombs. The 'Operation Aphrodite' plan called for B-17 aircraft that had been taken out of operational service: various nicknames existed such as "robot", "baby", "drone" or "weary Willy"– to be loaded to capacity with explosives, and flown by radio control into bomb-resistant fortifications such as German U-boat pens and V-weapon sites. The 'operation Aphrodite' mission on the Siracourt V-1 site failed as the 'Drone' crashed. The idea was that the 'Drone' would be got into the sky by a pilot and co pilot. To allow easier exit when the pilot and co-pilot were to parachute out, the canopy was removed. Azon radio remote-control equipment was added, with two television cameras fitted in the cockpit to allow a view of both the ground and the main instrumentation panel to be transmitted back to an accompanying CQ-17 'mothership'. The Drone would then be flown into the target to hopefully cause the requisite damage.

619 squadron sent 11 Lancasters on this raid and all but 1 came back. 178 Lancasters and 9 Mosquitos of No 5 Group carried out an accurate attack on the railway yards at Givors. 4 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos lost. Monica V was a range-only tail warning radar for bombers, introduced by the RAF in June 1942. Unfortunately, the Germans developed a passive radar receiver, Flensburg, which was used by Luftwaffe nightfighters from spring 1944 onward to home in on bombers using Monica. On the morning of 13 July 1944, a Junkers Ju 88G-1 nightfighter equipped with Flensburg mistakenly landed at RAF Woodbridge. On 30 Aug 1944, the JU88 and its equipment were tested against a 71-strong 'miniature bomber force', the route being Cambridge-Gloucester-Hereford-Cambridge at 15,000-18,000 feet with timing arranged to simulate as nearly as possible the normal concentration of a bomber force under operational conditions. The JU88 made approaches to the stream to determine the effectiveness of Flensburg against MONICA. The results were that Flensburg was found to be lethal against MONICA, which was withdrawn from all Bomber Command aircraft on 12 Sept 1944. Unbeknown to them, Roy and his crew, along with a lot more were hampered with Monica V for more missions until it's withdrawal.

Mandrel was the first of Bomber Command's Radio Counter Measure devices. It was designed to jam the enemy's EW (Early warning) radars in 10 MHz bands. It had mixed results.

619 squadron sent 13 Lancasters​ without losses. 394 aircraft - 234 Lancasters, 99 Halifaxes, 40 Mosquitos, 20 Stirlings, 1 Lightning - attacked 1 flying bomb launch site and 3 supply sites. Visibility was clear at all targets and good bombing results were claimed. 2 Lancasters of No 5 Group lost from the raid on the Bois de Cassan supply site.

An extract from the 619 Squadron Operational Record Book (ORB) 31st July 1944

An extract from the 619 Squadron Operational Record Book (ORB) 26th July 1944

​​​​​5th Operation - 619 Squadron -  Trossy St Maxim

619 Squadron

RAF Dunholme Lodge, Lincs :

Apr 1944-Sep 1944

RAF Strubby, Lincs :

Sep 1944-Jun 1945

​​1st Operation - 619 Squadron -  Givors

This was the first operation that Roy and his crew flew in LM630 'D' for Dumbo and they returned it with 30 holes in it. Dumbo was their favourite Lanc. 619 squadron sent 3 Lancasters with no losses. 97 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitos of No's 5 and 8 Groups attacked the ends of a railway tunnel at Rilly La Montage being used as a flying-bomb store. No 617 Squadron caved in both ends of the tunnel with their Tallboy bombs and the other part of the bombing force cratered all the approach areas. 2 Lancasters were lost, including the No 617 Squadron aircraft of Flight Lieutenant William Reid, who had won a Victoria Cross in 1943 in a raid on Düsseldorf while flying with No 61 Squadron. Flight Lieutenant Reid fortunately survived. H2S was the first airborne, ground scanning radar system. It was developed for the Royal Air Force's Bomber Command during World War II to identify targets on the ground for night and all-weather bombing, allowing attack outside the range of the various radio navigation aids like Gee or Oboe, which were limited to about 500 kilometres (310 mi). It was also widely used as a general navigation system, allowing landmarks to be identified at long range. On its second operational mission on 2/3 February 1943, an H2S was captured almost intact by German forces. Combined with intelligence gathered from the surviving crew, they learned it was a mapping system and were able to determine its method of operation. This led to the introduction of the FuG 350 Naxos radar detector, which enabled Luftwaffe night fighters to home on the transmissions of H2S. The British learned of Naxos and a great debate ensued over the use of H2S. However, calculations showed that losses during this period were actually less than before. The use of H2S as a night fighter detector saved more bombers than Naxos claimed.
Development continued through the late-war Mk. IV, to the 1950s era Mk. IX, that equipped the V bomber fleet. The Mk. IX was tied into both the bombsight and navigation system to provide a complete long-range Navigation and Bombing System (NBS). In this form, H2S was last used in anger during the Falklands War in 1982 on the Avro Vulcan. Some H2S Mk. IX units remained in service on the Handley Page Victor aircraft until 1993, providing fifty years of service. Roy would be flying with a version of H2S right up to his RAF retirement in 1964.

​​​3rd Operation - 619 Squadron -  Siracourt

​​​2nd Operation - 619 Squadron -  Rilly La Montagne

An extract from the 619 Squadron Operational Record Book (ORB) 2nd August 1944