Saturday, 16 January 2010

Title Tattle.........

Hullo ma wee blog,

{No the headings not dyslexia; just my liking for puns.}

I feel like I am getting to grips with the wealth of material in the history of 153 Sqn/end of the war script I'm doing and coming to an understanding of what I want to include and exclude. I don't want it to be completely overwhelmed with technical detail and to be great long posts that ultimately no one is going to enjoy wading through and be put off the next ones so I want to be able to read them in a couple of minutes, but to hopefully create some afterthought. I know I'm coming to better appreciate what these men went through and the circumstances in which they found themselves, so for me, its really interesting.

There is a huge amount of information on the internet, much of it highly technical and dispassionately detailed, so for the more human aspects of their experiences I have turned to a couple of books in my library: Christina Mattingley's 'Battle Order 204' which is a recounting of her husbands experiences of being a Lancaster pilot, based in Lincolnshire, though not at Scampton and coincides chronologically almost exactly with the timeframe I am looking at here and is a marvelously human work based on his diaries. It effectively has brought together for me the bond between the crew which I want touch on in a couple of posts not specific to operations maybe.

The other book is a compilation of accounts by British and Commonwealth flight crew of operations called 'Flying Into the Flames of hell' by Martin H Bowman. It conveys the feelings of terror at being coned by searchlights over targets, the effects of night fighters and carefully nursing damaged aircraft back home.

Both books are written in a gentle unassuming style which is typical of the way which Dad remembered or reminisced certain events. Both books quote liberally from poetry written by the men, a common release from tensions of life threatening situations, and I may also use some of these in later posts too. At least the feeling of muddy waters is receding a bit so hopefully there will be some kind of coherent structure emerge shortly.

The gap in the narrative will help this weekend as the lovely G and I are about to head off for an overnight stay at an old friends,someone that as is often the case I have lost touch with over the last twenty odd years and who's daughter - who I remember only as a toddler - is now a mother twice over herself. Jings that makes me feel OLD!

So I have to get up from the table here in the kitchen and go have a shower and make myself pretty before the two hour drive across the west coast. No doubt, all being well, you get to hear of events in due course.

Got to go - 2 hours may just about be enough time to make myself............



See you later.

Listening to Cherry Ghost 'Thirst For Romance'
{If Only!!!}


Kat_RN said...

Have you checked with any of the RAF Bases where they were stationed? Most USAF Bases (or Wings) have a Wing Historian. The Wing Historian at RAF Upper Heyford had wonderful photos of just about every plane that was stationed there and a lot of the crews. Start with the phone book.
I am looking forward to reading your efforts.
Enjoy your weekend, Kat

Big Swifty said...

Hope the fact finding mission goes well. I wonder if my father in law read those books? He read many books about ww2, esp about the RAF. I'm sorry I can't now ask him more about it, though he was never chatty about his missions. Meanwhile, I'm planning a trip to your west coast, for backpacking in May, starting at Glenelg. I've never been there and am looking forward to seeing the broch. Have a good weekend. Andrew

Morning's Minion said...

I think the staid history books supply the necessary chronology and backbone of information for any era or event. For me it will always be the specific personal recounting which creates a sense of connection. Journals and letters are good, or the remembrance of a personal account.

Alistair said...

Hullo all - thanks for the comments and encouragement. I'm enjoying the task I've set myself so far anyway.

Kat, I have been to Dad's old station and walked around it - its still a functioning RAF station but with good guided access due to the Dambusters connection so have a feel for that. Had a good look through their station museum too. I have a small number of photos of Dad and crew, shots of Cologne taken from back of the plane, and formal full squadron in 1945 at end of war. My brother and I also visited aircrew local pub, Lincoln Cathedral and the Bomber Memorial so I think I have a good feel of the place. I have access to Sqn records too as well as database of lost aircraft and crews etc. I just want to get closer to the human side.

Swifty - your in for a treat. Its beautiful. Closest Skye is to mainland, they used to swim the cattle for market at Falkirk across the narrows. There used to be a Govt Barracks nearby at Bernera in Jacobite times too.

MM- Your so right about the personal accounts which is why these two books are so useful. Many men couldn't or wouldn't speak of it. One of Dads best pals had been a navigator but just blanked it all afterwards and would never speak except once or twice to Dad.

cheers all

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