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Showing posts from January, 2010

A 'Grrr' on things short and tweet

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Hullo ma wee blog,

As usual, I don't get it. {nothing unusual about that, the lovely G would say!} It could actually be said that 'thankfully' I don't get it, since what I don't get is 'Twitter'. I'm not a member so again thankfully I don't receive these irritating 140 character or less messages from anyone. It doesn't mean that I am immune though as often Twitter is linked to blogs and therefore I have experienced some of the deep and meaningful messages that 'Tweeters' are wont to share and with nephews and neices there is always twitter, tweeting and facebooking going on. I'm impressed by the sheer lack of any kind of meaningful content in most instances.

Most of it seems to be absolute babble: what they are sitting down to eat, how good the coffee is, that they've just bought a pair of shoes/aftershave/hairdo, Gillians just been tweeted by James and other absolute banalities. I have been put off by the amount of absolute trip…

153 Sqn. 28th January 1945 - zuffenhausen

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These posts follow 153 Sqn operations from Jan '45 to the end of hostilities in real time.


On the 28th, following strenuous efforts by all station and squadron personnel to clear the runways of snow, the squadron sent 17 aircraft to attack the Hirth aero-engine factory at Zuffenhausen (Stuttgart). Leaving Scampton at 1925, flying conditions were poor, solid clouds shrouded the target and bombs had to be aimed at aerial sky-markers. Flak was light to moderate, but enemy fighters were active. PB 638(P4-O), flown by an all-RAF (VR) crew, piloted by F/O Owen Jones DFC, assisted by F/Sgt Peter Jenkinson DFM (the Squadron's only Flight Engineer to be awarded this honour) was shot down and crashed at Michelbach, a small village about 12 miles south-east of Heidelberg.

All are buried in Durnbach War Cemetery. Sgt Jenkinson's DFM was Gazetted 11Dec45. His skipper was an Oxford University graduate. P/O O.M.C.Jones DFC KIA Sgt P.R.Jenkinson DFM KIA F/S J.F.Dormer KIA F/S E.W Fletcher …

To be - or Not To Be.........seen.

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Hullo ma wee blog,

I don't often wander into such dramatically hot political/religious waters perhaps but I hope you forgive me on this occasion.

A French parliamentary committee has recommended a partial ban on women wearing Islamic face veils. The question being asked now is should there be a similar ban in the UK - and would it work?

Just across the English Channel, allowing a woman to veil her face in public places such as hospitals, government offices and on public transport could soon be called into question. In a country where the separation of state and religion is enshrined in law, a parliamentary committee report ruled the veil was "contrary to the values of the republic" and called on parliament to adopt a formal resolution proclaiming "all of France is saying 'no' to the full veil".

France - which is home to five million Muslims - has a history of debating the full veil, with President Nicolas Sarkozy declaring it "not welcome" in 2010…

One Fine Day In The Middle Of The Night...........

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Hullo ma wee blog,

Of course it's not unusual for me to be awake at 4.00am. It is unusual for me to be quite happy and relaxed about it though, like I was today. Rarely for me I had gone to bed at 11.30 and slept right through till 4.00. So there I was refreshed and ready for the day but needing to be quiet for another few hours so that the lovely G got the sleep she needed.

Having put on the heating and hot water {the lovely G prefers not to rely on timers but perversely gets up to switch the boiler on manually. She loves being able to go back to bed for another hour, but also likes to be told sometimes that she doesn't need to come down as I will deal with it for her} and with coffee in hand I retired to the library and a comfy chair by the window so I would see the first lightening of the night into day. I had taken with me my current read; Bill Brysons 'Made in America' which I am enjoying immensely even though its just begun. I've read several of his books and h…

Burns Night poem............

Tonight is Burns Night and we celebrate the works of 'The Bard' Robert Burns and eat haggis neeps and tatties {Haggis, turnip and potatoes} - and a wee drop or two of whiskey!


Here's 'Tam O Shanter', one of his best. A translation is in brackets after each verse to help you along or you can read along with the recitation in the clip.

I hope you enjoy it....


When chapmen billies leave the street,
And drouthy neibors, neibors meet,
As market days are wearing late,
An' folk begin to tak the gate;
While we sit bousing at the nappy,
And getting fou and unco happy,
We think na on the lang Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps, and styles,
That lie between us and our hame,
Where sits our sulky sullen dame.
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

{When the peddler folk leave the streets,
And thirsty neighbours, neighbours meet;
As market days are wearing late,
And folk begin to take the road home,
While we sit boozing strong ale,
And getting drunk a…

Routine/Habit - Familiar/Unfamiliar

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Hullo ma wee blog,

6.00am this morning: I had been awake for a while, not long but maybe 10 minutes. Instinctively, still half asleep I had been yawning and stretching under the covers, rubbing my eyes and wiping the palm of my hands from forehead to chin as I stroked myself out of sleep. Having gone to bed at 2.00am, that's not bad for me but the lovely G, facing her 6th day at work this week and still struggling to contain a cold that has dogged her across most of the preceding week turned to me and said,

"Please, get up. Give me just another 15 minutes of peace before I have to get up too."

Aware now of my inconsiderate behaviour I apologised and got out of bed straight away and went out to the hall where I dressed, groggily and oddly in the dark, stuck bare feet into slippers before heading down to the kitchen where I pressed the on switch of the laptop on my way to kettle and coffee. A fill of the kettle and a wander back to the laptop to tap in the password meant that…

153 Sqn 22nd Jan 1945 - Duisburg

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Flying through a flak barrage.

These posts follow 153 Sqn operations from Jan '45 to the end of hostilities in real time.


Due to hostile weather conditions, only two further attacks would be mounted in January. On the 22nd, 19 aircraft left Scampton at 1645 and joined an attack on the Benzoil plant in the Bruckhausen district of Duisburg. The target was clearly identified by moonlight; the attack was concentrated and reported as most successful. Further bombs also crippled the nearby Thyssen steelworks.

Bomber Command lost only two aircraft that night- both from 153 Squadron.

NG 185(P4-A) flown by 33 year old F/O Ken Winder (RAF) with his two Canadian and four RAF (VR) crew was shot down over Holland. At 18, Sgt Hamilton was one of the youngest Canadians killed in Bomber Command . F/O K.W.Winder KIA . Sgt D.B.George KIA. Sgt A.J.Rabin KIA. F/O M.A.Smith RCAF KIA. SAgt R.Evans KIA. Sgt G.B.Hamilton RCAF KIA. Sgt T.O'Gorman KIA

Flight Engineer David George {Photo courtesy of …

All Clear for Jessie...........

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Hullo ma wee blog,

Having lost Bailey to a feline virus last week we took the precaution of having extensive blood tests done on Jess to check she was as healthy as she seems. Today the results came back from the lab to say that she is as fit as a fiddle.

We have been on tenderhooks since the vet explained that as the two lived together that there was a chance that Jess had been infected too, possibly through a bite given in one of the fairly rare scraps that they would have.

She got a big hug when given the news but the photo basically shows the reaction I got.

'Yea, and your point is?'

Still there are two of us breathing easier as a result.

see you later.

Listening to the soundtrack to the film 'The Insider'

Merry Christmas, Darling.........

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Cape Wrath Lighthouse.

Hullo ma wee blog,

As I get older I like to hear or read news, whether its newspapers, evening news programmes or news bulletins every half hour on my favourite radio station. It keeps me in touch with whats happening around the country, nation and around the world - well what they want to tell us about anyway, but that's another post -and somehow I feel better for it; grown up, able to have an opinion on whats happening, informed and more appreciative of far away places and goings on, perhaps even moved to want to persuade my government to do something or to change my ways to help reduce global warming or change my view on some part of current affairs.

I remember my parents always being determined to hear the 6 o'clock and 9 o'clock news from the BBC and as a child not understanding, and as a teenager scorning their need to listen to 'gossip' and 'hearsay' about folk and places they would never meet or visit from our parochial lifestyl…

The Post With No Name...........

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A pig with six legs......

Hullo ma wee blog,

I have spent an enjoyable hour or two surfing down the back of the interweb bloggery thing and visited some favourite blogs from here, there and everywhere covering almost any topic from hobbies to the life affirming quality of daily existence in all its spectrum from mundane to exuberant joy. I've been reading latest posts and backtracking down the lanes of posts done and dusted, many unread until now and some favourite posts which I've gone back to once or twice {or more} before. I've looked at followers and tracked through into some of their blogs to see if I find anything which tweaks my interest or my conscience so I may visit again. I've listed a couple on my favourites list so I can track them down again when I have time or curiosity strikes.

Some of my favourite blogs, the ones I have been following, and the ones I am most familiar with, have over time shown individual personalities and now as I read them I am no longer…

Best Wishes, Wee Man............

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Hullo ma wee blog,

I would just like to send a message of congratulations to my old mate Sir Fred Goodwin, aka 'The World Worst Banker' and ex boss of Royal Bank Of Scotland on his new job as a senior consultant with architect firm RMJM.

Good on ye pal! I never even KNEW that you were a wiz at architecture!

Its great to see that having, like me, to leave a job you had done and enjoyed for a number of years that you have been able to overcome the general lack of job opportunities in the current market and got a nice little earner tucked in your back pocket. I'm so jealous of you, ya wee rascal.

{Aye, I'm still looking, ach, but don't you worry.}

Its great too that this job will mean you travel the world for a couple of weeks a month and still earn enough that you don't have to touch your pension of £343,500 a year. {I never thought by the way that you got enough credit for taking a reduced pension when you were 'entitled' contractually to the full £750,000 a…

Title Tattle.........

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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 recountin…

153 Sqn 16th Jan 1945 - Zietz

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These posts follow 153 Sqn operations from Jan '45 to the end of hostilities in real time.

Leaving Scampton at 1730 to join aircaft from other Squadrons at the bomber stream concentration point Sudbrooke, 16 aircraft were sent to attack the Braunkohle-Benzin synthetic oil plant at Zeitz (about 30 miles south-west of Leipzig) on the 16th. For once, the weather was clear. Good ground-marking by PFF assisted an accurate and concentrated attack, hindered only by moderate flak and slight fighter activity. During this raid, F/O Clyde Byers RCAF whilst flying in PB 872(P4-2ndX) was posted missing, together with his four Canadian and two RAF fellow crew members, lost without trace. all are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. F/O C.W.Byers RCAF KIA Sgt J.B.M.Kelleher KIA F/S E.C.McLeneghan KIA F/s F.C.Irving RCAF KIA WO1 R.K.Crow RCAF KIA F/S R.C.Shilliday RCAF KIA F/S M.Frank RCAF KIA


 Robert C Shilliday {L} and Michael Frank

Getting an aircraft into position to do its job entailed …

B-A-L-A-N-C-E ........Balance

Hullo ma wee blog,

I've been indoors pretty much all day yesterday and today. Its bloomin freezing and, like my lovely G, I am headachy and feeling the chill.

During the course of perusing the paper today I noticed a wee stramash {commotion} going on because someone had posted a clip on you tube of a policeman sledging down a hill on his riot shield. All the officers involved have been reprimanded by their High Heid Yin {commanding officer} and advised this is not the way to behave if they want to get on in the force.

Now, I expect that some of you at least might be expecting me to go off on one and have a wee rant about abuse of position and waste of taxpayers money and shouldn't they be spending their time on better things. And aye, you can have that argument. But I was struck by how welcomingly human it was, how engaging it is to see an adult in a moment of fun. Even more so when these very people have no doubt been pulling many many hours dealing with the weather and its afte…

153 Sqn Jan 14th 1945 - Leuna

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Lancaster dropping incendienry bombs. Duisberg, Oct 14 1944

These posts follow 153 Sqn operations from Jan '45 to the end of hostilities in real time.

16 aircraft were sent to the Leuna oil plant on the 14th, but NG 184(P4-U) had to abort when the rear-gunner was taken ill. The other 15 crews, again in heavy cloud, aiming at skymarkers dropped by the Pathfinder Force, considered the raid to be scattered and unsuccessful. Perversely, after the war, the Germans stated that this was one of the most damaging raids ever mounted against the synthetic oil industry. Light flak was encountered and there was little interference from night fighters. No operational losses were reported on this mission.
Leuna is a town in the Saalekreis, Saxony-Anhalt, eastern Germany, south of Merseburg and Halle. It is known for the Leunawerke one of the biggest chemical industrial complexes in Germany.

The Lancaster was 67 ft long and had a wingspan of 102ft. Powered by 4 Rolls Royce Merlin engines it had a cru…

And then there were three

Hullo ma wee blog,

Sadly Bailey had to be put to sleep this afternoon after blood tests showed that her treatment had failed and her immune system had crashed due to a viral infection which she just could not fight in her frail condition. I left the vet with a heavy heart and an empty cat box, but with the consolation that I had held her at the last and she had nuzzled me gently as if to say 'let me go'. I cant believe it.

Having come for some short term temporary accommodation she and Jess had stayed with us for 9 years and we all got along just fine.

I'll miss her serene, know it all look, her heavy weight on our spot on the sofa, eager nuzzles and the face at the patio door staring at me with her Jedi mind tricks to let her in. I'll want to give a whistle across the garden and expect her to come charging in at a hundred miles an hour with an accusatory 'MEH' before heading to the utility room and a double portion of whatever is on offer. I'll miss her h…

On Biting Off More Than You Can Chew.

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Hullo ma wee blog,

Having decided to do this blog on Dads wartime Sqn during the last few months of the war I find myself immersed in huge amounts of information and currently being at the overwhelmed stage. Partly its just me, loving history and becoming involved in the subject, having a determination to understand as much as I can about the story at hand, especially since it in many ways involves Dad directly or indirectly and partly trying to decide just how much of this should be published through the blog without it becoming completely devoted to the subject. Its not after all what the blog is about or is SUPPOSED to be about.

Since that first post though I have found myself sneaking off at odd times to go hunt some bit of info that has occurred to me or even sitting with the lovely G at the table thinking about the story, the format, the inclusions, exclusions and the level of detail - when actually I should be just being with her, having a bit of us time.

And of course I'm sup…