Andy Anderson - Joining 10 Squadron
Everyone wanted to be a fighter pilot. And when we find out that fighter pilots weren't really needed at the time everyone wanted to be a night fighter pilot so we all ate carrots from start to finish to improve our night vision and that was a fallacy. In the midst of all this some representative of 10 Squadron came and they were looking to join their squadron but they were quite an elite squadron and they didn't want just anybody. They wanted to make their own selections.
So I was one of the people that applied because they promise you, you would be in operations in two weeks. Now that really was something. A big draw. Because if you didn't go, if that didn't happen to you then you were forced to go to advanced flying units and then operational training units and then wait there for ability to go to a squadron and you'd probably end up on bomber command, anyway. If you managed to get into a bomber before the war ended. And that was our big worry. Everybody wanted to be a hero before the war ended, having come all this way.
So the attraction in 10 Squadron was that they said 'We'll have you in operations in two weeks'. And that's what happened. Because they had three pilots on their aircraft and they drew you in as a second pilot or a second, yeah, a second pilot. And you were trained on the job. And then, eventually, you were promoted to a first pilot which was in the civil diversion of a first officer and having completed 500 hours of your required 1000 hours for a tour the last 500 hours you were given an aircraft of your own.
And then you completed your thousand hours as a captain of the aircraft with 10 or 11 crew. And that, for a youngster, I mean we were only children ... That, for a youngster, was quite a responsibility. I'm amazed the way all those young people coped with that situation. They did well. And 10 Squadron was, I still think it's an elite squadron, it really was a very good, very good. And wonderful to be in that squadron. I mean the personnel were wonderful and engineering was always excellent and everyone was so encouraging, all the time. So I just had a very fortunate war.