Andy Anderson - Operations with 10 Squadron
We mounted 16 guns, and that's a huge armament for an airplane. The Germans, they didn't fear us, but they didn't like us. They used to call us the, oh, in German it's the fliegendes stachelschwein and that means flying porcupine. And that's exactly how they felt about it.
Yes, I suppose the draw back on the job we did was the monotony. You'd be out for 12 hours searching and searching and you come home and you may not have seen a thing. And ... Convoy escorts were probably the worst of it because if you took over from another aircraft that had been escorting the convoy and during the night they'd been attacked, then you'd see all this wreckage and all ...
I get emotional about it. These guys in the water that were gonna die. I mean, you couldn't do anything about it because if the sea was so rough there's no way you could land. The Navy couldn't do anything about it because they were ordered not to stop because if they did they'd be a perfect target for a U-boat and the convoy couldn't stop. I mean there's just no way a merchant ship could help these guys. So ... I mean I just have tremendous respect for them. They were never, ever given the reward that they needed or should have had. They were civilians and therefore, since they didn't wear uniform there was no glamour attached to it. If their ship was sunk then their pay was stopped. That's assuming they survived, which, most of them didn't because what chance would you have?
I mean, you're out there on the western approaches and you might drop a dinghy or a smoke float. But there's just no way people would ever find them. You know? And of course the Murmansk run was even worse because it was so cold up there they wouldn't last more than five minutes in the water. So these guys they, I mean, 30,000 of them lost their lives and what reward did they get? Nothing. I don't even remember any one of them ever being given a medal. So I have a great sympathy for them.