Bill Purdy & Ron Houghton - Amazingly versatile force
Department of Veterans' Affairs
Bill: Bomber Command doesn’t get enough recognition for all the things it did. Everyone reckons it just went around bombing German cities. At least half the operations were on other areas not just bombing German cities. They were an amazingly versatile force and they actually laid 30, 000 tonnes of mines in all the German ports along the Baltic which no one else could get to, and they sank no end of submarines, and they were so successful on the surface boats that the Swedes particularly said that if you want stuff send your boats across here because they were losing too many. That was one little part of Bomber Command that no one even thinks about.
Ron: We also attacked the U-Boat Pens down the coast of France, from Brest, to La Rochelle, a couple of other ports, about three or four ports. That’s another thing you’d never heard much about. People talk about blowing German houses up and what have you – but certainly, we put a lot of pressure on the U-Boats so much so they had to come in to the, say the bay of any of those ports under water and come right into the big concrete pens themselves. But again, I’m thinking of one occasion where we dropped the bombs on the Pens and - about ten feet thick of concrete – they made no difference. But next door to it there were all the buildings where many of the U-Boat crews live. So, if you bomb those, there is more action there than on the U-Boat itself. If you kill all your crew – U-Boats don’t go out. So there is that side of it you have to be aware of.