Bob Jubb - 76 Squadron rule

Running time
5 min 41 sec
Date made
Copyright
Department of Veterans' Affairs

Transcript

From con unit we were posted to our first squadron, which mine was 76 squadron, RAF, at a place called Holme-on-Spalding-Moor, in North Yorkshire. That was a real eye opener, because this was a squadron in which Leonard Cheshire, who was the most decorated airman of the war, he did his first tour of operations in Whitley Bombers, and then later became the CO of 76. It was a squadron that had great tradition, and the CO at the time was just one of those wonderful English gentleman. His name was Wing Commander Hank Iverson.

When we reported to him that we had arrived on his squadron, I knocked on the door and a voice said "Come in", and we went in, and we were greeted with a pair of flying boots on a desk. This bloke is leaning back in his chair with his hat on the back of his head, and he leans forward and says "Come in, come in chaps". Puts his feet on the floor, and he stood up, and he greeted all seven of us, and he said now, "Take a seat boys". He said how we operate here. He said "It's pretty isolated", so he said "The first thing we'll give you is a bicycle to get around, because we're quite dispersed and there's a long way between the mess and your sleeping quarters, and so on".

He said "There are certain rules I've installed here. Saluting," he said "this is an old RAF tradition, but" he said "after midday I banned it. You can salute in the morning if you encounter an officer, but in the afternoon just ignore them".

Then he said "Dress comfortably". He said "I prefer my big, roll neck jumper". He said "I think you would enjoy comfortable clothing as well", so he said "Don't feel as though you gotta have your tie on and be regimentally dressed".

This sounded as, you know, a happy introduction to 76 squadron. Sure enough, when it came to operating in the briefing room, the blind would go up revealing a target, and wing commander Iverson would say "Now, it's not good news tonight chaps. We're going to Dusseldorf", or Frankfurt, or somewhere deep in Germany, and he said "A very tough opposition".

He said "I'll be leading A flight, and squadron leader Bridgman he will be leading B flight", so he said "But I hope we all meet afterwards and you all have a good trip".

Then a few nights later we had an operation which was to a flying bomb site, which was only across the channel into France, and back again. It was only a three and a half hour trip instead of six hours. Obviously over to France and back, you've got a better chance of survival than going deep into Germany and ure enough.

Wing Commander Iverson would say, "Well now chaps you should have a good night tonight. It shouldn't be a lot of trouble". He said "Squadron leader Moxham he'll be leading A flight, and Squadron leader Bridgman will have B flight", and he said "I'll be here when you get back". On the hard trips he would lead, and on the easier trips he would wave us goodbye. He was that kind of bloke. We really loved and respected him.

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