Clive Gesling - There was no chance of going to sleep

Running time
2 min 6 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


As a wireless operator you had wireless silence all the time when you were on a bombing raid, you know. You took changes of wind, changes of direction. Sometimes you'd be at the places you were to bomb, you just gave that information to the navigator or the pilot.

The only time you could operate the wireless was if you came down in the sea and you wanted the air rescue people to come and rescue you. That was the only time when you were on operations, that was the only time you were allowed to use the keyboard.

So, I mean, on an eight hour flight it was a boring thing sitting there eight and a half hours just listening to stuff coming in and not able to respond. You wouldn't go to sleep when you were flying operations. There was anti-aircraft fire, there were fighters about and all that sort of stuff. You had no chance of going to sleep and besides

A: it was very noisy inside the Lancaster and B: it was quite cold too, so, you know, no chance of you going to sleep.

I remember the first one because, you know, you were sort of inexperienced and nervous to some degree anyhow, you know, and there's anti-aircraft fire exploding all around the plane. When we took the food drop that was in the daytime, all the operations were at night so there were other planes besides you, above you, you know.

When you were over the target dropping your bombs a plane up above you could drop a bomb that could hit you so there were all sorts of dangerous things that could happen to you when you were on a raid.

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