Dave Leicester - Pathfinders

Running time
1 min 58 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


Well, the Pathfinders were recognized as more dangerous because we were out in front looking for targets. On a raid, perhaps 20 minutes ahead of what was called the main force, the Pathfinder aircraft would go over, and if we were bombing, say, Berlin, the rail yards in Berlin, well, the Pathfinder aircraft would go over first and have a look over the city and see if we could find the rail yards. If we did, we dropped a flare.

Now, for example, we might be looking, using Adelaide as an example, we might be looking for the rail yard at Adelaide Railway Station, but our flare landed on Adelaide Oval, so by the time that 2 or 300 or more aircraft arrived, we'd have to call them up and tell them not to bomb on that flare, but to bomb so far away from it.

Also, Pathfinder aircraft were amongst the main force of aircraft as well. But once you got to a certain standard of flying in Pathfinders, it became a very, very dangerous operation. The losses were about 50 per cent, Pathfinders. So to having got through it, you know, you prove yourself pretty lucky.

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