Frank Ward - Mission assignment

Running time
2 min 49 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


Well the navigator and the pilot always had to go first. All the crews were required for a briefing at 1600 hours which was 4pm and we would go down, the pilot and I would go down to the briefing room and I'd be issued with my maps.

They had what the target was on a board covered by a sheet. They'd pull that back when you came in and you'd say "Oh God. Berlin". And then they'd issue the maps and quite often you'd have maybe three maps you had to join up say Berlin, Nuremburg, where ever and there was a pot of paste and you had to paste them together and then, of course, they were a bit damp, you know, and you'd have to wipe them to dry them off a bit and then you'd follow the tapes on the thing.

Point A would be on the Dutch coast, then point B would be here but you didn't go straight in, of course, because that was a giveaway to the German radar so you'd have maybe three points and then the bombing run maybe north and south.

We'd be coming in from the west and then you'd do the same on the way out and there was a time at each point and you were given. You had to do it in three minutes.

That was part of the navigator's job to be at point A within three minutes at a certain height and they would stipulate what level we're on, they were tiered back.

This would be 21,000 feet, 22,000 feet and 23,000 feet and in slightly different times. Three minutes or four minutes between each.

When you have 800 bombers going out just for safety. Some were good Lancaster's and some were faster than others just like Ford cars some were better than others and if the pilot had a good one, he'd say'Ah well, damn the speed limit.

We'll head in'. And they'd be at 23000 feet and you'd be at 21,000 over the target together. Now that happened a few times to us. Actually, the only one who could see the plane directly up above us was the mid upper gunner and several times he yelled out.'Hey there's a plane with its bomb doors open twenty feet above us'. And I remember the comment by the pilot,'Aw, that's dangerous'.

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