Most Memorable Operation
My first ops really began at Bircham Newton (#415 Squadron) on Air Sea Rescue over the North Sea. An Exciting spotting one day of a small boat with escapees from Norway. The pilot forgot to switch to auxiliary petrol tanks and we nearly ended up in the drink.
My commission came through and I was posted to Radar training (very secret at the time) and attached to RAF Coastal Command on Liberators at Beaulieu on #224 Squadron. For the first ops, I was transfered on request to Squadron Leader Bulloch’s crew. He was a Coastal Command ace with DSO and Bar and DFC and Bar, and twice mentioned in despatches. I heard that he had eight U-Boat kills. With this hot operator, the U-Boats seemed to keep out of our way after I joined the crew.
We operated as an independent unit from such stations as St.Eval, Cornwall, Aldergrove and Ballykelly in Ireland and Reykjavik in Iceland. We were among the first to use rockets on a four-engined aircraft. I can recall on training range, our rockets bouncing off targets on Salisbury Plain and nearly hitting ourselves. After that, training was done over water.
We did convoy escort duty and patrolled the North Atlantic and in the Bay of Biscay. Shot at by Spanish shore batteries on the coast of Spain.....After that tour .....I went on to become a Radar Instructor for six months or so in Ireland. I flew with trainees who had trained in western Canada or Texas in clear skies. I found that period more nerve wracking than ops!