1942 and the day is 6th June at Oakington where 7 Squadron are based. The various crews at some point were briefed about their operation that night. They were going to bomb Emden and for my father and the rest of the crew it was a probably a similar operation to the previous night when they’d bombed Essen.
‘Buck’ Tayler, ‘Mac’ Macnamara, John Travis, Harry Spry, Ted Earngey, Frank Henigman, Jack Arnold and dad must have made all their preparations and were airborne at 23-59. So far everything was going to plan and they thought it should be a fairly easy one.
The night was bright with a full moon but the atmospheric conditions were such that they could gain no altitude and some crews had aborted… but Buck decided they should press on. They hoped to approach the Friesian Islands at about 13,000 feet but were unable to to get higher than 10,000 feet… and could be seen in silhouette from almost any direction.
They were seen by Oblt. Ludwig Becker… and at about 01-20 he shot them down, attacking from below, his second ‘kill’ of the night.
So… they came down near to Blije and after attempting to evade capture they were eventually caught and became POWs for the rest of the war.
The ‘date’ with a young lady that dad had looked forward to keeping never happened but it was the start of another phase of dad’s war time experience.
He writes all about it in his book… ‘Of Stirlings and Stalags: an air gunner’s tale’ by WE ‘Bill’ Goodman.
They didn’t return home until the end of the war… but were all alive!!