The crew of B for Baker were posted to 467 Squadron on the last day of 1943. They arrived at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, on the first day of 1944. It follows therefore that 2014 marks seventy years since the crew were operational. To mark this anniversary, I’ve planned a special project to be published on SomethingVeryBig over the next few months: 467 Postblog.
Drawing from a range of sources I’ve compiled a timeline, or a daily diary if you will, looking at events in Bomber Command as a whole and RAF Waddington and the crew of B for Baker in particular during the time that they were on the squadron. From tomorrow I’ll be publishing a post almost every day, following their story from the time they arrived in January 1944 until the fateful Lille operation some four and a half months later.
This period encompasses a good cross-section of Bomber Command operations, and includes some very significant raids. In the first couple of months we will see the crescendo of the Battle of Berlin, with the last mass raid on that city taking place on 23 March amongst a larger campaign of mass city-busting attacks. A week after the final Berlin raid comes the infamous Nuremberg operation. As we move into April, we will see how Bomber Command’s strategies change, in line with the Transportation Plan and other operations aimed at preparing the way for the planned invasion of occupied Europe. While the occasional large raid still happens on a big city like Munich in the latter part of April, for most of that month and the early part of May attacking forces become smaller, trips become shorter and marking techniques become increasingly more accurate. The changing tactics make this a particularly useful and interesting period to look at in some detail.
There were significant periods early on – in early February in particular – where the weather badly affected the bomber offensive. And it was a very long war so there were also days when, simply, nothing much of note happened. So there will be a few days for which I will summarise events into a single post – but all the important ones, particularly the operations in which any member of the crew was involved, will have their own entry to be published seventy years to the day after the events it covers. There will be descriptions of the big events of the time, but also some discussion of everyday life on the squadron and, where the information is available, what the crew themselves got up to.
Almost a year in the making, this is a type of project well-suited to digital publication. Sections will be added in close to real time and the whole project will grow as time goes by.
© 2013 Adam Purcell