467 Postblog V: Wednesday 5 January, 1944

With many crews on leave and the moon period current, it was with some surprise that the Waddington squadrons were told this morning that operations would be on tonight. The target was Stettin. 463 Squadron put up seven aircraft and 467 detailed eleven for the trip,[1] among a total force of 333 heavies. Other Bomber Command units were also in action, sending Mosquitoes on a feint attack to Berlin and other targets in Western Germany, more Mosquitoes to the Cherbourg Peninsula, Lancasters to lay mines and a Beaufighter on a Serrate radio counter-measures patrol[2]– the last Beaufighter to carry out one of these before Mosquitoes took over the duty full-time.

Meanwhile, Phil Smith’s crew were still on leave. Gil Pate was living it up in London. By this time he’d been there a few times and was starting to find his way around like a local.[3] Today he decided to get a formal portrait taken:

Gilbert Pate in London. Photograph courtesy Gil and Peggy Thew

Gilbert Pate in London. Photograph courtesy Gil and Peggy Thew

He signed it ‘Love, Gil’, gave it today’s date and decided to post it to his mother when he got back to Waddington.

 

This post is part of a series called 467 Postblog, posted in real time to mark the 70th anniversary of the crew of B for Baker while they were on operational service with 467 Squadron at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire. See this link for an in-depth explanation of the series, and this one for full citations of sources used throughout it. © 2014 Adam Purcell

Sources:


[1] 463 and 467 Squadrons Operational Record Books 05JAN44

[2] Details of further operations in both Night Raid Report No. 504 and RAF Bomber Command Campaign Diary, January 1944

[3] Letter Gilbert Pate to his mother, 08JAN44

 

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