467 Postblog X: Thursday 13 January, 1944

There was some commotion at Waddington this morning preparing for a visit by the Australian Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Jones, to the two Australian squadrons, accompanied by the Air Officer Commanding, RAAF Overseas Headquarters, Air Vice Marshal Wrigley. In the end, however, the two senior officers simply “had a hurried look around the Squadrons, stayed for lunch and departed for Binbrook.”[1]

It was a busy day for Phil Smith though. Not only did he officially assume command of ‘A’ Flight from the outgoing (and promoted, since the last time we saw him) Squadron Leader Forbes today, in the afternoon he presented a lecture to the aircrew of 467 Squadron about Bomber Command tactics and he was also detailed, along with his crew, for a practice bombing flight after that.

They took off uneventfully in a Lancaster[2] but part way through the flight, the starboard inner engine spluttered and failed. Even with one engine out, however, the Lancaster barely noticed. “After feathering the propeller the machine seemed to be remarkably little affected in level flight”, Phil later wrote, “and the subsequent landing was trouble free.”[3]

Later in the evening, the Officers’ Mess hosted a “merry” going-away party for Bill Forbes. And elsewhere, the Mosquito light bombers were out again. Twelve aircraft went to Essen, nine to Duisburg, and two each to Aachen and Koblenz. One failed to return from Essen but all others came home safely.[4]

Squadron Leader Bill Forbes and crew in late 1943. L-R: P/O H Robertson (nav), Sgt AJ Norman (RG), P/O F Miller (F/E), S/L WA Forbes (Pilot), Sgt F McLeod (W/O), P/O H Garth (MUG) and P/O W Grimes (BA). Photo: The Waddington Collection, RAF Waddington Heritage Centre

Squadron Leader Bill Forbes and crew in late 1943. L-R: P/O H Robertson (Nav), Sgt AJ Norman (RG), P/O F Miller (F/E), S/L WA Forbes (Pilot), Sgt F McLeod (W/O), P/O H Garth (MUG) and P/O W Grimes (BA). Photo: The Waddington Collection, RAF Waddington Heritage Centre

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] 467 Squadron ORB 13JAN44

[2] Phil’s logbook des not record a serial for this trip

[3] Smith, Phil, Phil’s Recollections of 1939-45 War

[4] Night Raid Report No. 509

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