467 Postblog XXXIV: Saturday 4 – Sunday 5 March, 1944

Many crews from Waddington were on leave on Saturday due to the moon period so fewer crews were available than usual for an operation planned for that night. But as take-off time approached, so did the snow clouds. At 18.45 it began to snow heavily and the operation was cancelled.

This happened again on Sunday. Each time the ground crew prepared, armed and fuelled the aircraft. Each time the aircrew were briefed, fed their operational eggs and taken to their dispersals. And each time the operation was scrubbed. The snow still lay thick on the ground and now the aircrew were put to work to clear it. Phil Smith wrote to his father:[1] “We are all heartily sick of the stuff – most of us have taken a turn with shovels trying to clear the aerodrome,” he wrote. “It is amazing how much work it takes to make an aerodrome serviceable after a good, heavy fall.”

Bomber Command still sent small forces out however. On Saturday night 15 Mosquitos went to Berlin, six to Duisburg and one each to Aachen and Sottevast. Meanwhile 15 Lancasters from 617 Sqn attacked needle bearing factory at La Ricamarie “but owing to weather conditions, it proved impossible to identify the target, and on the instructions of the leader, the force abandoned its task.” On Sunday night, nine Mosquitos went to Duisburg and one to Aachen. Other aircraft carried out Serrate anti-nightfighter patrols, weather reconnaissance and leaflet drops. Some Resistance support operations were also flown, with one loss. This was the only aircraft lost over the two nights. [2]

Next post in this series: 6 March

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] Smith, Phil. Letter to Father, 05MAR44. In Mollie Smith’s collection.

[2] Night Raid Reports No. 543 and No. 544

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