467 Postblog LIII: Thursday 6 – Saturday 8 April, 1944

Aircraft trickled in to Waddington from late morning on Thursday, making the quick hop over from their diversions to Silverstone after the previous night’s highly successful raid. For the next couple of days there would be no operations flown from Waddington, and the opportunity was taken to do some practice flying. It was not always successful however, and once again on Saturday 8 April Flight Lieutenant Jim Marshall and his crew were among some crews who needed to return from a sortie to the bombing range at Wainfleet without dropping anything because of poor weather.[1]

Bomber Command operations continued as usual, though the Main Force was not used. Mosquitos were very active on Thursday night, attacking Hamburg, Duren, Rheinhausen, Hagen, Wuppertal, Aachen, Essen and Cologne. On the same night three other aircraft made special operations sorties over the Continent. Aircraft laid mines off Texel and the Dutch coast and made fighter patrols and special sorties on Friday night, and on Saturday Mosquitos went back to Essen and also attacked Duisburg and Osnabruck. Other aircraft laid mines in a similar area to Thursday’s operations or carried out special operations. The only casualty during this period was one Mosquito which failed to return from Hamburg on Thursday night.[2]

Meanwhile, Phil Smith was still enjoying his leave in London. He had spent four days with Tate & Lyle and, when he wrote his letter (leaning on his knee) on the evening of Good Friday, he was sitting in Hyde Park waiting for a concert at Albert Hall. Earlier in the week, he had managed to catch a couple of shows in the capital. ‘Lisbon Story’ he did not like much, but he thought ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ quite amusing. “I shall let you know how I liked the Messiah” – tonight’s concert – “in my next letter”, he promised his mother.[3] After dinner with a representative from the sugar refinery, the next day Phil went to visit his uncle Jack and family in Denham, just outside London to the west, where he would stay for the weekend before catching a train back to Waddington. It was a quiet visit but “that suited me as I wanted to take things easily,” he wrote.[4]


Next post in this series: 9 April

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


[1] Easton, Arnold, Flying Logbook, and 467 Squadron Operational Record Book, 08APR44

[2] Operational details from Night Raid Reports Nos. 572-4

[3] Smith, Phil. Letter to Mother, 07APR44

[4] Smith, Phil. Letter to Father, 12APR44