467 Postblog LXXIV: Thursday 4 May, 1944

A stand-down at Waddington today on a wet and windy day. “All aircrew went to ‘ground’ to-day,’ says the 463 Squadron Operational Record Book. 467 Squadron only made three flights all day for a total duration of eight hours in the air.

One of these flights, however, saw the return to his logbook of Phil Smith’s old friend, EE143, the aeroplane that would not fly straight. While the timeline in Phil’s post-war Recollections typescript is a little unclear and not entirely in agreement with his logbook, it’s most likely that this was the flight on which it was confirmed that the fault which had kept the aircraft off the operational battle orders for a month and a half had finally been rectified. The Lancaster had been back with Avro for a week or so, where it was discovered that while the airframe itself was straight, it was actually the blind flying instrument panel which was askew. Apparently the rubber shock absorbers on which it was mounted had perished on one side, and the panel was sitting, in Phil’s words, slightly “cock-eyed”:[1]

            Thus, the machine was, in fact, flying level when the instruments indicated that it was down on one side.

Phil took the aeroplane for a 55-minute air test which apparently confirmed that all was finally well. The aircraft went back onto the Squadron’s effective strength and would be on the battle order for the next ‘maximum effort’ trip.

The rest of 5 Group also had the day off, but other elements of Bomber Command were out tonight. 28 Mosquitos went to Ludwigshafen and four went to Leverkusen (though only two of these hit the correct target: one returned early and the other, it seems, attacked Cologne). 20 Halifaxes went to lay mines off the French ports. And a solitary 8 Group Mosquito completed a weather recce flight. All aircraft came home safely.[2]


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] Smith, Phil, date unknown. Phil’s Recollections of 1939-1945 War, p.29

[2] Details of tonight’s operations from Night Raid Report No. 596

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