467 Postblog LXXVII: Sunday 7 May, 1944

The bombers returned quite early this morning from the “Fourth of July” effort overnight on Sable-sur-Sarthe so a day of rest was declared and after breakfast they went to sleep. Only two non-operational flights were made all day, though the Operational Record Books do not contain any details of these.

Other units did go on operations tonight however. Mosquitos went to Châteudun and Leverkusen again and elsewherecarried out radio counter-measure sorties, intruder patrols and fighter sorties. Other aircraft laid mines off the Frisians and the Cironde estuary or completed special operations. Two Halifaxes engaged in the latter were lost.

The heavies were also in on the action. Numerous forces of up to 100 aircraft ranged over France, detailed to attack an airfield at Nantes (accurate bombing but one Lancaster lost), a coastal gun position at St Valery near Dieppe (no losses but the target was missed), an airfield and ammunition dump at Rennes (no losses but a village to the south of the target received most of the bombing), an ammunition dump at Salbris (heavy damage but seven bombers lost, mostly to fighters) and the airfield at Tours (one Lancaster and one Mosquito lost for heavy damage). This photo of the Tours operation – from one of three runs he made over the target before bombing – comes from ME739, a 630 Squadron machine piloted by Flying Officer Wade Rodgers:

Tours, 07MAY44. From the collection of Wade Rodgers, used courtesy Neale Wellman

Tours, 07MAY44. From the collection of Wade Rodgers, used courtesy Neale Wellman

Rodgers bombed considerably later than the rest of the force. As he wrote post-war:[1]

The last other aircraft to bomb had a photo showing three hangars standing side by side, but P.R.U. [Photographic Reconnaissance Unit] photos the next morning showed the hangars flattened and we got the credit.

The only Waddington aircraft to fly tonight went on the Tours trip. It was ED953, flown by Wing Commander Tait with two photographers, this time by the names of Pilot Officer Herbert and Warrant Officer McNaughton along again. But as a photographic expedition the sortie was “disappointing”. An electrical fault shortly after take-off caused the nose camera to fail and the results of the bombing, though accurate, were “not spectacular”. They landed at Waddington shortly after 05:30 on Monday morning.

 

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] Rodgers, Wade 1988, p.50

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