As terrible as it sounds, I felt a certain reluctance in leaving to go down to see mum for Christmas. Initially it felt that I was leaving the computer and therefore the forums and therefore the chance to find more things out – I am prepared to admit, this aircrew research is bloody addictive – and this feeling makes me admit to myself that I am probably holding on a bit too tight…… A compromise seems to be to take the iPad with the ORB’s on it and a pad of paper. This decision proves to be an astonishingly good one…..
With only the ORB’s to protect me from the annual rubbish on TV I realise I now have the time and space to truly read them and I quickly begin find more about the boys in Bob’s 2 crews. A cursory skim through an ORB gives you a relatively easy crew list and raid history. With time and concentration this expands to find promotions and secondary histories of those that either passed briefly through the crew, or in the case of Sgt. Derbyshire, arrived late and then had to stay on to complete his 30 with another crew.
An evening flipping through my notes and staring at Dad’s logbook on the ‘Pad provides me with an epiphany moment. Staring at a page covering his time at 1651 Conversion Unit, prior to deployment at Mepal, I suddenly realise I am seeing ‘B’ flight in front of me on the page – until now I have drawn a complete blank with one of the pictures that I got from Helen, the only ‘B’ flight Dad was in was in 1945 when he was back with 75(NZ)………apart from here, at 1651 – , if this is 1651, then the picture will contain his first tour crew.
I get home 2 days later, print a copy of the ‘B’ photo as large as I can, put it into a tube and send it to Jack………….and wait.