The Lancaster Bomber.
The Lanc proved to be a far superior aircraft than the Stirling with a bombing height of approx. 20,000 ft. against the Stirling at 10,000 ft. Also the bomb load was very much more and the handling much better when you were in trouble. Depending on weather etc. you were in difficulties if you lost an engine on a Stirling but the Lancaster could still make it back even on only 2 engines.
17th September 1944 to 12th April 1945 – Back on second tour.
After 3 weeks with my old Skipper and the __ _ I new crew converting to Lancasters we were posted back to 75 N.Z. Squadron who had moved from Newmarket to Mepal near Ely. My Skipper had tried to get other members of the old crew back but our Navigator was already back at Mepal as Station Navigation Officer so could not be part of a crew although he did go on Ops when a crew were short of a Navigator. Our original WOP/AG had already gone back on Ops with a Path Finder Squadron and I heard that he had completed a second tour with them. The story was that he returned from end of tour leave and a crew was short of a WOP/AG and he volunteered and that he failed to return on that raid. My skipper also discovered that our Mid-Upper Gunner should not have flown with us on our first tour as he was unfit. He had suffered a bad crash in the sea while on training and was told that he was no longer fit for operational duties, however this was overlooked and he had a very good first tour with us on Stirlings. I an not sure why he could not get our Rear gunner and Flight Engineer back or if in fact he tried but I am sure we would all have liked to have been together for the second time.
It was good to be back on an Operational Squadron again and as it was after D Day the majority of our raids were in daylight often with Fighter Cover. The losses were not so high and we felt that we had a good chance to complete the second tour – not so confident when we were on Stirlings. As my Skipper was a Flight Commander we did not fly so often as other crews and so once again it took 6 months to complete our tour.
However as I had passed my Bombing leaders Course I stood in as Squadron Bombing Leader when required and this was very interesting. Checking the Bomb Load positions and briefing the Bomb Aimers for Ops I was not going on helped to fill in the time. A second tour on Bomber Command at that time was between 20 and 25 Ops and after 22, making a total of 50 we were told that we had finished and so on the 9th April 1945 my services as a Bomb Aimer were no longer required. By this time there was a surplus of Air Crew and so with many others I became redundant as Air Crew but still in the R.A.F…………….