Another update from Vic regarding his blog about his Father.
This latest post concerns recollections of one of the crew’s post war flights on what has come to be known as a ‘Baedeker’ Op.
If anybody has a definitive explanation for why these trips out over the bombed cities of Germany were given this name I’d be interested to hear from you, though I suspect there a certain tinge of irony in their naming. After the bombing of Lubeck in March 1942, the German leadership, outraged by the attack decided to mount a series of Vergeltungsangriffe, or “retaliatory attacks” on British cities.
As always, many thanks for wikipedia –
The Baedeker raids were conducted by the German Luftwaffe’s Luftflotte 3 in two periods between April and June 1942. They targeted militarily unimportant but picturesque cities in England. The cities were reputedly selected from the German Baedeker Tourist Guide to Britain, meeting the criterion of having been awarded three stars (for their historical significance), hence the English name for the raids. Baron Gustav Braun von Stumm, a German propagandist is reportedto have said on 24 April 1942 following the first attack, “We shall go out and bomb every building in Britain marked with three stars in the Baedeker Guide.”
The cities attacked were:
Exeter (23rd and 24th April, 3rd May)
Bath (25th and 26th April)
Norwich (27th and 29th April)
York (29th April)
Second period, following the bombing of Cologne:
Canterbury (31st May, 2nd June and 6th June)
So as I mentioned, I am not sure whether the use of ‘Baedeker’ was an official or unofficial description for these Ops – certainly looking at the logbooks from the Squadron during this period, Baedeker is mixed with ‘Viewing the Effects of Bombing’, so it might even have been a personal description of individual airman – thinking back I am pretty sure that Baedeker is not used in the Form 540 or 541 of the Squadron’s Operational Record Books. Perhaps this is all slightly further complicated by the fact that Jim Haworth notes in his letters home that initially these Ops were called ‘Cook’s Tours’ and that after the first one the crew flew on ‘Yesterday, Tuesday, we were lucky enough to get our turn on one of the Cook’s Tours or Baedeker trips as they are now called’………..
Read Vic’s new post on the Baedeker Op of 4th June 1945 here.