G'day everyone.

I'm a little confused with terminology over organisation of control used over Lille on 10 May 1944. Trying to work out what the structure was and who was detailed for each role. Following is what I have found:

From Bending's Achieve Your Aim. The History of 97 (Straits Settlements) Squadron in the Second World War, (Woodfield Publishing, 2005) p121, the Controller is given as S/L HB Locke (in ND961), and the Deputy Controller was F/L JB Smith (in JB708).

S/L DP Smith (in LM475) wrote after the war that "For my last disastrous raid on the marshalling yards to the east of Lille, I was appointed deputy controller. This meant that I was to hang about the target, ready to take over if the controller got into trouble". LM475 was shot down and S/L Smith was the only survivor. I know LM475 had a VHF radio fitted - it had been put in prior to the Sable-sur-Sarthe raid four nights earlier - and Smith had definitely acted as Controller on that raid.

The 627 Sqn ORB has this, from S/L NW MacKenzie (in Mosquito DZ518): "Identified target visually and assessed Red Spot dropped by F/L Steers: Ordered bombing to be started on Red Spot." The "ordered bombing to start" to me suggests some sort of control role for him as well.

In the 97 Sqn ORB Locke reports "too many leaders talking throughout the attack" and elsewhere he definitely reported communicating with a "Director". There is a report in the 463 Sqn ORB from W/C R Kingsford-Smith (in LL795) that "There seem to be a lot of nattering on the V.H.F. I heard three different call signs acting as director".

And finally, W/C Heward of 50 Sqn (ND989), perhaps responding to the issues that Kingsford-Smith and Locke reported, said "Recommend that the Director be a permanent member of 83 or 97 Sqdn. Deputies should be detailed from bases until they have aken part in several of these attacks and are considered competent."

So we have evidence of a Controller, possibly two Deputy Controllers, many Leaders and a Director or two. My question: have some of these terms been used interchangeably, was there a defined role for each, or did S/L Smith perhaps confuse the raid on which he had been Deputy Controller? Importance is that LM475 crashed sometime after 23.45 - there was a delay over the target after the first markers were extinguished by bombing and it's perhaps possible that they were hanging around doing deputy controller-like duties when they were shot down or collided or whatever happened that made them crash. Does anyone have any ideas?

Adam