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Thread: Fleet Air Arm Officers In Bomber Command.

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    Default Fleet Air Arm Officers In Bomber Command.

    From 97 Squadron Orbs I note that S/Lt Lett and other F.A.A. officers flew operationally with the squadron. What would their function be? Was this the practise with other squadrons?

    2/3 January 1943 – Gardening – “Deodars” Area – 4 mines

    W4355T F/Sgt G.A.West, Sgt R.Kay, F/O R.B.G.Murphy, S/Lt W.H.Lett, Sgts J.G.Ball, J.Baker, J.Freedman.

    17/18 January 1943 Berlin – 1 x 4000lb 8 SBC

    W4835H W/C G.D.Jones, Sgt R.E.Manvell, F/O P.D.Hallam, S/Lt W.H.Lett, F/O P.B.Ballantyne, F/L D.S.Mimms, F/Sgt T.Goacher. Up 1720 Down 1841. Mission abandoned owing to rear turret deflector sight u/s and artificial horizon u/s.

    7/8 February 1943 Lorient

    ED430C Sgts K.Brown, M.Hogg, F.N.Alexander, S/Lt W.H.Lett, Sgts J.Curry, J.T.Sullivan, L.C.Boyton. 1 x 4000lb 12 SBC. Up 1805 Down 2359. Lorient successfully attacked. Bombed on red TI markers but identified aiming point visually by rivers and docks. Many fires seen burning in aiming point and in town. Very successful trip.

    14/15 February 1943 Milan

    W4887N F/L J.L.Munro, Sgt F.E.Appleby, P/O F.G.Rumbles, S/Lt Lett, Sgts E.Pigeon, W.Howarth, F/Sgt E.Speight. 1 x 4000lb 4 SBC. Up 1853 Down 0316. Milan successfully bombed. Identified town visually. Bombed on TI markers, many bursts seen. Fires in built up area.

    16/17 February 1943 Lorient – Bomb load 1 x 4000lb 12 SBC


    W4197A W/C G.D.Jones, Sgt J.A.Peel, F/O P.D.Hallam, S/Lt W.H.Lett, W.Burr, F/L D.S.Mims, P/O A.R.Poole. Up 1905 Down 0040. Primary Lorient target successfully attacked. Clear, bright moonlight. TI markers confirmed visually. Incendiaries seen scattered in town. Bursts seen after we had bombed. Opposition was negligible.
    25/26 February 1943 Nuremburg

    R5612R F/O J.L.Munro, Sgt F.E.Appleby, P/O F.G.Rumbles, S/Lt W.H.Lett, Sgts E.Pigeon, W.Howarth, E.Speight. 1 x 8000lb. Up 2005 Down 0331. Primary target attacked. Much ground haze. Bombed on cluster of green TI markers. No ground detail picked out. Long factory type of building seen to burst into flames followed by large explosion. Some aircraft failed to wait for PFF.

    28 February/1 March 1943 St Nazaire

    W4887N F/L J.L.Munro, Sgt F.E.Appleby, P/O F.G.Rumbles, S/Lt W.H.Lett, Sgts E.Pigeon, W.Howarth, F/Sgt E.Speight. 1 x 4000lb 12 SBC. Up 1843 Down 2338. St Nazaire successfully attacked. 14,000’, smoke haze. Bombed on red TI markers. Saw 4000 pounder but just west of it. Good concentration of fires seen and developing. Many explosions observed.

    11/12 March 1943 Stuttgart – Bomb load 1 x 4000lb 12 SBC unless stated

    R5607X F/L J.L.Munro, Sgt F.E.Appleby, P/O F.G.Rumbles, S/Lt Lett, Sgts E.Pigeon, W.Howarth, F/Sgt E.Speight. 1 x 8000lb. Up 2031 Down 0245. Stuttgart attacked. 13,000’. Considerable ground haze and smoke haze. No TI markers when in position to bomb. Bombed where markers were last seen. No ground detail seen. About 12 good fires counted.

    13/14 April 1943 Spezia – Bomb load 4 x 1000lb 5 SBC unless stated

    ED425E F/O R.A.Fletcher, Sgt J.H.Mason (2nd Pilot), F/Sgt M.I Robertson, S/Lt W.H.Lett, F/Sgt W.N.Layne, Sgt E.White, P/O D.W.Bale. 4 x 1000lb 7 SBC. Up 2039 Down 0658. Believed primary target attacked. Weather clear but ground obscured by smoke. Timed run from Palmeira Island, but even east coast line was obscured by smoke. Bombs dropped on fires and ETA from Palmeira. Bursts seen through smoke.

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    Hi David
    I don't know if it was policy to use FAA Aircrew on Bomber Command, but your list seems always to show a 7 man crew and not 8 so he wasn't just a supernumery. It may be significant that 5 of the ops were against ports ,the Gardening was off the Gironde Estuary covering Bordeaux,a useful employment for a sailor's experience.
    Regards
    Dick
    Last edited by Dick; 17th January 2008 at 22:09.

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    Hello David
    There is a Lieutenant (A) William Herbert LETT, Royal Navy on the CWGC who died 21/06/1947. His Unit is listed as H.M.S. Vulture which was a a Naval Air Station at St Merryn in Cornwall.
    This could be your man.
    Andy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Ingham View Post
    Hello David
    There is a Lieutenant (A) William Herbert LETT, Royal Navy on the CWGC who died 21/06/1947. His Unit is listed as H.M.S. Vulture which was a a Naval Air Station at St Merryn in Cornwall.
    This could be your man.
    Andy

    Yes that is the same man.

    My question pertains more to why F.A.A. officers flew these missions. You will note that Lett is always the 4th listed crew member. I'm not sure what crew position the 4th listed is but that could perhaps be a clue.

    As previously noted not all of these trips were naval related

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    Here's another F.A.A. officer S/Lt Watt. Again with 97 Squadron.





    27/28 January 1943 Gardening – “Nectarine” Area – 5 mines

    W4197A Sgts K.Brown, M.Hogg, F.N.Alexander, S/Lt D.S.Watt, Sgts J.Curry, J.T.Sullivan, L.C.Boyton. 1 x 4000lb 4 SBC. Up 1846 Down 0431. Primary objective successfully attacked. Good visibility. Bombed on TI markers. Built up area identified visually. Own bursts seen. Half the town seemed well alight.

    25/26 February 1943 Nuremburg

    R3552P S/L K.H.Burns, Sgt F.Dolby, F/Sgt J.E.McAvoy, S/Lt D.S.Watt, Sgts Williams, T.Skinner, G.Lambert. 1 x 4000lb 12 SBC. Up 1952 Down 0257. Primary target attacked. Considerable ground haze. Bombed between two green markers. No results observed but several bursts seen. PFF were late.

    8/9 March 1943 Nurnburg – Bomb laod 1 x 4000lb 12 SBC unless stated
    R5483D S/L K.H.Burns, Sgt F.Dolby, F/O Crockett (Nav 1), F/Sgt J.A.McAvoy (Nav 2), S/Lt D.S.Watt, Sgts Williams, Skinner, G.Lambert. Up 1932 Down 0255. Primary target Nurnburg attacked from 10,500’. Clear, broken cloud. Saw built up area by light of green flashes. Bombed on green TI markers. Own results not seen. One bomb seen to explode in railway yard. Many fires seen.

    10/11 March 1943 Gardening in “Privet” Area – 4 mines

    R5896Y S/L K.H.Burns, Sgt F.Dolby, F/Sgt J.A.McAvoy, Lt D.S.Watt, Sgts Williams, Skinner, G.Lambert. Up 1828 Down 0424. Mines laid in Priver area from 800’. No cloud, dark, visibility good. Mouth of Vistula identified. Mines not seen.

    13/14 April 1943 Spezia – Bomb load 4 x 1000lb 5 SBC unless stated

    ED588H Sgts K.Brown, V.Baker (2nd Pilot), H.Hogg (F/E), F.H.Alexander, Lt D.S.Watt, Sgts J.Curry, J.T.Sullivan, L.C.Boyton. 4 x 1000lb 7 SBC. Up 2043 Down 0708. Spezia target attacked. No cloud but much smoke – 8,000’. Aiming point in sights – bombed two large ships with HEs. One ship at least probably hit. Scattered fires observed in town area. Best fires were in docks west of target.

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    Hi Dave
    A guess as to function would be Bomb Aimer,using Chorley's books as a guide where he puts a Lanc crew order as pilot,F/E,Nav,Bomb Aimer etc and I believe uses ORBs as a source, the occaisional 8 man crew doesn't quite fit in your 2nd example but an extra pilot could be an "experience" flight before taking his own crew. The extra Nav for Nuremburg might be the same but there is very little reference to "experience" flights for crew other than pilots,i.e future Captains,it could simply be that it was because Nuremberg was a long defended trip and an extra pair of eyes was useful with Nav skill as well.
    Regards
    Dick

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