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Thread: What is an "Eric" ?

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    Default What is an "Eric" ?

    F/O David Bell, RCAF attended No.22 OTU, 30 May 1944 to 12 August 1944. Whilst there he flew Wellington III aircraft. He took part in five day cross-country and four night cross-country exercises, plus one "Eric" operation, one Bullseye, four fighter affiliation , one night interception exercise, and two Flashlight exercises. What was an "Eric" operation ? Air/Sea Rescue ? Leaflet dropping in France or the Low Countries ? Or something else ? I have read many OTU course summaries but cannot recall encountering "Eric" before.

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    Hi Hugh,
    This from "Bombs on Target" by Ron Mayhill;

    We flew "Bulleyes" using infra-red film that recorded a white spot where the bombs would have fallen and "Erics" where we were guinea pigs testing London and Plymouth dockyard defences, the search-lights very real, the ack-ack batteries, we hoped, very friendly."

    So an Eric is a kind of combined exercise testing a crew-in-training's navigational and flying ability and the ground defences' interception abilities.

    Wayne.

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    What a peculiar exercise ! I can understand the use of searchlights (very much like a Bullseye), but I would hope that the gunners on the ground would merely rehearse their drills without opening fire, at the very least for the sake of civilians anxious to secure a good night's sleep !

    In an earlier thread I have recounted the story of a RCAF Halifax crew who, in the course of a Bullseye exercise, became lost and strayed into the London defences just as the Luftwaffe was raiding the capital for the last time. The pilot was killed; all others baled out successfully.

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    I could be completely wrong, but from some obscure corner of my very human and fallible brain comes some distant recollection that during WW2, it became the custom in some portions of the British armed services to refer to all Germans as "Erics" (or is this something I picked up from a Monty Python sketch?) Seriously though, if my hazy recollection has any basis in fact, it would provide the perfect answer as to the origin of this code name.
    David D

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    Both "A Thousand Shall Fall" and "Action Stations" state that "Eric" was the daytime equivalent of the nighttime "Bullseye". Hugh, maybe that can be confirmed by the times shown of the the exercises.

    A
    RAF Armoured Car Companies 1920-45 http://www.rafacciraq.com/

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