Thursday, June 15, 2017

RAF 626 Squadron - Posting 5

In celebration of the "Hamilton" Lancaster bomber taking to the skies for the first time this year, I thought it might be a good time to re-post pieces I've written about Royal Air Force 626 Squadron and my father's experiences therein.

From September 22nd, 2012:
An Operational Record Book (Partial)

The postings on this blog with some of the biggest hit counts are those regarding RAF Bomber Command No. 626 Squadron, with which my father flew during the war.  I thought it time to add a little more information regarding his operational record.

Here is a partial list -- culled from material provided to me by Dave Stapleton of The 626 Squadron Research Project -- of "ops" flown by Flying Officer A.R. Screen and crew:

Date - Target - Notes

12 March 1945 - Dortmund
13 March 1945 - Herne - The target was a Benzol Plant
23 March 1945 - Bremen Bridge
14 April 1945 - Potsdam
22 April 1945 - Bremen - Mission abandoned on Master Bomber’s orders.
25 April 1945 - Berchtesgaden - Hitler’s Eagles Nest in Bavaria (specifically, the SS Barracks)

With the Allied forces now advancing well into Germany, Bomber Command now turned its attention to humanitarian sorties and 626 Squadron was similarly tasked. (The Squadron’s Lancasters were converted to carry sacks of food in the bomb bays. Each aircraft carried 284 sacks; these were dropped from 500ft.) The crew flew two of these sorties:

30 April 1945 - Rotterdam - Operation Manna
2 May 1945 - Rotterdam - Operation Manna

Special thanks to:
Dave Stapleton
The 626 Squadron Research Project
Copyright 2010 ©

Post script:

A few weeks ago I was telling a friend how young these guys were who flew in RAF Bomber Command. My dad was nineteen; his crewmates would have been that age or a year or two older. I joked with my buddy that if this particular aircrew was known for doing something special during the war, and a movie were made about their experiences, the guy in the role of my dad would probably be an actor in his late twenties or early thirties. And Flying Officer Screen would no doubt be played by someone like Johnny Depp.

Film producers, who aren't known for being a bright lot to begin with, often miss on details like the above.


Tibor said...

I don't know why they'd cast someone older. Having younger men in the roles would have more gravitas. Interesting reading btw....

Simon St. Laurent said...

As much as I like "The Dam Busters" and "Battle of Britain", the actors playing the pilots and aircrew are, for the most part, too old. Those flyers were kids.

Steven Spielberg did that fabulous shot in "Saving Private Ryan": he had teenage actors walk by the camera; the shot held for a while, with no cuts. His point was to illustrate how young those guys were.

Thanks for the props!