This is Mr. Doug Moore's story, a wireless operator who served in
Bomber Command during WW2. Doug still has his flight log book
which provides us with a wealth of information on his wartime
exploits in the air. He served in 76 Squadron and 192 Squadron.
Doug aged 83, July 2007 Doug in April 1942 at Blackpool
He was born Douglas Holmes Moore during 1923 at Horncastle in Lincolnshire. At the outbreak of war in September 1939, 16 year old Doug had become an agricultural worker, still living at his birthplace. Agricultural jobs at the start of the war were a reserved occupation which made it difficult for Doug to leave agriculture and join the armed forces. He was already in the local ATC and so decided to apply to the RAF who were recruiting for desperately needed aircrew.
He reported to RAF Cardington in Bedfordshire to take his entry tests, mathematics, general knowledge and aircraft recognition etc. Cardington is probably more famous as the place where the 'R' series of airships were built and flown during the 1920's, especially the R101.
He was successful, and so in 1942 he started on the path to become a wireless operator in RAF Bomber Command.
Doug was ordered to report to RAF Padgate near to Warrington in Cheshire on the 21st April 1942. He collected his kit, documents and received his service number, 1620298.
His first impressions of Padgate were, 'like a prison camp', but thankfully he was only there for one week.
Late April 1942, and to Blackpool to start Morse and wireless training at the signals school. The school turned out to be located on the top floor of the Woolworths sea front store.
In addition to 'square-bashing' in front of the Cenotaph and outside the Metropole Hotel, the trainee airmen had to march to Cleveleys to practice riffle firing.
RAF Yatesbury in Wiltshire was the radio and radar school where Doug underwent further signals training. He was there between July and November 1942.
RAF Church Lawford in Warwickshire, No8 Pilot Advance Flying Unit. His training here included point to point wireless. It was here that he first met Pilot Instructor Crotch.
Crotch was in his mid thirties and an extremely experienced pilot. He would eventually become Doug's 'skipper'.
On 30th April 1943 Doug was posted to RAF Madley, Hereford, No4 Radio School where he started his airborne wireless training in Percival Proctors.
Thankfully no 'square-bashing' while he was here.
June 30th 1943 and on to RAF Evanton, Scotland, for air gunnery training using Blackburn Botha aircraft. It was here that Doug received his 'stripes'.
September 21st 1943, posted to RAF Staverton, Nr Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, for daytime airborne wireless training using De-Havilland Dominie aircraft.
November 30th 1943, RAF Moreton Valence in Gloucestershire which was originally opened as RAF Haresfield. It was designated a landing ground up until 1941 when it was rebuilt, upgraded and renamed RAF Moreton Valence. It was here that Doug underwent night flying training in Avro Ansons. He still remembers the manual undercarriage gear in the Anson as it took exactly 180 turns of the crank to raise or lower it!
The trainee airmen would catch their first sight of a jet aircraft. They were told that if they saw or heard anything unusual, they were to ignore it and not to discuss it with anyone. This was of course, a sure way to get their attention. They were soon to get their first sight and sound of an experimental Gloucester Meteor.
January 24th 1944 to February 12th 1944 at RAF Harwell. The name Harwell is probably better associated with it's more recent use, the Atomic Energy Authority. During WW2 it was home to several squadrons in training such as 105, 107 and 226 squadrons. Doug was here with 15 OTU, training on Wellington Bombers.
It was here that he met the aircrew members (crewed-up) that he would spend the rest of the war with, and he was reacquainted with Crotch, now Flying Officer Crotch.
Pilot Flying Officer Crotch - a solicitor in civilian life
Navigator Fl/Lt Dimminger
Bomb Aimer Vic Worsley - from Bolton
Flight Engineer Anthony Martin - a Cockney lad
Mid-upper Gunner Jack Lysaght - a Cornishman
Rear-Gunner Tony Leonards - another Cockney lad
Wireless Operator Fl/Sgt Doug Moore
The crew spent their short time here on cross country training, circuits and bumps, bombing and stick bombing. Doug's log book gives us a rare insight into the fast pace of training.
March 5th 1944 to April 28th 1944 at RAF Rufforth. Newly constructed and opened on the 10th June 1942, RAF Rufforth was about 4 miles to the west of York. A new unit was formed there in March 1943, No 1663 Heavy Conversion Unit, to train aircrew on the Handley Page Halifax Bomber. Doug and the crew trained here on Halifax V's.
They undertook their first operation whilst here. On the night of April 27th they were sent on a night operation, a diversionary raid to drop 'window'. The aircraft used on this raid was a Halifax V, DG 297 of 'C' flight. Window or 'chaff' as the Americans called it, was a method of 'jammimg' German radar by dropping thin aluminum strips cut to the wavelength of the radar transmissions. This gave false 'returns' and confused the German radar operators.
Log book entries show a range of training activities, 3 engine landings, 1 engine flying, beam approaches, steep diving turns, 20,000 feet climbing and air to sea firing.
The crew was now fully trained and ready to transfer to their first operational posting.
Handley Page Halifax RAF Yatesbury Radio School crest