Unfortunately, there is only one known photograph
of Ernie and his air-crew, with 3 air-crew members absent from
the collage above. The RAF serviceman
on the left is a ground crew member and his name is unknown.
The full air-crew
compliment is listed below, however the name of the air-crew member
on the right is not known.
Ernie is in the centre with Flight Engineer,
Sgt CT Baker to his right, and Flight Sergeant BP Bennett
to his left. It is
believed that the air-crew member on the extreme right, with the
is almost certainly the aircraft's navigator, Flying Officer F. Chappell.
It is worthy of note that all Ernie's combat
missions were carried out at night.
Sergeant CT Baker, RAF
Flying Officer F Chappell, RAF
Sergeant LK Topham, RAF
Sergeant RJ Farrell, RAF
Sergeant ALN Vickery, RAF
Flight Sergeant BP Bennett, RAAF
of the operational information contained in this biography has been
obtained from the Internet with the main
source being the “467 - 463 Squadrons” Website created by Peter
Johnson of Caboolture, Qld.
(http://www.467463raafsquadrons.com/). I am especially indebted to
Peter and congratulate him on his
magnificent achievement in archiving this priceless RAAF history.
Peter has travelled to England on more
than one occasion to gather information and, as just part of this
work, he has personally photographed every
one of the 1,866 pages of the RAF Operations Record Books relevant
to RAAF 467 and RAAF 463 Squadrons.
Acknowledgment is also given for the work undertaken by the late
H.M. [Nobby] Blundell in gathering and archiving information about
RAAF No.467 and No.463 Squadrons.
The transcribed ‘de-briefing’ notes in this biography may be
validated by reference to the accompanying
photographs from the official RAF ‘Operations Record Books’. Cross
referencing has enabled validation of
other material and the source of such material accompanies each
The following two extracts refer to the fateful raid on Leipzig on
the night of the 19th
February 1944. These items are
contributions to the BBC’s online archive
and were made in recent years by former aircrew
of Bomber Command Lancasters although it is believed that
neither were members of 467 or 463 RAAF
The first item was contributed by Sgt Alan Morgan (Flight Engineer,
Lancaster JB 421):
“.... .... .... .... If the previous raid had been relatively quiet
for the squadron then the Leipzig trip proved to be
quite the opposite. Again Bomber Command put up over 800
aircraft, but this time, as they crossed the
Dutch coast, the German night-fighters were waiting, and a
running battle ensued all the way to the target.
Erroneous wind forecasts had many aircraft reaching the
target area too early: W/C Adams (J8466) had to
orbit three times and Lt. Stevens (ND 474) twice. S/L Miller
(JB 314) returned early in Q-Queenie with
generator problems but on landing gave the following report: “Sky
above the North Sea was filled with a/c
flying in all directions -- some wiser ones with navigation lights
on, most without -- three a/c seen to explode
in air, probably due to collision.”
was obvious to this observer that “see and be seen” was the
The second item was contributed by Brian Soper:
“On 19/02/44 we were routed to Leipzig. On this raid we took an
additional pilot, a ‘2nd Dicky’ trip, a first
raid for a new pilot. This was supposed to be unlucky — but
we made it. I believe this was also a diversion
raid: we were meant to distract the night fighters to Leipzig
while the main force went to Berlin. There was
10/10s full cloud which was very thin, but both ground and
sky markers were visible. The duration of this
trip was about 7 ¾ hours. The following night it was
Stuttgart, quite a standard raid with ground markers.”
Airframe Ice Accretion presented a serious problem to Bomber Command
as it was a common operational requirement
to fly in low and mid-level cloud, an environment where ice
accretion can occur. The cruising
altitudes of modern aircraft are generally above these levels and
consequently the potential is far less
prevalent to-day. Also, aircraft are now better equipped should the
problem be encountered at lower levels.
Ice Accretion can affect aircraft in two ways - (i) Air Frame &
Propeller Icing and (ii) Carburettor Icing.
Piston engines have either a fuel induction system based on
the carburettor or use a form of direct fuel
injection. Aircraft piston engines fitted with carburettors
are prone to ice accretion in the venturi (air intake)
and if this does occur it causes a substantial reduction in
power with the risk of complete engine failure if the
problem is not properly addressed. The Rolls Royce Merlin
engines fitted to Lancasters had carburetted fuel
induction systems up till 1943 when fuel injection systems
were introduced. Prior to this change, carburettor
icing presented a real hazard despite measures to address the
problem being available (‘carby heat’).
Air-frame icing occurs when sub-zero temperature water droplets
freeze on impact with airframe and
propeller components - (‘super-cooled’ droplets at altitude remain
in liquid form at temps below zero and
solidify on impact). Ice can build rapidly and has the potential to
distort the aerodynamic design and
efficiency to such an extent that the safety of the aircraft can be
seriously jeopardised. Many bombers had to
jettison their bomb load if encountering severe icing conditions
because of an inability to maintain height.
Glycol mixtures were used to combat ice accretion on the
windscreen and bomb aimer’s dome. Airframe
icing occurs only when flying in cloud but Carburettor ice may form
at any time.
WW2 People's War is an online archive of wartime memories
contributed by members of the public and gathered by
the BBC. The archive can be found at bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar.
here to return to place in text.