During the immediate period before World War Two, the RAF modified its command structure to rationalise for rapid expansion. Bomber Command was divided into six operational groups, each flying the same type of aircraft. In 1939 5 Group was flying the Handley Page Hampden, a fast, modern aircraft that carried a large payload. However, during the early daylight raids into enemy occupied Europe it suffered great losses due to its defensive armament leaving too many blind spots. The Group now turned to night bombing and mine-laying operations. During November 1940, the first Avro Manchesters entered service but were to prove dangerously unreliable. It was not until the Avro Lancaster began arriving in strength that the Group began its proud history of successful and often highly dangerous raids into the Reich, the most famous of which was No 617 Squadron's attack on the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe dams. Between 1939 and 1945 the Group flew 70,351 sorties with the loss of 1,888 aircraft. This book contains a lengthy narrative of the group's operations and contains individual squadron statistics, their commanding officers, stations and aircraft losses. It provides a detailed reference for one of the RAF's most important and successful operational groups.
I am Chris Ward, one of two authors featured on Amazon to share that regal name. I am 65, (with the body of a 30 year old which I steadfastly refuse to give back),and I am not to be confused with the more youthful and handsome sharer of my name, who, I understand lives in Cornwall and is a short story writer. I work for Penguin Books, which has now joined forces with Random House as part of the Bertelmanns Group, and I'm based at its UK distribution centre near Rugby, where I spend my time manhandling cases of books and processing them. When not sweating for my salary I instruct my colleagues on the operation of all of the powered manual handling equipment essential to the processes of storage and distribution, fork lift trucks, cranes etc. At home I play and teach guitar, write books, suffer as a lifelong Aston Villa fan (57 years so far)and generally chill out.
Those of you who know my work will be enthusiasts of RAF Bomber Command in WWII, particularly the Dambusters. However, I have just published my first novel, entitled Time Link, which is available via Amazon Kindle, and also touches in part upon Bomber Command and 617 Squadron. My book on 1 Group is due for publication by Pen & Sword in 2014. Also due for a relaunch through Pen & Sword is my RAF Bomber Command Squadron Profile series, which will be published in hard back in updated form. I will also be making a DVD on the Dortmund-Ems Canal operation by 617 Squadron in September 1943. (For those who have seen the Dambusters DVD bearing my name put out by Pen & Sword in 2013, I assure you I had nothing to do with its production, and apologise for the appalling narration which mispronounced every German word.)
Thanks for taking the trouble to read this, and, more importantly, for buying my books.
Bye for now,
Chris Ward. (The older and less handsome one).