"'A good, tense reporting job...the author allows these veterans to tell the key elements of their stories mainly in their own words yet still brings out the excitement and terror of their recollections.' Journal of Aircrew Association 'A very good read going a long way to helping understand what those chaps went through to achieve victory.' Bomber Command Historical Society Journal"
From the Author
Mel Rolfe on the drama of Hell on Earth
A former Bomber Command veteran has written: I think this is the finest RAF book that I have read. I would be happy to hear from any bomber survivors who have stories to tell. The following extracts illustrate the drama in this book.
It is believed that when Dacey realised the aircraft was on fire he grabbed an extinguisher, hurried aft and tried, in vain, to put out the flames. Somehow he became trapped behind the spreading inferno and was unable to return to the cockpit for his parachute. Alone with his screams, he could do nothing except wait and die as his unsuspecting companions jumped into the cold night. It is likely that Dacey was already dead before the Halifax plunged into the ground and blew up, atomising his body.
Unable to release Jones (mid-upper gunner) they agreed the only way was to chop off his foot, clip him to a parachute and all bale out. Jordan seized the axe, which was part of their escape gear, detaching himself from his macabre task, knowing it must be done otherwise they would all die.
We were marched to a deserted and tatty industrial area, into a short cu-de-sac, where most of the property was badly damaged. A factory wall stood across the bottom and they put us against it. A line of a dozen (German) soldiers stood pavement to pavement, rifles against their shoulders. A corporal stood near them with his hand up. Stan said to me in a low, horrified voice: "Theyre going to shoot us.".
We could see the (Lancaster) wing flapping up and down. It could have broken off at any time and going through my mind was the thought that it probably would. But we pressed on. I took a realistic view. I knew the chances were against us getting back and this might be the time everything was going to end. But I didnt experience fear which interfered with what I had to do.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.