Bolton Remembers the War Logo
George Davies - Royal Air Force
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George Davies
George Davies



George Davies

6th June 2005

George was born in 1923 in London. He was training to be a deck officer in the Merchant Navy when war broke out and then in September 1940 his family lost their home in the London blitz. George joined the RAF, trained as a Navigator and then did flying training in South Africa. In November 1943 he was posted to 630 Bomber Squadron in East Kirkby, Lincolnshire, carrying out 32 Operations, the target for many of these attacks being Berlin. Afterwards he applied for a second tour of operations but was told to carry on doing what was needed, which was mainly training others.

After his demob he rejoined the service, finally retiring in 1981, having completed 40 years service and 16000 flying hours. His connection with Bolton began in 1971 when he came to work as an RAF Careers Officer for three years. He settled in Bolton and has made his home here ever since and is well respected for his work with the Air Training Corps in Bolton and his involvement with Veterans Associations and events.

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A tour of operations...

All targets had code names and every time we used to go into the Briefing Room and see ‘Operation Whitebait’ we knew the target was Berlin.

Other towns were attacked such as Leipzig, Dortmund, Frankfurt am Main, Stettin - these are various places we did visit overnight - but our main thrust through the winter of 1943-44 was the destruction of Berlin. Of the 32 operations I carried out, 12 were attacks on Berlin during that winter.

As the nights wore on we found that we were at greater risk of attack from the German night fighters, rather than from flak and barrage balloons. I remember on one occasion, after we had attacked Berlin, we were picked up by an Me 210 night fighter. He kept attacking us for nearly two hours or so until we exhausted our ammunition and could offer no more resistance. We then had the bright idea of firing off our red Verey cartridges from the gun through the astrodome which must have frightened the guy off, because after this he disappeared away into the dark and we finally returned, unscathed, to our base.

One of the most terrible operations we did, I think we lost 94 bombers over Nuremberg in one night. When you think that every one of those aircraft had young men of 17, 18, 19 and there were seven in a crew - multiply that and you can see the loss of the youth of this country in one night... At the end of the War, when they did size up the casualty rate, in Bomber Command alone we had 87,000 casualties of which 55,000 where killed.

You would see a crew arrive in the morning - they hadn’t even unpacked their bags as they were on ops that night - and you would come back in the morning and the bags were still there. They hadn’t come back to collect them...

My War was relatively hectic during operations but I can only say, compared to the soldier or the sailor, it was a clean War because we had clean sheets on the bed and we had a bed, we had eggs and bacon every morning, we had eggs and bacon on returning from a trip and a never ending supply of baked beans was always on the plate. I’ve always said that every RAF station was built on a bean mine!