Full text of George's interview
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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!