diary of bruce johnston diary of bruce johnston






12 Operational Training Unit Chipping-Warden, near Banbury, northwest of London

Put in the list for crews - A typical bomber crew, consisting of a pilot, navigator, bomb aimer, wireless operator, mid-upper gunner and rear gunner, formed up on its own in an Operational Training Unit with the final member, the flight engineer, joining them later when they started training at the Heavy Conversion Unit

CGI - Chief Ground Instructor

Henderson - Johnston's navigator

Marsden - Johnston's wireless operator

Epstein - Colleague who trained with Johnston at Chipping-Warden – likely a bomb aimer

AG - Air Gunner

Kirsch - Canadian pilot and friend, who trained with Johnston, and was later posted to 90 Squadron at Tuddenham

Prang - Crash a plane, usually on take-off or landing at an airfield

Mossie - Mosquito fighter-bomber. The RAF’s Mosquito, or “Mossie”, was a versatile twin engine plane, with a mainly plywood construction that made it both agile and faster than any fighter. It was durable, could fly to altitudes above 10,000 metres, and had exceptional combat range. These features made the two person plane invaluable not only as a bomber, but as a fighter, a Pathfinder, and for photo reconnaissance.

Beat up of the field - Low level high speed flyover of an airfield, frowned on by the Commanding Officers

BAT - Blind Approach Training – learning to fly in poor visibility

January 6, 1944 (Thursday)

Put in the list for crews to the CGI today. I put in Henderson Navigator and Marsden Wireless Operator. The rest I left open. I expect though, I’ll get Epstein – he’ll be okay I guess as I’m not very hard to get along with usually as long as he knows his business. The AG I put in the hands of fate – I don’t even know what they look like!

Kirsch has buzzed off to town tonight to treat his crew to a dinner so they can get to know each other (on my money incidentally). I had my haircut tonight in the mess.

There was a big prang today – a Mossie was doing a beat up of the field (ex BAT flight instructor) and he went in too low! Tore a hole in the roof of the BAT flt after bouncing off the field itself. The tail was torn off and rammed into a hangar and hung there. The rest of the plane bounced over the CGI block where I was and landed two hundred yards away in a field across the road. Nothing left at all. When it exploded on landing pieces flew all over the place and I got one. There was ammo exploding for three quarters of an hour and clouds of black smoke. An example of what not to do!


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