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Mission Notes: Watten

( see map at bottom of screen )

Operation Summary:
542 bombers, including 321 Lancasters, took part in this night mission to attack 2 flying bomb launching and 2 storage sites. The Lancasters from 115 Squadron went to the storage site at Watten.

Planes from 115 Squadron:
24 (7 from A flight, 8 from B flight, 9 from C flight)

Planes lost from 115 Squadron:

Johnston’s Plane: KO-W (W.PB 131)

Take-off: 11:11 pm

Landing: 1:22 am

Round trip time: 2 hrs 11 mins

Bombing Height: 7,800 ft


RAF Bomber Command, 115 Squadron at Witchford, near Ely

Watten - French town 30 kms inland from the English Channel near Calais

Scrubbed - Planned flights were cancelled

Flights - Operational offices and control centre for the squadron

Investiture - Awarding of medals to those who had recently won them. None of the 19 recipients at this ceremony are people that have been mentioned in this diary

Elizabeth - Princess (now Queen) Elizabeth

Watch office - Control hub for all flying operations at an aerodrome

Bags of pictures taken - See photo below

Operational meal - Substantial, better than usual, meal that aircrews received before going on an operation

Dean - Johnston’s brother, stationed near Cambridge, north of London

Op - Operational mission

Calais - French port on the English Channel immediately across from Dover, England

Trip of 2:10 - Round trip flying time for this bombing mission was two hours and ten minutes

Flying bomb - Usual nickname for a German V1 jet powered flying bomb, but in this case, may refer to the larger and more advanced V2 bomb

Flak - German anti-aircraft fire

Dunkirk - French port on the English Channel 30 kms northeast of Calais

July 5, 1944 (Wednesday)

Operation # 7 - Watten

Eleven 1,000 pound, four 500 pound bombs

Got up at 12 a.m. Everything done and out to the aircraft when they scrubbed take off indefinitely. Went to bed about four a.m. and they got us up again at 8:30 (seven hours’ sleep altogether). I felt like the Wrath of God. Got up to the flights and they postponed it again at the last minute until after lunch.

The King and Queen arrived for the investiture (with Elizabeth) at 11 a.m. and we hung around until they finished. They came out and had a talk with us outside the watch office for a few minutes – bags of pictures taken, whether I’m in them of not, I don’t know. Elizabeth looked very bored with the whole proceedings.

Well after the big affair was over we went up and had another operational meal – since the affair started we’ve had more operational meals than enough – then back again – then they scrubbed it again until night.

Dean came over in the morning but I didn’t see him until after lunch. Talked with him all afternoon and then went on the op (finally) at night.

We went to Watten, just past Calais – a very short trip of 2:10 – one of the launching platforms for the bigger types of flying bomb. A good trip – very bright moonlight, you could see the flak puffs hanging in the air – lots of flak from Calais on the way in and Dunkirk on the way out but neither too close, so that was OK.

The Queen, King George and Princess Elizabeth (standing at centre)

Bruce Johnston (circled)

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