diary of bruce johnston diary of bruce johnston





Mission Notes: Vaires

( see map at bottom of screen )

Operation Summary:
123 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitos carried out an accurate night-time raid on the railway yards at Vaires without the loss of any aircraft.

Planes from 115 Squadron:
22 (7 from A flight, 8 from B flight, 7 from C flight)

Planes lost from 115 Squadron:
None, although one was damaged by flak

Johnston’s Plane: KO-W (W.PB 131)

Take-off: 10:51 pm

Landing: 3:21 am

Round trip time: 4 hrs 30 mins

Bombing Height: 12,000 ft


RAF Bomber Command, 115 Squadron at Witchford, near Ely

Vaires - Small town just east of Paris

Marshalling yards - Railway yards

Cleaned up the route - Revised the planned route to make it more direct

Foxed the Hun - Outwitted the German defences

Channel - English Channel, body of water that separates England and France

Jerry - The Germans

Fighter flares - Flares dropped by German fighters to make Allied bombers more visible

July 7, 1944 (Wednesday)

Operation # 8 - Paris (Vaires)

Ten 1,000 pound and two 500 pound bombs

It was a poor day as far as weather went all day until 6 p.m. when it cleared up and we went to Paris (Vaires marshalling yards east of the city).

They had cleaned up the route considerably from last night but it was still eight hundred miles and four and a half hours long.

The weather was absolutely perfect for us – cloud cover at the right heights over the whole route past the channel. The navigation was bang on and everyone got back. The tactics were a bit tricky and they certainly foxed the Hun!

We went out over Southern England at 7,000 until halfway across the channel then climbed to 17,000 then about ten minutes from Paris lost height about 1,000 feet a minute to 12,000 ft and bombed at that height – turned almost a reciprocal course across Paris then turned northwest again and lost more height to 10,000. Then about thirty miles from the coast lost more height and built up airspeed for the coastal defences then climbed to 10,000 over the channel again.

A very good trip – Jerry hadn’t a clue as to where we were until just before the coast on the way out and he dropped bags of fighter flares there but we dodged them OK.

Got my leave moved up to the 12th today. I don’t know where I’ll go yet – I’m all in the air about it.

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