diary of bruce johnston diary of bruce johnston





Mission Notes: Nucort

( see map at bottom of screen )

Operation Summary:
213 Lancasters attacked a flying bomb storage site but the target was covered by cloud and bombing was scattered.

Planes from 115 Squadron:
26 (9 from A flight, 10 from B flight, 7 from C flight)

Planes lost from 115 Squadron:

Johnston’s Plane: KO-W (W.PB 131)

Take-off: 4:20 am

Landing: 7:52 am

Round trip time: 3 hrs 32 mins

Bombing Height: 16,000 ft


RAF Bomber Command, 115 Squadron at Witchford, near Ely

Nucort - French town 50 kms southwest of Paris

Murray - Henderson, Johnston’s navigator

Hallyard - Australian navigator on Wadham’s crew in 115 Squadron at Witchford

DR compass - Distant Reading compass

Lost the stream - Could not keep up with the rest of the bomber stream

GEE - Radio navigation system that allowed planes to determine their location by timing synchronized pulses sent from three transmitters in the United Kingdom. It did not extend over the horizon, and the Germans could jam it, but it was very effective over England and the North Sea

H2S - Radar navigation and bomb aiming aid – a downward pointing radar scanner in the rear belly of the aircraft that showed the ground below – it could not be jammed by the Germans, but they could home in on it, so it was only used for very short periods

P4 - Magnetic hand held compass, used in this case because the DR compass wasn’t working properly

Spittie / Spits - Spitfire, RAF fighter aircraft


Flak - German anti-aircraft fire

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

July 10, 1944 (Monday)

Operation # 9 - Nucort

Eleven 1,000 pound and four 500 pound bombs

Called at 12:30 for briefing and took off at 4 a.m. Murray sick so took Hallyard with me – what a trip.

Were in a bit of trouble trying to fly above cloud – cleared it about 9,000 ft. DR compass all to the devil and we lost the stream climbing on course. Never did catch them until about five miles short of the target. Pounded the engines badly catching up! Went over at 16,000 ft.

Went to Nucourt about 30 miles southwest of Paris with an escort (of which we were very glad before we were finished).

We couldn’t get the GEE on the first run so we orbited and bombed on one GEE coordinate and an H2S fix - what a mess.

When we set out for home (on the P4) the rest were specks on the horizon and we were “all alone and lonely” until our Spittie escort came along to see we got back OK. We had four Spits each side all the way to England – good men!

We had some really hot predicted flak about thirty miles inland to dodge – Holy Smoke it was close! Wild evasive action, too. Got back fourth from last after cutting a few corners.

Got a letter from Dean. Slept until about 3 p.m. Dean brought radio back, works better now. Wrote to Mom. Got a parcel from her this afternoon.

Lancaster Cockpit

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