diary of bruce johnston diary of bruce johnston






RAF Bomber Command, 115 Squadron at Witchford, near Ely

Waterbeach - Home base of 514 Squadron

“W” for Willie - Lancaster bomber, with “W” as the final code letter – the replacement for the one shot down over Stettin Aug 29

Mk 1 - Lancaster Mark 1 bomber

Paddle props - Type of large propellers that gave better performance at high altitudes

CO - Commanding Officer

Parade - Inspection

Lemoine - Flight Officer of “A” flight in 115 Squadron at Witchford

“A” flight - One of three smaller groups of planes that comprised the squadron – 115 had “A”, “B” and “C” flights, of which Johnston was in “B”

PD293 - Serial number of this specific plane

Cross country - Flight across the countryside

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

Ted - Hughes, Johnston’s flight engineer

Bob - Livingstone, Johnston’s bomb aimer

Dave - Taylor, Johnston’s rear gunner

Tea - Light meal in late afternoon or evening

Turret - Transparent bubble in a bomber in which the gunner was located

Timms - Pilot and friend who trained with Johnston, and was later posted to 514 Squadron at Waterbeach

MacDonald - Pilot friend based at 514 Squadron at Waterbeach
September 9, 1944 (Saturday)

Went over to Waterbeach to pick up a new “W” for Willie today – all the refinements it has! It’s a Mk I with paddle props. We had set course at 10,000 feet ten minutes after takeoff – which is pretty fair.

Had CO’s parade this a.m. – nearly froze to death.

Went over with flight officer Lemoine of A Flight and picked up PD293. Had lunch first then went on a cross country to break it in. Went over to Wales. Took Dean with us. Had everyone flying – Ted, Bob, Dave and Dean.

Had tea while they fixed a leak from mid-upper turret then flew it back. Got back about 6:30.

Saw Timms and his crew over there; also MacDonald and his bunch.

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