diary of bruce johnston diary of bruce johnston

 

 

 


Terms and Slang

Abbeville
French city 125 kms north of Paris near the English Channel

A/C
Aircraft

Ack ack
German anti-aircraft fire

Accs
Accumulators, the airplane’s internal 28 volt batteries

ACP
Aerodrome Control Position – man who sat at the end of the runway and kept vigil on planes taking off, to ensure there were no problems

Adjutant
Officer who assists a Commanding Officer with administration

“A” flight
One of two or three smaller groups of planes that comprised the squadron – “A” flight at 115 Squadron had about 15 crews

AFU
Advanced Flying Unit – a training unit one attends before moving on to an Operational Training Unit

AG
Air gunner

Airgraph
Letter written on a special form that was then photographed, sent overseas, developed, printed and placed in an envelope for delivery

Air test
Test flew a new or newly repaired aircraft, to ensure that it could participate in training or operations

Alert and all clear
Loud sirens to warn of air raids, and that the danger has passed - also referred to as “alert and cuckoo”

Allahabad
City in north central India near Nepal

All up weight
Total weight of the aircraft, including fuel, bombs and crew

AMBT
A ground-based bombing trainer, to practice simulated bombing runs

Anson
The Avro Anson was a twin-engine plane that could accommodate 3–4 people, that was used by the Allies during the war as a crew trainer

Appliances
Items to be sewn on a uniform, such as patches, ribbons, or braids

Arthur’s Seat
250 metre tall extinct volcano in Edinburgh, Scotland

Photo at right:
Arthur's Seat


Artillery Spotting Auster
High winged, single engine unarmed plane used by the RAF for artillery spotting, and observing the enemy

Photo at right:
Artillery Spotting Auster

Assault Course
Obstacle course simulating battlefield conditions

Assignment (home)
Amount automatically deducted from one's pay, and sent home (in this case, to Canada)

Astro
Astro navigation

Astrocompass
Compass used to determine the true heading of the airplane

Astrodome
Transparent dome in which a navigator could use a sextant to obtain sightings

ATS
Auxiliary Territorial Service – a force of about 20,000 women who performed operational support tasks, such as driving, postal work, food preparation, ammunition inspection, and working searchlights

Aulnoye
Railway junction 100 kms northeast of Paris, near the German border

Aussie
Australian

Azores
Island group in the Atlantic Ocean, 1,500 kms west of the Mediterranean Sea

BA
Bomb aimer

Bad boobs
Big mistakes

Bags of flap
Lots of chaos / disorganization

Balloons
Large balloons anchored singly or in a series over a potential target to support nets that hindered the passage of enemy planes

Photo at right:
Balloons tethered over London

Banbury
Town 90 kms northwest of London

Bang on the aiming point
Bombs landed on target

Barrackpore
Suburb of Calcutta, India, now called Barakpur

Barrage
Enemy fire which is designed to fill a volume or area, rather than aimed at a specific target

BAT
Blind Approach Training

Batman
Soldier assigned as the personal assistant to a commissioned officer

Battle course
Obstacle course simulating battlefield conditions

Battle dress
Woollen working uniform

Battle order
List of airmen going on a bombing mission

Bay of Biscay
Body of water in the Atlantic bordering France and Spain

Beach head
Coastal area of France re-taken from the Germans in June 1944, and secured by the Allied troops

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

Beauvoir
Beauvoir–sur–mer, a French town on the Atlantic coast just southwest of Nantes

Beefeater
Guard of the Tower of London

Benghazi
City on northeast coast of Libya on the Gulf of Sidra in the Mediterranean Sea

“B” flight
One of two or three smaller groups of planes that comprised the squadron – "B" flight at 115 Squadron had about 15 crews, including Johnston’s

Big Three Confab
Meetings held between Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt in Yalta (south coast of Ukraine) from February 4–11, 1945

Billets
Lodgings for military personnel

Bletchley
Town 50 kms northwest of London

Blueform
A blue coloured combination airmail letter and envelope, that was created during the war specifically for use to or from military personnel based overseas – introduced in 1942 and originally restricted to use to/from military personnel, this was expanded in September 1944 to be used between civilians – the airmail cost was 10 cents

Bofors flak
Swedish manufactured 40 mm anti–aircraft gun

Bogged
Ran the aircraft off of the runway, where it stuck, hindering the arrival or departure of other planes

Bombed up
Bombs were loaded on the airplane

Photo at right:
“Bombing up” a Lancaster


Bombing panel
Control panel for bomb deployment

Bomb sight
Device used to mark the target to be bombed

Boobed
Made a mistake

Bordeaux
City in the southern part of France near the Bay of Biscay

Bought it
Was killed

Box of tricks
GEE based bombing system

Boys got up
Planes were able to fly

Bremen
German city 300 kms northwest of Berlin, near the North Sea

Bristol
City in England 125 kms west of London

Brown boys
The army

Brunswick
German city 175 kms west of Berlin

Bullseye
A training flight over British cities, to learn evasion techniques for search lights and night fighters

Bureau
Dresser

Burton on Trent
RAF airbase 150 kms northwest of London, near Birmingham

Bury St Edmunds / Bury
Town in Suffolk 100 kms northeast of London

Busman’s holiday
A holiday spent in an activity similar to, or the same as, one’s regular occupation

Buzz bomb
Nickname for a German V1 flying bomb that was gyroscopically guided and powered by a jet engine

C87
Military transport plane that was an unarmed variation of the Liberator bomber

Caen
French city 200 kms west of Paris near the English Channel

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

Calcutta
City in eastern India near the Bay of Bengal

Cambridge
City 75 kms north of London

Came back on the beam
Followed a radio signal to get back to base, due to poor visibility

Campaign
Military operation

Canada Medals
Canadian Volunteer Service Medals

Cans
Incendiary bombs

Canteen
Military shop where members of the armed forces could purchase refreshments and provisions

Caulonvilliers
Small French town near the English Channel, 100 kms north of Paris

Cardigan Bay
Large bay in the Irish Sea off the west coast of Wales

C&L
Circuits and landings

CCG
Coastal Command Gunnery

Ceiling
Lower height of cloud cover

“C” Flight
One of three smaller groups of planes that comprised the squadron – “C” flight at 115 Squadron had about 15 crews

CGI
Chief Ground Instructor

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

Channel Islands
Group of British islands in the English Channel near France that were captured and occupied by the Germans during the war

Chedburgh / Ched
Home base of 1653 Heavy Conversion Unit, near Bury St. Edmunds, in Suffolk – Group 3 base

Chipping–Warden
Home base of Operational Training Unit 12, near Banbury

Chippy
Chipping–Warden Aerodrome

Chops
Planes that were shot down

Chutes
Parachutes

Chute webbing
Parachute harness

CI
Chief instructor

Cine(gun)
A camera in the plane aimed at the ground to capture the bombing results on film

Circuit people
Those scheduled to do circuits (take-offs and landings)

Circuits
Pilot training exercise consisting of a series of touch and go landings

Civies
Civilian clothing

Clamp / Clamped
Heavy fog, no visibility – planes not able to fly

Cleaned up the route
Revised the planned route to make it safer or more direct

Clearance kits
Paperwork and approvals to be completed before one can be posted to another base

Cleared
Paperwork and other details finalized, to allow for transfer to another base

Cloud base
Lower height of cloud cover

CO
Commanding Officer

Cock A / Cock H
Switches used to control fuel flow between tanks

Cockpit check / drill
Pre-flight procedures, or practicing them

Coke
Type of coal used to heat the barracks huts

Comforts
Small luxuries sent from Canadian organizations to military personnel overseas, such as soap, cigarettes, chocolate, and razor blades

Computer box
Device on a bomber in which data was entered, such as wind speed and direction, and the plane's air speed, direction, and height, and which then calculated the moment the bombs should be dropped

Coned
Plane was caught simultaneously in the beams of a number of searchlights, and then flak was concentrated on it

Contact lighting
A series of white marker lights on either side of the runway to provide a visual aid to the pilot in landing

Contact strip
Grass strip beside the runway, which could be used to land disabled planes

Con unit
Heavy Conversion Unit, for training on 4 engine planes (“converting” from 2 engine planes)

Cookie
4,000 lb bomb, consisting of a steel tube packed with RDX explosive

Photo at right:
“Cookie” being loaded onto a lancaster


Corkscrew
A flying maneuver to evade an enemy, consisting of a fast downward spiral

Corner House
Corner Houses were a chain of very large eating establishments, each with 4 or 5 differently themed restaurants on as many floors

Course picture
Photo of the crews, class picture

Crawls
Crawling flat on the ground to avoid detection or being shot by the enemy

Crew bus
Transportation that shuttled the crews from their billets to the airplanes – a distance of anywhere up to 16 kms

Crew drills
Procedures to safely evacuate the plane as a team in the event of an emergency

Crewed up
Has a full crew

Cross country
Training flight across the countryside

Crowd in the circuit
Many planes waiting to take off or land

CSU
Constant Speed Unit, which kept the propellers rotating at the same RPMs

CWAC
Canadian Women’s Army Corps

Daily Sketch
A national newspaper in England

Photo at right:
Daily Sketch - Sep 8/44


Darky
Audio call signal used to indicate an emergency

Daylight (show)
Daylight operation / mission

Daytona Beach
City in Florida on the Atlantic coast

“D” drill
Dinghy drill – procedures to safely evacuate the plane in the event of a water landing

Deck
The ground

Denims
Trousers worn when sloppy work was being done, in order to save battle dress trousers from being soiled

Desborough
Home base of 84 Operational Training Unit, in Northamptonshire

Detail
Training flight

DFC
Distinguished Flying Cross – medal for exceptional service or bravery

Photo at right:
DFC


Dicing
Slang for “flying” – from the perception of pilots that flying in wartime was gambling with death

Dieppe
French town on the English Channel that was the site of an unsuccessful Canadian offensive in August 1942, that resulted in a high number of casualties

Dispersal points
Areas adjacent to the runways, and connected to the runways by taxi strips, that were used for parking planes in widely separated positions to minimize damage during an enemy attack on the airfield

DOC
Dominion Officer's Club

Doodle bug
A German V1 flying bomb, gyroscopically guided and powered by a jet engine – also called a Buzz bomb

Photo at right:
“Doodle Bug”


DR compass
Distant Reading compass

Drogue
Small parachute deployed to slow down the aircraft upon landing

Drogue shooting
Machine gun practice on a target towed by another airplane

Drome
Aerodrome

DR repeater
Distant Reading repeater – the repeater allowed the compass information to be viewed from more than one station on the plane

Dual
Fly a plane with an instructor

Dum Dum
Airport on the outskirts of Calcutta, India

Dummy factory
Useless or vacant building made to appear from the air as a legitimate factory, in order to create a wasteful target for opposing forces

Dummy parachutists
Three foot tall dummies attached to parachutes, dropped from planes to misdirect the enemy, and encourage them to unnecessarily redeploy resources

Photo at right:
Dummy parachutist


Dunkirk
French port that was the evacuation point to England of 338,000 Allies retreating from the German forces from May 24 – June 4, 1940

ED6
Mechanical component within a Lancaster, exact purpose unknown

Edgehill
Home base of Operational Training Unit 12, near Banbury

Elsan
Chemical toilet carried on some airplanes

Ely
Small town 20 kms north of Cambridge

Engineer leader
The lead engineer for the squadron

ENSA
Entertainment National Service Association

Erks
Ground crew

Escape photos
Photos that could be attached to fake ID cards, to assist crew members in their escape if they were shot down over enemy territory

F/A
Fighter Affiliation – bombers practicing defensive maneuvers, such as corkscrews, against British fighters

Falaise
French city 175 kms west of Paris, and just south of Caen

Feather
Align the propeller blades with the slipstream to minimize drag and prevent windmilling when the engine is shut down

Feltwell
Home base of 3 Lancaster Finishing School, near Thetford, Norfolk

Fighter affiliation
Bombers practicing defensive maneuvers, such as corkscrews, against British fighters

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

Finningly
Base of 18 Operational Training Unit

FIS
Flying Instructor School

Fishguard
Town on the Welsh coast 300 kms west of London

Fishpond
Rearward–looking early warning radar mounted in bombers to warn of enemy fighters

Fixes
Positions or locations determined by use of navigational aids such as GEE, H2S or astro

F/L
Flight Lieutenant

Flak
German anti-aircraft fire

Photos at right:
Flying through flak
Flak gun

Flat spin
A plane spinning out of control with its nose and tail horizontal to the ground – the plane's belly is “flat” to the ground in this spin

Fleet air arm
Operational group in the Royal Navy responsible for ship–based aircraft

Flight
Subdivision of a squadron – usually 2 or 3 (eg. A, B or C Flight)

Flight Engineer Leader
The lead flight engineer for the squadron

Flight lieutenant being due
Promotion to Flight Lieutenant being due

Flights
Operational offices and control centre for the squadron

Flying bomb
A German V1 bomb gyroscopically guided and powered by a jet engine – also called a Doodle bug or Buzz bomb

Photo at right:
Flying Bomb


Flying kit
Flying gear – clothing & accessories

Flying rations
Prepackaged meals and drinks taken on operations

Flying Scotsman
The 10 a.m. train from Kings Cross station (London) to Edinburgh – has carried this nickname since its introduction in 1862

Photo at right:
Flying Scotsman

F/O
Flying Officer

Forage cap
Hat worn by members of the armed forces

Formatted
Flew in formation

Fort D’englos
A fort used to store artillery shells and munitions located in Lille, France, just inland from the English Channel near the Belgium border

Forth Bridge
World's first large–scale steel bridge, over 1.5 kms long spanning the Forth River near Edinburgh, Scotland

Photo at right:
Forth Bridge

Forts
B–17 Flying Fortress, an American heavy bomber

Forty-eight (hours)
Two day leave (48 hours)

Foxed the Hun
Outwitted the German defences

Foxy tactics
Tricky strategies or maneuvers

Frankfurt
German city 300 kms southwest of Berlin near the French border

Front
Weather system

F/S
Flight Sergeant

Funnel
Approach lights in a funnel shape that directed planes coming in for a landing to the runways

Gamston
Home base of 86 Operational Training Unit

Gas exercise
Drill where participants wore gas masks for a period of time, sometimes accompanied by tear gas or similar non–lethal gas

Gave the BA some dual
Gave the bomb aimer some instruction or training in other specialties, such as navigation

GEE
Radio navigation system with three transmitters in England – by timing synchronized pulses from the transmitters navigators could calculate their positions very accurately – it did not extend over the radio horizon, and the Germans jammed it, but it was a good tool over England and the North Sea – the same principles behind GEE are those that are behind today's GPS systems

Gen
General information, background

Genning up on dinghies
Studying lifeboat drills

George
Autopilot

GMT
Greenwich Mean Time

Good show
Excellent performance, well done

Got my tape
Tape was the braid that went on the sleeve of a uniform to indicate one’s rank

Got my times up to date
Updated his flying log, including calculating total hours flown

Got up
Flew

GR
General Reconnaissance

Great Barton
Small town near Bury St Edmunds

Greene huts
Where the flight officers (Women’s Division) were billeted at Chipping-Warden airbase

Gremlins
Small, imaginary creatures blamed for mechanical failures, excessive cloud cover, and other problems

Grope
Ground operational exercise

Ground bods
Ground crew, men who maintained and serviced the airplanes

Photo at right: Johnston’s crew (back), with ground crew (front) of 115 Squadron lancaster KO-W
Ground studies / Ground school
Classroom studies, as opposed to flying

Group
A number of squadrons

G/S
Ground speed

Gyro
Inertial device for measuring change in attitude (pitch, roll, yaw)

H2S
Radar navigation and blind–bomb aiming aid – a downward pointing radar scanner in the rear belly of the aircraft – it gave a reasonable “picture” of the ground below; apparently water, buildings and roads showed up clearly – it could not be jammed, but the Germans found their fighters could home in on it, so once the RAF figured this out, H2S was only used by bombers for very short periods – the popular explanation for the strange name was that a top brass air force officer upon being told of the new unit's expected performance, was extremely skeptical – “It stinks” he said bluntly, “call it H2S” (hydrogen sulfide, the chemical which gives rotten eggs their smell) – alternative nickname: Home Sweet Home

Halifax
Halifax bomber – a four engine RAF bomber with a crew of seven, that could carry a payload of 13,000 lbs (5,900 kgs) – variations of this versatile plane were also used for special operations, reconnaissance, glider towing and paratroop transport

Photo at right:
Halifax bomber


Hamburg
German city 200 kms northwest of Berlin near the Baltic coast

Hang ups
Bombs that would not release

Harrow Wealdstone
Headquarters of Transport Command

Happy Valley
RAF nickname for the Ruhr valley industrial area in Western Germany

Hay fever
Allergic condition affecting the mucous membrane of the upper respiratory tract and eyes; most often characterized by nasal discharge, sneezing, and itching water eyes – usually caused by an abnormal sensitivity to airborne pollen

HLB
High level bombing

Home Guard
Voluntary part-time force in Britain during the war, established to back up the regular army in the event of a German invasion

Homing
The GEE box was used by the navigator to find the aircraft's position, but could also be used as a homing device

HQ
Headquarters

Hung up
(Bombs) would not release

Hurricane
RAF single–seater fighter plane

Photo at right:
Arthur's Seat

Hyde Park
Large park in central London

Icing
A situation where ice formed on the wings and other air surfaces, which made the airplane less aerodynamic, and in extreme cases could cause it to plummet uncontrollably and crash

I/F
Instrument flying

Incendiaries
Small bombs, usually dropped in clusters, designed to start fires upon exploding

Incendiary cluster
Smaller bombs loaded into a larger canister

In the circuit
Preparing to land

Intruders
German fighter aircraft flying over England, often trying to intercept and shoot down Allied bombers as they returned to base

Invasion
D-Day – Allied invasion of Europe, June 6, 1944

Investiture
Awarding of medals to those who had recently earned them

I won’t kick
I won't kick up a fuss, or get upset

Jerry
Slang for Germans

Jettison
Discard unused bombs prior to landing

Jinked
Dodged, used quick turns to avoid danger

J type incendiaries
Small type of incendiary bombs mounted in canisters

Junkers 88 / Ju 88
German fighter aircraft

Photo at right:
Junkers 88


Karachi
Port city in Pakistan on the Arabian Sea

Karlsruhe
German city near the French border

Kew Gardens
Home of the Royal Botanical Gardens, in London

Kiel
German Baltic port 100 kms north of Hamburg

Kit
Flying gear – clothes and accessories

Kitbag
Dufflebag containing one’s kit

Kite
Airplane

K of C
Knights of Columbus, who established subsidized canteens in London for military personnel

Lancaster
The four engine Lancaster bomber was the backbone of the RAF bomber offensive, flying 40% of all sorties during the war. Its extremely powerful engines allowed it to carry bomb loads of up to 22,000 lbs (10,000 kgs) – far more than any other bomber used during the war. Its seven person crew consisted of a pilot, flight engineer, navigator, wireless operator, bomb aimer, mid-upper gunner and rear gunner.

Photo at right:
Lancaster bomber


Lancs II
Lancaster Mark IIs

LDA
Landing Distance Available – relates to the weight of the aircraft at take–off, and the speed and length of runway required to get the plane in the air – this would be impacted by last–minute changes to the bomb load

Leaders
There were people at the base in charge of each function, such as bombing, signals, navigation and engineering

LeHavre
French port on the English Channel

Lens
French city 200 kms north of Paris near the Belgium border

LFS
Lancaster Finishing School – a short course to familiarize the aircrew with the Lancaster bomber

Liaison Officer
Officer from one part of the armed forces who worked to coordinate efforts with another group - for example an RCAF officer working with the RAF

Liberty bus
Bus that transported airmen on leave between their base and nearby destinations

Libs & Lib VI
Liberator, type of American four engine bomber, also used for transport

Lincoln’s Inn Fields
Location of RCAF Headquarters

Link
A pilot trainer which consisted of just a cockpit – early pre-cursor to the modern flight simulators in which most pilots are trained

Photo at right:
Link trainer


Linkage
Control cables, chains or rods that in this case allowed the turret to rotate

Link Room
Room containing the Link (pilot trainer)

Lion Squadron pass
RCAF 427 “Lion” bomber Squadron, based in Leeming, was adopted by MGM studios, whose mascot was a lion – each member of the squadron received a hard plastic coin that allowed free admission to any of MGM's theatres anywhere in the world - it also allowed the bearer to bypass any lineup and go straight to the front

Photo at right:
Lion Squadron Pass


L’Isle Adam
Small town just northeast of Paris

Lorry
Truck, often used to transport troops

Lost
Shot down, did not return from a mission

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

Lyneham
RAF base 100 kms west of London, near Swinton, that was used by Transport Command

Lyon
French city 350 kms southeast of Paris

Mag switch
Magneto switch, used to turn on and off the engines

Main Force
Main operational battle group

Malta
Island in the Mediterranean Sea 100 kms south of Sicily

Mannheim
German city near the French border

Mare–de–Mayne
French town near Caen and the English Channel, 100 kms northwest of Paris

Marshalling yards
Railway yards

Martinet
The Miles Martinet was an aircraft designed for the RAF for use in towing targets in the air on which crews could practice gunnery – over 1,700 were built between 1942 and the end of the war

Photo at right:
Miles Martinet


Master bomber
Specific bomber that remained over the target area advising crews exactly which previously dropped marker flares to bomb, and which flares were German decoys

Mepal
Home base of 75 Squadron

Mess
Room where meals were eaten

Mess bill
Charge for being a member of the Officers’ Mess

Me109
Messerschmitt 109 – German fighter aircraft

Photo at right:
Messerschmitt 109


Methwold
RAF airbase near Thetford, Norfolk – Group 3 airbase

Met wind
Meteorological conditions, or forecast – in this case, windy

Mid–upper
Mid–upper gunner

Mildenhall
Home base of 15 & 622 Squadrons, Group 3, in Suffolk

Mk 1
Mark one

Moerdijk
Town in Holland on the Waal River, 20 kms south of Rotterdam

Montdidier
French city 75 kms north of Paris

Mossie
Mosquito bomber – the “Mossie” was a versatile RAF 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

Photo at right:
Mosquito

Movietone
A company that put out films of news and current events for moviegoers

MT
Motor or mechanical transport

My flight officer was through
His promotion to flight officer was complete

Nav
Navigator

Nav lights
External navigation lights

Newmarket
Supporting airfield with no permanent squadron, and eventual home of the Bombing Development Unit

Newsie
Newsman

Newstheatre
Theatres, often located in train stations, that showed newsreels on a continuous loop

N/F
Night flying

Nickel
Code name for a graduation exercise at the end of training that involved flying over enemy territory for the first time, and dropping leaflets

Night effort
Night time operation / mission

91 Group
RAF bomber group consisting of squadrons based at several airfields 75 kms northwest of London

Nissen hut
Shelter consisting of a sheet of corrugated steel bent into a half cylinder, with masonry walls at each end

Photo at right:
Nissen hut


Northampton
City in central England 100 kms northwest of London

No soap
It won't happen

Nucourt
French town 50 kms southwest of Paris

Nuremburg Show
Bombing operation on the German city of Nuremburg, March 30/31, 1944, during which many Allied planes were shot down

Oakington
Home base of 7 Squadron, in Cambridgeshire

OC
Officer, Commanding - same as Commanding Officer (CO)

Ochorina
Small simple flute-like wind instrument shaped like a sweet potato

Occupied territories
German–occupied countries, such as France, Belgium and Holland

I (One)
Mark 1 bomber

138
138 Squadron, which conducted “special duty” operations behind enemy lines, including dropping agents, arms, explosives and radios to the Resistance, and sometimes landing and picking up passengers for return to England

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

Operational Training Unit
An OTU was a training unit attended once one left the Advanced Flying Unit, that specialized in molding airmen into aircrews, who could work as a team

Op(s)
Operational mission(s)

Ops time
Total amount of time spent on operations / missions

Oral
Verbal (not written) test or exam

Orbiting
Circling the target awaiting instructions from the Master Bomber

Orleans
French city 100 kms south of Paris

OTU
Operational Training Unit – a training unit attended once one left the Advanced Flying Unit, that specialized in molding airmen into aircrews, who could work as a team

Overshoot
Touch down on landing too far along the runway to come to a stop before the runway ended – if the pilot realized it in time, he could get back up in the air, to come around and try again

Oxford
The “Ox Box” was a three person twin engine RAF plane developed exclusively for a variety of training purposes, including bombing

Photo at right:
Oxford


Oxygen cock
Oxygen supply on / off valve

Oxygen height
Planes were not pressured, so supplementary oxygen was required above a certain height

P4
Magnetic hand–held compass

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

Parade
Inspection

Pat Bay
Patricia Bay, British Columbia, home of 3 Operational Training Unit

Pathfinder
Bomber loaded with incendiary bombs and flares that preceded the main bomber stream to mark the target

Pay parade
Payday, where everyone was paid their wages

PD293
Serial number of new “Willie” delivered to 115 Squadron at Witchford September 9, 1944 – was eventually lost when it crashed in the sea during H2S training on November 26, 1944

Peenemunde
German town located on the island of Usedom just off the Baltic coast directly north of Berlin – during the war there was an important V rocket testing and development facility located there, surrounded by heavy flak defences

PFF Pathfinder Force
Group that preceded the main bomber stream to mark the target with incendiary bombs and flares PI Port inner – engine closest to the fuselage on the left side of the airplane

Piccadilly (Circus)
Traffic junction in central London, near the entertainment district

Picket post
Sentry station, or guard station

Pillion
Seat for a second person on a motorbike

Pilot bombing
As a back–up, the pilot could drop the bombs from his position in the airplane, if necessary

Pilotless effort / plane
German V1 bomb

Photo at right:
Pilotless effort


Pitot head
Air speed indicator sensor

Plot of Canadians
Cemetery for Canadians

P/O
Pilot Officer

PO
Port outer – Engine furthest from the fuselage on the left side of the airplane

Port ear
Left ear

Port fin
Left tail fin

Port gen
Generator on the left side of the plane that provided power for specific components

Port inner
Engine closest to the fuselage on the left side of the airplane

Port outer
Engine furthest from the fuselage on the left side of the airplane

Posted / postings
Assigned / assignments

Postings Officer
Officer in charge of processing orders sending personnel to other stations and/or responsibilities

POW
Prisoner of War

Prang
Crash a plane, usually on landing or takeoff at the airfield

Proforma
Paperwork for the mission, such as the flight plan and bombing instructions

Prop
Propeller

PT
Physical training

PTI
Physical Training Instructor

Pukka
Genuine, real, accurate

Punk
Poor, bad, or sick

QDM
Course necessary to reach a base or given point, obtained by calling up a ground station, giving the specified code letters or numbers, and pressing the morse key for a long dash – the ground station would take a bearing, and transmit the magnetic course in compass degrees to reach the destination

RAF
Royal Air Force

Range orders
Bombing range procedures

Ranks
In order, from most senior: Wing Commander (W/C or Wingco), Squadron Leader (S/L), Flight Lieutenant (F/Lt), Flying Officer (F/O), Pilot Officer (P/O), Warrant Officer (W/O)

RCAF
Royal Canadian Air Force

Reading
British city 50 kms west of London

Real McCoy
Real thing or genuine article

Rear fin
Airplane’s tail section

Recall(ed)
Term normally used to indicate a plane being recalled to base, but sometimes used to refer to crews on leave being recalled to the airbase

Rehabilitation
Preparing armed forces personnel for returning to civilian life

Ribbons
Display ribbons that are worn to represent specific medals awarded to the wearer

Rich mixture climb
Refers to adding more fuel to the pistons of the engines in relationship to the amount of air used – increasing the fuel added to the engine’s performance, but used more fuel – a “rich mixture climb” therefore used up more fuel, but gave the added performance required to climb more steeply

Right hand circuit
Fly a right turn to line up for landing

Rocket ack ack
Rocket propelled German anti-aircraft fire

Rocket bombs
German V2 rocket-propelled missiles with 2,200 lb warheads

Rockets
Flares, verey lights

Ropy
Crazy, mixed–up

Rouen
French city 75 kms northeast of Paris near the Atlantic coast

Rougham
An American airbase near Bury St Edmunds

R/T
Radio transmitter, for voice communication

Rubbers
Boots

Ruhr
Industrial centre in western Germany

Russelsheim
German town located 350 kms southwest of Berlin near Frankfurt

Sandra (lights)
Three search lights positioned around an airfield and directed skyward to form a cone, the glow of which could be seen by planes trying to find the airfield

S/C
Scattered cloud

Scarecrows
Bombers exploding in flight, usually as a result of the bombs on board being hit by enemy fire – to preserve morale, crews were told that these were enemy explosive devices designed to look like planes blowing up

Scheme
Exercise

Screen
A person who had completed their tour, and often assisted new crews in their training

Screened
Relieved from duty, usually because a tour has been completed

Scrubbed
Planned flights were cancelled

Scrub game
Pick–up game

SE
Single engine – Depending on the context, either a one–engine plane, such as a fighter, or practicing flying a two engine plane on one engine, to simulate emergency situations

Second detail
Second of two scheduled training flights

Second dickey
Second pilot, often accompanying an experienced crew on a mission to see how they worked together, before starting operations with his own crew

Self help (scheme) Manual labour projects designed to keep the crews occupied during down time

SFTS
Service Flying Training School

Sgt’s billets / quarters
Lodgings for the sergeants

Shaibah
Airbase in Iraq, 450 km south of Baghdad near the border with Saudi Arabia

Sheffield
Location of the RAF Aircrew Refresher Centre, a disciplinary base where aircrews were punished by being subjected to exhausting physical exercise

Shooting a real line
Telling a story, explaining oneself

Shotteswell
Bombing range located close to the town of Shotteswell, near Edgehill

SI
Starboard inner, engine closest to the fuselage on the right side of the airplane

Sick parade
The daily military formation by which individuals report as sick to the medical officer

Sick quarters
Infirmary

Single engine
Depending on the context, either a one–engine plane, such as a fighter, or practicing flying a two engine plane on one engine, to simulate emergency situations

664B form
Form required to obtain a replacement piece of flying kit equipment, for which the crewman was then charged

Sky marker
Multi–coloured pyrotechnics that descended under a parachute and served as an aiming point while still in the air - often used to identify bombing targets when clouds or smokescreens hampered visibility of the target

S/L
Squadron Leader

Slip crew
Second crew that went along on very long flights, and relieved the original crew about half way through

Snaps
Snapshots, photographs

Solo(ed)
Flew a plane by oneself

SP
Service Police

Spinner
Bullet–shaped faring over the nose of the propeller, that smooths the airflow around the propeller hub

Spittie
Spitfire, RAF fighter aircraft

Photo at right:
Spitfire

Squadron / Squad
Usually consisted of 12 or more airplanes

Stand down
Operations are not scheduled, or have been cancelled

Starter acc
Starter accumulators – a set of batteries on a cart that was used to power up the airplanes without draining the plane's internal batteries

Star Weekly
Week–end Toronto Star newspaper, with colour pictures

St Elmo’s fire
Electrical discharge resembling a flame associated with electrical storms

Stettin
Polish port city on the Baltic near Germany, now called Szczecin

Stick
Control in an airplane for altitude and direction

Sticks
Several bombs dropped together or in immediate succession, rather than in series

Stirling
Stirling bomber – the RAF’s first four engine bomber, it was hampered by its relatively narrow wingspan, which gave it limited speed and climbing ability. First introduced for night bombing, it was soon replaced by more advanced bombers, and relegated to less hazardous duties such as carrying troops, towing gliders and laying mines

Photo at right:
Stirling


Stoodged around
Flew slowly over an area, and delayed landing

Stradishall
Group 3 airbase, 17 kms outside of Bury St Edmunds

Stratus
Unbroken sheet of low–altitude clouds

Stream
Bomber stream – concentrated group of airplanes heading to the same target

St Tudwals
Town on the north side of Cardigan Bay on the west coast of Wales, 275 kms northwest of London

Stuttgart
German city near the French border

Subaltern
Army position below that of captain

Sun bath
Sun tan

Sun ray treatments
Exposure to a mercury vapour lamp, which gave off a high level of ultraviolet radiation

Photo at right:
Sunray lamp


Supplementaries
Training on the specialties of other crew members, such as navigation and bombing

Swanton
Swanton–Morley base in Norfolk

Sweet rations
Candy provided to the crews, often before missions

Tannoy
Loudspeaker system

Taxi point
Area to which aircraft moved from their dispersal points around the airfield, to await instructions from the control tower

Tea
Light meal in the late afternoon or evening

10/6/6
Ten pounds, six shillings, six pence

10/10 cloud
Measure of cloud cover, ranging from 0/10 (cloudless) to 10/10 (completely clouded over)

Third Reich
Germany

III (three)
Mark III bomber

Threw out both trunks
Dislodged both trunks, corrugated rubber hoses used to jettison fuel in an emergency

Thunderblast
Firecracker that exploded with a lot of light and noise, to simulate a bomb blast

Tiger Moth
The de Havilland Tiger Moth was a biplane with room for a student and instructor, that was used extensively by the Allies during the war as a trainer for pilots

Photo at right:
de Havilland Tiger Moth


Tin hats
Helmets used by the British army, and issued to their aircrews

TIs
Target Indicators – type of marker flare in different colours dropped by the Pathfinders that preceded the bomber stream, and used to identify a bombing target

TO
Take off

Tonbridge Wells
Suburb in southeast London

Toronto Weekly
Toronto Star newspaper

Track miles
Round trip distance

Transport Command
RAF Command responsible for ferrying planes and delivering supplies

Trimmed full port aileron heavy
Adjusted the flap at the rear edge of the left wing to its fullest extent, in order to provide lift

Trips
Bombing missions

Tube
Subway

Tuddenham
Home base of 90 Squadron

Turning point
The route to the target was not direct – this indicates one of the turns

Turn seven
Turns were the order in which returning planes were cleared to land – a plane given “turn seven” would land seventh

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

Photo at right:
Rear turret in a Lancaster


1250s
Form 1250 Identification cards

Twin engine machine
German fighter aircraft

Twins
Twin engine airplane

Undercart / undercarriage
Wheel assemblies, landing gear

Underground
London subway system

Uplands
#2 SFTS (Service Flying Training School) Uplands, in Ottawa, Canada

U/S
Unserviceable, or unusable

V1
A German flying bomb gyroscopically guided and powered by a jet engine – also called a Doodle bug or Buzz bomb

Photo at right:
V1


V2
A German rocket–propelled missile with a 2,200 lb warhead

Photo at right:
V2


Valenciennes
French city 200 kms north of Paris, near the Belgium border

Verey lights
Coloured flares fired from special pistols

Villers–Bocage
Small town in France near the English Channel, 100 kms northwest of Paris

V–mail
Combination letter and envelope, similar to a blueform

WAAF
Women’s Auxiliary Air Force

Wanganui Sky Marker
A radar-directed sky marker consisting of flares suspended under parachutes, used to mark a bombing target when the ground was obscured

Warrant
Permission pass that allowed one to travel off of the base

Warrington
Home base of 1 “R” Depot RCAF in Lancashire

Watch office
Control hub for all flying operations at an aerodrome

Waterbeach
Home base of 514 Squadron, near Cambridge

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

W/C
Wing Commander - head of two or more squadrons

WDs
RCAF Women's Division personnel

Wellington
A twin engine bomber with a six person crew, that carried out much of the RAF's night bombing offensive early in the war, until the heavy four engine bombers were introduced. Its success was due to a unique geodetic construction, consisting of a network of Duralumin-channel beams – this resulted in a combination of high strength and low weight, which also allowed it to survive terrific battle damage – it was nicknamed the “Wimpy” or “Wimp” after the Popeye comic strip character J. Wellington Wimpey

Photo at right:
Wellington

Went for a Burton
Was killed on a mission – Burton was a popular beer in wartime Britain, and at the time, had an advertising campaign showing different incomplete jobs, with no one working on them – for example, a partially painted wall, with a ladder, paint can and brush, and no painter. The caption read: “Went for a Burton”. Airmen used this term to describe crews that had gone on a mission, and not returned.

Weston
20 Advanced Flying Unit, Weston–on–the–Green, in Oxford, where Johnston trained in September 1943

Wet dinghy drill
Practicing getting into life rafts, in the event of a water landing

Wex
Meteorological conditions, or weather forecast

Whistle
Used for emergencies, such as for directing crew members to life rafts in the event of a water landing in the dark

Wimp
Wellington bomber

Window
Strips of aluminum foil of a set length jettisoned in large numbers from planes to cloud or jam enemy radar. There is evidence that the success of the Window caused the Germans to accelerate development and accuracy of ground radar, along with other improvements in airborne defences, which led to very serious losses for Bomber Command in 1944

Wing
Two or more squadrons

Wing Commander
Head of two or more squadrons

Wings Abroad
The official RCAF newsletter

Witchford
Base of 115 Squadron, Group 3, in Cambridgeshire

W.O. 1
Warrant Officer, First Class

Woodbridge
One of three RAF bases specifically designed to accept damaged or fuel-short bombers returning from raids over Germany

Woolfox Lodge
Home base of 218 Squadron, five miles northwest of Stamford, Oakham, Rutland

Worksop
Home base of 18 Operational Training Unit, RAF unit near Retford, Notts

Wratting Common
Home base of 1651 Heavy Conversion Unit – Group 3

W/T
Wireless telegraphy, for morse (not voice) communication

 

© Bruce Johnston, Mark Johnston, Scott Johnston

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