This page contains snippets of information which came to light during research which may be of interest to others.
In 1943, the British Ministry of Economic Warfare (MEW) issued the “Bomber’s Baedeker. A Guide to the Economic Importance of German Towns and Cities”, followed by a second extended edition in 1944.
In essence, it identified the key industries that were supplying the german war effort and their locations.
This information was used to formulate the bombing strategy and to provide intelligence information to the squadrons when they were planning raids.
Note: This is not to be confused with the Baedeker Raids which were retaliatory raids by the German Luftwaffe which were allegedly selected from the German Baedeker Tourist Guide to Britain.
The name of this device is usually mispelled as Edmunds or Edmonds; it was invented by F/O Morgan Rice Edmondes. There were a large number of gunnery training simulators in use throughout WWII. This particular device was one of a number of ‘dual purpose’ synthetic trainers for gunnery and recognition.
It instructed fighter pilots in deflection shooting combined with aircraft recognition and range judging, using a standard Link trainer. This was fitted with a reflector sight (modified for the purpose) and a spotlight triggered by a firing a button on the control column. At the required distance from the Link, a 1:48 scale model aircraft was positioned 6.5 ft from the ground and mounted on a castored trolley. A ‘deflection’ graph was also positioned 3 ft from the floor.
The standard Link Trainer
On the floor in front of the ‘aircraft’ were painted a number of arcs of circles worked out from the pivot point from the Link. These were at intervals of 37.5 in (representing ranges from 150 yds to 600 yds at 50 yds increments).
The trainee flew the Link to ‘attack’ the model which then moved to simulate an aircraft under attack. When the pilot considered he was in range, he pressed his trigger in short bursts and the beam of light from the spotlight registered on the graph, the instructor immediately read off the range from the arcs on the floor and the errors shown on the graph. The instructor was in communication with the pilot, giving advice and corrrecting his aim throughout the simulation.
It is understood that the prototype went to Grangemouth, and was intended for all Fighter Command OTUs, and Group I SFTS, (plus a few Gp.II). A report described it as very effective and extremely simple to construct, though it required a fair amount of floor space.
Source: AIR20 /6058 Synthetic Training Devices, AIR2 /8785 Synthetic Training Committee (STC) reports.
The standard layout for a Bomber Command airfield included two T2 type hangars and one B1 type hangar.
The T2 type hangars were utilised by station ground crew for maintenance and inspection work.
The larger B1 type hangar was utilised to repair the heavy bombers, to avoid having to ferry the aircraft to offsite repair centres. This repair work was undertaken by civilian working parties, working under the control of the Ministry of Aircraft Production.
Laing huts were constructed of pre-fabricaated lightweight timber-frames which were bolted together. They were approximately 18 feet wide by 60 feet long with a height of 8 feet at the apex.
Ten, six foot wide, sections made up the sides, each containing a half width window; when these were bolted together, the two half windows would be put together to form a complete window (5 windows per side).
The interior and the roof were lined with plasterboard; the external walls were lined with plasterboard and covered with felt. The roof was covered with corrugated asbestos sheeting.
They were heated by a single stove in the middle of the hut.
Many of the available research documents refer to co-ordinates from the various map referencing systems that were utilised during the war. There are several websites that help convert co-ordinates from these systems onto modern day maps including:
- Jägermeldenetz (on intercepted communiques from Luftwaffe fighters and anti-aircraft batteries)
- British Modified System (on MRES reports)
- Map of Belgium (old map references overlayed onto google map)
Second Dickey (dickie, dicky)
New pilots flew one or two familiarisation flights with a veteran crew to enable them to gain operational experience; this was known as a “second dickey” trip.
They either stood behind the pilot or sat in the fold down seat next to the pilot (when not occupied by the flight engineer). The seat is often referred to as “the second dickey seat”.
The Silloth Trainer was developed at RAF Silloth by Wing Commander Iles. Its purpose was to familiarise all crew members with the procedures for dealing with aircraft malfunctions.
An instructor would enter a malfunction into the control panel and the crew would have to react and deal with the emergency.
The simulator utilised pneumatics to create realistic aircraft movement, with engine noise being created by sound effects.
Trainers were developed for the various two and four engined aircraft types.
A Silloth Trainer (Halifax Version)
It is worth noting that a trainer was developed at RAF St Athan which replaced the pneumatic systems (which were prone to leaks etc) with cams. No futher information has been found on this simulator at present.
Tee-Emm and PO Prune
During World War II, the Air Ministry circulated a monthly “training” pamphlet to all RAF stations, titled Tee Emm (Technical Memorandum), which was written by the staff of “Punch” magazine.
It utilised cartoon characters, alongside light-hearted text, to remind crews of the correct procedures for drills such as ditching, parachuting, oxygen usage and to demonstrate the stupidity of actions such as low flying.
PO Prune was the primary cartoon character; he was always depicted getting things wrong so that others could learn from his mistakes.