William Walters Story
In The Past.........
1 Index
2 Roy Chadwick
3 William Walters
4 R.A.F
5 Operations Begin
6 Lancaster Bomber
7 "Big City" Berlin
8 Danger all Round
9 No Comforts
10 Bombs Gone
11 Occupied Europe
12 Whirlwind
13 Special Opps
14 Peenemunde
15 Aphrodite
16 30th Mission
17 Final Mission
18 Rescue Attempt
19 Final Chapter
 
 
 
 
Occupied Europe

Many bomber crews that crashed in occupied Europe, or were shot down would eventually find themselves in prisoner of war camps, the infamous Stalags. It is estimated that 10,000 allied aircrew were incarcerated in P.O.W’s camps during the second war.

Spending years in a POW Camp was the result
if shot down. (right)

POW Camp

All bomber crews in the R.A.F. and the U.S. 8th Air Force knew the very high risks involved in their bombing missions over Germany. It was estimated by Bomber Command that 3 crews in every 10, would on average not survive to their tours end. Whether bombing by day or night the risks became incredible, hundreds of planes and crews were lost never to return home. With ever increasing risks and facing death at every moment, the brave and courageous crews of the bombers were never deterred… they would never shrink from their duty or to the loyalty that bound them in their Fight for Freedom!!!

Missions: Schweinfurt
Ariel Photo of Schweinfort, Germany.

www.381st.org

During one massive 1000 bomber raid to Schweinfurt and Regensburg, on 17 August 1943, 60 bombers were shot down and most of the 600 crewmen were killed.

During one week alone in October 1943, 148 bombers were shot down over Germany, and most of the 1480 aircrew were killed.

The Photograph left is Courtesy of:
www.381st.org

Missions: Schweinfurt
Date: 08-17-43,
Aircraft: B-17F #42-30015 (VP-O) "Flying Hobo" 533rd BS,
Altitude: 20,000
Target: Schweinfurt, Germany

With the drastic losses of allied bombers and crews, the R.A.F and the U.S. 8th Air Force decided that it was imperative to cut these phenomenal losses by using escort fighters to accompany the bombers to all targets in Europe. Thus, the P51-D Mustang became a legend to it's heroic pilot's and to the bomber crews they protected, with it's high performance, superb handling, long-range, and devastating firepower..6x30 calibre machine guns firing 1880 rounds per minute, it delivered a knock-out punch to the Luftwaffe, and became champion of the skies over Europe. For every 1000 bomber raid into Germany including 700 escort fighters, a total amount of 10,700 air crew were used on any one day, and every day as long as the bomber offensive lasted, hence the importance of fighter protection was paramount for the safety of the bomber crews, and aircraft.

Occupied Europe March 1944

In March 1944, the air war took Captain Ian Ross and his Lancaster crew on several missions over occupied Europe, the orders from Bomber Command were as always…. "Destroy all and every target given". So it was that the crew were ordered to attack and bomb Stuttgart on the 1st, Clermont Ferrand, France on the 10th, again to Stuttgart on the 15th, Frankfurt on the 18th and 22nd, Berlin on the 24th, Essen on the 26th.

Berlin....Ariel Photo of bomb damage
Berlin....Ariel Photo of bomb damage.

It was necessary for Bomber Command to constantly switch targets for the bomber crews in an attempt to divert the enemy night fighters, which caused many losses.

Michelin Factory, Clermont-Ferrand
Bombing the Michelin Factory,
Clermont-Ferrand

Captain Ian Ross and his crew were briefed for a new bombing mission to attack Nuremburg, 800 miles from England, and deep in Southern Germany, which was to take place on March 30th, 1944. The crew were to join with a total of 795 heavy bombers and obliterate the target given. The massive bombers took off from their bases at 22.22 p.m. to rendezvous high in the skies over England.

Cloud cover was predicted, but it turned out that bright moonlight was to confront the bombers during their long trip to target, conditions at altitude were that the vapour trails could be seen from the ground, and wrongly forecast winds would eventually cause the bombers to stray from their “safe path”. Even before they crossed the Rhine the bombers stream was to run exactly between two night-fighter beacons, thus disclosing their approach to enemy radar.
Who immediately informed the night-fighter bases, whose pilot's attacked the bombers en force inflicting massive losses, enemy fighters also brought a new terror to the already strained crews, code named by the Luftwaffe as “Schrage Musik” slanting music or Jazz, their twin engined night fighters had a pair of 30mm cannons angled at 60 degrees installed just behind the pilots seat, the enemy pilot would fly up and under the bomber using it’s blind spot then unleash it’s devastating cannon fire along the length of the aircraft which tore through the fuselage and destroyed all inside, this ferocious attack crippled the bombers causing many to crash.

The raid proved disastrous for the R.A.F bombers and crews… 95 heavy-bombers were shot down with the tragic loss of 665 brave men, 59 bombers were seriously damaged, those who fortunately were able to bale out were soon to become prisoners of war. The dozen or so bombers that managed to limp back to their bases crashed on their return, in England.

Messerschmitt BF 109- Fighter's
Messerschmitt BF 109- Fighter's
Captain Ian Ross and his crew were fortunate they carried out their mission and returned safely to their base landing at 06.16 a.m. They were safe and they were…Home!!!