Guide Master Photo Lighting... Light 101 (On Target Photo Training Book 5)

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On arrival back at base the bombers were granted permission to land based on their fuel reserves, wounded crewmen and battle damage.

Vigilance was always maintained as Luftwaffe night fighters flying as "night intruders" sometimes followed the bombers home and attacked as aircraft came into land. From the outbreak of war RAF Bomber Command aircrew were given the task of flying a required number of operations, an "operational tour", usually of about 30 operations missions in USAAF terminology.

A crew might expect to fly 30 "Ops" missions in a period of 3 — 5 months depending on the weather conditions and operational requirements.

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Only "ops" completed with the bombs dropped—later, those bringing back a target photograph—were allowed to count towards the crew's operational tour. An early return due to engine or equipment failure or crew sickness could result in an interview with the commanding officer to ensure that negligence or lack of fighting spirit were not involved. In the late spring of when operations were being flown to less distant targets often in preparation for Operation Overlord — the D-Day invasion — RAF high command temporarily changed the length of an operational tour by counting some targets as a half of an operation, [] on the basis that they regarded the target as less heavily defended than some in the German homeland.

The foundation of the Pathfinder Force brought with it a requirement for experienced aircrew. The concept was for the highly experienced elite Pathfinder Force aircrews to fly a little ahead of the Main Force and drop marker flares known as "Target Indicators" directly on to the target as an aiming point for the less experienced crews following them.

Pathfinders were awarded a special gilt metal Pathfinder wings to be worn on the tunic denoting their status. The Pathfinder crews in turn released their Target Indicators on different marker flares laid for them by their leader who flew minutes ahead in a de Havilland Mosquito light bomber to identify the precise target buildings at very low level. This Pathfinder leader was known as the Master Bomber and usually had a second-in-command flying in support in case he was shot down or failed to mark the target accurately and it required a second set of "markers".

On a very large attack there might be an officer in over all control, he was known as the "Master of Ceremonies".

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Some experienced airmen returned to operations repeatedly at their own request and several are recorded to have flown — operations. Aircrew had to become accustomed very quickly to the casualty rate suffered by RAF Bomber Command squadrons because fellow crews were lost or in aircrew language, "bought the farm", "got the chop" or "Failed To Return" FTR , frequently.

Squadrons would normally be given the task of dispatching 12 — 25 aircraft on a night operation and at least one of their crews would be expected to be lost every two night operations.

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Squadrons losing multiple crews on a single night was quite normal and on several nights during World War II some squadrons lost five or six of their crews in a single night. Aircrew adopted a fatalistic attitude and it was "not the done thing" to discuss losses of friends or roommates, although they would half-jokingly ask each other "can I have your bicycle if you get the chop" or "can I have your eggs and bacon at breakfast if you don't get back tomorrow?

RAF Bomber Command aircrew of World War II

Airmen shared accommodation blocks and it was normal to have spare beds or even a half-empty hut after a night operation. He is buried in the Cambridge War Graves Plot. Rare cases are recorded where local Nazi Party leaders actively incited lynchings or permitted captured aircrew to be murdered almost immediately after they landed. The majority of RAF Bomber Command aircrew lost over enemy held territory or the sea were killed although 9, became prisoners of war. The German Luftwaffe had responsibility for Allied aircrew taken prisoner in North West Europe and it is on record in numerous biographies that the Luftwaffe personnel running the prisoner of war camps treated captured aircrew properly, with considerable patience and respect and provided food and shelter until the end of the war.

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Only if a member of aircrew escaped from a Luftwaffe prisoner of war camp was he at risk of falling into the hands of the German Polizei police forces were subordinated to the SS. Generally escapees were returned to prisoner of war camp where they would spend time in a solitary confinement cell "cooler" before being returned to the general population.

After a mass escape in March from Stalag Luft III a directive from Berlin resulted in the Stalag Luft III murders , an incident in which the Gestapo murdered 50 of the 76 escapees as an example to the Allied airmen that the huge amount of resources expended in searching for and recapturing escapers would not be tolerated.

Aircrew escaping were rarely shot although a small number of incidents are recorded and one airman was killed when he was hit by a railway train while dodging the Germans. Some RAF Bomber Command airmen received awards for their gallantry in specific actions or for their sustained courage facing the terrible odds against their surviving a full tour of operations. Commissioned officers and Warrant officers could receive a Distinguished Flying Cross. Commissioned officers, usually the more senior ranks, could receive a Distinguished Service Order which was sometimes awarded to junior officers for acts of exceptional bravery.

All ranks were eligible for the award of a Victoria Cross if warranted. Most aircrew who flew operationally received the —45 Star, the Aircrew Europe Star and the War Medal —45 for their service if they flew during the period September to late April If they commenced operational flying between late April and May they would receive the —45 Star, France and Germany Star and War Medal —45 instead. Any aircrew who had already qualified for the Aircrew Europe Star group of medals, who flew operationally after 6 June D-Day would have been entitled to a small metal bar with the words "France and Germany" to sew to the ribbon of the Aircrew Europe Star.

Any of the airmen who had served over 3 years on the Home Front would also have earned a Defence Medal. Commonwealth aircrew received additional medals as the Canadian government awarded their personnel the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal —47 with a silver maple leaf clasp for service overseas, the Australian government awarded their personnel the Australia Service Medal —45, the New Zealand government awarded their personnel the New Zealand War Service Medal —45, the South Africans, South Rhodesians and Newfoundlanders all received their own service medals also.

Many biographies and auto-biographies of aircrew record that facing a very limited life expectancy airmen frequently adopted mascots and superstitions, holding to a belief that if they adhered to a particular custom or carried a specific talisman with them, then they would "get home in time for breakfast". Such rituals were taken extremely seriously. Either flying as a "spare bod" to cover for sickness in another crew or having a "spare bod" fly in their own crew was not popular.

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The fear was not groundless as a newly arrived airman from a training unit might be used as a temporary replacement for their highly experienced crewman and a momentary hesitation in calling for evasive action in a pending night-fighter attack did result in bombers being lost. RAF Bomber Command was manned by volunteer aircrew without exception but there were serious concerns amongst the most senior officers that some of the volunteers might change their minds about flying operationally once the terrible casualty rates became apparent to them.

To try to keep such instances to an absolute minimum a "one solution fits all" approach was introduced which was known amongst aircrew as "LMF" Lack of Moral Fibre. Some C. In other cases their personnel file was reportedly rubber stamped "LMF" and there was no option to return to flying.

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Usually, this was accomplished discreetly, however, at least two aircrew are reported to have had their brevets and rank badges removed before a squadron parade. The RAF used the power of stigma as a method of control. The "LMF" label could be applied equally to a young man who after completing training did not have the courage to fly on his very first operation or to a highly experienced member of aircrew who had flown almost enough "ops" to complete his tour but had been wounded in action and after recovery did not wish to fly again.

Some of the cases amount to what is now recognised as PTSD or, by its older names, "combat fatigue" or "shell shock. The process was considered extremely harsh and was deeply resented by the aircrews themselves who rarely spoke of "LMF" situations; even decades after the war, few memoirs give more than an occasional mention of the issue.

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: Lack of Moral Fibre. The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 May Forces War Records forces-war-records. Retrieved 10 December To illustrate the above point of how hazardous navigation was in the early years of war, if a navigator was given westerly winds of say 50 mph at 20,ft, when in fact they were coming from the east, you would be pointing the aircraft in the wrong direction. You could therefore be miles off your intended path of flight every hour. Aircraft were lost in the North Sea this way, off the coast of Scotland, instead of returning to Norfolk where they were based.

Jefford Grub Street Publishing. The London Gazette Supplement. Vintage Wings Canada. Allison, Les They Shall Grow Not Old. Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum. Bowyer, Chaz Path Finders at War. Ian Allan. Bomber Barons. Celis, Peter One Who Almost Made it Back. Grub Street. Charlwood, Don No Moon Tonight. Goodall Publications. Chorley, William R. Volume 1. Midland Counties. Volume 2. Volume 3. Volume 4. Volume 5.

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Volume 6. Volume 7. Clutton-Brock, Oliver RAF Evaders. Cooper, Alan Pen and Sword. Copeman, Geoff D. Bomber Squadrons at War.