Play / pause Scharnhorst and Gniesenau Bombing

Scharnhorst and Gniesenau Bombing

  • Ronald Davis
  • Interview by: Tod Nicol


I can remember on the night

of the Scharnhorst and Gniesenau bombing,

when we lost half the squadron, a very sad time,

standing out on the runway until one o'clock in the morning

waiting for aircraft to come back.

And there were no drem lighting in those days

because it was grass,

and if there was snow,

as there was at that time,

we used to have gooseneck flares.

There were probably 12 or 14 gooseneck flares

along the runway,

with one airman on each pair of flares on either side.

So you would light your gooseneck flare

when an aircraft,

when you were told an aircraft was coming in.

You'd light the gooseneck flare

with great difficulty with a match

that we kept blowing out in the wind,

and then run like a lunatic across the other side

to light the other one before the airplane arrived.

And once he landed, then you had to put your gooseneck out,

wait for the next one,

because you couldn't disclose your situation.

That was probably the saddest night of my life

when I was out there.

It was so depressing in those conditions

and knowing that they hadn't got back.

And my particular airplane P for Peter,

went down on that Scharnhorst and Gniesenau range

with the Sergeant Ozzie Holt as the pilot.

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