locked up. Used to get them, push them in and then stem them up with clay and a fuse outside. Used to blow the hooter,
blow the whistle and that.'

They weren't scared of you blowing the place up?

'No, they got to know us at the finish, man. They knew we weren't bloody daft. I used to go up and get the bugger. Oh, I had a Jerry with us, like. Used to get them out, put them in. I used to put maybe two extra in, you know and not so much clay at the front. So instead of blowing it inside, the bugger used to come outwards. Used to light the fuse and you had somewhere to go, like an embankment, used to get down behind it and when mine used to go off "Fruummph!" There was bloody clay flying all over the bloody quarry! When they set it off it just used to 'psssh' sort of.'

When did the Flying Fortress bomber flew over?

Oh, that was later on. It was on a Saturday morning that. We'd been in doing a truck of coal and we'd just come out of the shower. Saturday morning. I'm certain of it. I think there was an airfield up that way on because we used to see fighters knocking about now and then. He must have been making for that. But you know the doorway in the side? They were standing there. They were standing in the bloody doorway there when it came down. About three of four hundred feet up and it was coming down slow and we were all waving like hell and the buggers was waving back! Oh, it was a Yankee.'

That would be the waist gunner's station in the rear fuselage. Did it look badly damaged?

'No, just losing height. It was just chugging along. It was sort of gliding And I says, "There must be a bloody airfield there." Because we'd seen fighters coming up now and again and he must have made it because there was no explosion or nothing like that and he couldn't have got far before he hit the ground. It was early '45.'

Was there much anti-aircraft fire during the raids?

'That was part of the noise you used to hear. Not so much the bombing itself. We used to here the pathfinders go in first, at night. Sometimes, not all the time. And then you used to se the flares dropping in the distance and the main body used to come over after that and the bloody racket! But it was always in the distance. It was always Berlin, or Dresden or some place like that.

'He had a big air rair shelter on top of the quarry, we used to all get in there. That was the gaffer who put himself a hut up in the brickyard and he used to live in there with his wife and his two little nippers. He used to get in the shelter when we were there. Of course, they knew us then, to talk to and that. We might watch sometimes, but if it was directly overhead we used to get in out of the way.'

There was no bombs landed in the village?

'One, that was all. Why, two or three. There was a group came over, it was a big daylight raid and I don't know what the hell happened. These Fortresses were coming over this morning, there was about 20 groups of them, all staggered up and this one group broke off and went back and dropped their bombs and then came round and carried on. But there was some Hitler Youth and they were out in the woods camping and they must have pitched their tents out in the open and the planes must have spotted the tents and went back and bombed them. There was hell on about it. We saw a lot of the Hitler Youth the next morning when we marched down to work they were waiting to get on the train and the buggers was spitting at us and all sorts. They were young, strapping young fellas, only 14 or 15.'

The planes that turned back and attacked the wood were the Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighters that were escorting the bombers. Off the tape my father described them as 'fork-tailed.' This twin-engined, twin-boom layout made them the most easy to recognise of Allied fighter aircraft.

So there was a raid every day?

'Near enough. You could reckon there was two every week. At the back end of the war there was at least two every week, daylight. And then they used to come over at night. Used to see the flashes all over. There was a lot used to go over first and you'd see these flares dropping. Why, you could see the glow miles away. And then the other buggers used to come in after them. You used to see the vapour trails in the daytime. All vapour trails. And then this bloody stuff used to come down like foil

This would be the 'window' radar jamming foil.

'Then they started dropping leaflets, showing you all the different types of aeroplanes the Yankees and the British had and what they could carry and what damage they could do and all this.'

Did you ever see any shot down?

'Just one. A fighter. He went into this lot, you could see him going in. Oh, they were way up and they all seemed to fire

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