Tag Archives: raf

RAF 100

Think about it. Have you ever seen graphic footage of the Blitz? Not cheery chaps sifting through some light rubble with the WVS serving tea nearby. No, nothing like that. But bodies and horror.

The footage exists. A little was shown in the 1970s in the series “The World at War” but generally we are much more familiar with appalling images of the Holocaust than we are with the facts of area bombing either in Germany or Britain. The scale is hard to grasp now. Over 600 dead and nearly 900 injured in two nights of bombing in Southampton alone.

A few weeks ago Royal Mail issued a series of stamps to mark the RAF’s centenary. Inevitably they show chocolate box images of bright blue skies, fighter planes and Red Arrows without a wartime heavy bomber in sight. Perhaps the Royal Mail felt that images of the Lancaster had been “done to death” already. Done to death indeed.

People like my late Dad, AC2 W H Clark, an RAF wireless operator during WW2, knew exactly what area bombing meant. What is rarely realised today is that there was a massive backlash about the carnage at the time. In the current sentimental climate it is hard to believe but both during and after the war in many quarters Bomber Command was an embarrassment and so were its veterans. Like many of his generation Dad felt that stigma. He did not collect his service medals. Also, like many of his generation, he frequently messed up his life in an era when there was little sympathy for “combat stress” and little compassion about the lost opportunities of survivors who had given up precious years of youth to war service.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 6 Comments
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  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 23rd Jul - 1:11am
    And should the Lib Dems merge, my lads, and should the Lib Dems die, There's 20.000 South-Westerners would know the reason why! Sorry, all this...
  • User AvatarIan Patterson 23rd Jul - 12:09am
    @ James Graham - gets first prize in stating blooming obvious. Banging on about Brexit for last 2 years has got us nowhere, as my...
  • User AvatarJoeB 23rd Jul - 12:02am
    Why not just read the update in the article that spells out what Vince Cable has to say about political realignment rather then speculating about...
  • User AvatarJames Graham 22nd Jul - 10:52pm
    I really do not understand why Vince is off gallivanting looking to help set up a new party. He has a job to do, namely...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 22nd Jul - 10:09pm
    Talking about a new moderate Centre Party, there seems to have been a good surfeit of modexation on LDV recently. Free speech 'n all that...
  • User AvatarTim O'Brien 22nd Jul - 10:05pm
    Thank you Interesting article and I endorse much of it. I wanted to comment but WordPress would not allow me to be so wordy. so...