Lancaster Men: The Aussie Heroes of Bomber Command

By Peter Rees | Go to book overview

39

FOREBODINGS

Flying Officer Colin Flockhart was in a reflective mood as he sat down to write to his family one bitterly cold night in early January 1945. His twenty-first birthday was less than a month away, and he wanted to let his mother and father in Sydney know his feelings about the war and flying in Bomber Command. Theirs was a close-knit family. Colin and his father Jack played in the same cricket team, and his mother, Lil, was the team scorer. Colin’s older brother, Alan, was in the AIF in New Guinea. His younger sister, Alison, idolised him. A few weeks earlier, she had posted Colin a pocket Bible for his birthday with the inscription: ‘To Dearest Colin, May God Watch Over You Always. From your devoted sister’.

Colin had studied accountancy and joined the Commonwealth Bank before enlisting in the RAAF in October 1942. Now he was a pilot in 619 Squadron RAF, based at Strubby, Lincolnshire. ‘Being in a rather sentimental mood to-night,’ he wrote,

I have decided to do something that I have meant to do for a long
time—to record some impressions so that, if, by some chance,
I should not finish my tour, you will know just how I feel about

-325-

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Lancaster Men: The Aussie Heroes of Bomber Command
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Prologue xiii
  • Prelude xxii
  • 1 - The Sugarloaf 1
  • 2 - The Short-Arm Parade 13
  • 3 - The Usual Awful Eternity 21
  • 4 - The Thousand Plan 34
  • 5 - The Dimboola Regatta 47
  • 6 - Cold, Gut-Wrenching Fear 59
  • 7 - Crippled over Essen 66
  • 8 - The Jam Can 73
  • 9 - The German from Sydney 81
  • 10 - The Poacher 91
  • 11 - Stalag Time 101
  • 12 - Feuersturm 109
  • 13 - Waafs and Other Girlfriends 117
  • 14 - Fairly Shaken 133
  • 15 - The Boomerang 142
  • 16 - Danger above 149
  • 17 - Cramped 157
  • 18 - The Silent World 163
  • 19 - An Inviting Target 171
  • 20 - Beating the Odds 179
  • 21 - Trouble on the Base 185
  • 22 - No Easy Answer 193
  • 23 - The Quick and the Dead 200
  • 24 - Good Luck, Boys 208
  • 25 - Face to Face with the Enemy 217
  • 26 - D-Day 232
  • 27 - Death Only a Matter of Time 240
  • 28 - The Battle for Recognition 247
  • 29 - The Sweetest Words of All 255
  • 30 - No Backward Glances 262
  • 31 - Shot Down 269
  • 32 - The Strain of Command 275
  • 33 - Letters from the Front 280
  • 34 - The Clairvoyant 288
  • 35 - Double Scotch, Thanks 299
  • 36 - The Beast 306
  • 37 - The Special Duties Boys 314
  • 38 - Smoke Puffs and Flak Barrages 320
  • 39 - Forebodings 325
  • 40 - The Prisoner in the Cell Next Door 331
  • 41 - Shrove Tuesday 340
  • 42 - An Unearthly Thing 350
  • 43 - Sharing Bread 357
  • 44 - An Air Force Divided 368
  • 45 - Return to the Sugarloaf 378
  • Acknowledgements 385
  • Notes 388
  • Postscript 407
  • Bibliography 409
  • Index 415
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