By Christobel Mattingley
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Extra info for Battle Order 204
Drew, the bomb aimer, chuckled to see Aggro for Adolf. ’ crowed Birdy the rear gunner. And they all laughed at seeing the supremely confident You’re history, Hitler. ‘That one’s for you, Skip,’ they joked, knowing their skipper’s passion for history. indd 42 2/4/07 3:16:02 PM David and the crew in D Dog waited tensely on the airfield perimeter for the go signal. At 1230 hours on 29 November, they took off with a bomb load of fourteen 500-pound clusters, two containers of sixty 4-pound incendiaries and one cookie, a massive 4000-pound bomb.
So David learned every part of the Tiger Moth and how it functioned, and studied some of the more sophisticated aircraft he would fly later. Night after night he sat on his bed studying, determined to do well in the final exams. Flying lessons were the highlight of each day and he awaited his slots eagerly. They were always at different times to allow each trainee to experience varying conditions. After the initial flight as a passenger, for the first week all were with an instructor, practising take-off into wind, powered approach and gliding.
Full uniform had to be worn at all times, even when on leave. This included the field service cap, with its coveted white flash denoting aircrew trainee status. On the station, long-sleeved overalls, known as goonskins, and jumper and beret, all blue, were to be worn in cold weather; khaki shorts and shirt in summer. Kit included blankets, towels, razor blades, shoe-cleaning gear, clothes brush and cutlery. Each man also received a sewing kit, essential for sewing the badges of rank onto his uniform.