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Short Stirling Bomber

spooner

master brummie
Big Gee,

Air Chief Marshall Harris did not set the bombing policies. The Air Council under Lord Portal did that. Harris has for too long been blamed for 'his policies'. Harris carried out the Air Council directives and he fought tooth and nail for 'his boys'. When he was critised by his bosses for not carrying out certain instructions he reminded them that they could remove him from office when ever they liked. They didn't.
Ultimately the blame, if you can call it that, for the area bombing strategy lay at the feet of the government of the day. That is why the politicians of today won't allow the striking of a campaign medal for the thousands of brave boys of Bomber Command- it is convenient to let people go on thinking that ACM Harris invented the policy.

Spooner
 

Big Gee

master brummie
Not Implying, stating a fact, that very few came back.

Ann
Total loss of Stirlings for the entire War, in all capacities, was 913 aircraft out of 2383 built, or about 38%. However, I believe this figure also includes losses of aircraft by training squadrons, which flew them after they were withdrawn from bombing operations.

To say that 'they were always shot down' isn't quite the same as saying 'very few came back'.

Big Gee
 

Big Gee

master brummie
Big Gee,

Air Chief Marshall Harris did not set the bombing policies. The Air Council under Lord Portal did that. Harris has for too long been blamed for 'his policies'. Harris carried out the Air Council directives and he fought tooth and nail for 'his boys'. When he was critised by his bosses for not carrying out certain instructions he reminded them that they could remove him from office when ever they liked. They didn't.
Ultimately the blame, if you can call it that, for the area bombing strategy lay at the feet of the government of the day. That is why the politicians of today won't allow the striking of a campaign medal for the thousands of brave boys of Bomber Command- it is convenient to let people go on thinking that ACM Harris invented the policy.

Spooner
Sorry, but you're not quite right. Harris's stated and fiercely-defended policy was area bombing - he was adamant and confident that Germany could be beated by destroying its cities piecemeal. Even when it was obvious he was wrong he still stoutly defended this policy and made himself highly unpopular as a result. He called precision raids 'panacea targets', and was highly reluctant to allow the Dam Busters raid to go ahead. However, he was forced to toe the line, policy-wise, and to go after such targets as oil-production, submarine pens, railway networks, etc.

Although he was originally a great supporter of the policy of area-bombing German cities to oblivion, towards the end of the war Churchill became somewhat less enthusiastic about this, especially following the very severe raids on Dresden and Berlin, which aroused a good deal of criticism and even moral outrage in some quarters at the time. Churchill's former support for Harris gradually melted away. Personally, I think Harris did what he was employed to do and did it to the best of his ability, even though it cost the lives of 65000 men. After the war his 'old lags', as he called them, didn't offer much in the way of criticism of their old boss.

Big Gee
 

Rupert

master brummie
It’s done with! This silly navel gazing by whoever, then or now, is non-productive. If the other side had won do you think that they would be doing this now or ever. Who is to say that critics back then were right. Their points of view were never put to the test. It was all out war which requires all out measures…maximum effort. Heaven forbid that we would have lost it all for the sake of doing a little bit more. Even when it seemed that the war was all but won there was the thought that the Germans had been working on the atomic bomb…similar to the allies…and maybe versions of the V2 or V1 might have been able to deliver it. No one knew for certain anyway. I wonder, if they had managed to succeed and drop an ‘A bomb’ on Britain, would they have had the same critique from within. Hmmm.
The British and Canadian air operations were at night because there was less chance of being shot down in darkness. This meant that larger areas were bombed to achieve damage to facilities in cities and perhaps terror was one of the goals. Does it matter?…the object was to bring the war to a successful conclusion from our point of view. How could anyone in charge back then know if the measures taken were excessive or not. There are always going to be critics.
The American air effort was in the daytime at high altitude in higher performance B17 aircraft albeit with a lower payload. At the start they paid dearly for this. Their objective was to accurately bomb ‘strategic’ targets using their accurate high altitude bomb sights. When the P51 fighter was improved with the Merlin engine and large fuel tanks, making it possible to provide fighter escort to the target and back, the writing was on the wall for Germany. Which was fortunate considering the machines that the German engineers had developed .
Anyway our lot, with much bravery, managed to avoid defeat…weather or not we won anything is entirely another matter methinks.
 
A

ARM

Guest
Just a small point re the above. The Stirling never operated from Longbridge. They were built at longbridge, The completed fuselarges, wings and engines were taken by road to the Marston Green shadow factory where the aircraft were assembled. The aircraft were then towed across the railway line on to the airfield at Elmdon (Birmingham Airport) and test flights carried out. The airfield at Longbridge was far too small to allow such a large aircraft to take off. the last aircraft flown from Cofton Hackett (the airfield alongside Longbridge) were the Hurricane IIb aircraft built there in 1940. Once testing was complete the aircraft would be delivered to the RAF.
hope this may be of interest.
 

smudgersmith

New Member
Hi Ann,

I am the association historian for No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron. Unfortunately the thumbnail attachments I am unable to view. I would very much like to see the photo's for possible inclusion in my second book on the squadrons activities in WW2.

Can any kind soul help me out ?

Steve
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Steve,

Unfortunately these images, together with many others, were lost during a Forum hacking disaster some years ago. Many Forum images have been replaced by their owners but it does seem that Ann B's membership has lapsed in which case replacement of these seems unlikely, very regrettably. Let's hope that another member took a copy of them and/or can offer something similar.

Chris
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
Steve,

Unfortunately these images, together with many others, were lost during a Forum hacking disaster some years ago. Many Forum images have been replaced by their owners but it does seem that Ann B's membership has lapsed in which case replacement of these seems unlikely, very regrettably. Let's hope that another member took a copy of them and/or can offer something similar.

Chris
See a post here
 

NORTHFIELD

master brummie
Hi Steve,
I tried to re post the photos this afternoon. Perhaps they are the wrong size or something, but I could not post them. If you send me your email, I will gladly send them to you. Ann
 

smudgersmith

New Member
Hi,

Thank you so much for getting back to me. My email address is squadron218ATyahoo.co.uk (replace AT with the usual @)

Kind regards

Steve
 

cookie273uk

master brummie
Could someone enlighten me as to when the Stirling was taken out of service, I was in the RAF June'48 to June'56 aircrew wireless operator on Lancasters, Hastings DC3s etc but never came across a Stirling ? Eric
 

willey

master brummie
cookie273uk Wikipaedia would suggest that No.196 Squadron, R.A.F. flew the last Stirling bomber until March 1946. Hope this gives you some idea. It is worth going onto the site because it gives all the R.A.F Squadron flying Stirlings and their final dates of flying there. Good luck! willey.
 

cookie273uk

master brummie
Thanks Willey, I served on the last Lancaster Squadron, 82(PR) Squadron from '49 to '51, I believe it changed to Canberras in 1953. Will give Wikipaedia a visit. Thanks again. Eric
 
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