Sgt. Sydney Thomas Woodbridge 83 Sqd. KIA 29 March 1942

Leading Aircraftman
Leading Aircraftman
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 11:04 am
Location: Kent

Re: Sgt. Sydney Thomas Woodbridge 83 Sqd. KIA 29 March 1942

Post by Steveib »

Hello James

Refreshed aftera few hours sleep, and you guys have not let me down again, THANK YOU.

I get it now, lol I thought at first on reading the log from Alan that I was not reading it right and needed my bed. I am guessing that is why they were heading for the island of Borkum on one of the raids, as it looks close to a few main estuaries of the German main land. I honestly can not thank you all enough.

I had the honour of getting to know a Lancaster tail gunner, Victor Ward. I went to him after he took a fall at home, and on the way to the hospital we started chatting. I saw a picture of a team of men sitting infront of a Lancaster. Then by fluck got called again to him about 4 months later. That started a very good friendship, visiting him and his wife periodically to ensure they were well. (no children you see ) But all I knew was he was a rear gunner. Then after 4/5 years of visiting him, we sat down having a chat about the nothing special. I approched the subject of him attending the rememberence service that was approaching, a week or so later. He paused and said, Im no hero Steve, none of us were. I can tell you I had soiled myself more than once, It was them or you, you see. No time to really think about it. On some flights we were all full of bravardo, especially as we flew over the channel, we'd test our guns. Then as we approached the main land the fighter escort would peel off. I cant tell you the silance at that point, it really was defening as they say. You then realised you were truely on your own, and all that was waiting for you was destiny and those bloody 109s,and the ever present flak!
So please understand I dont need to stand on parade to give my thoughts to thiose that died, and I mean that to both sides too. Boys that all we all were, I ahve brought misery to many fathers, mothers as they did. It was them or you. His eyes were filled with tears and we agreed not to mention his service again.

It was when he was in hospital for the final time, he said I have one thing to tell you, he then went on to say later he moved to another squdron, I think he used the term a "shadow squadron" and many of his missions were dropping some of our boys and girls behind enemy lines. They was not based at any main airfield I recall him telling me. He just said "so now you know everything that I swore Id never repeat" . Over the final week he never mentioned anything again.

His wife of 60 yrs + actually commented she had learnt more listening to us chat that he had ever told her. He was the last of his air crew to have survived, and he passd away in 2017. To ensure his passing was recognised I contacted the MOD and they sent an Adjutant representing the RAF, and I mustered the local Air cadets to attend, his coffin was draped in the RAF flag and I managed to get a bugler who was happy to attend. (ex R.M.)

He would have loved looking through this Forum. I do have his order of service and their is mention of his servive and squadron. I must find it and I will post it here for others to see and read.

Thank you all again.

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