Second Dickie flights

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ME453
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Second Dickie flights

Post by ME453 »

I'm doing a bit of research to help a chap who has contacted me via my website - his father was the bomb-aimer on a Lancaster (LM431) from 467 squadron which was lost on ops over Stettin on 6 January '44. The crew arrived from HCU on 8 November '43 and the pilot, Frank Connolly, flew two second dickie ops., one 18/19.11 and then 22/23.11. Has anybody any theories or even better, an understanding, regarding why he did two?
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Max
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AlanW
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Re: Second Dickie flights

Post by AlanW »

Max,
I was going to say, maybe lack of aircraft on squadron strength, but the ORB entry for 18th November say's that there were not enough crews to fill aircraft, so some were loaned out to 9 and 50sqdn. Connolly actually flew 4 ops as 2nd dickey, the other two were on 23/24th and 26/27th.
There is no paralell in warfare, to such courage and determination in the face of danger, over so long a period. Such devotion, should never be forgotten.

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ME453
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Re: Second Dickie flights

Post by ME453 »

Thanks for that Alan, I hadn't noticed the later 2 ops. (and they aren't listed in Nobby Blundell's squadron history). So it probably points to Connolly being a particularly conscientious pilot, wanting to get some ops. (or perhaps confidence?) in before taking his crew on their first as skipper? If that was the case, sadly it didn't work because they were all KIA on their third op. Must admit, I wasn't aware that new pilots could "volunteer" for extra second dickie trips either!!
Max
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AlanW
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Re: Second Dickie flights

Post by AlanW »

Max,
I'm beginning to wonder if this is a 467 squadron "thing", as looking through the book, there are quite a few pilots who did several 2nd dickey trips before going it alone, the higher ups in the squadron may have wanted them to do more than one, as you say, to gain confidence.
There is no paralell in warfare, to such courage and determination in the face of danger, over so long a period. Such devotion, should never be forgotten.

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Re: Second Dickie flights

Post by Dave_Richardson »

Max

The pilot of my uncle's 149 Squadron Stirling flew 9 2nd dickey trips before going it alone.

Dave

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Re: Second Dickie flights

Post by Theletterwriter »

Another point to consider is that earlier in the War, there were more examples of several second dickie flights by pilots. Whether this was due to too few aircraft at the time, I am not sure. Certainly as four engine bomber production increased, it was likely there was less of an imbalance re pilots v. aircraft.

Using another Squadron example, it was rare, but not unknown, for 199 pilots to do more than one second dickey trip during the Squadron's Main Force days between late 1942 and late 1943.

Douglas

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ME453
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Re: Second Dickie flights

Post by ME453 »

AlanW wrote:Max,
I'm beginning to wonder if this is a 467 squadron "thing", as looking through the book, there are quite a few pilots who did several 2nd dickey trips before going it alone, the higher ups in the squadron may have wanted them to do more than one, as you say, to gain confidence.
I noticed in the ORBs some "2nd navigator" trips as well Alan. Do you think this was specifically H2S-experience related or more general?
Max
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kookabat
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Re: Second Dickie flights

Post by kookabat »

Max,

I have an example from 9 Sqn - my great uncle Jack's first pilot went on two 2nd Dickie trips in November 1943 - to Modane on the 10th November 1943 and to Berlin on 18th November. Roger Audis (IX (B) Sqn Historian) can't explain why he went on the second one - from which the aircraft failed to return with all on board killed.

Jack had to that point not flown operationally. The headless crew went back to a HCU, joined up with S/Ldr Phil Smith, and were sent to 467 Sqn. And the rest is history!

Adam
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PAFG
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Re: Second Dickie flights

Post by PAFG »

I think policy varies, sometimes squadron to squadron but certainly Group to Group. 1 Group during the Berlin campaign seemed to do just the one, 5 Group often two. Later on there's mention in accounts of a new crew going with a senior pilot and navigator to oversee them plus the senior pilot's rear gunner in the rear turret.

Just before the Battle of Berlin opened, HCU's managed to produce a surplus - 5 Group News for Aug 43 says that most squadrons were now over strength and that new crews should get extra ground training with senior pilots and specialists. No specific mention of Second Dicky requirements though.

cheers,

Richard

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ME453
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Re: Second Dickie flights

Post by ME453 »

Thanks Richard for that useful contribution. Does the January 6th Stettin op. fall within your area of speciality? Having checked the Nachtjagd War Diaries, I'm intrigued to know why not one of the bombers brought down that night has been individually identified.
Max
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