- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Ted Porter, Jim Logan, Des Evans
- Background to story:
- Royal Air Force
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 19 August 2005
A Navigator's View Of The Route To Heaven:
A Comparison of a WWII Operational Bombing Mission to a Christian's Journey to Our Heavenly Home
Bombing missions were never carried out without a thorough briefing beforehand so that all the crew had complete instructions as to how to carry out their duties and to know what to expect during the course of the flight. The briefing included a meteorological forecast of the weather conditions along the route at various altitudes as well as the wind direction and wind speeds.
Intelligence data provided information concerning enemy defences. The pilots and bomb-aimers received instructions about the bomb load carried in relation to the necessary fuel load. Wireless operators were briefed by the signals officers about radio frequencies, wireless silence, etc.
Navigators were briefed by the navigation leader about the route to follow on their maps, the synchronization of watches to maintain precise times of arrival at pre-selected turning points along the route. The importance of maintaining your position within the concentration of bombers and arriving over the target at the prescribed time and altitude for your wave of aircraft was emphasized.
Following the briefing, the crews were transported to their aircraft dressed in their standard flying gear. The navigator had in his satchel all the maps, charts, Dalton computer, log and all necessary drawing and writing tools to plot the course and record details of the operation.
After takeoff, the navigator informed the pilot of the course and airspeed to maintain at the prescribed altitude so that precision timing was adhered to thus keeping our aircraft within the concentration. The accuracy of the briefed wind directions and speeds would be checked by sightings where possible of identifiable pinpoints along the route. When these were incorrect causing the aircraft to drift off course or be late or early at points along the route, the navigator would give the pilot revised course and airspeeds to stay on track and maintain prearranged times. Bomb-aimers would throw outside tinsel strips over enemy territory to jam the enemy's radar instruments so they could not single out your aircraft for predicted flak or fighter attack.
Similarities to the Christian's Journey to Our Heavenly Home:
As was the case at O.T.U. (Operational Training Unit) where the pilot asked individuals to become part of his aircrew, so Jesus chooses us to be his vessels to carry out the mission. He has for each one of us. To accept Jesus as the pilot in our lives, we first accept Him as our Lord and Saviour provided by His death on the cross and resurrection for our redemption from sin. In this analogy the aircraft in which you fly is really your life under our Lord's guidance. As fledging crew members are taught how to carry out their particular duties in the aircraft, so we are taught from the Bible through the Holy Spirit and from devout Christian leaders how to accomplish the task set before us.
The aircraft in which you fly on the squadron is competently and lovingly maintained by the assigned ground crew so that the pilot and crew can have complete confidence that it will respond as required throughout the flight. In the Christian life, these may be the unsung heroes who have contributed to our basic Christian training in early life, perhaps parents, Christian education teachers, classic Christian literature, etc. As a pilot safely takes his aircraft to its destination and keeps it on track using his knowledge of all the mechanical components and instruments, etc., so the Lord guides us through prayer and fellowship with Him in our daily lives. The navigator on completion of his training has now acquired the tools so that he can form a partnership with the pilot and together they can guide the aircraft along the predetermined course to arrive safely on time at the destination. The successful completion of our missions in WWII depended upon the constant communication and trust established among the pilot and navigator and the other crew members. In the Christian life, our successful walk is accomplished by our commitment to Jesus to order our life, i.e., through constant dependence upon Him and His promises. ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’.
Problems encountered en route to the target and actions to overcome them may be likened to spiritual crises encountered in our lives and our reaction to them. As the navigator prepares for the flight with all the necessary briefing, maps, navigational aids, etc., so the Christian must use the Word of God as his/her map together with the guidance of the Holy Spirit to set out on the journey.
The navigator uses all his aids to stay on course, while the Christian must follow daily the Lord's leading in his/her life. Aids for the Christian may be the counsel of Christian leaders, family and friends. During the flight, the crew may experience storms along the route and/or unexpected changes in wind speed and direction. These problems may be likened to cares and unexpected crises in this life which take us off course and cause us to even lose our way when we take our eyes off Jesus. Enemy flak could become a real danger if your aircraft drifted off track and was coned in searchlights. Similarly in life, Satan's temptations can deviate us from our course and we would be a casualty if we were to become completely obsessed by the temptation. An attack by enemy fighters requires immediate evasive action by the pilot and defensive firepower by the gunners if we are to survive such an engagement. In the Christian life, such attacks by Satan also require immediate action to get us back on track through confession and repentance leading to our forgiveness and restoration.
Staying within the concentration of aircraft as we did in WWII missions has the following analogy in the Christian life, i.e., maintain a close relationship with a fellowship of believers. One can see a similarity here between the small groups of St. Paul's and the 7 or 8 persons making up the bomber crew. Our lives very much depended upon each member performing his duties correctly and faithfully and a bond of trust knowing that everyone else would do the same. The unity of the group is maintained throughout by bonding and a loving concern by each member one for the other. This indeed has been evident in many crews even 50 plus years later.
Jesus said, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ John 14.6
This dedication is by F/O. Jim Logan DFC his Navigator. The Poem was written and composed by him. Still alive and whom I am in contact he lives in Vancouver Canada. I am also in contact with the Bomb Aimer F/O. Bill Pearson. DFC. Bill lives in British Columbia, Canada. (2005)
This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Becky Barugh of the BBC Radio Shropshire CSV Action Desk on behalf of Des Evans and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
See more of Des’s stories:
- Bale out!
- Missions from Woodhall Spa
- Tracers coming through the thatch
- I didn’t quite get the chop
- Little humour in adversity
- Ted Porters Crew
- The ‘Augsburg Raid’
- S/L Sherwood’s recommendation for the Victoria Cross
- The worst night of the War…
- The worst night of the War (Part 2)
- The worst night of the War (Part 3) - Crew
- The worst night of the War (Part 4) - Losses
- The worst night of the War (Part 5) — Extract from ‘the Berlin’ Raids’
- The worst night of the War (Part 6) — Bombers over Berlin
- The worst night of the War (Part 7) — Combat Report
- A Dedication to Skipper Wing Commander Ted Porter - Pause for Thought
- Did you know?
- Flight Operations carried out with Sgt. D.C Plaunt
- Flight Operations carried out by Sgt. J.J Johnson
- The experiences of ‘Taffy’ after baling out on 9th — 10th June 1944
- The experiences of ‘Taffy’ after baling out on the 9th - 10th June 1944 - Continued
- The experiences of ‘Taffy’ - 11th June 1944
- The experiences of ‘Taffy’ - 12th — 15th June 1944
- The experiences of ‘Taffy’ - 16th - 18th June 1944
- The experiences of ‘Taffy’ - 19th — 23rd June 1944
- The experiences of ‘Taffy’ — 24th August 1044
- ‘Our Heroes’
For further stories read ‘ACHIEVE YOUR AIM’ by Kevin Bending
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