BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in February 2012We've left it here for reference.More information

17 September 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
WW2 - People's War

BBC Homepage
BBC History
WW2 People's War Homepage Archive List Timeline About This Site Print this page 

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!


Memories of a Flight Sergeant

by Chepstow Drill Hall

You are browsing in:

Archive List > Royal Air Force

Contributed by 
Chepstow Drill Hall
People in story: 
Harry Reade
Location of story: 
Background to story: 
Royal Air Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
01 June 2005

Flight Sergeant Harry Reade – Instrument Technician

34 Recce Wing 1941 – 1944

34 Wing was made up of Spitfires, Mosquitoes and Wellington Bombers

My job pre-war was as an instrument technician and I wanted to be an aircraft technician.

When I enlisted there were 50 of us and no aircraft, by time 34 Wing was put together there were 2,500 of us and many aircraft.

34 Recognisance Wing was put together to take photographs of the Normandy Peninsular so that the cartographer could put together accurate, up to date map of the area. These maps would be used for the D-day landing and the ensuing battles, which lead to the liberation of Europe.

The aircraft would fly at 40,000 ft to take the photographs and were painted blue to blend with the sky – there were two aircraft painted white, these were called dicers and they used to take low-level photographs flying in and out of the clouds for cover, a very risky job

Aircraft from 34 Wing were also used as spotters for the artillery bombarding the coastal targets prior to and during the D-day landing.

34 Recce Wing followed the army across Europe and got to Brussels 2/3 days after liberation.

Just before Christmas 1944 the German made a counter attack, the Ardennes offensive to break through the American line, this was to be the battle of the Bulge. It was during this time with the Germans only 10 miles away that the officers issued us with rifles and machine guns and told us to be ready if the Germans broke through. This was very scary time as we had received very little firearms training. We had a very late Christmas that year in fact we didn’t have it until well into January 1944.

At the end of February we were uprooted and followed the army across the Rhine and on to VE day.

© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.

Archive List

This story has been placed in the following categories.

Royal Air Force Category
icon for Story with photoStory with photo

Most of the content on this site is created by our users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here. For any other comments, please Contact Us.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy