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15 October 2014
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If you can't stand the heat, get out of the fire!

by GeorgeStephensonHigh

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
GeorgeStephensonHigh
People in story: 
Ronald Race
Location of story: 
Newcastle upon Tyne
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4276668
Contributed on: 
26 June 2005

Ronald Race was barely 18 years old when the war started. He was put in as a reserved occupation, an engineer. During his time at home he was also a fireman - after air raids he would be responsible for putting out the fires, he was even involved in the great New Bridge Street fire! In all of his years as a fireman he rose to the rank of leading fireman, earning himself a medal for his skills.

One story in particular he remembers is a Nazi plane flying over his Town and realising that it was low enough to shoot!!! Ronald instantly rose to the challenge, running to the towns anti-aircraft gun, he mounted it and started shooting the aircraft. A close chase ensued, the plane evaded swiftly, swerving left and right and all the time diving lower and lower. Ron followed it carefully almost hitting it, determination personified. Eventually when the plane was just over the town Ron managed to get a perfect hit in, one of his greatest achievements. The plane went down and when it was over with instead of getting rewarded, he got punished, which was very harsh for helping his country win a terrible war! He was firing to low and got a formal warning for it without so much as a well done!!
After this Ron learned his lesson, leave saving the town to someone else!!!!!!

By Steven Burns, Christopher Walton & Martin Tomlinson (all Y9 students from George Stephenson High School, Killingworth, Newcastle upon Tyne).

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These messages were added to this story by site members between June 2003 and January 2006. It is no longer possible to leave messages here. Find out more about the site contributors.

Message 1 - If you can't stand the heat

Posted on: 26 June 2005 by Ron Goldstein

Dear Steven Burns, Christopher Walton & Martin Tomlinson

I have just read your fascinating story. May I quote?
"Ronald instantly rose to the challenge, running to the towns anti-aircraft gun, he mounted it and started shooting the aircraft."

Dare I ask you a few questions ?

1. Was the gun un-manned at the time?
2. Had Ron been trained to use the gun?
3. Did he operate the 'gun' on his own
4. Was his job-specification Fireman/Anti Aircraft Gunner ?
5. Did anyone check your article before you submitted it ?

With all good wishes

Ron Goldstein
84 Bty, 49th Light Ack Ack Rgt. RA
(Retired)

 

Message 2 - If you can't stand the heat

Posted on: 26 June 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Steven Burns et al -

A light 40mm Bristol Bofor's gun had a highly trained team of five to operate it. A 3.7 inch A.A. gun, a team of six. But they didn't operate in isolation; other highly trained personnel manned the predictors, height-finders, observation telescopes, ammunition bays, and telephones, all of which required a large number of personnel. Ron must have been a veritable whirlwind to do all these jobs at once. A blur of activity.

But quite how a civilian in a reserved occupation, dressed as a fireman, got past the site guard is a bit of a mystery. However, you say that, having got to the gun, (and presumably loaded it), " A close chase ensued, the plane evaded swiftly, swerving left and right and all the time diving lower and lower. Ron followed it carefully almost hitting it, determination personified." My Goodness! The lower a plane, the less time it is visible. At roof height it would be over in a flash. Ron on the gun must have been travelling at some speed to keep up with it!

Peter
ex M Battery, 3rd RHA.

 

Message 3 - If you can't stand the heat

Posted on: 26 June 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

For the seriously minded, here are the ranks and tasks of a typical LAA gun crew, each had a specific number.

No.1 - Task: Gun Commander - Rank: Sergeant

No.2 - Task: Gun Layer(Line) - Rank: Bombardier

No.3 - Task: Gun Trainer(Elevation) Rank: L/Bombardier

No.4 - Task: Gun Loader & Firer - Rank: Gunner/HGV Driver

No.5 - Task: Ammunition Supply - Rank: Gunner/HGV Driver

No.6 - Task: Ammunition Supply - Rank: Gunner

No.7 - Task: Target Spotter - Rank: Gunner

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