- Contributed by
- BBC @ The Living Museum
- People in story:
- Mr Norman Wells, Mrs Ruby Wells
- Location of story:
- Bardney, Liconshire
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 10 July 2005
Norman and Ruby Wells, around 1942. the inscription on the photo reads "To Norman, with love from Ruby"
There’s Always Bloody Something
This story was submitted to the Peoples’ War site by a volunteer on behalf of Mr Norman Wells and Mrs Ruby Wells and has been added to the site with their permission. Mr Norman Wells and Mrs Ruby Wells fully understand the site’s terms and conditions.
Norman’s story — I was 17 and three months when I joined the RAF. I put my age up by a year to join. I joined in November 1939. I later was in the 9th Squadron RAF in the Lancaster Bombers. The motto of the Squadron was “There’s Always Bloody Something”.
I had always wanted to be in the air force. Before the war, I remember, when I was about 12 year’s old at my grandfather’s funeral, there was a plane above, training. I was fascinated and looked up and followed it, mesmerised. Even though my auntie quickly told me to stop gazing, I vowed that that’s what I would do when I grew up.
The training was very intense. My first raid was on Berlin. We first went in twin engine bombers, the Wellingtons, then later in the Lancasters. I remember that it was cold and dark and the search lights hit us as soon as we had passed the Dutch coast. The Berlin Search lights were like daylight. And we lost our night vision which made it very dangerous as soon as we had dropped our bombs and were heading back. The German fighters would aim at us just as we had passed the search lights and could not see them.
We had very skilled pilots and we all worked together. I was in charge of four guns. We took photographs of the assignment — to make sure that our bombs had hit the target. We were told off if the wing was not straight and level. On a raid, it was essential to fly straight.
We were very young and did not really know the dangers. We lost a lot of our friends. We just thought we would be OK. In many ways it was a glamour job. Someone would always buy you a drink. Of course, you would never drink before you were to fly. We could not fly on full moon nights. So we had time off to go down to the local village on our bikes. Our planes were housed in a separate place to the men, so we needed the bikes to get from the hangar to our accommodation.
I used to do spitfire repairs and then worked on the Hamil cars that were used in the Normandy landings. It was very secretive and we needed passes to come to work. Even though they knew me at the gate, if I’d forgotten my pass, I would have to return home for it.
I met Norman when I was doing that job. He would wait for me to finish work and we would have a date. We were married in 1942. I really enjoyed doing spitfire repairs.
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