- Contributed by
- People in story:
- ALAN MORGAN
- Location of story:
- CHICHESTER AND EAST GRINSTEAD, SUSSEX.
- Background to story:
- Royal Air Force
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 08 August 2005
This story was submitted to the People's war site by Ian Hayes of the BBC GMR Action Desk on behalf of Alan Morgan and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
Flying in K-King, P/O Jack Lett (JB 421) and crew made a successful attack dropping their bombs from 23,500 feet in the 4th. wave. Sgt.Alan Morgan, the aircraft's flight engineer gives this account of what happened next:
"Shortly after leaving the target, the main entrance door blew open. Sgt.Campbell the W/OP was sent back to try and deal with it. After a while the skipper instructed me to go back and see if I could help. I found the W/OP had passed out from lack of oxygen but I managed to connect him up to the supply at the rest bed and he soon regained consciousness. The skipper then told me to carry on with the attempt to close the rear door. I also passed out when my emergency oxygen bottle expired. At the time I was close to the open door with an outside temperature of minus 42 degrees. My skipper sensed that something had gone wrong and reduced height from 22,000 feet down to 10,000 feet whilst the bomb aimer Sgt. Mackew, came to my assistance.
We made an emergency landing at Ford and from there I was taken to Chichester Hospital for treatment on my badly frostbitten hands. Jack and the rest of the crew flew back to Fiskerton with the bomb aimer acting as flight engineer. As they circled Fiskerton in the daylight they coould see the wreckage of ND 498 on the runway. The other returning Lancs had been diverted to Dunholme Lodge, but Fiskerton gave Jack special permission to land, for on their beds back in the billets wewre the crews' first 14 day leave passes....mine was not collected.
Gangrene soon set in, and I was transferred to East Grinstead where all my fingers were amputated, and over the next twelve months I was under the care of Sir Archibald McIndoe. (Alan had now become a member of the now famous "Guinea Pig Club"). After treatment I was put in front of a special medical board which I passed with flying colours returning to flying duties with the Empire Navigation School at Shawbury in May 1945. There I flew as F/E on Mk111 Halifaxes taking advanced navigators to Gibraltar and various other stations untli I was de-mobbed later that year.
After the war, I made a living as a skilled Jig Borer and tool maker, and have led a full life all thanks to the skill of Sir Archibald".
Alan married his childhood sweetheart and has two sons, one is now a dental surgeon, the other a chartered engineer. he is an active member of the Guinea Pig Club and a proud member of the 49 Squadron Association who ,in turn, are very proud to have such a member.
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