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Some of My Wartime Experiences By Bob Turk

by egertontelecottage

Contributed by 
egertontelecottage
People in story: 
Bob Turk
Location of story: 
Egerton, Kent; RAF Wyton; Jessore
Background to story: 
Royal Air Force
Article ID: 
A3649485
Contributed on: 
10 February 2005

This story was submitted to the People's War site by Viv Foulds of Egerton Telecottage on behalf of Bob Turk and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions

I remember I was working in my parents hay fields at Dark Hill Farm, Egerton in Kent in July 1940 when my call up papers for the RAF came through. The following week my father took me to Charing railway station on his horse and cart. I got on a train to London to join up and be kitted out in uniform. From there I went by train to Uxbridge for my medical.
After I had passed the medical and the necessary fitness tests I was posted to Bridgnorth in Shropshire. I spent time there drill training before being posted to RAF Wyton for aircraft duties on a bomber squadron. The squadron had Wellington (nicknamed Wimpys) and Sterling bombers. I had my first flights in these planes.
After that I got my posting to the Far East and was sent to Liverpool where I boarded the troop ship Andes. Our route took us around The Cape as the waters were deemed too dangerous because of submarine attacks in the Mediterranean. On the way we stopped off in Durban before setting off for a Bombay transit camp in India and then onto Jessore in East Bengal (now called Bangladesh).
In Jessore I performed duties as an RAF Physical Training Instructor (PTI). I was posted to various squadrons stationed in South East Asia. As well PTI duties, I was involved in a variety of disciplinary work (drilling the men etc). I remember helping to lay flare paths called 'Goose Necks' for the Bombers to see to land at night. These were not electric field lights but water cans filled with kerosene with a wick leading out of the spout which was then lit. Towards the latter part of the war I did some flying as an air gunner.
In September 1945 just after the war had ended, I flew in a Liberator from Karachi in Pakistan to Tripoli in Libya. It was a unique time and I slept in the desert sands for three nights. I also visited Jerusalem and remember seeing the Wailing Wall and the Gardens of Gethsemane.
Finally back in Tripoli, I boarded a Liberator Bomber to return to England . I remember sitting in the cockpit with the pilot, who gave me a flying lesson letting me take control for a short time whilst over Italy and France.
In England we flew over Lenham right up the Victoria Railway line to Oakington, Cambridgeshire. Whilst flying over Lenham I saw Boyds the farmers were self binding the cornfields near the Lenham Cross. It was wonderful to see England again after nearly four years away. I was then posted to Uxbridge where I became a drill Sergeant for about a month before being demobbed at the end of the war.
My father and mother were now living near the station at The Grove in Pluckley. They had been moved out of Dark Hill Farm as the land was used as a runway by the Canadian Air force during the war.
These are just a few of my wartime memories and I hope you have enjoyed reading them.

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