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15 October 2014
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A Night Before a Bombing Raid: A WAAF at RAF Millingthorpeicon for Recommended story

by Dundee Central Library

Contributed by 
Dundee Central Library
People in story: 
Sheilah Cruickshank, Sheilah Lundie, Sheila Wearmouth
Location of story: 
Background to story: 
Royal Air Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
25 June 2004

One night at R.A.F. Millingthorpe a bombing raid over Germany had been planned. There were usually some hours to put in before the planes took off. The custom at R.A.F. bomber stations, to bring good luck for the raid, was that the Officers' Mess constantly played "The Shrine of Saint Cecilia". The Sergeants' Mess played a different "lucky" tune. The unfortunate officer who broke "The Shrine" was soundly dressed down by the Group Captain and sent forthwith to Lincoln to buy another copy.

That night, Flying Officer Ron B had a personable girl beside him but it might as well have been a dog or a bicycle, for all he did was talk. And what did he talk about ? His wife ! — the colour of her hair, her laughter, their shared love of books, how she felt, how she responded to him, the plans they had made together. After a couple of hours we strolled in the gathering darkness and still he talked, until I felt I knew this girl as if she lived next door.

We eventually returned to the Mess, to the sound of "Saint Cecilia". He went off to be crucified and I went to make sure that supplies and staff were in readiness for the middle-of- the-night return feast of bacon and eggs.

We went out. I watched the lumbering shape of the Lancasters as they thundered down the runway. But his plane did not return. He was killed that night.

Sheilah Cruickshank via Dundee Central Library

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Posted on: 26 June 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Sheilah

I really enjoyed reading your contributions and was very moved by the the second one.

I live in Lincoln and I often hear the only fully functional Lancaster passing overhead. It is part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight stationed at RAF Coningsby, always a thrilling sight and sound.

Best regards <cheerup>,




Posted on: 14 September 2004 by Dundee Central Library


I have forwarded your message to Sheilah and you may receive a reply in due course.


David Kett

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Women's Auxiliary Air Force Category
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