Play / pause Take Off

Take Off

  • Benny Goodman


We were briefed eventually for the Tirpitz.

We were going up to Lossiemouth as a forward base.

And refuel there and a meal before, well rest before

and a meal and then about midnight or 1:00 in the morning

take off was scheduled, it was,

its almost as if the scene was made for a film

because it was a dark night, low clouds, and raining.

And we were all lined up around the perimeter track

of course there was no RT communication it was forbidden

and when you got a green signal you moved off.

Round the pay track onto the runway for takeoff.

Now the briefing was we flew individually

to the rendezvous point of Norway

and we were supposed to arrive there

at daybreak and make this rendezvous point

and form into a gaggle and approach the Tirpitz

from a point where they would never expect

one to, aircraft to be.

So we understood that and we were,

my aircraft was lightened up waiting for takeoff

and suddenly my flight engineer nudged me

and said well he didn't say anything, went like this

and looked up and there coming towards us

I know this sounds like a film, but it wasn't.

Coming towards us was a huge Lancaster undercarriage down

and I thought this is it, it's going to hit us.

Of course it was very low it had just got in the air.

Very low, and it swung off the runway

and coming straight towards us.

And I just sat there thinking there is absolutely

nothing I can do or anybody else.

We are now about to meet our makers, our maker we are.

But through sheer good airman ship on the part

of Turney Iverson who was flying the aircraft

and his flight engineer Des Phillips I think it was yes

they got the aircraft straight and just over the top

and I mean just over the top of the Lancaster we were in

I and the crew were in.

Not a very good start to a trip

with about five hours over the sea at night

and then making a rendezvous in Norway

in an effort to form up and bomb the Tirpitz.

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