Play / pause Emergency Landing

Emergency Landing

  • Maurice Bennet
  • Interview by: Jess Boydon


We were coming back from Nuremberg

and it's a long flight.

And we were approaching the English Channel.

We'd been airborne for about nine hours

and my flight engineer with his great sense of humor,

he said, "Skipper, I don't want to worry you

"but we've only got about 10 minutes fuel left."


So, now there was a procedure

in those war years.

Every control tower had a frequency set aside

for aircraft that had a problem.

So, my wireless operator tuned into that frequency

so I was able to transmit.

The procedure was you called Darkie.

So, you pressed the transmitter and said, "Darkie,

"Darkie, Darkie."

And back came the response, "Hello Darkie. (coughs)

"This is Westmorland.

"How can we help?"

So, I said, "Well, you can help

"because I've got about 10 minutes fuel

"and we need to land."

So, they came back and said, "Right.

"We've switched the glim lights on."

It was a fighter command.

They didn't have a tarmac runway.

It was steel mesh on the grass.

It had glim lights so, they switched on the glim lights

and we could see them down there.

So, we came in to land and I appreciated

that I either got it right the first time or that was it

cause we didn't have enough fuel to go round again.

So, the technique is you approach the end

of the landing area

with your speed

just above stalling point.

The Halifax would stall out at about 100 miles an hour

so you approached at 110 so it had to be exact.

So, we did that and as you come over the threshold

of the landing strip, pull back the throttles

and it would stall.

And I got it right the first time.


  • 78 Squadron, 1941

    © RAF Museum

  • Favourite

    You have to be logged in to use favourites.

  • Report

Back to search results

More RAF Stories

Please note our website uses cookies to improve your experience. I understand. For more information see Privacy Notice & Cookies