By John Watson


No one who flew as aircrew in RAF Bomber Command during the SecondWorld War could possibly have been unaware of the groundcrew who looked after the plane that he flew in - "their" plane they used to consider it to be because, if anything, they took even more pride in "their" plane than did the aircrew who normally flew in it,despite the fact that the aircrew always considered the plane they normally flew in to be the best plane in the flight. But as for those devoted groundcrew...they always seemed to be out there, be it dawn or dusk, rain or shine, whenever we aircrew "went out at dispersal". No doubt the compelling requirements of RAF Form 500 required this constant attention from the groundcrew to the plane, but they always seemed to put more than just the minimum into their duties. We aircrew soon learned that we could rely on the groundcrew to keep us flying without mishap.

It therefore aroused considerable emotion in me recently when I was invited to write the foreword to this remarkable labour of devotion by a one-time member of the groundcrew. This volume has been completed by Sergeant

John Watson, a one-time member of ground-crew (not of aircrew), who was a Fitter 11e in A flight, 460 Squadron (RAAF), from mid 1942 to the end of 1944 - his unexpected role is therefore as remarkable as it is meritorious. As a result of his labours, John has been able to identify every single flight on operations made by every single member of aircrew in the Squadron - an invaluable reference book for any future historian.

John's information is most carefully arranged and cross-indexed, so that it is easy to identify each member of aircrew, be he pilot or wireless operator, navigator or rear gunner, and to follow his entire operational flying career in the squadron. I have put the book to the acid test : I have traced my own flying career in the squadron, from May 1942 until we were shot down over Holland in January 1943, without any mistake. John's book confirms exactly the details of the crew and the flight that we had made together as I had entered them into my own pilot's log book the morning after each operational sortie.

S/Ldr R B Osborn, DSO DFC,
One-time Flight Commander of A Flight,
460 Squadron (RAAF).


460 Squadron (RAAF) - Pilots and Crews
by John Watson


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This page first produced 11 June 2000

This page last updated 18 February 2020