My wife’s hobby is photography and she specialises in a particular photographic printmaking process called “Bromoil”.
In the club she goes to, a few years ago, she met a gentleman who had stepped right out of the pages of history:
Here he is, busy Bromoiling:
This pleasant old gentleman was called Len Dorricott and he had been a navigator in Bomber Command during World War II:
He had flown with 576 Squadron, 61 Squadron, 81 Squadron and 460 Squadron who were members of the RAAF. The latter squadron’s losses were almost unbelievable. 1018 aircrew (589 of whom were Australian) were killed and 181 aircraft were destroyed. Here’s their badge:
With them, Len flew 29 missions, a substantial number of them in the famous G for George, the Lancaster which in 1945 was flown to Australia by an all-RAAF crew of Bomber Command veterans and is now preserved at the Australian War Memorial (AWM) in Canberra:
Here are the three squadron letters, just in case you think that in the photograph above, it’s AB-C :
G-George flew 90 missions over hostile territory, but this famous aircraft did not ever lose a single member of its crew, even though thirty of them were eventually killed in other aircraft:
When he was with 576 Squadron, Len Dorricott also flew in Operation Manna in May 1945, He went from RAF Fiskerton to the Netherlands where he dropped bread and other food to the starving Dutch population:
Len said later:
“It began as just another mission but it turned into something very special. The fact that it was daylight and we were flying so low meant we literally had a bird’s-eye view. I saw a German soldier, walking in the street with his rifle over his shoulder, looking up at us. The best thing of all was seeing the people on rooftops waving at us with anything they could. It was a marvellous feeling, the best thing I did in the war. I will always feel proud of that.”
Len lived to be 91 years old.