Lancaster Pilot Russell “Rusty” waughman 101 Special Squadron
Having completed yet another sortie, the crew of 101 Sqn Special Operations Lancaster SR-W, piloted by Flt Lt Rusty Waughman, are about to commence the long and hazardous journey back to their base at Ludford Magna, Lincolnshire.
Volunteered for the RAF in 1941. After training in Canada, he qualified as a heavy bomber pilot. In November 1943 he was posted to No.101 (Special Duties) Squadron at Ludford Magna. He completed a tour of operations, which began during the Battle of Berlin, where they did several operations. Surviving a mid-air collision, only to write the aircraft off on landing, Rusty and his crew on a subsequent flight had a miraculous escape when their aircraft was blown upside down, over the target, at Mailly-le-Camp; they also survived the Nuremberg raid on 30th March 1944, when 97 aircraft were lost - including about one quarter of 101 Sqn strength that night.
By the spring of 1945, Germanys once all-conquering submarine fleet, driven by allied forces from its bases in estern France, had fled to the relative safety of the Norwegian fjords - territory still remaining under German occupation since 1940. In one of Hitlers last stands, more than 100 U-Boats, merchant freighters, flakships, and other military vessels were hathered in the narrow fjords, laying up by day and sailing undercover of darkness. They were a menace that had to be dealt with. Tasked with the difficult job of eliminating this force were the Beaufighters and Mosquitos of RAF Coastal Commands Strike Wings based in Scotland. - Our job was to go after this shipping and sink it - recalled Wing Commader Colin Milson, C.O. of No. 455s Beaufighters. - The fjords were often just 200 - 300 yards across with cliffs rising vertically up 2000 feet, the deep water allowing the German shipping to get in beneath these high overhanging cliffs. This made for difficult and dangerous flying, exacerbated by the heavy flak and machine gun fire that always welcomed us.