Edgar Pickles DFC, former Bomber Command crew member, interviewed by Group Captain Cedric Parker

Accession Number AWM2018.12.1
Collection type Film
Object type Interview
Physical description Pro Res 1920 x 1080p
Maker Pickles, Edgar Lewis
Parker, Cedric
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 20 February 2018
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided subject to permission from copyright holder
Source credit to AWM Oral History Program

Edgar Pickles discusses his early life, schooling and family in the Depression period in rural Victoria. He joined the 8th Australian Light Horse and recounts some incidents from that time including a stint in the Geelong City Watch-house. In 1940, Edgar joined the Air Force Reserves with a friend, and undertook pilot training later that same year. He recounts experiences relating to: training officers, uniforms and solo flights; flying Ansons and Tigers; flight instructors; nature of security and punishment for infraction by demotion; transport to UK via New Zealand, and picking up survivors of a ship wreck along the way; being part of a convoy under attack by German submarine; arrival in England; flying various aircraft including the Oxford, Halifax , Lancaster and Wellington; flying over Paris; being posted to 100 Squadron, and being the only Australian in a Lancaster crew; sortie to Czechoslovakia for the Skoda works in Pilsen; mission to Dortmund and being fired on; nature of life on a RAF station; rest and recreation; how to know when you were about to go on 'ops', by picking up the telephone; food and rationing; attrition rates; operational tempo, and insufficient time to attend funerals; nature of pre-mission briefings; challenges such as weather, mid air collisions and anti-aircraft fire; the Hamburg mission for which Cedric was awarded the DFC which involved diving the aircraft to lose an enemy plane: 'If you see a fighter, don't worry about how you were taught to push forward gently and go into a dive slam the stick forward, put everybody on the roof, but get down!'. He also discusses the loss of two of his crew, and arrival back to the UK with the damaged plane. Cedric goes on describe the presentation of the DFC by King George. Other topics covered include types of radio sets, the British ' Darkie System' for communications when flying over cloud, flying a Lincoln to Australia; the end of the war in Europe, and his 2012 trip to the RAF Bomber Command Memorial in the UK.

A transcript is available.

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