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Old 14-09-2017, 11:11 AM
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Lightbulb Bob the first three years

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Old 15-09-2017, 10:08 PM
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Story told by Bob himself, Timbo and Holly



Yes it was me Bob, want to know how it all got started, we look back on my life over the years, first let my introduce you to the family, the Harpers and the Mannings and to my Gran Violet and Grandad George Meredith.













The Harper's, my Gran Violet Lilian Harper top right



The Meredith's my Mum bottom right a little girl



Great Aunt Carrie




Violet and George Meredith my Gran and Grandad

First lets take a look at my Mother and Father in world war 2

Coming soon Bob, my life from 1951 to 1960
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Old 01-09-2018, 05:09 PM
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cool thanks for posting can't wait to read more.

carlys_guy
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:34 PM
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Happy you like it there will be lots more to come.
Holly
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:45 PM
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Now this will be interesting !
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Old 13-09-2018, 12:34 PM
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Thanks everyone, here we will look at my Mum and Dad in world war two, it's an amazing story do enjoy

First lets take a look at my Mother and Father in world war 2





My Farther Gibby as he was known, Flight Sargent HC Gibbins 942427-214 Squadron wireless operator in Wellington Bombers

The video you are about to see is a close reconstruction of what my Farther Gibby may have encountered in a Wellington bomber over the Mediterranean in an air attack in witch the plane was shot down.



They were shot down and my Farther was taken prisoner of war, I know he had a very hard time of it, here is his own story in his own words, told at Madley Young Farmers and recorded by a reporter at Hereford Times

Pilgrimage to Algeria, raid 28

The scene is Madley Parish Hall, but it could have been any Parish Hall in the county with Queen Mary gazing regally down, stacked and up turned tables forming the background and many Young Farmers sat around to hear the speaker.
The occasion is a meeting of young farmers the speaker has walked across the road from his home to show a travel film he shot on holiday, it could not thus far be more predictable.
But then the speaker says "Before I show you this film, I want to tell you the story behind it....."
And there the ordinariness stopped, for suddenly those young people, were hearing something quite extraordinary.

They were hearing how there village electrician and radio and television dealer, Horace Charles Gibbins, known to them all as "Gibby"



had parachuted from a on fire Wellington bomber into an Algerian wood, how he had been taken to see the dying pilot of his plane........how he had vowed, when denied the opportunity of attending the pilots funeral, to return to Algeria some day to pay his respects to "one of the best men who ever lived".
His "travel film" was the pictorial record of the vow he made at the time and did 25 years later.
For 16 years Mr Gibbins paid monthly instalments on an insurance policy to make the trip possible.

But first, his story witch must be parallel for some time that of many young wartime air crew.
A "ham" radio operator in pre-war days, he transferred from the Royal Naval to the RAF Volunteer Reserve just before the war, was called up at once and graduated from Fairey Battles, first to Benheims and then to Wellington Bombers, there were six in the crew-he was radio operator-and together they made 28 raids over Germany.



They new that after 30 operations they would have to be grounded for the rest and probably split up, they wanted to stay together and the only way to do this was volunteer for overseas duty.
They were on their way to Cairo when they were attacked over the Mediterranean, "it was a terrible crash and the port wing fell off and the engine started to come apart, the pilot was having a frantic struggle to keep the plane in the air".
He told us to throw everything out, witch we did, and he said he would try to get over the African coast so we could bale out.
I got in touch with Malta to tell them what had happened.
They said good luck' the rest of the crew baled out, well they were doing this, the pilot told me to go too!!
"What about you? I said" "I'll be all right he said" "but I knew that as soon as he let go the controls the plane would crash, witch it did.

I baled out and landed in a wood in my flying boots and shorts and shirt and just two Woodbines and no matches!!
I Lay low and set off at dawn to find a road.
I met a couple of Arabs and they took me to a French Doctor's home at Le Calle witch is about 450 miles from Algiers.
He gave me coffee and rolls, phoned for the military and they took me to an outpost and locked me up.

France had only recently capitulated-this was July 1940-and I had thought they would be sympathetic to us, but later that day I was taken to see the pilot.
He was laying in a court yard terribly injured.
I took off my shirt and tried to fan the flies off him, then I was forcibly marched away and locked up again, I realized I wasn't in friendly hands.

I was then taken to Bone, where the other four members of the crew were.
That night we were told that the pilot had died, we asked if we could attend his funeral but were told it wasn't possible as we were being taken to Algiers.

As I stood on the station waiting to be taken to Algiers I vowed that if ever I got out of this mess alive, I would return and pay my respects to one of the best Men that ever lived.
He saved our lives by keeping the plane in the air while we got away."

Mr Gibbins was the only one of the five who spoke any French, and requesting a French-English dictionary he rehearsed a sentence asking that the American consul be informed of there plight.

Eventually, a Mr Taft, vice-consul at the US Embassy, came and greeted them with the words. "You Guys have sure got your selves in a right old jam pot."

They were dirty, hungry, ill clad and he arranged two life-saving days of parole for them.
They slept at an English hospital and during the day toured the shops getting clothes and necessities such as toothpaste and so on.

"A member of Mr Taft's staff came with us and just signed chits for everything"

Eventually they had to go back and they were taken 100 miles south to a military base at Aumalle, where there were other British servicemen, "I escaped twice from here and in punishment was given 14 day's in the cells, in witch no daylight ever came in"

Then they were taken 350 miles further south to the Sahara Desert post at Laghouat where the temperature went up to 120 degrees in the shade.



"Here we spent eight months digging an escape tunnel, then, after 18 months imprisonment, British and American troops landed in Algeria and after a three day battle took over and insisted on release of all prisoners."

Gibby's flying log book









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Old 13-09-2018, 12:48 PM
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Old 13-09-2018, 05:24 PM
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The 65 yards escape Tunnel

"Mr Gibbins told us the main event on there arrival at Laghouat was the building of an escape tunnel and would be very large, after six months of planning the main feature was the construction of an underground tunnel commencing in the cellar in one of the buildings, going down 7ft and to pass beneath the barbed wire and wall beyond".

The prisoners dug what they believe to be the longest escape tunnel from a prisoner of war camp, it was 65 yards long and 7ft down and led out under the barbed wire.



Implements used by the diggers were knives and spoons.

Attempted escape through it was never made, there was much excitement in the camp when news of the Allied landings came through "We went mad said Sergeant Gibbins, and I am afraid it will be some before I do operational flying again, I have seven weeks leave".









I asked Mr Gibbins to tell me about the joy of this release, but the fact is they were by then so weak as a result of inadequate food and the heat, that emotion was almost beyond them.

"I weighed 6 stone 4lbs when I got back and spent 13 weeks in hospital, grounded for good I came to Madley as radio instructor at RAF Madley till the end of the war".



RAF Madley Radio School was acquired at the end of 1940 in response to a need for training bases away from the threat of German bombers. Entering operation whilst still under construction the 3.5 square mile site, one of the largest RAF bases in Britain, was soon providing training for both Ground and Air crew. The main courses were in Morse and Wireless operation, in flight practice being carried out in Dominie and Proctor aircraft. The base also developed a mountain rescue unit to retrieve crashed and downed crews in the Brecon Beacons and elsewhere. But training covered a multitude of other areas too, such as surviving ditching at sea, jungle warfare, street fighting, how to escape if captured and much besides.

Madley was visited by General George S Patton Junior on June 3rd 1944, and in 1946 Hitler’s deputy, Rudolph Hess, arrived there secretly to board a flight for Nurembourg to stand trial for war crimes. Hess had been held as a prisoner of war near Abergavenny - reputedly at Pen-y-Fal Mental Hospital - since 1941.
The RAF closed the Signal School and Airfield at Madley in the 1950's leaving the site to revert to farmland, market gardening and light industrial units.

"Well at the training school here at Madley, Gibby met my Mother Grenaver Meredith, and married after returning from prisoner of war".



"But my Father knew he had to go back to fulfill that vow, it prayed on his mind"

"When eventually the Algerian war was over I made arrangements-everything first class this time!!"

He flew by Caravelle to Algiers, stayed in a splendid hotel in a suite with it's own balcony and then made his pilgrimage to every stage of that journey of 25 years ago.
The French Doctor had gone, but there was a clerk at the Embassy who had known him; he photographed the barred windows of the military head-quarters where he had been imprisoned and with the efficient help of the War Graves Commission



Found the well-kept cemetery and grave of his friend Sergeant Mount.
He filmed it all.

His Mission was completed, his vow was fulfilled and he came home......at peace.


War Trial opens in Algiers


On the 17th of February horrible stories were told by former prisoners of brutality of camp guards.

Spaniards, French, Poles, Germans and Austrians, who had served the Foreign Legion in France in the first year of the war, as well as men who were now serving in the British Pioneer Corps, gave eye-witness accounts of victims being beaten by clubs forced to eat grass and raw snakes, kicked in the face as they lay dying, being given quantities of salt water to drink and then left in the compound under the blazing sun until thirst nearly drove them to madness

In summing up these acts of cruelty, the public prosecutor, Colonel Faure, described the scenes as "surpassing the worst legends of Devil's Island".

Court's Sentences

The dock was empty on the final day of the trial when the judges returned after taking four hours to reach the verdicts.

In the absence of 11 accused men the court heard the death sentence passed on four of the camps jailers

The first to be condemned to die was Lieutenant Xavier Santucci, who was in charge of the camp, and the man who frequently boasted "Here I am master of life and death"

Next to be sentenced was Sergeant-Major Jean Baptiste Finidori, best described as "the personification of the fiction brute of the French Foreign Legion"

The third to be sentenced was Dauphin, the camp quartermater who often took a hand in the beatings, and the fourth man was a German-born French Legion-naire Otto Riep the beater-in-chief.
Sentences to penal servitude for life were passed on Ansen Dourmenoff, a Russian, and Liuet-Colonel Raymond Vociot, area Commandant for the camps in the Colomb Bechar district.
Other Sentences were 20 years hard labour for two of the jailers and 10 years' imprisonment for two more camp supervisors.
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Old 13-09-2018, 06:48 PM
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[B][I][SIZE="5"]














Bob's uncle Ted, Edward G Meredith, Married Dewchurch Church with Gaurd on Honour, Lancaster Bomber Command, Pathfinder Navigator

The Pathfinders were target-marking squadrons in RAF Bomber Command during World War II. They located and marked targets with flares, which a main bomber force could aim at, increasing the accuracy of their bombing. The Pathfinders were normally the first to receive new blind bombing aids like Gee, Oboe and the H2S radar.

The early Pathfinder Force squadrons was expanded to become a group, No. 8 (Pathfinder Force) Group in January 1943. The initial Pathfinder Force was five squadrons, while No. 8 Group ultimately grew to a strength of 19 squadrons. While the majority of Pathfinder squadrons and personnel were from the Royal Air Force, the group also included many from the air forces of other Commonwealth countries.

At the start of the war in September 1939, RAF Bomber Command's doctrine was based on tight formations of heavily armed bombers attacking during daylight and fending off attacks by fighters with their defensive guns. In early missions over France and the Low Countries there was no clear outcome regarding the success of the bomber's guns: the Luftwaffe lacked widespread radar so their interception efforts were disorganized.

On 18 December 1939, a raid by three squadrons of Vickers Wellington targeting ships in the Heligoland Bight was detected on an experimental Freya radar long before it reached the target area. The British bomber force was met by German fighters which shot down 10 of the 22 bombers, with another two crashing in the sea and three more written-off on landing. The Luftwaffe lost only two fighters in return.

Although the causes for this disastrous outcome were heavily debated, it became clear that bomber forces could no longer defend themselves on their own. Bombing raids either needed to have fighter escort, which was difficult given the limited range of the fighters available at the time, or attacks had to be made at night when the enemy fighters could not see them.

In the era before the widespread use of radar and the techniques needed to guide fighters to their targets with radar, night bombing would render the bombers vulnerable only if they were picked up by searchlights, a relatively rare occurrence.

Offsetting the advantages of night bombing was the understanding that identifying the targets and attacking them accurately would be much more difficult. This meant a night bomber force was only useful against very large targets, like cities, and was one of the reasons daylight bombing was considered.

The Germans had also studied this problem and had invested considerable effort in radio navigation techniques to address this, demonstrating a standard of bombing accuracy during the night raids that daylight forces found difficult. The RAF lacked similar navigation systems, having ignored their development for a number of years, and relied almost entirely on dead reckoning and optical instruments such as the Course Setting Bomb Sight. In limited visibility conditions or when the target did not have a clearly distinguishing landmark, accurate bombing was very difficult.

Bomber Command pressed ahead with a night bombing campaign starting in 1940. Bomber crews reported good results, turning for home if they lost their way or could not find the target due to weather, and pressing on only if they felt confident they could identify the target with certainty. However, it was not long before reports started reaching the UK from observers on the ground reporting that the bombers were never even heard over the targets, let alone dropping their bombs nearby. At first these reports were dismissed, but as other branches of the UK armed forces complained, a report was commissioned to answer the question.

The result was the Butt Report of 18 August 1941, which noted that by the time the aircraft reached the Ruhr, only one in 10 ever flew within five miles of its target. Half of all the bombs carried into combat and dropped—many returned undropped—fell in open country. Only 1% of all the bombs were even in the vicinity of the target. Clearly something had to be done to address this or, as the other forces suggested, the strategic campaign should simply be dropped.

Around this time Frederick Lindemann wrote an infamous report on dehousing, suggesting that the bomber force be directed against German urban areas, destroying as many houses as possible and thus rendering the German workforce unable to work effectively. Accepting the recommendations of Lindemann's report after intense debate, the British began planning a major offensive starting in the spring of 1942 with the express aim of destroying German cities.



Also, by 1940 the British had started development of a number of night navigation aids, and were already testing the Gee hyperbolic navigation system on combat missions. These would be available in quantity in early 1942, just as the first of the new heavy bombers, the Avro Lancaster and Handley Page Halifax, would be arriving in quantity. These technological developments dovetailed with the policy changes influenced by Lindemann's report.
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Old 13-09-2018, 06:48 PM
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Coming soon Bob, my life from 1951 to 1960
My life from 1960 to 1970
My life from 1970 to 1980
My life from 1980 to 1990


Up next this Monday 9pm The Meredith and the Gibbins Family
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