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WW2 Rhodie bomber command

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WW2 Rhodie bomber command

Old 5th Aug 2003, 03:41
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Below a WW2 recollection of a book that will come well recomended.

by William Dives. D.F.C.

Km-Q on a mine laying mission over Oslo Fjord.

( A Review by Ian McLellan )

In these memoirs of his early life and wartime RAF service William ( Bill) Dives takes us back in time into two different worlds, both now so far away: pre-war colonial life in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and the perilous existence of a Lancaster pilot during the second world war.

Bill’s father held a post as Native Commissioner in the north west of the country. It was in the remote bush, or “ bundu”, country that Bill was born and from where he and his elder sister were taken by their parents on working safaris hence the “Bundu Boy” in the title. Sadly their father died from cancer while the children were young. Their mother moved to Salisbury to find work. Whilst there she met and married a doctor recently divorced. They had a daughter and all three children attended schools in Salisbury.

At school he proved to be a natural sportsman although a reluctant academic. He excelled at swimming, cricket, and rugby. He took every opportunity to indulge his love of sport in his later Royal Air Force service.

The carefree, pre-war colonial life of a schoolboy in Southern Rhodesia was brought to an abrupt end as the sirens of war in the Northern Hemisphere summoned the scattered youth around the world to come to the aid of the mother country.

From this point the book regularly outlines the development of the second world war enabling the reader to understand how it’s units’ activities fitted into the overall picture.

In the spring of 1942 at the age of 18 he was accepted into the RAF in Rhodesia for pilot training. In June 1943, having qualified as a fighter pilot and given the rank of Sgt./Pilot, along with many other Rhodesians had enlisted, he was posted to England.

On arrival in England he learned that there was now a heavy demand for bomber pilots and that he was to be put on a conversion course for multi-engined aircraft. During training he selected his six-man crew and on completion, now a Pilot Officer, was posted to No. 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron partially manned by fellow Rhodesians.

During the eight months from August 1944 to March 1945 Bill and his crew complete thirty-six missions. Following the regular thirty they volunteered for the extra six! Drawing on details from his wartime logbooks he takes us through these missions that range from the French coast to the Baltic Sea and deep into the industrial heartland of Germany. The targets were many and varied including airfields; factories; communication centres; marshalling yards; canals; troop concentration areas and among others included the hazardous exercise of mine laying off the German and Norwegian coasts. After the euphoria of a successful raid would come the fear for the next operation where once again they would be called upon to face a terrifying mixture of flak; night fighters and the inevitable collisions that occurred when hundreds of aircraft were being directed on to the same target area by night. For those with a mathematical turn of mind the odds of survival were frighteningly small. Bill’s final mission (the 36th) was a 1000 bomber raid on Essen on the 12th of March 1945 this was a few weeks before his 21st birthday. He had brought home his crew safely home for the last time.

Not long afterwards the war ended and he was demobbed. Returning to Rhodesia thoughts of those close friends who would never return cast a heavy cloud over what should have been such an exhilarating occasion. There would inevitably be a period of readjustment- but first of all he must learn to drive a motor car!

How to Order the Book

Visit the Trafford Website on http://www.trafford.com
Enter the Book Store shown on the home page.
On the top bar click on the the Search Desk.
In the 1st box type; A Bundu Boy in Bomber Command (If some one can not
remember the name of the book type William Dives in the second box)
Click on Search
That should bring up, A full ref card including ADD THIS TO MY SHOPPING
But before doing that click on Read More
To see a picture of the cover, a description of the story, About the
Author, and an Excerpts from the book.
Scroll up to the top to Add to your basket and click.
The next page will show the price of the book US$ 25.95
look for the frame Where will we be shipping to?
Select your country by clicking on the drop down arrow of the Outside US/
Canada box.
Click on ; Select Shipping Method
This will give some options : the cheapest is INT Postal Surface but not
the quickest How ever it should only take about 7 days The cost to Europe
is about US$ 9.62.
A total of about £ 20 at present exchange rates.
If that is acceptable click on I AM READY TO PAY
Fill in ; Shipping Address Details
" " Billing " "
Choose your method i.e Credit Card,: Cheque P.Order
Note P.O. can be faxed to Order Desk 1-250-383- 6804
The Order Desk telephone No. is 1-888-232-4444
Toll free ???? ( probably only in America)
Trafford On Line Publishers
Address is
Suite 6E 2333 Government St.,
Victoria, B.C. V8T 4P4

About the Author

Born 22nd March 1924 at Que Que (now called Kwe Kwe) Southern Rhodesia ( now called Zimbabwe.)

Raised and educated in Salisbury (Harare) Represented Rhodesian Nuffield Cricket in 1942.

Joined the Royal Air Force May 1942 and qualified to wear the flying badge March 15th 1943.

Trained on N.American Harvard.

Posted to England July 1943.

Converted to multi-engine aircraft. Wellington, Stirling, and Lancaster.

Posted to No 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron R.A.F. No 5 Group Bomber Command August 25th 1944 with seven English crew members. Together they completed 36 missions over France Germany and the Baltic Sea.

Demobilized in October 1945.

Entered Witwatersrand University 1946 to study Agriculture.

Joined the Southern Rhodesia Civil Service and Married June 1949.

First son born February 1950

Returned to an aviation career with Central African Airways 1951.

Second son born July 1951.

Daughter born November 1952.

Reverted to the agricultural profession 1956.

Divorced 1957.

1959 joined a large fertilizer company as an agronomist (agricultural advisor) and remarried.
After 18 years with the company accepted a managerial post with an American Tobacco company working in Portugal. Transferred the company to the Azores in 1976 and engaged in raising tobacco, for eight years before retiring to live in England in 1983.

As the Zimbabwe Government de-values the Z$ to the £ by over 100% it became necessary to seek employment to supplement the decreasing Zimbabwe pension.

From 1985-1993 six month contracts were made with International Tobacco Companies for consultancy work to improve tobacco quality in China, Thailand and the Philippines.

Second wife died 1999.

Now living permanently in France.

Information on the painting used.

KM- Q our Lancaster on a Mine laying operation over Oslo Fjord painting reproduced from an original painting by Keith Hill by kind permission of Mrs P Kerry the daughter of the Navigator Eric Armitage
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