Raid on Koenigsberg raid scrapped: 27 April 1943

By Arthur Hoyle

Without any respite from our recent frightening experience (Raid on Essen, 26th April 1943), we were briefed for a raid on Koenigsberg, capital of East Prussia. With the briefing over we trooped to the mess for our "operational meal" where the men usually tried, to cover their fears, which they were unable to admit, with laughter and banter. We had reached our planes with some motors already ticking over when the order came through to stand by for one hour. After one hour the raid was scrubbed on account of the weather expected on the return.

Emotionally and physically geared up for the operation we retired to the mess to while away time before retiring. Suddenly there were two explosions in quick succession. Outside we could see the glow from our C Flight dispersal area where the planes were standing fully bombed up. We soon discovered our aircraft had been loaded with delayed action high explosive bombs set to go off four hours after they were dropped. The armourer who had loaded them had been careless and had broken one of the delayed action capsules, setting the fuse in train. If we had set off on the raid, somewhere over the North Sea the bomb would have exploded and we would have been killed instantly. The armourer was court–marshalled and given a long sentence in a military prison".

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