Warrant Officer Gordon Catling

Master Aircrew B G Catling

Born 28th May 1925.

On leaving school Gordon became an apprentice butcher, but soon decide he wanted a change and lying about his age he became a messenger for the Fire Service, becoming a despatch rider.

Keen to Join the RAF he again lied about his age in trying to join but was found out, eventually joining in December 1943.


Air Crew Reception Centre



Air Gunnery School, Thorney Island

14 OTU, Market Harborough

HCU, Swinderby

5 LFS, Syerston

Joined 50 Squadron 2nd November 1944.



Crew:              Pilot                 F/O W Danyluk

                        F. Eng             Sgt J Craig

                        Nav                 Sgt J Tyce

                        B.A.                 Sgt C Robinson

                        WOP.              Sgt GG Robinson

                        MUG               Sgt J Bridger DFM

                        RG.                 Sgt G Catling


Night Op.         Daylight Op

  1.      16/11/1944                 Duren              Lanc1 NF922 VN-U
  2. 21-22/11/1944                 Ladbergen       Lanc 1 NF922 VN-U
  3. 22-23/11/1944                 Trondheim       Lanc 3 LM676 VN-W
  4. 26-27/11/1944                 Munich            Lanc 3 LM676 VN-W
  5. 17-18/11/1944                 Munich            Lanc 1 NG127 VN-D
  6. 18-19/12/1944                 Gydnia            Lanc 1 NF922 VN-U
  7. 27-28/12/1944                 Rheydt            Lanc 1 NF922 VN-U
  8.      01/01/1945                 Ladbergen       Lanc 1 NG177 VN-L
  9.      04/01/1945                 Royan             Lanc 1 NF922 VN-U
  10.      05/01/1945                 Houfalize         Lanc 1 NF922 VN-U
  11. 07-08/01/1945                 Munich            Lanc1 NG271 VN-?
  12. 13-14/01/1945                 Politz               Lanc 1 NG271 VN-?
  13. 01-02/02/1945                 Seigen             Lanc 1 SW253 VN-?
  14. 07-08/02/1945                 Ladbergen       Lanc 1 NG385 VN-P
  15. 08-09/02/1945                 Politz               Lanc1 SW262 VN-G
  16. 13-14/02/1945                 Dresden          Lanc1 NF922  VN-U
  17. 14-15/02/1945                 Rositz              Lanc 1 NF922 VN-U
  18. 19-20/02/1945                 Bohlen             Lanc 1 NF922 VN-U
  19.      21/02/1945                 Gravenhorst    Lanc 1 NG271 VN-?
  20.      24/02/1945                 Ladbergen       Lanc 3 ME429 VN ?
  21.      12/03/1945                 Dortmund        Lanc 1 NF918 VN-N
  22. 14-15/03/1945                 Lutzkendorf     Lanc 3 ME441 VN-W
  23. 16-17/03/1945                 Wurzburg        Lanc 3 ME441 VN-W
  24.      22/03/1945                 Bremen           Lanc 3 ME429 VN-?
  25.      27/03/1945                 Farge               Lanc 1 LM296 VN-T
  26.      04/04/1945                 Nordhausen    Lanc 1 PB739 VN-?
  27. 07-08/04/1945                 Molbis              Lanc 1 PB739 VN-?
  28.      09/04/1945                 Hamburg         Lanc 3 ME139 VN-?


Excerpt from Gordons interview with IBCC.

And one or two things did happen to us when we were doing a tour the first bad thing that happened to us was when we were going to Munich and the route to Munich used to be through Southern France then over the Alps then towards Munich we were flying in F for Freddy and in the middle of the going over the Alps the aircraft lost power and we stalled and of course instead of flying over we flew through them we didn’t carry on the skipper returned to base and we landed at Bardney, still with a four thousand pounder on board, the next thing that happened to us was at we were bombing Politz. I think Politz [unclear] and as we were leaving the target coming out there was a terrific bang we had been hit by a shell and um the intercom all went everything went the call light in the rear turret just flashed on and off and I thought that was the letter P which means parachute I was just getting myself ready to jump out of the aircraft when the bomb aimer came down and sought to see if I was all right at the end we got back from that all right, the next really bad thing we had was on 1st February 1944 we were briefed upon a placed called Seele[?] and approximately seven o’clock night when we were just on our bombing run the rear upper gunner actually looked up and saw a bomb bay open on the aircraft above a bomb bay open with all the bombs on and he just shouted at skipper ‘Christ dive to port to port skipper’ and the cookie [?] [unclear] missed us but the incendiaries hit the side of the aircraft. And the aircraft was um a lot of incendiaries went off and they caught fire so the mid upper gunner and the wireless operator used the extinguishers and also threw the bombs out of the aircraft ‘cos all the side of the aircraft was ripped open the rear doors gone the [unclear] gone as well and that’s what they done and  I was looking up at the fuselage ‘cos my turret was US and ‘cos we’d lost and engine and the doors had gone and I looked up and saw something burning just outside the turret so I climbed out a bit got hold of it that was a couple of incendiaries threw them out the door just managed to get hold of them the end that wasn’t burning got back to the turret and I operated the turret by hand for the next three hours before we landed at a place called Horsham St. Faith in Norfolk just outside Norwich which was the B24 station after being there for three days we returned to Skellingthorpe and we assumed operations again nothing really happened to us much I know towards the end of tour we were I forget what town it was now we were attacked by Messerschmitt 262s but they were so fast we just couldn’t do much about it, I enjoyed the life and we had a good crew in fact the best crew in the world I am the only survivor and I would never would say I wouldn’t missed it but wouldn’t missed it but I did, you know, felt I had done something.

Gordon in his office