Battle Order 204

Christobel Mattingley Lincoln Minster

This is the story of an ordinary young Australian whose ambition to fly took him halfway round the globe during World War II ? and the fateful mission when his plane was hit three times.

'Bomb doors open'.  This was the call that haunted airmen's dreams. On the morning of the 29th November 1944 David and his crew woke to find themselves on Battle Order No 204. It was a daylight offensive, a Royal Airforce sortie of 294 Bomber Command Lancasters and 17 Mosquitoes heading for the Ruhr, Germany's industrial heartland, the dreaded happy valley, as it had been dubbed by the airmen.  Today bomb doors would be opening over Dortmund.

David was a Lancaster pilot and this was his 23rd operation in 10 weeks. Only seven more journeys into hell after this one and he would have completed his first tour of duty.

Then, thank God, he would be due for leave.

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