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© Commonwealth of Australia 2012


This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from the Commonwealth. Requests and enquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to the publications section of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs:
Department of Veterans’ Affairs

GPO Box 9998

CANBERRA ACT 2601

Tel: (02) 6289 1111

Fax: (02) 6289 4849

Email: publications@dva.gov.au


Published by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Canberra.

Written by Glen Sunderland


Information is current at date of publication.
October 2012
Introduction
Bomber Command is the second book in the Australians in World War II series, published by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA). Written by historian Dr Richard Reid, this book focuses on the Australians who flew with the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in Bomber Command and tells the story of their training, their operational lives and their unique experiences following the German surrender.
This educational resource features a brief introductory activity called ‘Getting Started’, followed by six separate activities which use inquiry-based questions to encourage student exploration of Bomber Command during World War II.
Teachers using these materials are encouraged to select specific activities, parts of activities or the broad selection of primary and secondary materials within this learning resource to suit their own purposes.
Many of the visual and written sources included in this resource are taken from Bomber Command. Page numbers are provided for these, to allow students to view larger digital versions in an online photo gallery.
Viewing the Resource Online
http://www.dva.gov.au/aboutDVA/publications/commemorative/bombercommand/Pages/default.aspx
This location will link you to the DVA Commemorations webpage dedicated to Bomber Command and provide PDF and Microsoft Word versions of these educational materials.
Australian Curriculum links
Year 10

Historical knowledge and understanding: Depth Study 1 – World War II (1939–1945)
Students investigate wartime experiences through a study of World War II in depth. This includes a study of the causes, events, outcome and broader impact of the conflict as an episode in world history, and the nature of Australia’s involvement:

  1. An overview of the causes and course of World War II

  2. An examination of significant events of World War II, including the Holocaust and use of the atomic bomb







  1. The experiences of Australians during World War II, such as prisoners of war (POWs), the Battle of Britain, Kokoda, and the fall of Singapore

  2. The impact of World War II, with a particular emphasis on the Australian home front, including the changing roles of women and use of wartime government controls (conscription, manpower controls, rationing and censorship)

  3. The significance of World War II to Australia’s international relationships in the twentieth century, with particular reference to the United Nations, Britain, Asia and the USA

Historical skills


  • Use chronological sequencing to demonstrate the relationship between events and developments in different periods and places




  • Use historical terms and concepts




  • Identify and select different kinds of questions about the past to inform historical inquiry




  • Identify the origin, purpose and context of primary and secondary sources




  • Process and synthesise information from a range of sources for use as evidence in an historical argument




  • Evaluate the reliability and usefulness of primary and secondary sources




  • Identify and analyse the perspectives of people from the past




  • Develop texts, particularly descriptions and discussions, which use evidence from a range of sources that are referenced

Disclaimer


This resource encourages students to explore and interpret a range of historical sources. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs cannot be assumed to agree with or endorse any content or opinions expressed in websites or other publications quoted or referred to in this source.

Primary Reference

Dr Richard Reid, Bomber Command, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Canberra Paragon printers, 2012.
Other References
Avro Lancaster, online at upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d0/Avro_Lancaster.png

Australian Department of Defence, 20120628adf8262658_688, Bomber Command Memorial, online at images.defence.gov.au/


Charles R Bastion, 32 CoPilots, Trafford Publishing, 2004.
David Crossland, ‘Germans Grudgingly Accept Bomber Memorial’, Spiegel Online, 6 June 2012, online at spiegel.de/international/europe/controversial-memorial-to-british-wwii-bombers-to-open-a-840858.html
Schräge Musik, UK Ministry of Defence, online at raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/images/ju88guns2.jpg
Roberts Dunstan DSO, The Sand and the Sky, Robertson and Mullens, Melbourne, 1945.
Don Derbyshire, ‘One Leg In The Sky’, 2006, online at theoddbods.org/2006_04/oddsnends13.htm
Douglas Harvey, Boys, Bombs, and Brussels Sprouts, Goodread Biographies, 1983.
Lancaster drops bundles of 'Window' over the target during a special daylight raid on Duisburg, c. 1944 (Imperial War Museum Image IWM CL 1405), online at http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205022390
Naxos Radar, UK Ministry of Defence online at raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/images/ju88radar.jpg
Whirlwind: Bombing Germany (September 1939 – April 1944) in The World at War (1973), directed by Jeremy Isaacs, United Kingdom, Thames Television. [Documentary]
Peter Jackson, ‘Bomber Command fliers in their own words’, BBC News, 27 June 2012, online at bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18501658
‘Bomber Command Memorial – Review’, by Rowan Moore, The Guardian, 24 June 2012, guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2012/jun/24/bomber-command-memorial-london-review?newsfeed=true
Harry Mount, ‘The Bomber Command Memorial is a noble, handsome thing’, The Telegraph (London), 26 June 2012, online at blogs.telegraph.co.uk/culture/harrymount/100064711/the-bomber-command-memorial-is-a-noble-handsome-thing/
‘Dresden May “Blesses” Memorial’, The Daily Express (London), 27 June 2012, online at express.co.uk/posts/view/329135/Dresden-s-mayor-blesses-memorial
‘British Memorial Honors World War II Bomber Crews’, New York Times, 28 June 2012, online at nytimes.com/2012/06/29/world/europe/britain-honors-world-war-ii-bomber-crews.html
H2S Radar, online at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H2S_radar
Michael Veitch, Flak, Pan Macmillan, Sydney, 2006.
G
Activities
ETTING STARTED

A poem written by an air gunner during World War II introduces students to Bomber Command.

ACTIVITY 1 Why did men volunteer for air crews within Bomber Command and how were they trained?

Students examine primary and secondary source evidence to explore the men’s motivation for joining the Royal Australian Air Force and their training to become Bomber Command air crews.


ACTIVITY 2 What role did Bomber Command play in World War II?

Students identify the different roles of Bomber Command. They develop their numeracy skills as they organise and interpret historical events and developments using a scaled timeline and statistical data. They also explore terms and concepts as well as develop their critical thinking skills in order to identify the crew positions of a Lancaster bomber.

ACTIVITY 3 How did technological advances impact on Bomber Command’s war?

Students investigate some of the major advances in technology that affected Bomber Command’s war and the ways in which they favoured first one side and then the other.


ACTIVITY 4 What can primary and secondary sources tell us about the experiences of Bomber Command air crews?

Students process and synthesise information from primary and secondary sources and use it as evidence to answer inquiry questions about the experiences of Bomber Command air crews. Students examine the usefulness of visual and document sources, taking into account their origin, purpose, context, and reliability. Students are also encouraged to develop empathy for the airmen and an understanding of the conditions they faced.

ACTIVITY 5 How important was the support apparatus for air crews and their bombers?

Students use primary sources to investigate how ground crews and the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force supported the air crews of Bomber Command during the war.

ACTIVITY 6 How has Bomber Command been remembered?

Students investigate the way Bomber Command air crews have been remembered since the end of World War II and critically analyse different perspectives on commemorating their service. They also examine the significance of major design features of the new memorial in London.

Getting Started

Read the poem silently. Your teacher will then divide the poem into seven verses. Students will be chosen to read these sections aloud for the class and then complete the questions on page 7.


The Bombing Run

Bomb doors open, I hear this call

Soon our load of bombs will fall

Onto our target down there below

Then we'll turn and homeward go

 But now starting on a bombing run



The most dangerous period has begun

Any evasive action we cannot take

As a steady bombing run we must make

 

Puffs of black smoke fill the air



From shells a-bursting everywhere

That they have missed us brings relief

A feeling that will be far too brief

 

Left, left, steady, I now do hear



While my heart beats fast in fear

Sitting in my turret in awful dread

Frightening visions are in my head

 

Steady, steady, that voice so cool



He must be fearless, or else a fool

And then I hear bombing, bombing, go

We now drop the bombs upon our foe

 

Bombs away, we now start to weave



We turn around and our target leave

Homeward bound our bomber now flies

Through the black puffs in the skies

 

For the guns below send up more flak



But we're going home and heading back

Yet before we reach our distant base

There are still perils we must face

 

Anti-aircraft guns and a fighter plane



To shoot us down they will try again

Luck is with us and we do survive

Back safe on our base we do arrive

Surviving perils through which we flew

Another safe return for a bomber's crew.
Written 15 September 1944 by George Olson, Bomber Command air gunner
Source: www.bomber-command.info/bombrun.htm

1. Is this a primary or secondary source? Explain your answer:


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2. What imagery (sights, sounds, smells, feelings etc) is used in the poem and what emotions does it elicit?

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3. Describe the tone of the poem and what specific language is used to create this:
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4. What dangers did Bomber Command air crews face during missions?


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5. What is the most dangerous part of a bombing mission? Why?


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6. List four questions that you now have about Bomber Command:


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ACTIVITY 1: Why did men volunteer for service in air crews with Bomber Command, and how were they trained?

A. The Empire Air Training Scheme and the road to Bomber Command

Examine the following eight sources and read page 12 to 15 of Bomber Command to complete the questions on pages 9 and 10.


Source 1
You can have a go at joining the Air Force if you like. If anything happens there it will be quick and sudden and you won’t have to suffer at length.
William George Pearce recalling his father’s comments before enlisting in the RAAF.
Bomber Command, p. 12

Source 2

‘Coming? – then hurry!’, RAAF Recruiting Poster, c. 1940. This poster reflects the drive to recruit potential Australian air crew for the war against Germany in 1940.
Bomber Command, p. 129 (AWM ARTV04297).
Source 3
The exploits of the airmen of World War I, in chivalrous combat above the mud, futile bayonet charges and pounding artillery, had been kept alive by the barnstormers, extended by the pioneer aviators such as Parer, Kingsford Smith and Hinkler, and exaggerated by writers of fiction for boys. Rockfist Rogan fought his way through daring exploits in The Champion and Biggles (James Bigglesworth), ex-Royal Flying Corps, flew his first book-length mission in 1932.
Hank Nelson, Chased by the sun, courageous Australians in Bomber Command, ABC Books, Sydney, 2002, pp. 5-6
Source 4
It is so hard to say that you joined up for this reason or that reason – when so many things come into it. Some people join up because it is the thing to do, or because they are hard up, or because they want to get away from domestic unhappiness, or because they simply want to get at the enemy. It’s all those things. Perhaps it was a stirring R.A.A.F poster that shouted: ‘It’s a man’s job!’

Roberts Dunstan DSO, The Sand and the Sky, Robertson and Mullens, Melbourne, 1945, p. 40


Source 5
Mental Attributes of Pilot

(Guide for selection panels, March 1941)


A combination of alertness with steadiness – dependability, promptness in decision – imagination – sense of humour – punctuality, attention to detail – power of observation – good education – all-round interests, with mechanical bent – a leaning towards swift forms of locomotion and a love of flying – strong personality – popular type, inspiring liking and respect in his fellows, and a gift for leadership.
Hank Nelson, Chased by the sun, courageous Australians in Bomber Command, ABC Books, Sydney, 2002, p. 10
Source 6
A ‘Wings’ Presentation parade at an Empire Air Training School in Canada, c. May 1943.
Bomber Command, page 142 (AC0182).
Source 7
In the first year of recruiting for the Empire Air Training Scheme 92 per cent of graduating aircrews had four years or more of secondary education. For pilots the figure was 96 per cent and for navigators it was 99 per cent … The clerk who had a good school record, played football at the weekend … was likely to impress the selection panel.
Hank Nelson, Chased by the sun, courageous Australians in Bomber Command, ABC Books, Sydney, 2002, pp. 17–18.
Source 8

RAAF Trainees study aircraft recognition drawings at an EATS flying school in Southern Rhodesia (present day Zimbabwe), c. 1941.


Bomber Command, p. 140 (AWM SUK14939).

1. Why did men volunteer for Bomber Command? Use evidence from two sources you have analysed:


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2. Describe the composition (background) of men training to become air crews in Bomber Command?


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3. Source 6 refers to a guide for pilot training selection panels. Why might these qualities be considered desirable in bomber pilots?
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4. What was the purpose of the Empire Air Training Scheme and why was it a success?
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5. What were some advantages and disadvantages of training in countries not directly affected by the war?

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A
ACTIVITY 2: What role did Bomber Command play in World War II?
. Bomber Command timeline and statistics on the bombing campaign

Using Bomber Command, the timeline, map & tables to complete questions on page 12 and 13.



EVENTS & TECHNOLOGY

DATES

BOMBER COMMAND




14 July 1936

Bomber Command established

1937 – 1938

Fairey Battle, Whitley, Blenheim, Hampden and Wellington bombers in service

Germany invades Poland:

Warsaw bombed by German Air Force (Luftwaffe)

September 1939

Attacks on German shipping and propaganda leaflets dropped but RAF not permitted to bomb German ground targets for fear of reprisals

Rotterdam Blitz:

city bombed as Holland sues for peace on the same day

14 May 1940




The Blitz’:

Luftwaffe drops 41,000 tons of bombs on London

7 September 1940 – 16 May 1941

Halifax bomber in service





1941

Stirling & Mosquito bombers in service
Butt Report (18 August 1941) finds that only

1 in 3 bombs dropped on Germany gets within

8 km of the target

First use of target Indicators by RAF Pathfinder Squadrons


1942

Lancaster bomber in service
Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris appointed chief of Bomber Command




30-31 May 1942

First 1000 bomber raid on Cologne

H2S navigational radar in service by Bomber Command
Naxos radar developed for German night fighters in response
First aerial victories from German Schräge Musik – upward firing machine-guns

1943

Battle of the Ruhr (5 March – 31 July)




16-17 May 1943

Dambusters’ Raid on Ruhr Dams

Window’ used by Bomber Command

24-31 July 1943

Battle of Hamburg




November 1943 – March 1944

Battle of Berlin

17-18 August 1944

Peenemünde raid on German rocket facilities

April – July 1944

Supported Allied invasion of Normandy

13-15 February 1945

Bombing of Dresden

29 April – 8 May 1945

Operation Manna delivers nearly 7000 tons of food to starving Dutch civilians

May 1945

Operation Exodus flies more than 70,000 Allied POWs home to Britain




























































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