“There was an almighty bang and everything changed. After the roar and racket of the past quarter of an hour, there was suddenly total silence. There was glass everywhere except in the instrument panel where it belonged. My right arm wouldn’t obey my commands but hung loose at my side. Almost every dial, indicator and gauge in front of me had gone haywire. Not a squeak from the radio; not a murmur from the engine; no wind noise; total silence; and around me total chaos.”
Sgt Plt Peter Graham, 41 Sqn, on being hit by Flak, when a 20mm high explosive shell entered his cockpit, during a Rhubarb* to the Le Havre area, 23 July 1943.
As quoted in "Blood, Sweat and Valour" (Fonthill, 2012), and reproduced with Peter's permission.
* Term used to describe raids over over France – either ‘sweeps’ involving the whole squadron, or ‘rhubarbs’ when a pair of aircraft would go out on a roving patrol.
Instigated as part of a campaign to seize air superiority from the Germans in preparation to a landing in Europe
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