"Henry" Hall's experiences after being caught and being transferred to Berlin
.. On to Copenhagen where we landed at lunchtime. Our escort explained funds were limited and we sat in a canteen with a glass of milk and a bun each. An airman from the Ju 52 approached, and spoke to our escort in German. We were invited to join the crew for lunch, but our escort remained seated - the invitation did not include him. In the large kitchen, where the crew members were enjoying their meal, we joined them for goose, vegetables, and an ample supply of beer. What an unexpected opportunity! There was a young Dane in attendance and as we left he offered his hand, saying "Good luck!". I thanked him, took his hand, and felt in my palm a folded piece of paper. On rejoining our escort I asked for the toilet where I hastily inspected the paper - it was a 5-Mark note!

Bremen raid
Apart from the occasional check between crew members at their different stations, the only sound came from the steady drone of the engines as the old Hudsons slowly reached 12,000 feet. None of the crew had flown at this height before - child's play though it might be to the hardened and oxygenated crews of Bomber Command; our rear gunner in his unheated turret must have considered his introduction to operational flying less than heart-warming!

Hodgkinson and a ME110
It was a bright clear night and Hodgkinson recognised it as a ME 110 night fighter. This was confirmed when the aircraft turned to get on his tail. Hodgkinson opened his throttles and dived for cloud layer some 2000ft below. As he was about to enter the cloud he was hit by heavy cannon fire.
..The Hudson immediately burst into flames and Hodgkinson headed for the sea to attempt to ditch the aircraft. He could not contemplate bailing out as he did not know what had happened to his crew. His intercom was out of action and there was smoke and flames everywhere. Terrifying as they were, the flames, in fact, played a part in his and his navigator's survival as they illuminated the surface of the sea allowing him to heave back on the control column just in time to make a successful ditching.

Personal Note

This book about my time in Coastal Command was written because of a desire to explain the debacle whilst operating, in the middle of winter, from the USAAF base at Bluie West One in Greenland. Of the 4 R.A.F. aircraft and crews despatched there, two were lost in a blizzard. Those pilots were among the very best in the Command, and their lives were needlessly forfeited. However, I was encouraged to cover the whole of my service in the R.A.F, especially when enabled to cover major events concerning colleagues.
The delights - and the hazards - of learning to fly; the resolve of RAFVR pilots in the early days when the enemy seemed unstoppable; the uplifting spirit of squadron camaraderie; the losses; the satisfaction of teaching others operational flying; "desk flying" at H.Q.C.C. - these experiences are behind the printed word.