University of Oxford
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Rusty's War: Courage in the Clouds

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 19:51 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

Russell, or as he is more commonly called Rusty, flew Lancaster Bombers on numerous raids over Europe including the 1000 bomber raids.

Firstly, he did not have any fear or superstitions as he is sure he had his father’s good luck. He joined the RAF at seventeen and his father was in the Navy. He became a pilot flying Lancaster Bombers.

On some of the raids, there were higher losses amongst the British Bombers than on others, depending on the ground defences as well as the night fighters. On one raid of 240 aircrafts, they lost 83 over enemy territory after flying a long straight leg of the raid. On another, only 26 aircrafts were sent and they lost 7 aircrafts.

There were also mid-air collisions between our aircrafts as we were flying close formations.

The one time we had the bomb aimers controls cut through by the props of another aircraft below but we carried on. On another occasion, all the hydraulics to the Pilots controls were cut and so he asked the crew if they should continue or turn back and they all asked to continue, which is what they did and eventually dropped their bomb load and managed to turn the aircraft round and slowly flew back to the UK fearful of being "picked" off. They managed to get the aircraft back over the English coast and crash landed the aircraft BUT saved the crew!

After reaching 30 operational missions, he went to Canada to train for a special duty squadron.


Item list and details

1. Rusty's medals 2. Photo of Rusty in RAF uniform

Person the story/items relate to

Russell (Rusty) Waughman

Person who shared the story/items

Russell (Rusty) Reay Waughman

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor


Type of submission

Shared at Ahmadiyyah Mosque Hall, Warwickshire on 7 October 2023. The event was organised by Leamington History Group.

Record ID

99556 | LEA055