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Never Mind The Dambusters…It’s the Bomber Command Podcast!

A new podcast devoted to RAF Bomber Command

I love the Dambusters film as much as the next person. It’s definitely in my top five films of all time (along with Amadeus, The Empire Strikes Back, Where Eagles Dare and White Christmas, if you’re asking). One of my favourite childhood memories is of watching The Dambusters on a Saturday afternoon with my grandparents, my gran carefully pointing out the wireless operators, a role which her younger brother Jack had himself performed, flying on Halifaxes with 10 Squadron at the height of the strategic bombing campaign.

However, there’s SO much more to the history of RAF Bomber Command than the legendary and heroic Operation CHASTISE in May 1943.

As time passes our view of history tends to become ever narrower, not helped by the constant feed of documentaries on tv and YouTube about ‘how the Lancaster won the war…’ That’s why historian and academic James Jefferies and I decided to launch a brand-new podcast, called Never Mind the Dambusters, dedicated to all things RAF Bomber Command. We aim to set the record straight, and to help explain that there’s so much more to the history of the Bomber Command than the iconic Dams raids and the Avro Lancaster.

Jane Gulliford Lowes
James Jefferies

Over the course of future episodes, we’ll be taking a deep dive into Bomber Command and the Strategic Bombing Campaign. We’ll be looking at policy, doctrine, technology and strategy, as well as the development of particular aircraft types, as well as exploring how Bomber Command has been portrayed in film and media over the years.

We’ll be conducting in-depth analysis of the RAF’s bombing operations and tackling some very thorny and controversial issues such as the attack on enemy morale, area bombing and the de-housing policy. As well as examining the experiences of RAF aircrews, we’ll be exploring the impact of strategic bombing at the sharp end and discussing how German civilians coped with the threat from the air.

The Bomber offensive claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Allied Airmen from all over the world, and the lives of hundreds of thousands of German civilians (and citizens of occupied countries). What was it all for? What did it achieve? Was it a significant contribution to the eventual allied victory or an horrific waste of lives, money and resources? 

Arthur Harris

We’ll be joined by historians and academics (from the UK, the United States, Canada and Germany), veterans’ families, aircraft enthusiasts, and engineers to debate these and other issues. In our first episode, James and I will be getting back to basics and discussing the origins of Bomber Command and the theory behind strategic bombing. We’ll also be looking at the gargantuan effort it took to construct hundreds of airbases throughout Britain in just a few short years.

What to expect

We plan to focus on a different aircraft type each week.  James will be kicking things off with his favourite, the Bristol Blenheim, and of course I’ll be talking about the magnificent Handley Page Halifax in a subsequent episode (well, probably in most episodes to be quite honest). In Episode 2, we’ll be talking to the fabulous Dr Dan Ellin from the University of Lincoln and the International Bomber Command Centre, about the crucial but often overlooked role of the ground crews, and about aircrew superstitions and gremlins.

Never Mind The Dambusters
Bomber Command Memorial, London

In each episode we’ll be answering listeners’ questions, so please do send your queries to our social media pages on Instagram and X. We’d also love to hear from veteran’s family members with their stories, and from the families of civilians impacted by the bombing campaign.

Never Mind The Dambusters
10 Sqn ground crew, RAF Melbourne, featuring Leo ‘Titch’ Groark (seated) (Jane’s great uncle)

We plan to release episodes once a fortnight, so keep a look out for Never Mind the Dambusters on Spotify, Apple, or wherever you get your podcasts, and please don’t forget to subscribe! Episode 1 will be released on Wednesday 3rd April 2024, but in the meantime you can listen to our preview trailer here

If you’d like to sponsor the show or an individual episode, please get in touch via our social media.

James and I look forward to your companionship on Never Mind The Dambusters…

Buckle up…it’s going to be one hell of a ride!

Never Mind the Dambusters
Penny’s Prangers and ground crew, 10 Sqn, 8th March 1944 – end of tour photograph

Links:

You can read more articles about Bomber Command on this website.

https://www.justcuriousjane.com/lack-of-moral-fibre-part-2-origins/

https://www.justcuriousjane.com/reaping-the-whirlwind/

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17 Comments

  1. Vic Jay April 2, 2024

    Hi Jane, I was really pleased to hear about the podcast. It took me back to my communications with Peter Jackson, when I discovered he was planning a re-make of “The Dambusters”. I made the point that there were so many more stories about Bomber Command that could and should be told, that it seemed a missed opportunity to return yet again to the the Dambusters. As a Kiwi, I thought he might be interested in “The Mallon Crew”, a tragic story about just one crew from a New Zealand squadron. A couple of documentary film makers had shown an interest, but as is often the case, my lack of expertise meant that the plans went nowhere.
    I wish you luck with the podcast.
    Best wishes, Vic Jay.

    • Jane April 2, 2024 — Post author

      Hello Vic, Lovely to hear from you!! Hope you enjoy our forthcoming episodes,
      Jane

  2. Heather Evans April 2, 2024

    Looking forward to this. My Grandfather was from Newfoundland and joined the RAF as a Wireless Operator. I’ve been busy researching his wartime history as he spoke little about it other than the ‘stories’ with the lads and he kept to humorous stories mostly. As a child and teenager I didn’t realize the true value of documenting his stories more and wish I could go back and ask many many many more questions.

    He was VERY proud and very particular that people knew he served with the RAF and NOT the RCAF. He had interesting opinions between the two. He was also a stanch Halifax fan and never did fly in a Lancaster. Survived two tours of duty and returned to Newfoundland for the remainder of his life being instrumental in the growth of the Gander airport, as well as the advancement of international air traffic control. All the best and I will be listening! Thank you!

    • Jane April 2, 2024 — Post author

      Hello Heather, thank you so much for your kind comments and for sharing your dad’s story. Hope you enjoy our forthcoming episodes – I’ll be talking about wireless operators a lot, having written a book about my great Uncle, Jack Clyde (10 Sqn). Above Us The Stars – 10 Sqn Bomber Command: The Wireless Operator’s Story ( available worldwide). Best wishes,
      Jane

  3. Stuart Green April 2, 2024

    Hi Jane and James,
    What a brilliant idea – I look forward to tuning in. I have been researching my dad’s story for some time. He was a navigator on Wellingtons and Stirlings – shot down on his 23rd mission with Des Plunkett, the mapmaker of the Great Escape. Have done a number of talks on his story with one booked at the IBCC next year. Many thanks Stuart

    • Jane April 2, 2024 — Post author

      Hello Stuart, thanks so much for your comments! We’d love to hear more about your dad’s story – perhaps you’d like to be a guest in a future episode?
      Jane

      • Stuart Green April 3, 2024

        Thanks Jane – very happy to participate. as a guest. Looking forward to the podcasts.

  4. Martin Barratt April 2, 2024

    Superb news !! Congrats to you both. Wrote a book about my late father last year (“The Greatest Escape”). Spent 24 years researching the book and tracing relatives of his crew. Dad was a nav with 102 Squadron- shot down, became a PoW, escaped and recaptured and took part in the infamous Heydekrug run and Death March as the Germans forced the men across a frozen German in the winter of 44/45.

    • Jane April 3, 2024 — Post author

      Good morning Martin, Thanks so much for your kind words. We’re busy scheduling guests for future episodes, so maybe you could come and talk to us some time? Best wishes,
      Jane

      • Martin Barratt April 3, 2024

        Morning Jane – it would be my pleasure, thank you ! Will be tuning in to the podcast, can’t wait for Episode 1 tonight. All the best – Martin

  5. Mark Hanson April 2, 2024

    This should be brilliant. Two fantastic presenters. I have been researching my grandads RAF career in WW2 for 10 years. Started with a few trips to Kew where I found some of the POW reports from the crews, and I’ve not stopped. From a gunner that joined the Canadian Army aged 14, to Buchenwald Concentration Camp, D-Day, the Death Marches, the French Resistance, escape and evasion and sadly death of one of the crew on their last op. Really looking forward to this. PS, sorry but my Grandads story is Lancaster based 🙂

    • Jane April 3, 2024 — Post author

      Good morning Mark, Wow what a story! Thank you so much for taking the time to get in touch. Hope you enjoy the podcast.
      Best wishes,
      Jane

  6. norman southam April 2, 2024

    Hiya, Really looking forward to the podcasts…my uncle John Reid, was at 19, a Sgt pilot with 102 sqn on Whitley Mkv’s, crash landed in Aug 1941 at Topcliffe, then onto 10 OTU at Kinloss as an instructor, crashed again coming into Dalcross, joined 271 sqn on HP Harrows, was there for maybe 18 months, then got his dream job, Mosquito Pilot with 605 Sqn doing intruding work…….flying out of Bradwell Bay , and Manston for D Day…I have his logbooks, letters home to my gran ( his mother) and some photos taken at Bradwell…:) Keep up the great work…:)

    • Jane April 3, 2024 — Post author

      Good morning Norman, thank you so much! Hope you enjoy it. Thank you so much for sharing your uncle’s story – he was a very lucky lad it seems!
      Best wishes,
      Jane

  7. Chris Foster April 4, 2024

    Hi there,

    I’ve just found you and news of the podcast. My dad flew mid 43-mid 44 and I have the material for a book on his crew which, if I ever retire I will attempt to write! We have his log books and every letter he wrote to his parents from training in Canada to the end of the war.

    I’m looking forward to diving in here and getting tips on how to it it all together.

    Yours,

    Chris Foster

  8. David Mullinex. April 28, 2024

    Love your comments Jane. Dad (George Mullinex) was W.Op at 10 Squadron, Sept 1943 to Aug 1944, then instruction.
    Please send info on your book about the Shining 10, ‘The Stars Above Us’.
    Never been able to get photos of him, with the crew of Eric Burgess.

    • Jane April 28, 2024 — Post author

      Hello David, Many thanks for getting in touch! I recognised the surname straight away. I’ll send you a separate email about the book – look out for an email from gullifordlowes@gmail.com, and check your spam folder in case you don’t get it. Best wishes, Jane

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