Gunnery Leader

RAF World War II
ISBN 1-84683-040-0
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  • Description

by Tom Williams
Biography of Wing Cdr Ken Bastin DFC who rose through the ranks to become officer commanding of the Gunnery Leader Wing at RAF Central Gunnery School in World War II.

This book follows the impressive career trajectory of a gunner with 10 Squadron and 76 Squadron RAF Bomber Command who was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and rose to the rank of Wing Commander in charge of the training school for RAF air gunners.

This book is a chronicle of the wartime experiences of an Air Gunner in RAF Bomber Command, describing the many dangers he faced and survived and revealing how, in fewer than four years, he rose to the rank of Wing Commander ~ a remarkable achievement for an air gunner, even in the Second World War.

Ken Bastin wanted to be a pilot and joined the part-time RAF Volunteer Reserve in April 1939, but when war was declared the RAF bomber squadrons had a more urgent need for gunnery officers and he was considered an ideal candidate...

He went on to become the first of a new breed of gunnery leader.

The narrative recounts his many eventful operations over enemy territory in the heavy bombers of 10 Squadron and 76 Squadron. Among its highlights is the story of how, for his actions in a daring and dangerous daylight raid against the German battleship Scharnhorst, Ken was awarded the DFC  –  without firing a single shot!

Later selected by the RAF to visit the USA in order to test the armament of the new B24 Liberator aircraft, Ken returned to become a chief instructor for trainee air gunners and gunnery leaders.

This culminated in his assuming command of the Gunnery Leader Wing of the RAF’s prestigious Central Gunnery School ~ the so-called ‘Air Gunnery University’ ~ a position he held until leaving the RAF at the end of the war.