Bombing Missions & Award

Completeing a tour of duty (30 sorties) and a pilot or crew member was eligible for the DFC award (Distinguished Flying Cross). Flying Officer Norman Tilston completed 35 bombing missions over Nazi cities, naval docklands, industrial targets, and airfields. On the 8th September 1945 he was awarded the DFC for his courage and fearlessness in the face of extreme attacks by heavy German defences. Other crew members equally recieved the DFC.

Please see below:-
The official records unaltered of the award, the 35 Bombing missions over Germany & Norman's observational reports-:
TILSTON, F/O Norman (J92642) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.158 Squadron Award effective 8 September 1945 as per London Gazette dated 25 September 1945 and AFRO 1768/45 dated 23 November 1945. Born 1922 in Lancashire, England; home in Hamilton, Ontario (brush maker); enlisted there 27 March 1942. Trained at No.6 ITS (graduated 6 March 1943), No.9 EFTS (graduated 1 May 1943) and No.1 SFTS (graduated 3 September 1943). Commissioned November 1944. Award sent by registered mail 30 September 1948. No citation other than "completed...numerous operations against the enemy in the course of which [he has] invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty." Public Records Office Air 2/8749 has recommendation dated 15 April 1945 when he had flown 35 sorties (209 hours three minutes), 6 October 1944 to 8 April 1945.

In his completed tour of 35 operational sorties against the most heavily defended targets in Germany, Flying Officer Tilston has an excellent record of successful bombing attacks as pilot and captain of Halifax III aircraft with this squadron. An officer with a natural sense of leadership, he welded his crew into an excellent team and their work has been consistently good. His keenness to fly against the enemy on every possible occasion and his fearlessness in the face of the heaviest defences set an example which was noted in his crew and his Flight and in the squadron generally. In times of danger, Flying Officer Tilston acted with speed and resolution, and his coolness was an inspiration to all who flew with him. In all circumstances he maintained an excellent sense of proportion and of humour. It is recommended that this officer's record of operational efficiency, courage, leadership and determination throughout a hazardous tour be recognized by the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

06 Oct 44 Sterkrade (5.09) Bombed on A/P
07 Oct 44 Cleve (3.58) ditto
09 Oct 44 Bochum (5.59) Bombed in cloud
14 Oct 44 Duisburg (5.29) 4 1/2 miles NNW of A/P
15 Oct 44 Duisburg (6.01) Good attack, many fires.
30 Oct 44 Cologne (6.19) Much cloud, bombed target
02 Nov 44 Dusseldorf (5.55) Many fires. Good attack
04 Nov 44 Bochum (5.15) 2,000 yards SSW of A/P
06 Nov 44 Gelsenkirchen (4.41) Successful attack
18 Nov 44 Munster (5.30) Bombed in cloud
21 Nov 44 Sterkrade (6.52) Good attack
30 Nov 44 Duisburg (6.04) Bombed in cloud.
02 Dec 44 Hagen (6.40) ditto
05 Dec 44 Soest (6.44) Many fires.
24 Dec 44 Essen/Mulheim airfield (5.15) Bombed airfield
26 Dec 44 St.Vith (4.53) Good attack
28 Dec 44 Opladen (5.36) Bombed target.
14 Jan 45 Saarbrucken (6.50) A/P bombed.
16 Jan 45 Magdeburg (5.36) Considerable fires
22 Jan 45 Gelsenkirchen (6.25) Good attack in cloud.
27 Jan 45 Stuttgart-Kornwestheim (7.28) Successful
01 Feb 45 Mainz (6.08) Good results.
04 Feb 45 Gelsenkirchen-Nordstern (5.16) Bombed through clouds
09 Feb 45 Wanne Eickel (5.45) Good bombing.
13 Feb 45 Bohlen (8.25) Successful.
14 Feb 45 Chemnitz (7.45) Many fires
21 Feb 45 Worms (6.27) Fires seen in target area.
12 Mar 45 Dortmund (6.14) Bombed in cloud.
13 Mar 45 Homburg (6.16) Bombed A/P.
15 Mar 45 Hagen (6.16) Many fires.
18 Mar 45 Witten (6.45) Good attack, many fires.
21 Mar 45 Rheine (5.00) Bombed A/P.
25 Mar 45 Munster (5.01) Successful
04 Apr 45 Harburg (5.23) Bombed A/P.
08 Apr 45 Hamburg - Blohm and Voss (5.45) Bombed B.V. works and docks

From Norman's brief report, it's interesting to observe he never mentions his aircraft ever attacked by fighters or suffered flak damage. In official RAF records its seems Bomber Commands only concerned was whether a plane dispatched its bomb load - yes or no. In one personal report Bomber aimer "Raf George Storsater" does mention they took damage from flak. However when you read rear Gunner Larry Smyth's post war account of what happened on the 4th February Gelsenkirchen mission you soon realise there was a far more terrifying picture behind the many sortie the crew undertook. A secret only the seven members share.
(Stef - Editor)

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