Crew: Garlick

John Munro Garlick, from the B-Flight photograph

Pilot: S/L John Munro Garlick
Killed, buried in Kiel War Cemetery
Flight Engineer: F/S J M, “Jack”, Anderson
Navigator: P/O A G Boyd
Bomb Aimer: F/S E O Charlton
W/Op: W/O F O A Dawkins
M/U Gunner: F/S M T Ward
Rear Gunner: F/Sgt Frederick Edwards
No known grave, Runnymede Memorial

2/3 Dece,ner 1943, abandoned near Kiel


The shooting down of the aircraft, by Warrant Officer Dawkins DFC.

“It happened quite suddenly. I saw some bright yellow streaks flying past the astrodome. At first I took little notice; I had seen flak before and was not unduly disturbed, until I awoke to the fact that the flashes were not travelling upwards but were progressing in the same direction as we were going. Then I realised that we were being attacked by a fighter.”

As the Lancaster sustained a series of hits from the attacking fighter, Squadron Leader Garlick called Dawkins over the intercom, and asked for a report from him about the damage on the port side of the aircraft. Dawkins continues:

“Below the nacelle, under the wing, was a long streamer of orange flame streaking back into the night. It was not until much later that I got to know the situation was the same on the starboard side. We were in a bad spot and no mistake.”

After receiving the damage report from Dawkins, Garlick asked the navigator for a course to take the stricken Lancaster out of the main bomber stream, and for a heading towards England. At this point, Dawkins was confident that they would make it back home; he came off the intercom in order to set up the radio on the base frequency, and he describes the events that followed:

“After making sure that I was on the correct frequency, I looked around the corner of my compartment to see how the rest of the crew were faring. Much to my dismay, I saw the navigator’s compartment empty; the navigator and bomb aimer had gone. Without delay, I went back on the intercom for further instructions. All I heard was the skipper calling, ‘Bale out’. Though this was being repeated several times, I did not wait to hear any more.”

Dawkins grabbed his parachute and stumbled towards the nose of the Lancaster where he encountered the navigator.

“I was given to understand later that he was about to leave the plane when it crossed his mind that I was not on the intercom when the skipper started to give instructions to leave the aircraft. He was on the point of coming back for me, a very gallant gesture as time was all-important. The last thing I remember was the skipper straining at the controls in an endeavour to hold the aircraft in the air to give us all a chance of escaping.

With my hand grasping the ripcord, I felt the rush of air sucking me out into the smoky, swirling clouds below … It was with deep regret I learnt that the skipper was still in the aircraft when it crashed. He was a very good friend of mine, in so much that we had graduated from the early Wellington days, and he really was one of the nicest fellows I had met. It’s strange that all the best seem to be taken first.”

Garlic, Jack Anderson
Jack Anderson

SHOT DOWN by Jack Anderson
We get through 17,000ft and we cross the Dutch Coast, then settle down in the kite for our long run to Berlin. Visibility still nil, soon the Bomb Aimer is saying Bomb doors open, when we are attacked by enemy fighter. I am in Bomb Aimer Compartment, and I hear a crunch and the aircraft shudders. I can see tracer shells coming at us. Our Skipper goes into evasive action and Wireless Operator shouts, “Port motor on fire”. I fight my way back to the Feather motors, press fire extinguisher, but no use, the main plane is blazing. We jettison our load and the order is given to “Bale Out”. I clear the escape hatch. The Bomb Aimer is on my heels, so I don my chute. You can’t think, your mind is blank, you just work, and carry out orders, there is no panic, your time is almost here, you don’t know how long you have to live, you think of home again, and your loved ones, these thoughts go through your mind, quicker than any plane can travel. I have my chute on, I look down, can this be possible, after all my trips, must I land in Germany, well I have to go, so here goes, and I wonder where.

I shall never forget that awful feeling in my tummy, I have never jumped before, but this time, it’s my life. I have to leave an aircraft that has always come home to base, I have to leave an aircraft that has carried me hundreds and thousands of miles, I have learned to love this Aircraft, and now I have to go and leave it.

Normally we are flying though space, the aircraft is safe and good, you can speak to the crew, sip your coffee, but now I must jump into space, and this cold blast of air through the escape hatch makes me wonder.

So the time is here, with less time then it takes to tell you, or for you to read it, out I go with my chute held to my chest, and my fingers on the release ring. I jump, I go through space, I’m in the air now, I have no time to think, I can’t. The chute opens with a colossal report, and I feel my harness jerk hard. Then I am on my way down. Visibility is nil, I have trouble to breath, I’m not afraid, one does not get time to think, one does not get time to be afraid, I’m just there in space, and just as if I was on a swing, looking down, but I can’t see anything … I sail through another cloud and I see something dark under me, and then CRASH. I hit the deck in a heap, unhurt. I say my prayers. I gather up my chute, and then I see I have landed in a paddock, make to order. SO THIS IS GERMANY! Well, what next?

After landing unhurt from our burning plane, but very much shaken, I pause for a moment to take stock of my position and the surroundings. I can see the red glow in the distance, the last remains of our aircraft, and I must admit I got a lump in my throat. The aircraft I was so comfortable in, the aircraft that had carried me so many miles, there it was, like me going into space. I jumped, I had landed and was unhurt, and I was safe on “Mother Earth”. I waved a sincere last good bye to the aircraft, it went out of sight, and crashed to be no more, so passed a good friend, that I have a happy memory of.