Great story Chuck, must bring back memories with 401 Squadron reactivating.
Also amazing your uncles survived. I’m currently reading “Luck of a Lancaster.” It is the story of the crews that flew a particular Lancaster that survived all operations in 9 Squadron during the War.
Most of the crews that flew this particular airframe were not so fortunate. I had a neighbor who was an upper turret gunner in a Lancaster and he always told me how brutal the losses were during raids although I didn’t fully comprehend this until I started reading this particular book.
The numbers lost on each raid is staggering, often if a Lanc was lost no one survived. The previous book I read to this one was a recent Dambusters release (next up is another Dambuster read, this one focusing on the Canadian’s).
To reach 30 missions was a feat. I just read about a crew that was shot down on their 30th last night. The pilot was on his 31th, he flew an extra to complete his tour with his crew. Luckily only one didn’t make it in his crew.
Bomber crews had it tough.