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The Raid on Cologne (Part 2 of 3)

Heroes Remember

The Raid on Cologne (Part 2 of 3)

And we gave him the slip and you're not supposed to allow the bomber to go anymore than three hundred and sixty miles an hour in that dive and so on but once again you got a fighter after you and you take a little chance on whether the air plane will stand the strain and so I pushed it over four hundred and then pulled her out and turned her back up and I said to the bomb aimer, "Do you think we should run on through now and get rid of our bombs on the target!" Because we were doing this evasive action with a bomb load, you know, and he said, "Ya, let's go through the target!" So we went through the target and dropped on the flares and in the meantime then I said to the navigator, "You better get me a course back to England to an airport on the coast that we can get back to!" And we'll be lucky if we got gas to get there, you know. So that's what he did so as soon as we finished dropping our bombs we had to leave the bomber stream which is a certain amount of safety with because they are not sure what airplane to shoot at but we had to leave them and headed out on our own back for England and he gave me a course to fly and we got back there safely enough but now that airport was fogged in, drizzle and fog, you know, so I got to do an instrument landing on it and I just couldn't hold it on the beam at the reduced speed for landing with two engines on one side and just the one on the other and no trimming tabs, you see, the bad part. So I said to the engineer, "Cut this port outer, we'll see if we can get around with two engines." And I knew the Lanc would do it, of course, because I had just on my own on test flying. I had tried to fly it on two engines on one side, you know, and I could do it and with the trimming tabs it would stay up. But anyway we had now an engine on each side so this equalized the power and I didn't do a regular go around which you normally would do. You'd go over and out so many degrees and then a slow turn and come back down wind but no time for that with our gasoline and so I just cut it around right away on the two engines and swung around and got lucky and picked up the beam right away and with just the two engines then, you know,one on each side I could hold it on the beam and I got it into land then. And it was then that I discovered that we'd been hit with incendiary bombs and not just anti-aircraft fire.

With the Lancaster hit, Mr. Sellen is determined to drop the bombs on target before heading back to England.

Richard Sellen

Richard Sellen was born in Oak Bank, Manitoba on September 19, 1920. His hometown has been Oak Bank for his entire life. He enlisted approximately a year and a half after the war started. He was in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in 426 Squadron. His rank at the end of the war was flying officer. He returned to Oak Bank after the war and started a building construction company with his brother. They built all types of buildings throughout the province of Manitoba. His parents were both originally from England but they actually met in Winnipeg. They settled on a small acreage near Oak Bank and it is there on that very site that Mr. Sellen grew up and still lives today. He and his wife Mary have five children, 15 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. He has belonged to the Canadian Veterans Association since the war. After retirement, Mr. Sellen purchased a small plane which he enjoyed flying out of a grass strip near Oak Bank. He built and flew a home built airplane with two of his sons. Mr. Sellen holds great pride and recognition for being part of Bomber Command.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
June 22, 2012
Person Interviewed:
Richard Sellen
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Bomber Command
Air Force
426 Squadron
Pilot Officer

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