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Lack of Morale Fibre

Heroes Remember

Lack of Morale Fibre

There’s no room for panic, you have a job to do. I mean it’s something and you know that it’s vital and you know that anybody within a crew are all each dependent upon one another and if it was a case of a fighter attack, I mean it’s a combination that the pilot is doing what he can do to manoeuvre the aircraft, but the gunners are doing what they can do to try and keep the fighter off or to shoot him down. It’s each one depending on the other and you’re not on the basis that this is you and how does it affect you as a person. You’re a unit and you have an aircraft which you’re doing your job, you just don’t lose that aspect. If you do it would be the end, you wouldn’t survive, period. There were members, air crew members and I think they were roughly in a minority who couldn’t handle it. They finally emotionally, psychologically broke, had to be taken off operations and unfortunately sometimes they were, I think brutally, badly handled in the way they were treated. We had this phrase which was known as LMF, lack of morale fibre. Anybody who was categorized as LMF was generally stripped of his rank and his flying badge and was taken off operations and often put onto some other kind of duty, ground duty or whatever it may be. But the odd time they were well handled, it depended upon the CO and how they handled it. But it wasn’t by choice for any of these people. It was a matter if they couldn’t cope and it was going to break them down, it wasn’t their fault in that sense. But I think the majority of the personnel were able to cope and were able to put themselves outside of that kind of concern. I don’t think in my own case that it was too much of a stress. I felt in most cases it was a bit like a vital game in which you had to out do the other person and that you always had to try and do your best and succeed, whatever it was that you had been assigned.

Mr. Watts describes the psychological aspect of being a member of a crew and how some couldn’t cut it.

Jack Watts

Jack Vincent Watts was born on November 10, 1920, and was raised in Hamilton, Ontario, where he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on July 2, 1940. He flew on Royal Air Force squadrons throughout his wartime service, serving with squadrons 10, 462, 109 and 105. He finished the war as a squadron leader and received the Distinguished Service Order (DSO), the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and Bar. He retired as a brigadier-general in 1975. On his return to Canada after the war, he played in the Canadian Football League with the Hamilton Tigers and the Wildcats. He moved to Ottawa for his service career, and resided there with his war bride, Norma Zelia, formerly of Coventry, England.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
June 1, 2012
Person Interviewed:
Jack Watts
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
Bomber Command

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