‘I could see flashes - shells coming up and bombs striking...’

TEAM Laurie Davis, right end, back row, with 619 Squadron before they took off for a dawn bombing raid of Essen in 1945
TEAM Laurie Davis, right end, back row, with 619 Squadron before they took off for a dawn bombing raid of Essen in 1945
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LAURIE Davis said adrenaline kept him going as his seven-man crew flew over Germany, where the Lancaster bomber could be shot down at any time.

He took part in some of the key raids during the Second World War, including Dresden on February 13, 1945, as well as Dortmund and Essen.

Mr Davis will never forget his first operation over Dresden, where his crew flew from the 619 Squadron base in Lincolnshire.

He said: ‘There was no radio or telephone communications.

‘You had your briefing, you wrote letters and left them in your lockers, we had a meal at about 4pm and you flew at about 6pm’

‘At 20, the adrenaline was going.

‘During my first experience, the vastness of being over the target to see a vast area of fire and flashes - which would be shells coming up and bombs striking.

‘I can remember coming back and going to the debriefing.

‘You would be given a cup of coffee and it was the first time I had ever touched spirits. My hands were still shaking with the adrenaline.’

Mr Davis recalled with sadness how many people died.

‘The turnover was so quick,’ he said.

‘We would meet in a nearby pub,’ he said.

‘If you were not flying, that’s invariably where you went.

‘The licensee would ask any news of the crew and another crew would come in within a couple of days.’

After the war Mr David joined the 617 Squadron - The Dambusters - and was in training to bomb Japan until they surrendered and he came home.

He stepped off the plane at RAF St Mawgan in Cornwall in 1946 and it would be the last time he ever set foot on a Lancaster bomber.

He joined the police in 1947 and spent more than 30 years in the force.

Mr Davis admitted he would still feel proud of his achievements, even without the clasp he has been awarded.

‘I still would have had great pride if I did not get it,’ he said.

‘It’s an adventure, an association with men I’m very proud to have had.’