'Bomber' Harris's 1980 letter to his old lags .....

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'Bomber' Harris's 1980 letter to his old lags .....

Postby Dave LEITHEAD » Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:10 pm

I was recently sent a copy of The 4T9er, the excellent Association Magazine of 49 Squadron. In it I read this wonderful piece which I reproduce here with the kind permission of the Association Secretary, Alan Parr, who compiles and edits the 4T9er magazine. I don't know how widely this amazing letter from 'Bomber' Harris is known, but I thought it well worthwhile bringing it to the attention of our own 102 Squadron Veterans to whom it is addressed ('any other bombers') and any other 102 Association and Forum members who, like me, were not aware of it. Here it is, including the introduction by Alan Parr:

Air Commodore John Langston sent the following letter enclosing a letter by
Sir Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris;
“..... I wonder if you have seen the enclosed letter from Arthur Harris to ‘617 and all
other bombers’ dated April 1980? If it is old hat please tear it up – otherwise possibly
you could make some use of it in The 4T9er.”
Like many of our readers, no doubt, I had heard of this letter but had never seen
it in full. I am delighted to print it here as it seems to me to totally present the
case for Bomber Command.

“Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur T Harris
The Fenny House
Goring on Thames

18th April 1980

To all my old lags of 617 Squadron and any other bombers and their guests – a
hearty welcome, and this advice to the bombers.
Ignore any sneers and smears of authors and those who find them the sole
means of selling their wares, and buy instead the books written by Albert Speer
and Doc. Goebbels, from these two at the very centre of things from 39-45, but
on the wrong side. You will find irrefutable and ample first class evidence that
the strategic bombing won the three main victories in the war.
1. In The Air
Because they forced the enemy on the defensive, building and training
practically nothing but fighters and fighter pilots in a despairing attempt, which
failed, to defend their fatherland.
2. On The Land
Because they gave the allied armies absolute air supremacy and blasted
out of the way any and every attempt by the enemy to make a successful stand
or counter attack.
3. At Sea
Because the bombers sank or destroyed twice as many enemy capital
ships as the navy accounted for, sank, fatally damaged or destroyed before they
were launched, at least a dozen submarines for every one the navy scuppered,
destroyed hundreds of small naval craft such as destroyers, torpedo craft and
gun boats, mine sweepers and trawlers etc, and finally annihilated the enemy
merchant marine on which they depended for vital ore supplies for industry.
On top of all that, before any allied soldier set foot within 50 miles of Berlin, the
bombers had reduced the top enemy government to maniacs hiding underground
and experimenting with poison pills on a dog to see if they would serve their
intended purpose, which they shortly achieved, of murdering their own wives
and children and killing themselves.
As I have indicated above you can get the irrefutable evidence of all the above
facts from the Albert Speer’s and Goebbel’s books. Also from the sayings of
Rommel (in Normandy). Sepp Dietrich (at Bastogne), General Field Marshal
Erhard Milch, who said he had 900,000 fit soldiers on air defence and half
the army’s anti-tank guns, while Speer had 800,000 fit men trying and failing
to keep the railways going, doubtless thousands more repairing urgent damage
to industry.
If you know of any allied army that took 2 million out of the enemy’s fighting
lines and half their vital anti-tank guns, I would be interested to hear about it.
But that is all you old lags and loafers did for the pay you drew.
No wonder authors and journalists find cause to smear you. Enjoy yourselves,
and how well you deserve it!
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:53 pm
Location: Nottingham

Re: 'Bomber' Harris's 1980 letter to his old lags .....

Postby SimonK123 » Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:48 pm


A great find, thank you for posting it. A quick search on Google and I cannot find it. I certainly have not seen it before.

As usual, Bert does not hold back!

Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:22 pm

Re: 'Bomber' Harris's 1980 letter to his old lags .....

Postby Bill Leyland » Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:03 am

Excellent find Dave. This should have been read outloud at the memorial unveiling! Thanks for taking the time to transcribe it for us all.
Bill Leyland
Posts: 49
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:56 pm

Re: 'Bomber' Harris's 1980 letter to his old lags .....

Postby SimonK123 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:58 pm

Hi Bill,

After checking with Dave's source I plan to put it in the next newsletter.

Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:22 pm

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