We Were Able 2 (Group 23 Bristol), Royal Observer Corps, subtitled 'A true account of life on a post in World War II'
Published privately in 1968, 35 pages. Small booklet - c.12.5cm by 18.5cm (N6076)
From the foreword: In this little book the author recalls vividly the trials and tribulations endured by a small group of typical English country people in the early days of the war, whose task it was to create from a single wooden peg on a Wiltshire hillside, an efficient Royal Oberver Corps Post.
In the early days of the war the Observer Corps, as it was then known, was in its infancy. Few of the personnel, whether they were to serve their time in the comfort of one of the many Centres, or in a Post on some lonely and exposed hillside, knew much about the task that lay ahead of them, or the importance of the role they were to fill.
Inexperienced though these early pioneers may have been, they had the benefit of one factor that was common to them all, and that was a burning enthusiasm which might almost be termed a dedication. This was just as well because the post Observers who maintained long vigils, usually in the most exposed site in their district, with little more than a few sand bags and a small wooden shelter to protect them from the elements, needed more than a cup of thermos tea and a slice of Woolton pie to sustain their morale.
The prime role of the Royal Observer Corps in those early days was to recognise and report to their Centre the movements of all enemy aircraft. They were in fact the eyes and ears of Fighter Command without whom our defending fighters would have been unable to locate their enemy. As the war years rolled on additional responsibilities fell to their lot. It was soon appreciated that a carpet of expert personnel trained in aircraft recognition, could be utilised profitably in reporting any friendly aircraft whose behaviour led them to have doubts as to its well being. Once their suspicions had been verified specialist officers, located in the Fighter Group Operations Rooms were able to bring in to action various visual aids to assist these lost or damaged aircraft to a safe landing.
The number of ex-Bomber and Coastal Command crews whose lives have been saved by the vigilance and perception of these Post Observers must run in to thousands. Many will however, remember only too vividly those occasions when, returning from a raid, tired and frightened, they groped their way over the blacked-out countryside frantically searching for an airfield on which to land before their endurance ran out.
The long white fingers of the many searchlights, all waving in the direction of the nearest airfield all ready to receive them, soon became familiar to these night flying crews and added considerably to their morale. It is unlikely however, that more than a few ever realised that this life line could only have been extended to them because possibly some village bank manager, or local game-keeper had, after a hard day's work, trudged through the black-out to his post on some lonely Cornish cliff top, or wild Yorkshire moor....
The condition of the booklet is generally excellent. The covers are clean and tidy, the staple spine is tight and intact, and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tighly bound. There is a tiny amount of rusting around the outside staples, and a (blank) label fixed onto the rear side cover. There is also a small price sticker, also on the rear side cover.