80 years ago today Halifax W7912 G-George from 102 Squadron set off with 500 other aircraft from Bomber Command for a raid on Frankfurt. It would be my father's first operational raid - like many rookie crews they were give one of the elderly Halifaxes on roster to fly in. Many of these a/c were clapped out and riddled with issues - true to form G-George developed engine trouble and lost an engine 25 minutes from the bombing run.
The crew had no choice other than to press on, after bombing and returning home the Flt/ Engineer calculated they would not have enough fuel to make it back to Yorkshire due to the increased stress on the remaining three Merlins. They landed at an RAF Fighter base in Kent, Hawkinge, and after notifying their home base they were safely down they were given leave passes for the evening and headed out to The Red Lion (now The Jackdaw in Denton), a favourite haunt of Battle Of Britain pilots. The pub is still there and was famously seen in the 1969 Film 'Battle of Britain'.
Several years ago Janine Tijou and I went to the funeral of one of my dad's sisters in Canterbury and afterwards headed off for the wake ....it was held at The Jackdaw.