By JACK HAMBLETON
Malton, June 13 (Staff)—”P for Panic” is back home. Before thousands of cheering employees of Victory Aircraft Ltd. who built “P for Panic,” the big Lancaster, member of the famous Ghost Squadron, brought her seven-man crew safely home yesterday after a leisurely cruise, because of weather conditions from England.
And if there’s a more decorated bomber to the Royal Canadian Air Force than “P for Panic” it would be worth seeing. Not officially decorated – but just plain and informally decorated.
For instance, above “P’s” four big motors the cowlings bear the names of each engine. There’s “Peculiar, Pitiful, Passionate and Pathetic.” The crew doesn’t know just why those names were chosen, or “maybe it was just alliteration.” Then over the entrance door of the big bomber is a replica of an English signboard. It says simply: “Panic Inn”. On the bomb doors are the names of the ground who kept P for Panic in tip-top shape. There are also scores of pencilled greetings from England.
Ghost Squadron Crest
There’s a goose with a halo on one side of the fuselage. That’s the Ghost Squadron crest. Underneath, some poetic soul has inscribed the following: ‘
“P for Panic hit old Jerry.
In every conceivable place:
The War in Europe is over—gone,
Let’s get cracking on that YELLOW race.”
Just forward of these choice sentiments are seven rows of 10 small bombs each, with two left over. They are souvenirs of P for Panic’s 72 missions over enemy territory. There are other souvenirs, too. When the bomb doors are open you can see scores of shiny marks and dents in the aluminum. Those are also souvenirs— flak marks.
The Ghost and Goose Squadrons were adopted months ago by Victory employees, who made sure the crews got cigarets and other comforts during their operations.
And yesterday the crew of P for Panic said “thanks”. The ceremony( was very, very informal.
Members of Crew
The crew consisted of FO. R. L. Boyle, skipper; FO. D. A. Matheson, navigator; FO. D. Moore, bomb aimer; Sgt. E. O. Jenner, flight engineer; FO. R. J. Foord, upper gunner; WO. 1 D. A. McAmmond, wireless air gunner and Flt. Lt. D. W. Irvine, tail gunner. Irvine and Foord were particularly happy to land in Toronto, for this is their tome town and Irvine’s 16-months old daughter Penny, last seen by him 13 months ago, was right at the airport to greet her Daddy. So was Mrs. Irvine. Moore comes from Hamilton, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. H. C. Moore, were on hand to meet him too.
Boyle, was chosen to speak to the cheering Victory workers and his speech was a triumph. “It is nice to see so many beautiful girls,” he began. And was promptly drowned out by a thousand whistling and cheering girls before him. He started again: “I never thought such beautiful girls could make such a lovely aircraft, but it all seems to go together.” Then another member of the crew started “thanks” for the cigarets because in England “the cigarets are the grimmest things this side of (censored).” If, he said, ‘you don’t believe me I’ll give you a couple.
Welcomed by Scully
W. Scully, president of the company which built P, for Panic, or to make it official “KB-760.” didn’t waste ‘much time either. “It is my very pleasant job to welcome you home,” he said. “KB-760 left here on May 15, 1944, and since then has completed 72 trips, many with the crew who brought her back here. We’re glad to see you back.”
From there on, Victory employees took charge of things. They swarmed around P for Panic, examining’ the “flak” holes describing just how they installed the “Pathetic” engine; how tough a job it was to roll those five-foot tires into place and all the rest of it.
The crew climbed down from the pedestal upon which they had been placed and were promptly surrounded by the girls seeking autographs and stories of derring-do, which were not forthcoming. For if P for Panic had any exciting adventures in its 72 bombing missions the crew “just hadn’t heard of it,” Actually, of course, they were all looking forward to the 30-day leave which commences immediately.
As at matter of fact, there were seven very uncomfortable young men on the platform when Bill Boothroyd, speaking for Victory employees, welcomed them back to Canada “as the heroes you are.”
“Let us,” remarked Jenner, “”get outa here and unpack the kite.” That’s how P for Panic came home.
Don McAmmond had high praise for Flight Engineer Eric Jenner.
Your dad was probably the best flight engineer on the squadron…
It so happened that the very first raid that we were on was also the most terrifying (actually) – The Jerrys threw everything at us – Flak, ME 109s, we were combed by searchlight (thanks to Bob & your Dad) we managed to escape scarecrows – everything – We had been hit several times, thanks again to your Dad, we arrived back at base safely…
You asked what your Dad was like on raids (missions is an Americanism not generally used by R.A.F. or R.C.A.F.). Eric was a calming effect on the rest of the crew. He was probably scared spitless like the rest of us but he didn’t show it. Although I have seen him sweating under hazardous conditions and doing his job well.
The two gunners & your Dad were the “old men” of the crew. They were at or near thirtyish. The other 4 were just kids & I was the youngest.
Peter: You can be proud of your Dad’s experience. Take it from me who knew him the best, your Dad was a man! There are a number of stories to tell but it would take too much time to tell it all.
Here are some pictures taken at the Azores in June 1945. The crew is coming home to Canada.
Eric Jenner and R.J. Foord are seen with locals (the man on the right is unknown).
Flight Engineer Eric Jenner on the right. Others are unknown.
On the left is R.J. Foord – mid upper gunner. Next to him is an unknown airman, probably one of the crew. Eric Jenner is second from the right.
P for Panic Flies Home