Robert Brokenmouth Ray Ollis WW2 RAAF

Posted on: Mon 22 Aug 2022

A great lost classic of  Aussie Military History” is what Robert calls Ray Ollis’s book 101 Nights.  Ollis was a WW2 RAAF Lancaster Bomber Navigator, and the book is based on his experience in the very first radio counter-measure squadron. . Originally published in the UK after WW2, few copies made it to Australia. But Robert Brokenmouth found one!   Edited by Robert and republished by Wakefield Press, the story behind the author and his book makes for fascinating listening.

Ray Ollis was a man ahead of his time, and a superb writer. He was bi-polar.  These days he would’ve been diagnosed with PTSD. His insight into war and human frailties is amazing. He’s one of the few people who’ve written a bomber command memoir to deal with all aspects of the humanity and inhumanity of bombing and nailed it, long before anyone was asking these questions.

Photo of a Royal Air Force Avro Lancaster I (s/n NG128, coded “SR-B”) of No. 101 Sqn out of Ludford Magna and flown by Fg Off R.B. Tibbs as part of a thousand-bomber raid, dropping its load over Duisburg, Germany, on 14-15 October 1944. Note the large aerials on top of the Lancaster´s fuselage, indicating that the aricraft is carrying ‘Airborne Cigar’ (ABC), a jamming device which disrupted enemy radio telephone channels.  Public Domain

Interviewer Helen Meyer

101 Nights by Ray Ollis. Edited by Robert Brokenmouth. Publisher Wakefield Press

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