The following is a personal account of Derrick Clewley, a Navigator with 99 Squadron who served from late 1944 into 1945. He also worked with the Repair and Salvage Units. The account is a transcript from a recording made over a period of hours in early 2002. The transcript has been lightly edited, with a view to improving readability and clarification. Many thanks to Derrick for providing the material, and for his encouragement to us to publish it on the site.
I left school at 14, and then joined the ATC at the start of the war. At the age of 17 ¼, I joined the RAF proper – this would be in late 1942. About a week after that, five or six of us went to Oxford for aircrew tests – we had medical tests, and tests on mathematics and general knowledge. This took three days at Oxford. We were accepted into the PNB Scheme – that’s Pilot, Navigator, Bomber. You couldn’t go and ask to be at pilot – at that stage, you had to go into the PNB Scheme. Gunners were called up at 18, but PNB Scheme people were called up at 18 ¼.