4 AUGUST 1984, Page 18


Zeppelin, fly!

Sir: Forty years on and the few survivors of Bomber Command still have to put up with the carping critics, such as Murray Sayle (Books, 28 July), of our wartime activities and of Sir Arthur Harris. Everyone accord- ing to his ability and appointed position. I did not particularly want to be a bomber pilot but through a sequence of events I was. In the same way Sir Arthur Harris succeeded to the commander's job and that was his role. He did it in an initial environment dictated by the fact that the outcome of the war was by no means certain; also in accordance with his ability and as he saw fit. Of course there were mistakes. More erudite readers of the Spectator will know the name of the some- one who said 'the general who wins.the war is the one who makes the fewest mistakes' or some such — it does not make the general a lesser man. Most of the things done were disagreeable but so were the V1 and V2s and unfortunately you don't win wars by being gentlemanly. That being said my surviving colleagues are gentlemen and as such have had their personal consciences and private fears to contend with for a long time and we don't relish Murray Sayle exacerbating our memories with his skilful choice of emotive phrases.

David Hearsey The Lodge,

Long Riston, East Yorkshire