6 JUNE 1992, Page 28

Myth exploded

Sir: Mr Wheatcroft's specious and ill- informed piece on 'Bomber' Harris ('Bar- barous in the extreme', 30 May) is so full of inaccuracies that it is difficult to know where to start correcting it. Perhaps the opening paragraph? Rothenburg was never a Bomber Command target, and if there were civilian deaths there on Easter Satur- day 1945 it must have been from some other cause, perhaps jettisoned bombs. But on that same night elsewhere 11 bombers were shot down by Luftwaffe fighters although, according to Mr Wheatcroft, 'the Luftwaffe had no aircraft, pilots or fuel by late 1944'. Tell that to American and British bomber crews: the RAF lost 243 bombers in November 1944, almost all to night fighters. On 5 November alone 'the loss of 28 bombers shows that the German defences can still be effective.'

My source is the Bomber Command War Diaries, based entirely on official records. And I need call only on my surviving log- book to confirm that until the last days of April 1945 we never operated without top cover against German fighters — some of them jet-propelled. Among those unin- volved, or unborn, there has developed an odd misconception that the war was really won by the end of 1944, but as in 1918 the last fighting was some of the fiercest.

And, please, no more emotive 'terror bombing'. All bombing creates terror, just as all war is hell. The great Admiral Fisher told the Hague Peace Conference, 'War has no amenities. War is the essence of vio- lence. Moderation in war is imbecility.'

Richard Hough

31 Meadowbank, Primrose Hill Road, London NW3