Entertainment

'Wireless Operator': Play Highlights Harrowing Experiences Of WWII Bombing Raids

It was inspired by Sergeant JJ Baldwin, who served as a wireless operator with 630 Squadron.

A show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe about a wartime RAF experience is exploring the impact combat has on those in the military.

'Wireless Operator' is based on the true story of a Second World War night-time bombing raid, told from the perspective of a Lancaster Bomber crew member.

The play, supported by charity Combat Stress, lays bare the fears crew members lived with during their missions.

It was inspired by Sergeant JJ Baldwin, who served as a wireless operator with 630 Squadron.

His son Bob, co-writer and director of the production, said: "Unusually, he survived.

"The attrition rate was worse than in the trenches in the First World War - [he] probably not expected to survive more than 10 missions but he got through 35."

Library image of a Lancaster Bomber, similar to the aircraft flown by 630 Squadron (Picture: MOD).
Archive image of a Lancaster Bomber, similar to the aircraft flown by 630 Squadron (Picture: MOD).

The one-man show examines the torment of losing comrades and living with the human cost of bombing raids over enemy cities.

It also reflects the isolation of the crew members who manned the planes during the war.

Thomas Dennis - who plays John, Bob's father - said: "Through a lot of research, and meeting a lot of different people, we have put together this piece to explore...[to] begin to try to understand what those men would have been through.

"To say, you know what, in 2019 it's ok to talk about these things, and we need to be there to support all veterans."

The play aims to show the true depiction of the men who took to the skies over enemy territory during the Second World War, as well as the fears they faced and those traumatic memories after their service was over.

The show is on until 26 August.