Thomas Benzie Forbes 1912 - 1943

This (test) site is dedicated to my Grandfather

Pilot Officer THOMAS BENZIE FORBES

Who died for King and Country on the 13th July 1943 - Aged 31


The Battle of the Ruhr was in full flight when Tom joined 12 Squadron as a Lancaster pilot in May 1943. From March of this year Bomber Command was ready for a sustained and major effort against Germany that would last into the spring of 1944. Crucially, target-finding methods were being further developed, especially Oboe; a "blind-marking" device. The huge spread of industrial cities in the Ruhr valley were now within range of Oboe and Bomber Command's force of increasingly four-engined aircraft which were able to take heavier bomb loads to the target. The main battle would last for four months, two thirds of the effort would be concentrated on the Ruhr, but the remainder would be scattered across Europe; Stettin on the Baltic, Pilsen in Czechoslovakia, Munich in Bavaria and Turin in Italy.

What did the bombing campaign as a whole achieve? I would like to quote professor Richard Holmes;

"There is no easy answer; it didn't close down German industry whose production peaked in 1944, but the bombing did prevent it from rising to even greater heights - and it forced the diversion of massive military resources to the defence of the Reich. The air offensive also lifted British morale at a time when there was no other way of taking the war to Germany and it helped pave the way for the allied invasion of Europe. Yet the cost was enormous, in both materials and men. 55,000 aircrew died, almost half of those who flew.

In weighing success and failure, we sometimes forget that the young men who risked, and so often lost their lives,did it for us."

Last Update - August 2010