This (test) site is dedicated to my
Officer THOMAS BENZIE FORBES
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
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."