Operation Bowler

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Wimpy, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. Wimpy

    Wimpy Member

    Does anyone have any details on this attack on the naval dockyards in Venice? Carried out on the 21st March 1945 by 250 Sqn RAF and 450 Squ RAAF.

    It was run by Group Captain George Westlake flying P 40, and included several waves of aircraft including Mustangs.

    It was given the name of Bowler, I understand due to the fact that if any munitions went astray and hit the historic buildings of Venice then Westlake understood he would be "bowler hatted" ........ kicked out to civvy street.

    The operation was watched by many Venicians who stood on their roofs to get a good view.

    There was an aerial photo somewhere but I can't find it. Anyone help with more info?
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  3. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    That was excellent reading. Looks like his chariot was a Spitfire.

  4. Wimpy

    Wimpy Member

    That's the baby!!

    Not sure if that picture coincides with the raid as I understood he was in a Kittyhawk and there is no mistake that that's a Spitfire.

    Overlaid the image on Google Earth


    Was in Venice last year, there was not a lot of room for error, but plenty of clear landmarks for a daytime raid.
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Nice picture Wimpy !
  6. Mick Johns

    Mick Johns New Member

    I know this is an old thread but my uncle flight sergeant William Bays was a pilot with 250 squadron and was involved in operation bowler, he is still alive and was interviewed by the BBC in regard to the operation. When is spoke to him earlier on in the year he told me that the Kittyhawk was used for the precision bombing (which involved dive bombing from 10,000 ft) as they were more stable in the dive whereas the Mustang was too twitchy and would veer off with the slightest of stick movement.
    Tricky Dicky likes this.

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