To mark the 60th Anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Ruhr we are releasing a commemorative cover to mark this important time in Bomber Command's history. The top part of the artwork shows two Mosquitoes of No 109 Squadron PFF which for the first time on a major raid used OBOE precision marking to target Essen on the 5/6 March 1943, while below a Lancaster of No 156 Squadron PFF is shown performing the vital task of dropping back up markers for the following waves of RAF bombers. The raid was a great success OBOE allowed the pathfinders to mark the targets blind (without having to see them) and was extremely accurate, the back up markers also marked well resulting in a successful start to the Battle of the Ruhr, and these tactics were the basis for many of the future raids to follow.
Each cover bears a British Forces Post Office special handstamp, dated the 5 March 2003, which shows a Mosquito and commemorates the 60th Anniversary of the Raid on Essen. The covers have been flown in Lancaster PA 474 to the 2003 Royal International Air Tattoo, RAF Fairford where the Lancaster was part of the 100 Years of Flight static display.
Hand signed by Squadron Leader Graham Mandeno DSO DFC*
300 Signed, Numbered and Certified
Squadron Leader Graham Mandeno DSO DFC*, who took part in the Battle of the Ruhr as a pilot with No 156 Squadron PFF completing numerous sorties during the period. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in July 1943 having been attacked by enemy fighters on the 11/12 and 16/17 June 1943. He left the Squadron in December 1943 and awarded a Bar to his DFC. After instructing at 11 OTU he converted to Mosquito aircraft and joined No 139 Squadron PFF in June 1944 and later awarded the DSO.