THE FLYING COFFINS OF BOMBER COMMAND. From: Disturbing The Universe' by Freeman Dyson. Harper & Row, 1979.

There has been some recent discussion on a well-known social media website regarding the relative chances of survival when attempting to bale out of a Halifax as opposed to a Lancaster.

This led me to recall that buried deep in my files is an Operational Research Section (Bomber Command) paper which gives a statistical analysis conclusively illustrating that, in this most important aspect at least, the Halifax had a decided advantage over the Lancaster. My initial intention was to publish that paper here, but on further reflection I recalled an article regarding this very subject I had clipped from the Observer Sunday Magazine way back in October 1979.

It is felt that appending this below will not only prove of considerably more interest, but will, in some aspects, be found decidedly controversial! It is by Freeman Dyson, FRS, then a 20 year-old civilian scientist with ORS(BC) at Headquarters Bomber Command, High Wycombe, and, briefly, No 83 (Pathfinder) Squadron at Wyton. He challenges more than one preconception perhaps held by many of how things were done at Bomber Command, and does make certain statements with which I personally do not agree. These have been highlighted and my counter thoughts can be found in the form of footnotes at the relevant pages.

Of course, I would be most interested to hear any thoughts you may have on these subjects, and invite you to leave them in the comments box to be found at the foot of this page.