F/S Arthur Woodhall arrived at 419 squadron sometime in the beginning of November 1943. As part of the crew of
P/O MacLean. After training at No.20 OTU the crew would remain together through the whole tour.
The crew as they arrived at Middleton St. George were:
Their first operation was on November 26/27th a night raid on Stuttgart. The pilot MacLean and the Bomb Aimer Clancy
had a close call of a kind over the target. As they were making their bombing run, two Halifax bombers passed underneath them
as they were about to press the release button. MacLean had to veer off slightly to miss having the bombs of his aircraft
hit the two below. A nerve racking time for the first operational sortie.
F/S Woodhall was a good number of "Gardening" operations during his tour over half a dozen during the first half of his tour.
Dropping mines in such areas as Heligoland Bight a target visited more than once, Bay of Kiel another target area visited more then
once. On one of the operations over Kiel they had poor success as the first mine dropped and landed in the water without the
Woodhall's worse experience's was on a Gardening sortie in the well defended harbour of Brest. Even sitting in the Wireless
Operators section of the Halifax he was blinded by the enemy searchlights which caught his bomber. Lighting up the whole interior
as if it was broad daylight. What made it a worse case scenario was that they were coned by the searchlights, every gun below
could plainly see them.
No matter what MacLean did the searchlights and guns followed him, completely unable to shake them off. This continued for a
full five minutes, a life time is what it must have felt like. Waiting for the flak guns to zero in on him. Some how
they managed to finally dodge the lights and head home.
On April 12/13 the crew flew their last Halifax operation, another "Gardening" op over Heligoland Bight. By May all 419
operations were using the Lancaster X.
After there last Halifax flight the crew were trained on the newer Lancaster's. And
flew one more operation together on the night of May 1/2.
The traditional screening party from the squadron, took place at the Oak Tree
Pub and as luck would have it two photos of the party have survived.
On Completion of their Tour the men all went their separate ways.
Pilot P/O D.H. MacLean to No.82 OTU
Navigator P/O A.R. Baker to No.22 OTU
Bomb Aimer WOII P.C.Clancey to No 82 OTU
WAG F/S A.R. Woodhall RAF to No.20 OTU
F/E Sgt. D.W.H. Harris RAF to No.1664 HCU
M/UG Sgt. J.H. Auld to No.86 OTU
R/G Sgt. E.V. Stephansen RAF to No.87 OTU
It would not be until 1985 when they would all meet up again at the Reunion and dedication at Middleton St. George.
Then at the home of Donald MacLean some time later.