The Panda onboard Dambusters Raids is ‘Priceless’

The state of the War is such that those involved cling to every little thing that reminds them of the peaceful life ahead. In the Second World War many soldiers and pilots carried little things that kept them connected to their families back home. Those photographs, letters and toys helped them cope with the psychological dilemmas of the World War.

A panda that flew on a number of RAF bombing aids during the Second World War has been described as ‘priceless’. According to Dorothy Bailey her father Flt Sgt. William Gordon Radcliffe took the panda with him on no less than 60 bombing missions over Germany during the War. While presenting her ‘mascot’ to a special Antique Roadshow at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, she stressed on the fact that the panda kept her father safe during the dangerous bombing missions over Germany. She also said that this panda has been to places she never did and is very close to her heart due to his association with her father and the War. After looking at the mascot, Military expert Mark Smith said that this mascot belongs to the whole of the British nation.

Ms. Bailey said that the mascot was famous with everybody working alongside her father, and that it was a source of happiness for everybody and not just her father. She added that this panda kept everyone safe during the war and is absolutely dear and priceless for her family. She also mentioned that her father tucked the panda in his boots that’s why one of his ears is missing, the BBC News reports.

Mark Smith also went through some other photographs of Sgt. Radcliffe’s tunic, with his distinguished and well-earned Flying Cross. Mr. Smith said that everything that belonged to her father is priceless for the Royal Air Force and for the British people who saw peace due to the efforts of the likes of Sgt. Radcliffe. The bombing missions carried out to destroy German dams were absolutely essential part of British war strategy. These sorts of missions made sure that Germany’s war machine did not get any better and that Nazi march further into Western Europe was contained.

BBC’s special Antique Road show featuring the panda was held at Battle of Britain memorial Flight, at RAF Coningsby, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The Show also featured a number of other war relics including an American Civil War coat that was found in a skip.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE