Audio

Narrator: My brother Bob was born the thirteenth of January 1921 in the south London suburb of Norwood. Our mother, Maud, was seventeen when she met a young film cameraman, Jimmy Hodgson, and they were married in 1918. Bob was the second of their children. My sister Joan was two years older.

Bob was a gentle, intelligent child who became enthralled by one of the century's most spectacular developments—flying.

He dreamt of becoming a pilot, and his favorite way to spend a Saturday afternoon was watching

Stills of young Bob with model aircraft; mix to still of Bob in the RAF, with other pilots in uniform.

Archive footage of a bomber in training flight.

Title: Letters from a Bomber Pilot Various stills of Bob in uniform with friends or family.

Credit: A film written and directed by his brother, David Hodgson. Close-up as hand writes letter; tilt up to Bob Hodgson (actor), who reads letter to camera.

Air-to-air shot of Bob learning to fly small plane, to illustrate Bob's letter.

the planes at Croydon airport.

In January 1941, eighteen months after the war had started, Bob joined the RAF. He was one of the thousands of young men who wanted to serve in what they all thought was the most exciting and glamorous of the services.

In May, he started his training as a bomber pilot.

Bob: 16 Elementary Flying Training School. Near Derby. August 1941. Dear Bill,

I start flying Monday. Music: Glenn Miller Story, "In the Mood."

I went up for twenty minutes to get air experience. After about an hour, I went up again and was allowed to handle the controls. At

Mix medium shot Bob to camera.

Air-to-air shots.

first it wasn't so easy, but after a while I began to pick it up.

Samson said that when he saw me, six-feet-four, etc., he thought I'd be as ham-handed as anything. But I seemed quite OK.

The film continues with air-to-air shots, overlaid with extracts from Bob's letters about learning to fly. The commentary then takes over to talk more widely about the policy of the air chiefs and civilian morale at home. This is all illustrated with library footage of bombing raids, destruction, and bodies being buried. Gradually, the number of scenes with actors increase.

Film Making

Film Making

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