Lancaster JB314 - EA-Q

Here is a picture of a young man. At the time he was about 17 years old. He never saw 22.

This is my uncle (1st cousin once removed), Sgt. David Rowcliffe RAFVR, pictured shortly before the outbreak of WWII. He was, when this picture was taken, just plain David Rowcliffe.

I want to use the story of David's brief life to illustrate some points about our country, and how it conducts itself today.

Most of the information this post is based on was provided by two sources. One is .

The other was from the kindness of a German researcher named Eberhard Michel, to whom I will always be indebted.

Why am I posting this here tonight?

There are several reasons.

The first is that on this day, 67 years ago, David lost his life in a bombing raid over Germany. That was ten years to the day before I was born.

David  trained as a Navigator. After training in South Africa, he and his crew were assigned to 49 squadron operating out of Fiskerton in Lincolnshire. Their aircaft was Lancaster JB314 call-sign EA-Q They were a mix of Brits and Canadians.

The night of 30th March 1944 49 Squadron was allocated for a large raid on Nuremberg. This was David's first (and last) mission.

The night was clear with a full moon. but the target was obscured by cloud. Pathfinders recommended that the raid be aborted. This advice was directly over-ruled by "Bomber" Harris. Even by Harris' dismal standards this was an insanely poor decision. Harris was supremely careless with the lives of the men under his command, although he claimed otherwise. As for the lives of German civilians he was openly dismissive.

David's aircraft  was one of the 12% of the aircraft that did not return. JB314 was shot down by Fw Reitmayer from I/NJG5 based at Stendal. The plane fell in pieces near a small village called Quotshausen. Only two of the crew bailed out of the burning bomber. The mid upper gunner Sgt. A.J. McAvoy and my Uncle, Sgt. D. Rowcliffe. Both were heavily burned.

Sgt A.J. McAvoy was found wandering in a state of shock. His wounds were so severe he was repatriated before the war ended. David crashed into a tree and was left suspended until rescued by the villagers. However, his burns were even worse than those suffered by Sgt A.J. McAvoy. Little medical help was available.

But both men were treated by a local German girl only known now as  "Sister Annie". She probably saved Sgt McAvoys life (God bless her heart).

Regrettably though David died of his wounds. The rest of the crew, P/O L.G. Kellow, Sgt S.G. Silver, Sgt L.E.Walford, Sgt T.C.Baker, P/O J. Latham perished in the aircraft.

Just another tragedy in a world drowning in tears and grief. 67 years ago.

So what? What is my message? What am I trying to say here?

I know (and you know) much more about this tragedy than Davids parents and friends ever knew. They didn't actually even know which raid he was killed on.  After he was killed the bureaucrats could not be bothered, his parents never even knew where he was buried.

In the past our country has been extremely careless with the lives of our young men and women. I fear today we are still ever being pulled into gung-ho self righteous campaigns on behalf of the world, while the world looks on. Sometimes they cheer, sometimes they curse. But always from the sidelines.

Our country haemorrhages its wealth into the pockets of foreign gangster elites in what is farcically called Foreign Aid. Meanwhile our young hemorrhage their blood into the sands of Iraq, Afghanistan and 21 other wars since WWII. Always fighting somebody else's war. Paying for somebody else's excess.

At least David died fighting a war defending his own country, even through he was led by a megalomaniac Air Marshal.

Perhaps what I need to say on this black anniversary is that we need to be more careful with those we put in harms way.

Today it is Libya. Another righteous war, but one waged for somebody else.

We owe the likes of David a huge debt. Today we need to make sure there are no more tragedies like JB314.

The only way we can do that is to stop the Ship Of Fools in Westminster from grandstanding on the world stage and using our soldiers as some blood sacrifice to their beloved "World Role".

There are times when regrettably war is an ugly fact of life. David, and his crew paid the ultimate price in such a time.

Today we must get our politicians to understand that war should always be the last resort of the incompetent, not the first resort in international diplomacy.

Lancaster JB314 (EA-Q)
P/O L.G. Kellow Pilot (Killed)
Sgt S.G. Silver F/E (Killed)
Sgt D. Rowcliffe NAV (Killed)
Sgt L.E. Walford W/OP (Killed)
Sgt A.J. McAvoy A/G (P.o.W.)
Sgt T.C. Baker B/A (Killed)
P/O J. Latham RCAF A/G (Killed)


Vestas V90 Turbine - Safety Instructions

OK. What is a Vestas V90?

No! My Dorset Dinlows.  It is not a box of 90 red matches

A Vestas V90 is a Wind Turbine.
A very large Wind Turbine.
Dimensionally similar to the ones earmarked for East Stoke in Dorset.

Now, for some reason, people have go the impression that Billothewisp dislikes wind turbines. Which is only partially true.

Billothewisp certainly has reservations about wind turbine cost/efficiency/effectiveness etc.

But what Billothewisp really hates, is gold digging anti-social carpet baggers building wind turbines too close to peoples homes.

So how close is too close?


Incidentally these highly skilled medics and scientists did not arrive at these recommendations over a pint down the pub. They have each done considerable research into wind turbine distress before arriving at their conclusions.

But I digress.

Vestas, the manufacturer of the V90, is a Danish company. They come across as nice wholesome Danish people. You know the type, good bacon, nice yellow Gouda, and a fine line in fashionable clogs.

They are certainly not festering two headed monsters fresh from the Gates of Hades.

Unfortunately though, some of their customers probably are. Even if they appear to lack the two heads.

But, lets get back to the V90.

Being Danish, Vestas is thorough.

Vestas is concerned for the safety of the operators of their huge industrial machines. To be fair they are also concerned for the well being of nearby children (I kid you not).

Take this quote from one of their handbooks for the Vestas V90 ( Full copy available here )

So,in summary Vestas say that the operators of these turbines should stay 400m away from them, unless absolutely necessary. They say that children should be kept well away from them (I surmise they mean considerably more than 400 meters)

So someone please tell me why in Dorset we are potentially going to allow four of these monsters to be erected 275 meters from a scout camp and 800 meters from a residential home for people with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) and, as I understand it 350 meters from the homes of local residents.

I suppose as part of the local Dorset friendliness, the scouts and locals within the 400 meter exclusion zone, will be able to wave to the technicians as they leg it up the road after doing whatever they have to do first thing in the morning. Then from their place of safety the technicians can benignly look down on the peasants as they play in the danger zone.

Seriously, if Vestas reckon the technical staff should stay at least 400 meters away from these things, how the hell can Purbeck council, or the Operator say that it is "safe" for local residents to actually live in a area closer than this?

All answers please, to Billothewisp, Dorset.  On a £50 note marked ROC subsidy.

Wind Power, Asbestos and Tobacco

Asbestos is a natural substance. It has been used since antiquity. Believe it or not, the Vestal Virgins in ancient Rome used Asbestos fibres in their lamps. As you know, it was heavily used as a building material 19th and 20th centuries . Initially, it was regarded as benign and was used extensively around the world.

But in the 1920's an epidemiological link was established between Asbestos and illness.

Instead of doing the decent thing and helping the medics with their research, the Asbestos companies formed a cartel to defend their markets from regulation. For the next 50 years they fought an effective rear guard action to block legislation..

The discovery of the health consequences of smoking were concurrent with that of Asbestos. Yet, like the Asbestos industry, the tobacco industry sought to block restrictions on their trade. People who called for regulation were pilloried as anti-social eccentrics, out of touch with modern society.  The vilification the tobacco industry poured on its detractors often succeeded in ruining careers.

So how does this relate to Wind Turbines?

Today, there are growing concerns about the the health effects of forcing people to live too close to wind turbines. Research studies has been produced that suggest that people are being made ill by this close proximity. The credentials of the researchers are impeccable. Regrettably the response for the wind turbine industry and their supporters ( with One notable and honourable exception) is almost identical to the methodology of obfuscation, character assasination and denial presented by the Asbestos and Tobacco industries before them.

The real irony here is that the mitigation being proposed by the researchers and medics ( as well as bodies such as the French equivalent of the BMA) is trivially simple.

Do not build wind turbines within 1 mile of Human habitation.


I don't believe wind turbines are effective or reliable. But those arguments are one wholly different level to the risk of causing harm to people who live too close to these wind farms.

We need a full epidemiological survey to be done before we risk making this problem worse. Either the Wind Industry should build no more turbines within 1 mile of human habitation or at the very least let us get a full epidemiological survey before proceeding.

Any industry or group that puts their profits and ideology before the health of the general public deserve our utter contempt

How ever green they claim to be.

Magnificent Leaders and Scurrilous Lies

Today, my grubby sour-faced little Englanders, I received an email from Alison.

I read the email in disbelief. I came to the conclusion that the smiley "Oh So Nice" Alison must really be a subversive. An agent for the Dark Side.

Her email had been formulated to undermine the credibility of our divine leaders. I wiped away tears of indignation as I read the email. It made me gasp to read such foul lies.

I decided to publish the email here simply to show you all how the Forces of Darkness are conspiring against the fabulous divinities who govern us with such care and understanding.

And as for you the "Oh So Nice" Alison, all I can say is - They know where you live.

My hand quakes as I transpose these wicked lies about our beneficent 635 MP's:
  • 29 have been accused of spouse abuse
  • 7 have been arrested for fraud
  • 9 have been accused of writing bad cheques
  • 17 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses (at least two!)
  • 3 have done time for assault
  • 71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit
  • 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges
  • 8 have been arrested for shoplifting
  • 21 are currently defendants in lawsuits
  • 84 have been arrested for drink driving in the last year. (In the last year!)
How could any country, even our little non country of England ever come to be governed by such a bunch of wife beating, shoplifting, drunken driving, feckless, financially incompetent, doped up, criminal bankrupts as this?

Of course for every crimmo that gets caught, there are another five who get away.

So, finally I must say, to all those wonderful magnificent honest and upright MP's, fighting so hard for us poor little plebs:

That I love and admire you.

All three of you.

(Oh No! another one just got nicked for drunken driving!)

All two of you.

(Um, especially the one who hasn't just had his credit card cut in half. You know, the same one on a charge for beating up his wife.)

OK that may only leave one...but....

To you My Hero, My leader, my Divine Saviour - I pledge thee my unswerving loyalty and devotion.

Hmmm... But just why are your eyes so bloodshot and glazed?

(And what exactly is that you are smoking?)

A Natural Experiment: The Fukushima Reactor

 First of all - What is a natural experiment? Wikipediea defines it rather well HERE.

Basically natural experiments are based on events as they happen rather than events that are planned.

The study of disease and infection are the most common uses of a natural experiment. The most famous related to a study in the 1850's that discovered the cause of a Cholera outbreak in London was due to foul drinking water.

So how does this relate to the drama unfolding around the Fukushima Daiichi reactor complex in Japan, and all the other 55 nuclear reactors in Japan for that matter.

Well, I think there are three important natural experiments that can be conducted here. There are certainly, many more.

Here are my Pet three:

  1. The first and most important would be, of course, related to the any potential health issues to the local population.
  2. The second would be concerned with the resilience of Japans nuclear infrastructure to this massive earthquake.
  3. The final one involves an assessment of the accuracy and honesty of the reporting that has gone on. 
So why these three and what should they cover? 

Without a doubt the first two are probably under way and brainpower massively more capable than that of the humble Billothewisp are formulating their criteria. 

But hey! this is my blog so this is what I think they should be considering.

The first natural experiment would consider the health consequences.
  • How many people died from the damage caused to the reactors?
  • What was the total radioactive release? 
  • What are the short term health consequences from these releases for the local population?
  • What are the long term health consequences from these releases for the local population?
  • How long lasting will these affects be?
  • How effective was the mitigation put in place by the Japanese authorities and how appropriate was it to the situation
The second natural experiment relates to the Japanese Nuclear Reactor Fleet
  • How many plants were affected?
  • How old were the worst affected plants?
  • What was the cause of issues that arose?
  • What was the real danger to the public?
  • What level of control was maintained over the reactors?
  • What were the chain of events that lead to the reported problems?
My final natural experiment, I regret to say unlikely to get done. Today's news may well be tomorrow's chip wrapper but the damage from propaganda and irresponsible reporting can last for years.

First here is my opinion of the reportage so far:

The reporting around the unfolding events has (to say the least) been lurid. Many of the reports have started from a pre-supposed position without any factual backup. The majority of the reportage has been inaccurate and sensationalist.

In true news-hack style, many of the worlds news agencies has not let the truth get in the way of a good story.

But that is just my opinion.

So what should out natural experiment consider? Bullet pointing what should be done in this case is less clear, but here are some ideas.

  • First we should  let the media frenzy die down for a while. Then our natural experiment can begin by analysing the news reports and comparing them to the actual events, and the actual potential scenarios.
  • We could trawl through them for accuracy and consider such aspects as event reportage accuracy and the accuracy of the quotations and their context. The end result of this would allow the general population to gauge the integrity of the various news bodies and verify their accuracy (or otherwise). These are essential aspects for future informed decisions by the worlds population.
  • We can also judge the accuracy and "reasonableness" of the various experts quoted by the media.
    Those who provided accurate information can be applauded. Those who mislead or grandstanded on issues they knew little could be named and shamed. Again very important for the general public for future news assessment.
Meanwhile the chaos and trauma in the rest of Japan with its ever mounting death toll (now in excess of 10,000) has been virtually airbrushed out as the news media focus on the drama surrounding  the Fukushima Reactor complex.

I wait for the first results from the first two natural experiments with anticipation. It would be good if someone also did the third experiment, but I am afraid that is unlikely.

It appears our world press loves to make a drama out of a crisis. But the Japanese Earthquake, a crisis several orders of magnitude greater than the Fukushima drama was simply not compelling enough for them. 

Too mundane. 

Just another natural disaster. 

But a a sub issue in the main context of the Japanese Earthquake tragedy, a crippled nuclear reactor  - is much more juicy.

The Best ISA is NOT an ISA

I bet there are those among you grubby little Englanders who are despairing about where to put the few quid you have stashed away. Where will you get interest that means your paltry little pile at least keeps its value?

There is  after all nothing as depressing as saving for that rainy day, just to watch your money melt away as inflation does its damage.

This government, like the previous government really doesn't give a damn about savers.

As for the banks. To them, my sad little saver, you are just the route to their wealth and extravagance. You will get chucked the scraps.

As the April deadline approaches, we get lots of glitzy adverts and promotions as the banks vie for your ISA pennies.

But look at the rates. They are derisory.

Leave your money with one of these charlatans for more than a year and you even lose the various bonuses. The rate drops from less than 3% down to an interest rate of  1% or less.

The banks all play off that you get the tax back. But really its the banks getting the tax bonus. You get the left-overs.

But if you go for a loan, it is 10% maybe more. So ask yourself. You gets the difference?

The banks are having a laugh. Guess what little Englander. It is you they are laughing at.

So what can you do? Where can you put your money so that it is reasonably safe and gets a decent return. Or alternatively, where can you get a loan at less than loan-shark rates?

Well, I give no advice. But here are two suggestions.

If you want to get a decent return or a loan at a fair rate try Zopa

If you are a small company that needs a loan or you want to lend money into the business sector try Funding Circle.

These are two revolutionary companies, breaking the mould. They do things differently. Have a look.

They beat the banks hands down. It does not matter whether you are a lender or a loaner.

You can try Zopa out with 50 quid. Have a look, read the reviews. Make your own judgement.

Forget about the false gain of the tax free ISA. You will get a far better return from Zopa or Funding Circle.

The greedy banks simply cannot compete with this. With Zopa and Funding Circle everyone is a winner, except the greedy banks.

The Lights Will Go Out: Official

You won't find this on the Daily Telegraph site, it was a filler in the paper. But was picked up by Anthony Watts ( HERE )

I am actually left speechless by this. I am so angry.

Is this bloke Holliday having a laugh? Does he not realise that people DIE when the electricity fails. OK they are usually only the OLD and the FRAIL or the POOR.

I suppose it is only fair to say: Who in the glitterati  gives a toss about them?


Are we so screwed as a country that we are completely and utterly in the awe of people who simply express mindless dogma and then justify any travesty, any stupidity just so they can maintain their quasi-religious zeal for ridiculous white elephants like wind turbines?

JESUS H CHRIST. I am SO angry about this.

There is NO EXCUSE. At all, of any description.

This is supposed to be a civilised country with a highly developed infrastructure. Why the hell  should we have to expect power cuts?

This is all because assorted stupid, ignorant fools like Chris Huhne and their mindless parody of a government insist on following dogma rather than common sense.

The last government caused the basis of this crisis. But the present government has (or had) a narrow window to dig us out of the pit.

It is not that they failed. It is that they did not even try.

They would rather sentence people to death rather than address the problem and risk losing their false green aura.

When (not if) the lights go out -

When old people freeze to death because the either cannot afford electricity or their boiler will  not light-

When the poor and needy have to choose between freezing or starving-

There will be only one person to blame.

Chris Huhne could have fixed this but chose not to. He chose not to fix it for the worst of political reasons, firmly backed up by his own stupidity and dogma.

Chris Huhne will be the culprit for very many ( tens of thousands ) deaths.

Chris Huhne (even now) should go before a court and explain why he did nothing except line the pockets of the gold-diggers saddling us with useless wind generation while simultaneously crippling the real generating ability of the nation.

If he had the slightest amount of decency in his body he would resign and then let somebody else with a better grip on reality try and pick up the pieces.

I hope in the future this fool and his sycophants are subjected to a public enquiry and they are held up to the public ridicule they so richly deserve.

But that  humiliation will not be witnessed by the true victims of this fool and his policies.

They will be cold, very cold - in their graves.