Calling the Costs

A newspaper advert from September 1944, late in the war, as even then people realise Germany was probably going to be defeated, Italy had changed sides and Japan was very much on the defensive.


The artwork isn’t particularly exceptional – pretty average in both senses as a newspaper piece in the era. The Avro Lancaster depicted is not very accurate, though the main characteristics are there. However, what makes it unusual and interesting is the emphasis on ‘our’ losses, something usually of a semi-taboo topic and minimised – to multiply the losses of bombers into the actual number of men aboard is particularly blunt for the era.

The reason being the perception of slackening off on the home front. The reality was perhaps a degree of war exhaustion, but by September 1944, the supply of men and munitions, airmen and aircraft was significantly exceeding attrition, and by 1945, the aircrew training programme began to slacken off as there was no longer the same need for qualified aircrew in the front line Squadrons. So a particularly unusual propaganda view.

James Kightly, Vintage Aero Writer.

From the New Zealand Herald, Volume 81, Issue 25005, 22 September 1944, page 2. Via the New Zealand Papers Past archive, thanks to Dave Homewood.

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