Wireless Operator is an exciting new play that premiered to outstanding reviews at the Pleasance Courtyard at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Wireless Operator is a powerful portrait of a young man, barely an adult, as he struggles to survive the trauma of one horrifying night in a Lancaster Bomber.

Listen here to an interview with Bob Baldwin (co-writer) and Thomas Dennis (actor) on BFBS Scotland Radio.


What is special about Wireless Operator?

Bob Baldwin’s father Sergeant Joe J Baldwin served as a Wireless Operator in 630 Lancaster Squadron in WW2. He flew his first mission aged 21. He was a carpenter by trade and a pacifist by instinct. A short story he wrote called 1 + 5 More To Go provided the emotional heart of a psychologically complex story. The compelling narrative is compiled from a variety of memoirs, first hand reports and the log books of many other crews.

They didn’t talk about it, they didn’t get a campaign medal and were ghosted by successive governments, a national embarrassment swept under the carpet by a society unsure of its moral culpability. This is an untold story.

Sergeant JJ Baldwin. (Father of Bob Baldwin, writer)

Who were they?

These boys, some just 18, were apprentices, tradesmen, artists, academics and office workers, they weren’t hateful or aggressive. Our young wireless operator was a carpenter. They were obliged to participate in slaughter and become witness to one of the most contentious strategies of WW2.

Bob Baldwin with Ted Watson. Flight Engineer and last surviving member of his father's Lancaster Bomber Crew

Why now?

This year, 2020 is the 75th anniversary of the ending of WW2 and the controversial strategy of bombing cities like Dresden. It is a time of reflection and remembrance.

What was the cost?

The aircrew of a Lancaster Bomber were not expected to survive more than 10 missions. A tour of duty was 30.  If they survived physically, they couldn’t escape the memory of dropping bombs that obliterated whole towns. The brutal legacy of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) still echoes down the generations.

The production

It is a one man play featuring the startling and compelling physical performance by Thomas Dennis supported by a cast of 12 who we hear, but do not see. A unique soundscape based on the iconic Rolls Royce Merlin engines provides the backdrop to the unsettling narrative.

Have a listen here….

We hope Wireless Operator will raises awareness about PTSD and it’s causes.

We are supporting Combat Stress, the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health charity.