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Wellington

Manufacturer : Vickers
Number Built :
Production Began : 1938
Retired : 1953
Type : Bomber

The Vickers Wellington was a Bomber aircraft and also used for maritime reconnaissance. and had a normal crew of six except in the MKV and VI where a crew of three was used. Maximum speed was 235 mph (MK1c) 255 mph (MK III, X) and 299 mph (MK IIII), normal operating range of 1805 miles (except MK III which was 1470miles) The Wellington or Wimpy as it was known, was the major bomber of the Royal Air Force between 1939 and 1943. The Royal Air Force received its first Wellingtons in October 1938 to 99 squadron. and by the outbreak of World war two there were 6 squadrons equipped with the Vickers Wellington. Due to heavy losses on daylight raids, the Wellington became a night bomber and from 1940 was also used as a long range bomber in North Africa. and in 1942 also became a long range bomber for the royal Air Force in India. It was well used by Coastal Command as a U-Boat Hunter. The Wellington remained in service with the Royal Air Force until 1953. Probably due to its versatile use, The aircraft was also used for experimental work including the fitting of a pressure cabin for High altitude tests. The Vickers Wellington could sustain major damage and still fly, probably due to its construction of its geodesic structure and practical application of geodesic lines. Designed by Sir Barnes Wallis

Wellington


Latest Wellington Artwork Releases !
 Returning from a night mission, two Wellington bombers return over the snow covered fields of England. A fitting tribute to the air crews of the Wellington squadrons of World War Two.

Wimpey Wonderland by Keith Aspinall. (PC)
Wellington Mk.III X3671 of 156 Sqn piloted by P/O Fox is depicted laying mines in the Estuary of the Loire on the night of 16th April 1942 in the Bay of Biscay.  Just three days later, P/O Fox failed to return from a similar 'Gardening' sortie whilst flying Wellington X3485.

A Spot of Gardening by Ivan Berryman.
 Heligoland, German coast, 18th December 1939.  Johannes <i>Macky</i> Steinhoff attacking Vickers Wellington bombers of No.37 Sqn.  A raiding force of 22 RAF Wellington Ia bombers from 9, 37 and 149 squadrons was intercepted by some 60 Me109 and Me110s.  First to engage were 6 Me109Ds from Oberleutnant Johannes <i>Macki</i> Steinhoff 's NG26's experimental night fighter staffel. In the running battle that followed Steinhoff and Feldwebel Szuggar claimed 1 bomber each.  It was a disasterous day for the RAF with a total of 12 aircraft being shot down and another 6 crash landing on their return to England.

Battle of the Bight by David Pentland. (P)
 A Wellington returns low over the calm, dawn water of the North Sea, vainly struggling to maintain both height and speed.

Dawn Return by Anthony Saunders. (APB)

Wellington Artwork Collection



Dawn Return by Anthony Saunders. (APB)


The Loch Ness Wellington by Ivan Berryman.


Wellington by Robert Taylor.


Final Preparations by Philip West.

Encore by Steve Gibbs.


Our First Reply by Chris Golds.


A Spot of Gardening by Ivan Berryman.


Battle of the Bight by David Pentland. (P)


Overdue by Gerald Coulson.


Evening Departure by Gerald Coulson.


Wellington Dispersal by Michael Turner


Wimpey Wonderland by Keith Aspinall.


Wellingtons by Keith Woodcock.

A Hard Lesson to Learn by Adrian Rigby.

Wellingtons Mk1c Summer 1941 by Barry Price.

The Story of the Wellington


Target Heading by Simon Atack.

Wellington Poster by P Oliver.

Squadrons for : Wellington
A list of all squadrons from known to have used this aircraft. A profile page is available by clicking the squadron name.
SquadronInfo

322 Wing

Country : UK

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322 Wing

Full profile not yet available.

No.101 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 12th July 1917

Mens agitat molem - Mind over matter

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No.101 Sqn RAF

No 101 Squadron was formed on 12th July 1917 and based at South Farnborough. The squadron was commanded by Major The Hon L J E Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, and by the end of July the squadron was sent to France where 101 Squadron was to become the second specialist night-bomber unit in the Royal Flying Corps. 101 Squadron was equipped with the FE2b two-seat pusher bi-plane and on the 20th September 1917 began flying night bombing missions during the Battle of Menin Ridge. 101 1quadron continued night bombing missions during the 3rd Battle of Ypres and the Battle of Cambrai. 101 squadron attacked several German long-range night bomber airfields during February 1918 and these missions were among the first offensive counter air operations and up until the end of the war continued bombing missions. After the First World War 101 squadron were based in Belgium until March 1919 when returning to Britian and disbanded on the 31st December. No.101 squadron reformed on the 21st March 1928 at RAF Bircham Newton and in March 1929 the squadron was issued with the new bomber the Boulton and Paul Sidestrand. The squadron moved to RAF Andover iIn October 1929 where it remained until December 1934 when 101 squadron moved to RAF Bicester and issued with the the improved Boulton Paul Overstrand, which featured the first powered gun turret in RAF aircraft as well as othe rmodifications including more powerful engines. The Boulton Paul Overstrand is displayed on 101 Squadron's official badge. In June 1938 No 101 Squadron re-equipped with Bristol Blenheim and was stationed now at RAF West Raynham in May 1939, as part of No 2 Group, Bomber Command. When World War Two broke out 101 Squadron were stationed at RAF Brize Norton, but returned to West Raynham. It was not until the fall of France when the squadron became operational but suffered a set back when its officer commanding, Wg Cdr J H Hargroves, and his crew were lost on its first bombing mission on 5th July 1940. During the Battle of Britain 101 Squadron Blenhiems carried out bombing missions against the German barges in French ports as well as German airfields in France. Another OC 101 Squadron, Wg Cdr D Addenbrooke, was lost on the 3rd April while taking part in a raid on French ports just 3 days after taking command. 101 Squadron were re-equipped with the Vickers Wellington in April 1940 and were based at RAF Oakington and became part of No 3 Group bomber command. On the 24th July 101 Squadron lost its first Wellington on a raid against Brest. Ten Wellingtons of 101 Squadron took part in the first 1,000 bomber raid on Cologne, but losses began to mount and between July and September the Squadron lost 20 Wellingtons with 86 aircrew killed. In September 101 Squadron moved to RAF Holme-on-Spalding-Moor in Septmber 1942 and became the first operational Avro Lancaster squadron in No 1 Group.Bomber Command. 101 squadron moved to its final wartime base, RAF Ludford Magna on 15th June 1943. 101 Squadrons Lancasters took part in the raids on Hamburg and the raid on the secret German rocket site at Peenemunde. Over the winter of 1943-1944 No.101 squadron took part in the raid on Berlin but suffered high casualties. On the 31st March 1944, during the Nuremberg Raid, 101 Squadron lost 7 Lancasters and crews out of 26 dispatched. In the spring and summer of 1944 101 squadron attacked targets in France in preparation for and support of the allied invasion of Normandy. On D-Day, the squadron used ABC to jam nightfighter controllers to protect the British airborne landings. After D-Day 101 squadron continued raids on German cities with their last bombing mission on Berchtesgarden on 25th April 1945. 101 bomber squadron suffered the highest casualties of any Royal Air Force Squadron during the Second World War, losing 1176 aircrew killed in action. In October 1945, the Squadron moved to RAF Binbrook and later equipped with Avro Lincolns. In May 1952 101 squadorn became the first bomber squadron to receive the first Jet Bomber the English Electric Canberra B2 and in 1954 were stationed in Malaya carrying out bombing misisons against terrorist targets. In October 1956 during the Suez crisis to Malta for Operation MUSKETEER bombing raids against Egypt befroe being disbanded in February 1957 but in 1959 101 squadron was reformed and re equipped with the new Avro Vulcan B1 and the first squadorn to be armed with the British H Bomb, In 1961 101 squadron moved to RAF Waddington. In 1968 the squadron was equipped with the new Vulcan B2 . In 1982,101 Squadron Vulcans took part in Operation CORPORATE, during the Falklands War. A 101 Squadron crew carried out the first and last Operation BLACKBUCK Vulcan conventional bombing raids on Argentinean forces occupying Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands. These 8,000 mile round trip missions required extensive use of Air to Air refuelling. After the Falklands war 101 squadron was equipped with VC10s and supplied fighter aircraft with air to air refuelling during all major conflicts form Bosnia, to Operation Desert Storm and continues today in this role.

No.103 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st September 1917
Fate : Disbanded 31st July 1975

Nili me tangere - Touch me not

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No.103 Sqn RAF

No 103 Squadron RFC was formed on 1st September 1917, at Beaulieu, Hampshire and in 1918 was employed on day-bombing and reconnaissance missions on the Western Front flying DH9 aircraft. 103 Squadron was disbanded in 1919. In August 1936, as No.103 (Bomber) Squadron, was reformed and flew Hawker Hinds. With the outbreak of World War Two, 103 Squadron were equipped with Fairey Battles and given the role of short-range day-and night-bombing attacks. Their first misison was on the 10th of May 1940 : 4 Fairey Battles were sent to bomb German troops advancing through Luxembourg. From the four aircraft, three were lost. Their other missions included bombing the Meuse bridges and the invasion ports. The squadorn would later be re-equipped with heavier bombers with longer-range - the Wellington bomber (Oct 1940-Jul 1942) followed by Halifaxes (Jul 1942-Oct 1942) and finally Lancasters. In August 1943, it contributed 24 Lancasters to the force of 600-odd Bomber Command heavies which was sent to make the first-ever raid to Peenemunde to bomb the German V-weapons experimental station. The most distinguished Lancaster of them all, Lancaster III ED888 M2 (Mike Squared), was flown by 103 Squadron flying initially 66 missions before being transferred to 576 Squadron where it flew another 65 missions before returning back to 103 squadron to fly a further 9 missions plus, logging a total of 140 missions and totalling 974 operational hours. The aircraft made its first operational sortie - to Dortmund on 4/5th May 1943, This was a Bomber Command record but the aircraft Mike Squared was not saved from the scrap yard to be preserved and was finally scrapped in 1947. 103 Squadorns last bombing mission was on 25th April 1945 when 16 Lancasters bombed SS barracks at Berchtesgaden, but still had a roll to play as on 7th May 1945 : 19 Lancasters from the squadron dropped supplies to Dutch at Rotterdam.

No.104 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st September 1917
Fate : Disbanded 24th May 1963

Strike hard

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No.104 Sqn RAF

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No.106 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 30th September 1917
Fate : Disbanded 24th May 1963

Pro libertate - For freedom

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No.106 Sqn RAF

106 Squadron was formed 30th September 1917 at Andover, and served in Ireland on Army co-operation duties from May 1918 until disbandment in 1919. Re-formed in June 1938, the squadron was equipped with Hawker Hinds, and later Fairey Battles and from May 1939 until March 1942 was equipped with the Handley Page Hampden. The first operational WWII sortie, on the night of 9/10th September 1940 was mine laying in the Bordeaux area and the first bombing sortie was on the night of 1st/2nd March 1941 against Cologne. From February 1942 until June the same year 106 was equipped with the Avro Manchester. Following this short spell, the squadron was re-equipped with the Avro Lancaster. Although they used both Lancasters and Manchesters on all three 1,000 bomber raids (Cologne 30th/31st May 1942, Essen 1st/2nd June 1942, and Bremen 25/26th June 1942) - the third one against Bremen was the last one when the Manchesters were used. In October 1942, 106 contributed 10 Lancasters to 5 Group's epic low level daylight raid against the Schneider Works at Le Creusot, and 2 Lancasters (one of which was piloted by Wing Commander Guy Gibson CO of 106) to the subsidiary raid on the transformer and switching station at Montchanin. In 1943, they took part in the first shuttle-bombing raids (target Friedrichshafen), and the famous Peenemunde raid. During what was to become known as the Battle of Berlin (November 1943- March 1944) 106 dispatched 281 Lancasters on 20 raids, with the loss of eight aircraft. In 1944, 106 helped prepare the way for the invasion of Europe by hitting targets such as a Coastal Gun Battery at St Pierre du Mont and V-1 storage sites. In December 1944, 106 made a round trip of over 1,900 miles to attack the German Baltic Fleet at Gdynia. In March 1945, the squadron provided air support (against the defences of Wesel) for Commandos crossing the Rhine. Their last bombing sortie was on 25/26th April 1945 against the oil refinery at Vallo, Norway and 106 Squadron finally disbanded February 1946.

No.108 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 11th November 1917
Fate : Disbanded 28th March 1945

Viribus contractis - With gathering strength

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No.108 Sqn RAF

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No.109 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st November 1917
Fate : Disbanded 1st February 1957

Primi hastati - The first of the legion

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No.109 Sqn RAF

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No.115 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st December 1917
Fate : Disbanded October 1993

Despite the elements

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No.115 Sqn RAF

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No.12 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 14th February 1915

Leads the field

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No.12 Sqn RAF

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No.14 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 3rd February 1915

I spread my wings and keep my promise

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No.14 Sqn RAF

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No.142 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 2nd February 1918
Fate : Disbanded 24th May 1963

Determination

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No.142 Sqn RAF

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No.143 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st February 1918
Fate : Disbanded 25th May 1945

Vincere est vivere - To conquer is to live

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No.143 Sqn RAF

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No.148 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 10th February 1918
Fate : Disbanded 1st May 1965

Trusty

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No.148 Sqn RAF

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No.149 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st March 1918
Fate : Disbanded 31st August 1956
East India

Fortis nocte - Strong by night

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No.149 Sqn RAF

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No.15 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st March 1915

Aim sure

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No.15 Sqn RAF

On 1st March 1915, the officers and men who made up No.1 Reserve Squadron and the Recruits Depot, all of whom were based at South Farnborough, Hampshire, were brought together to form No.15 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps. Initially, the new squadron was equipped with a diverse range of flying machines, including Henri and Maurice Farmans, Avros, Bleriots, Moranes and BE2c aircraft. Having relocated to an airfield at Hounslow, west of London, where the squadron was allowed time to work up to operational status, it was, on 11th May, relocated to another airfield at Swingate Down, to the east of Dover, on the Kent coast. On 23rd December 1915, No.15 Squadron, RFC, deployed to France for operational duties. Throughout its time on the Western Front, during the First World War, the squadron was engaged in observation and reconnaissance duties, initially using BE2c aircraft but later, during June 1916, upgrading to R.E.8s. The work undertaken by the squadron, in its reconnaissance role, was recognised by higher authority, on a number of occasions, in the form of telegrams or communiqués. On 1st April 1918, No.15 Squadron became part of the newly formed Royal Air Force, which came into being with the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service. With the end of hostilities in November 1918, came a reduction in the fighting strength of the RAF and, although not disbanded as a number of squadrons were, No.15 was reduced to a cadre. The axe finally fell on the final day of December 1919, when No.15 Squadron was disbanded.

It was to be approximately five years before No.15s number plate was to be resurrected when, on 20th March 1924, No.15 Squadron was reformed as part of the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE), at Martlesham Heath, Suffolk. Over a period of ten years, No.15 Squadron completed 12,100 flying hours on over seventy-five different types of airframe. Over that same period, it also saw five changes of commanding officer.

On 1st June 1934, No.15 was re-designated as a new unit, equipped with Hawker Hart Mk.I aircraft, undertaking daylight operations flying as part of Bomber Command. The new C.O. was Squadron Leader Thomas Elmhirst, who secured permission for his squadron to change the number plate to Roman numerals and have the XV applied to the fuselage on all the squadrons aircraft. This decision was to have a lasting effect and was only interrupted by the Second World War. Thomas Elmhirst also gave thought to the fact the squadron should have its own badge and motto, both of which were approved, during 1935. In early 1936, the squadron re-equipped with Hawker Hind bomber aircraft. These machines remained in service with No.XV until 13th July 1938, when the unit converted to Fairey Battle bomber aircraft. It was with the latter aircraft that the squadron prepared for war when, on 27th August 1939, a state of emergency was declared.

History repeated itself when the Squadron returned to France on a war footing, but it was forced to return to England in order to re-equip with the Bristol Blenheim bomber. The new aircraft was initially seen as a wonder aircraft, but No.XV Squadron was virtually decimated in strength following the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940. With the Blenheim being designated unsuitable for the task, the squadron began converting to the Vickers Wellington bomber, designed by Barnes Wallace, on 7th November 1940. This was really a stop-gap measure as on 30th April 1941 No.XV began converting to the Short Stirling, four-engine, heavy bomber. During the next couple of years, night after night, the squadron carried the fight back to the enemy, enduring many losses and exploits of valour in the process. It participated in all the 1,000 bomber raids against Germany.

As 1943 drew to a close, No.XV prepared to continue the fight with new equipment. Having converted to the Avro Lancaster bomber in late December 1943, the squadron went operational in mid-January 1944 with its new aircraft. By the time the war came to an end, No.XV was flying Lancaster B.1 Specials, which were specially adapted to carry 22,000lb Grand Slam bombs. February 1947 saw another change of equipment when the squadron converted to the Avro Lincoln bomber, whilst based at RAF Wyton in Huntingdonshire. However, by the end of that same year, No.XV found itself deploying aircraft to Shallufa, Egypt, as part of Operation Sunrise.

Another change of occurred at the end of November 1950, when No.XV Squadron was disbanded but immediately reformed with Boeing B29 Washington bomber aircraft. It was during the Washington period, in March 1951, that the squadrons code letters ‘LS’, which it had been adopted during late 1939, were removed from the aircraft fuselages. The new scheme called for a natural metal finish, adorned with only the RAF roundel, fin flash and aircraft serial. With technology advancing all the time, No.XV entered a new phase in its history in June 1953, when it was declared fully operational flying English Electric Canberra bombers. During the next couple of years, the squadron continued to train and undertook many navigational and bombing exercises, which proved fruitful in 1956 when the Suez crises erupted. No.XV was deployed to Nicosia, as part of Operation Accumulate, on 23rd October. During the short period of fighting that followed, No.XV dropped a higher concentration of bombs than any other squadron. Following a cease-fire, the squadron returned to England where, on 15th April 1957, it was disbanded.

The 1st of September 1958 saw the re-formation of No.XV as a V-Bomber squadron, equipped with Handley Page Victor B.I bombers. These aircraft were not only adorned with the official RAF insignia described above, but were also permitted to carry the squadron badge, together with the Roman XV numerals. The squadron retained these aircraft until 1964 when it was again disbanded. For a period of five years No.XV Squadron ceased to exist. However, this changed on 1st October 1970, when the squadron number plate and badge were resurrected and No.XV was reformed at RAF Honnington, in Suffolk. Equipped with Blackburn S.2B Buccaneer aircraft, the squadron departed for RAF Laarbruch, where, during January 1971, it officially became part of Royal Air Force Germany. After thirteen years service with the squadron, the Buccaneers were replaced with Panavia Tornado, swing-wing, bombers. On 1st September 1983, No.XV became the first RAF Squadron in Germany to be equipped with this type of aircraft. During the latter quarter of 1990, No.XV had deployed two flights, totalling twelve crews, to Muharraq Air Base, on Bahrain Island, in readiness for operations against the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. During the following conflict, two aircraft crewed by XV Squadron personnel were shot down, resulting in the loss of Flt Lt Stephen Hicks and the capture of Flt Lts John Peters, John Nichol and Rupert Clark.

The squadron returned to RAF Laarbruch at the end of March 1991, where a number of awards, for service in the Gulf War were announced. Wing Commander John Broardbent was awarded a Distinguished Service Order, whilst Sqn Ldr Gordon Buckley and Sqn Ldr Nigel Risdale were both awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses. Senior Engineering Officer S/L Rob Torrence was awarded the Member of the British Empire. Following disbandment in January 1992, No.XV was reformed a few months later on 1st April, at RAF Honnington, where it took on the role of the Tornado Weapons Conversion Unit. It was also granted the status of a Reserve Squadron. No.XV (R) Squadron remained at Honnington until 1st November 1993, when it re-located to RAF Lossiemouth, Moray, Scotland. During January 1998, it was re-designated as the Tornado GR1 Operational Conversion Unit and equipped with the up-graded Tornado GR4 variant. In 2011, just four years away from its 100th anniversary, No.XV (R) Squadron still operates from RAF Lossiemouth, providing refresher crews and new crews to the front line squadrons.


Text by kind permission of Martyn Ford Jones

No.150 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st April 1918
Fate : Disbanded 9th April 1963

Always ahead

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No.150 Sqn RAF

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No.156 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 12th October 1918
Fate : Disbanded 25th September 1945
Pathfinder Squadron

We light the way

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No.156 Sqn RAF

Formed on 12th October 1918, the squadron flew DH9 aircraft, but did not become fully operative, and was disbanded on 9th December 1918. The squadron reformed on 14th February 1942, with Wellington aircraft, which it used until these were replaced with Lancasters in January 1943. The squadron was disbanded on 25th September 1945.

No.158 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 4th September 1918
Fate : Disbanded 31st December 1945

Strength in unity

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No.158 Sqn RAF

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No.166 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 13th June 1918
Fate : Disbanded 18th November 1945

Tenacity

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No.166 Sqn RAF

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No.172 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 4th April 1942
Fate : Disbanded 4th June 1945

Insidiantibus insidiamur - We ambush the ambusher

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No.172 Sqn RAF

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No.192 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 5th September 1917
Fate : Disbanded 21st August 1958

Dare to discover

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No.192 Sqn RAF

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No.195 Sqn RCAF

Country : Canada

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No.195 Sqn RCAF

195 Squadron was formed at Duxford, Cambridgeshire on the 16th of November 1942, as an army support squadron equipped with Hawker Typhoons. 195 Squadron was disbanded in February 1944 but in October 1944 195 Squadron was reformed as a heavy -bomber squadron at Witchford, Cambridgeshire and equipped with Avro Lancasters. No.195 Squadron flew its first operational mission on 26th October 1944 bombing Leverkusen and in total flew some 1384 sorties against the enemy and dropped 6,144.6 tons of bombs by the end of the war. After their final mission on the 24th April 1945 against the Railway facilities at Bad Oldesloe, 195 squadron dropped supplies to the Dutch at The Hague on the 7th of May 1945 and flew home POWs back form France and British troops home from Italy. The squaodron was disbanded in August 1945.

No.199 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st June 1917
Fate : Disbanded 15th December 1958

Let tyrants tremble

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No.199 Sqn RAF

Based at Lakenheath, August 1943.

No.214 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st April 1918
Fate : Disbanded 28th January 1977
Federated Malay States

Ulter in umbris - Avenging in the shadows

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No.214 Sqn RAF

Full profile not yet available.

No.215 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st April 1918
Fate : Disbanded 31st December 1968

Surgeti nox adest - Arise, night is at hand

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No.215 Sqn RAF

Full profile not yet available.

No.218 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 24th April 1918
Fate : Disbanded 23rd August 1963
Gold Coast

In time

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No.218 Sqn RAF

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No.221 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st April 1918
Fate : Disbanded 25th August 1945

From sea to sea

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No.221 Sqn RAF

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No.223 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st April 1918
Fate : Disbanded 23rd August 1963

Alae defendunt Africam - Wings defend Africa

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No.223 Sqn RAF

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No.236 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : August 1918
Fate : Disbanded 25th May 1945

Speculati nuntiate - Having watched, bring word

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No.236 Sqn RAF

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No.24 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st September 1915
Commonwealth

In omnia parati - Ready in all things

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No.24 Sqn RAF

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No.244 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 25th July 1918
Fate : Disbanded 1st May 1945

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No.244 Sqn RAF

Full profile not yet available.

No.294 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 24th September 1943
Fate : Disbanded 8th April 1946

Vita ex undis abrepta - Life snatched from the waves

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No.294 Sqn RAF

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No.300 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st July 1940
Fate : Disbanded 2nd January 1947
Polish - Land of Masovia

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No.300 Sqn RAF

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No.301 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 26th July 1940
Fate : Disbanded 10th December 1946
Polish

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No.301 Sqn RAF

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No.304 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 22nd August 1940
Fate : Disbanded 18th December 1946
Polish - Land of Silesia

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No.304 Sqn RAF

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No.305 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 29th August 1940
Fate : Disbanded 6th January 1947
Polish

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No.305 Sqn RAF

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No.311 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 29th July 1940
Fate : Disbanded 15th February 1946
Czech

Na mnozstui nehledte - Never regard their numbers

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No.311 Sqn RAF

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No.358 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 8th November 1944
Fate : Disbanded 21st November 1945

Alere flamman - To feed the flame

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No.358 Sqn RAF

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No.36 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st December 1916
Fate : Disbanded 3rd November 1975

Rajawali raja langit - Eagle King of the sky

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No.36 Sqn RAF

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No.37 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 15th April 1916
Fate : Disbanded 5th September 1967

Wise without eyes

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No.37 Sqn RAF

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No.38 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st April 1916
Fate : Disbanded 31st March 1967

Ante lucem - Before the dawn

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No.38 Sqn RAF

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No.40 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 26th February 1916
Fate : Disbanded 1st February 1957

Hostem coelo expellere - To drive the enemy from the sky

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No.40 Sqn RAF

40 Squadron Royal Air Force: 40 squadron was formed at Gosport on 26th February 1916 as a scout squadron equipped with the FE8. One flight went to France in early August and the rest of the squadron at the end of the month. However, the FE8 was soon obsolete and 40 squadron was unable to be effective in its task of fighting when faced with a faster aircraft. In March 1917 the squadron suffered heavy casualties when 9 aircraft were caught on patrol by Jasta 11 led by Manfred von Richthofen and all aircraft were brought down with four pilots killed. Before the end of March they were re-equipped with Nieuport Scouts and with these, 40 squadron began a successful career, flying offensive patrols and developing its own tactics for observation balloon attacks. During this period one of the 40 Squadron officers Lieutenant Edward Mannock (later Major Mannock VC) destroyed 6 enemy aircraft and went on to a highly successful fighting career in command of two other squadrons. Before the end of 1917, 40 Squadron replaced its scouts with the highly successful S.E.5.a and continued offensive operations against the German armed forces until the end of the First World War. It ended the war with a squadron tally of 130 enemy aircraft and 30 balloons destroyed. The squadron returned to the UK in February 1919 and was disbanded 4th July the same year. It was reformed on 1st April 1931 as a bomber squadron and served in the UK and the Middle East theatre. It was disbanded in Egypt during 1947 and reformed later that year as a transport squadron until 1950. In 1953 it was again reformed as a bomber squadron before being finally disbanded in 1956.

No.405 Sqn RCAF

Country : Canada
Founded : 23rd April 1941
Fate : Disbanded 5th September 1945
City of Vancouver

Ducimus - We lead

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No.405 Sqn RCAF

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No.419 Sqn RCAF

Country : Canada
Founded : 15th December 1941
Fate : Disbanded 5th September 1945
Moose

Moosa aswayita - Beware of the moose

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No.419 Sqn RCAF

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No.420 Sqn RCAF

Country : Canada
Founded : 19th December 1941
Fate : Disbanded 5th September 1945
Snowy Owl

Pugnamus finitum - We fight to the finish

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No.420 Sqn RCAF

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No.424 Sqn RCAF

Country : Canada
Founded : 15th October 1942
Fate : Disbanded 15th October 1945

Castigandos castigamus - We chastise those who deserve to be chastised

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No.424 Sqn RCAF

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No.425 Sqn RCAF

Country : Canada
Founded : 25th June 1942
Fate : Disbanded 5th September 1945
Aloutte

Je to plumerai - I shall pluck you

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No.425 Sqn RCAF

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No.426 Sqn RCAF

Country : Canada
Founded : 15th October 1942
Fate : Disbanded 31st December 1945
Thunderbird

On wings of fire

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No.426 Sqn RCAF

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No.428 Sqn RCAF

Country : Canada
Founded : 7th November 1942
Fate : Disbanded 5th September 1945
Ghost

Usque ad finem - To the very end

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No.428 Sqn RCAF

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No.429 Sqn RCAF

Country : Canada
Founded : 7th November 1942
Fate : Disbanded 31st May 1946
Bison

Fortunae nihil - Nothing to chance

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No.429 Sqn RCAF

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No.431 Sqn RCAF

Country : Canada
Founded : 11th November 1942
Fate : Disbanded 5th September 1945
Iroquois

The hatiten ronteriios - Warrior of the sky

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No.431 Sqn RCAF

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No.432 Sqn RCAF

Country : Canada
Founded : 1st May 1943
Fate : Disbanded 15th May 1945
Leaside

Saeviter ad lucem - Ferociously toward the light

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No.432 Sqn RCAF

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No.45 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st March 1916

Per ardue surge - Through difficulties I arise

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No.45 Sqn RAF

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No.458 Sqn RAAF

Country : Australia
Founded : 10th July 1941
Fate : Disbanded 9th June 1945

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No.458 Sqn RAAF

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No.460 Sqn RAAF

Country : Australia
Founded : 15th November 1941
Fate : Disbanded 10th October 1945

Strike and return

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No.460 Sqn RAAF

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No.466 Sqn RAAF

Country : Australia
Founded : 15th October 1942
Fate : Disbanded 26th October 1945

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No.466 Sqn RAAF

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No.47 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st March 1916

Nili nomen roboris omen - The name of the Nile is an omen of strength

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No.47 Sqn RAF

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No.524 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 20th October 1943
Fate : Disbanded 25th May 1945

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No.524 Sqn RAF

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No.527 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 15th June 1943
Fate : Disbanded 21st August 1958

Silently we serve

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No.527 Sqn RAF

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No.567 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st December 1943
Fate : Disbanded 15th June 1946

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No.567 Sqn RAF

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No.57 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 8th June 1916

Corpus non animum muto - I change my body not my spirit

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No.57 Sqn RAF

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No.612 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st June 1937
Fate : Disbanded 10th March 1957
County of Aberdeen

Vigilando custodimus - We stand guard by vigilance

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No.612 Sqn RAF

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No.70 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 22nd April 1916

Usquam - Anywhere

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No.70 Sqn RAF

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No.75 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st October 1916
Fate : Disbanded 15th October 1945
New Zealand

Ake ake kia kaha - For ever and ever be strong

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No.75 Sqn RAF

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No.76 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 15th September 1916
Fate : Disbanded 31st December 1960

Resolute

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No.76 Sqn RAF

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No.77 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st October 1916
Fate : Disbanded 10th July 1963

Ease potius quam videri - To be, rather than seen

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No.77 Sqn RAF

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No.89 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 8th October 1917
Fate : Disbanded 1st March 1965

Deiu auxilio telis meis - By the help of God with my own weapons

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No.89 Sqn RAF

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No.9 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 8th December 1914

Per noctum volamus - Through the night we gly

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No.9 Sqn RAF

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No.95 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 8th October 1917
Fate : Disbanded 30th June 1945

Trans mare exivi - I went out over the sea

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No.95 Sqn RAF

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No.99 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 15th August 1917
Fate : Disbanded 6th June 1976
Madras Presidency

Quisque tenax - Each tenacious

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No.99 Sqn RAF

July 1940, based at Newmarket Heath.
Signatures for : Wellington
A list of all signatures from our database who are associated with this aircraft. A profile page is available by clicking their name.
NameInfo

Flight Lieutenant Tom Austin DFC AE
Flight Lieutenant Tom Austin DFC AE

After joining the RAF in 1941 Tom Austin qualified as a pilot on Harvard’s, then converted into Halifax’s. During the war years other aircraft he flew included Wellingtons, Stirling’s and Lancaster’s. While flying Wellingtons as part of 199 Squadron during a raid over Dortmund, his aircraft was badly damaged but Tom managed to limp home, crash landing at Mildenhall.

The Lord Mackie of Benshie CBE DSO DFC
The Lord Mackie of Benshie CBE DSO DFC

George Mackie joined the RAF in February 1940, training as a Navigator in Bomber Command. He first joined 15 Squadron in 1941 flying Wellingtons, before going to the Middle East to join 148 Squadron. He later served with 149 Squadron on Stirlings, and 115 Squadron on Lancasters. Squadron Leader George Mackie completed three full tours on heavies, the last two as aircraft Captain.


Flight Lieutenant Bernard William Bim Bone DFC
Flight Lieutenant Bernard William Bim Bone DFC

106 Squadron May, 1942 - January. 1943 and May, 1944 to Demob December, 1945. Volunteered mid 1941 as Observer, but due to shortage of pilots was sent to E.F.T.S. to train as a pilot. Alas I broke two Tiger Moths, so I was sent to Jurby I.O.M. to train as Navigator, Bomb Aimer & Air Gunner this was at 5 A.D.S. Finished my training at No 25 O.T.U. from Dee 1941 until May 1942 during which time I crewed up with a Wellington before joining 106 Squadron in May the same year. Did my first tour with 106 Squadron under Guy Gibson, 28 trips with Wimpey and 6 trips with Sqd Ldr John Searby. Both Wimpey and Searby went on to Pathfinders, each being awarded the D.S.O. and D.F.C. In July, 1942 over Hamburg were severely bit by flak, and with one wing on fire and 3 of crew wounded we limped home and were later sent to Cowley (Wimpey and I only) to talk to the workers there who, made flaps for Lancaster this was because of news In the papers, plans, pictures (artists impression) of us on fire. Apart from daylight to Le Creusot our other trips of note were trips to Essen ( we were always hit by flak there) using WANGANUI where we bombed flares in the sky at a precise time. Only 14 Lancs went it was the first time the Germans admitted that Krupps had been hit. With John Searby I went to Stuttgart low level in moonlight, but Butch Harris decided moonlight trips were too expensive. My best trip of first tour was to Berlin - we dropped Ist 1,000 lb bomb on Berlin - I suspect It dropped into a lake. I then went to the Central Navigation School, and having passed out there supposedly a better trained Navigator, I was sent to Bomber Development Unit at Feltwell and became one of the first 12 instructors on H2S - the new navigational aid. I was then lent to both 83 and 97 Pathfinder Squadrons to teach H2S to them and demonstrate it to a Staff College Party of Senior Offices. After this I spent from October 1943 to May 1942 running a H2S training section at Swinderby, where crews converted to 4 engined aircraft before joining their Squadrons. Having been told that as one of the first H2S instructors I would never be sent back to a Squadron, I was very surprised to be sent to Metheringham to become 106 Squadron Navigation Officer. Here I did a few more trips and after V.E. day helped to train Squadron members who would be part of the Tiger Force to fly against the Japanese. Fortunately this never happened. Whilst under Guy Gibson I was selected as an aircraft captain - this was a pop by Group to encourage navigators. I wasn't very keen and finished my tour before having to fly as a captain of aircraft. This idea didn't catch on, but was pleased to have been one of two navigators on the Squadron to have been selected by Guy Gibson. Incidentally, I was at the Palace when the Queen Mother gave Gibson his V.C. - there were quite a few 106'ers there with the Dam Busters that day.

Wing Commander Robert Bray
Wing Commander Robert Bray

Robert flew his first tour of 32 ops in 75 (NZ) Squadron on Wellington’s. After a period instructing he joined 105 Squadron PFF on Mosquitos, flying Oboe operations, completing 87 ops by June 1944. In March 1945 he was posted to command 571 Squadron PFF, then commanded 128 Squadron PFF until Feb 1946.

Flight Lieutenant George Britton
Flight Lieutenant George Britton

Joining the RAF in 1941, George trained on Wellington and Stirlings as a Wireless Operator and Air Gunner. Converting to Lancasters he was posted to 90 Squadron for his first operational tour, and then to 186 Squadron, still on Lancasters. George then found himself designated to be an Intelligence Officer at Lossiemouth, interrogating Italian POWs Finally, before leaving the service in 1946, he served in Sunderland flying boats, flying to West Africa, Europe and Scandinavia.


Group Captain Dudley Burnside DSO OBE DFC*

20 / 9 / 2005Died : 20 / 9 / 2005
Group Captain Dudley Burnside DSO OBE DFC*

Dudley joined the RAF in 1935 and in 1937 went to India flying on the North West Frontier, and Iraq. At the outbreak of war he went to Burma and in 1942 was fortunate to escape when his airfield was overrun by the Japanese. Escaping back to England he took command of 195 Squadron RCAF flying Wellingtons. In 1943 he became CO of 427 Squadron on Halifaxs, later converting to Lancasters. In the Korean War he commanded a Flying Boat Wing operating Sunderlands. He retired from the RAF in 1962. He died 20th September 2005.

Flying Officer Don Carruthers
Flying Officer Don Carruthers

Joining the RAF in 1941 he trained as a wireless operator and completed his ops training at Lossiemouth on Wellingtons where he formed up with a crew that was to stay together for his entire operational career in Bomber Command. In 1943 he was posted to 466 squadron at Leconfield on Wellingtons before converting to the Halifax. He and his crew volunteered for the Pathfinder Force and joined 35 squadron on Halifax's and then Lancasters. In 1945 having completed a total of 63 operations he moved to Transport Command flying Dakotas in India with 238 squadron and then Calcutta with 52 squadron. He left the RAF in 1946.

Warrant Officer James Coman DFC
Warrant Officer James Coman DFC

As a WOP/Air Gunner he flew with both 149 and 90 Squadrons on Wellingtons, Stirlings and Lancasters completing 52 Ops including one of the first raids on Berlin made in a Wellington.


Squadron Leader Lawrence Curtis DFC*

21 / 6 / 2008Died : 21 / 6 / 2008
Squadron Leader Lawrence Curtis DFC*

Joining the RAF in 1939, he was posted as a wireless operator firstly to 149 Squadron and then 99 Squadron on Wellingtons. He then joined OTU on Whitleys before moving firstly to 158 Squadron, and then 617 Squadron on Lancasters, where he was Unit Signals Leader for 18 months. After bomber operations he joined Transport Command in 1944. He died on 21st June 2008.

Miss Lettice Curtis
Miss Lettice Curtis

Joined the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) in July 1940 having been taken on to ferry Tiger Moths. Although we were later allowed to ferry other training types such as Oxfords and Masters, it was not until the autumn of 1941 that women were allowed to fly operational aircraft types. I flew my first Hurricane in August 1941 and my first Spitfire a couple of weeks later. After a brief course on a Blenheim I was cleared to fly without any further training, twin-engine bombers up to the Wellington. In November 1943 I was sent on a Halifax course, which due to unserviceability and bad weather closed, restarting in February 1943 at Pocklington where I was cleared for ferrying Halifaxes. After that without further training, I ferried Lancasters and over 100 Stirlings. In November 1945 I ferried 14 Liberators.

Squadron Leader Robert Dale DSO, DFC
Squadron Leader Robert Dale DSO, DFC

Highly respected Canadian Wellington pilot, and Mosquito master-bomber.

Wing Commander Arthur Doubleday DSO DFC MID
Wing Commander Arthur Doubleday DSO DFC MID

Flying Wellingtons then Lancasters on his 1st tour, Arthur Doubleday began his second tour on Lancasters at Waddington with 467 Sqn RAAF. From April 1944 he commanded 61 Sqn RAF Lancasters. He finished the war as Chief Instructor 75 OTU.

Donald Dunstan
Donald Dunstan

Trained as Flight Mechanic working on Fairy Battles then transferred to 103 Squadron, Bomber Command on Wellingtons. After a Fitter 2E course he joined 161 Squadron at Tempsford with their Lysanders. During the Moon Period often working at Tangmere. He serviced the aircraft of Wing Commanders Pickard and Hodges.

Wing Commander Geoffrey Goodman
Wing Commander Geoffrey Goodman

Initially serving with 89 Sqn, he completed a full tour of Operations as a Pilot on Wellingtons. Having converted to Mosquitos he then completed another one-and-a-half tours, amassing over 500 hours of flying over enemy territory, with 544 and 541 Squadrons of the Photo Reconnaissance Unit.


Squadron Leader L S Benny Goodman
Squadron Leader L S Benny Goodman

Benny Goodman (Pilot) volunteered for aircrew at 18 years of age and was called up in 1940. After basic training he went to RAF Abingdon - a Whitley OTU - for what he was told would be straight through training. This did not materialise and he found himself in the role of a Ground Gunner. In 1941, a posting eventually came through to the Initial Training Wing followed by Elementary Fyling School at Peterborough and an instructors course at Woodley, Reading; then to Clyffe Pyparde, a holding unit. A sea journey to Canada followed and Service Flying Training School on Ansons. On completion he was posted to Kingston, Ontario, to instruct Acting Leading Naval Airmen on the Royal Navy tactics of the time, e.g. jinking after take off, dive bombing, etc. Eventually he returned to the UK and OTU on Wellingtons at Silverstone and Heavy Conversion Bomber Unit at Swinderby on Stirlings, followed by a short course at the Lancaster Conversion Unit. After an interview Benny and his crew were surprised and delighted to find they had been selected for 617 squadron - this was in 1944 and they had stayed together as a crew on 617 squadron until the war in Europe ended. He completed 30 missions - all with Jock Burnett as his flight engineer. Notable raids Jock took part in were on the Tirpitz, 29th October 1944, dropping the Grand Slam 22,000 bomb on the Arnsberg Viaduct, 19th March 1945, and the attack on Berchtesgarten Eagles Nest, 25th May 1945.

Flying Officer Les Hadley
Flying Officer Les Hadley

As a Navigator Les did a full Tour with 40 Squadron on Wellingtons. His second tour was completed on Mosquitos with 139 PFF, from where he later transferred back to heavy Bombers with 156 PFF, completing his war-time service.

Sqn Ldr Douglas Harcourt
Sqn Ldr Douglas Harcourt

Joined the navy at H.MS. Ganges in January 1933. He was drafted to H.MS. York in January 1934 before setting sail for the USA and West Indies. Based in Bermuda the ship covered both North and South America coasts as well as north to Canada. H.M S. York returned to England in August 1936. In 1937 Douglas was drafted to H.MS. Sussex; the time of the Spanish Civil War. After this he was sent for pilot training at Rochester. This was followed by Observer training in Sharks at Ford and Sktia drogue towing at Hatston. He was then sent to Lee on Solent on general service before going to Alexandria as Coxswain to carry out inshore mine patrols on a former pleasure cruiser. Douglas then requested to join the RAF and was accepted on to the Air Sea Rescue flight, which became 294 Squadron. He flew Wellingtons, Walrus and Fairchild Amphibian, and was responsible for several rescues. He was commissioned Pilot Officer F/Lt and then taken off operations to Air Headquarters Eastern Med. Then promoted to Sqn. Ldr. as Marine and Air Sea Rescue Officer. Douglas was sent home in March 1945 and posted to RAF Henlow Station. He was demobbed in October 1945.

W/O J W Hill
W/O J W Hill

Joined 196 Squadron on his 18th birthday, 25th November 1939, having cycled ten miles to the nearest recruiting office, hoping to enlist as an air gunner. However there were no vacancies and they eventually contacted him to suggest becoming a ground gunner. After square bashing on Blackpool promenade, he found himself guarding West Raynham aerodrome in Norfolk, where they were regularly strafed by German aeroplanes, flying extremely low. He then decided he would like to get his own back and volunteered for aircrew, this time as a pilot. After ACRC, Lords cricket ground, then ITW Scarborough, he found himself crossing the Atlantic in a convoy. There were numerous ships, containing budding aircrews, evacuated children and Italian prisoners of war. The fact that he had to sling his hammock at the very front of the ship, below the waterline, did nothing to boost his confidence, but they did have a number of destroyers for protection. Eventually, they docked at New York and then trans-shipped by rail to Moncton, New Brunswick, the holding terminal. His first experience of flying was at 32 EFTS Bowden, Alberta, where he flew Stearmans. He then moved on to Weyburn, Saskatchewan, where he obtained his wings, flying Harvards. Then it was back to England, this time travelling solo on a fast liner. He flew Tiger Moths at Banff, Scotland, then moved to twin-engine Oxfords, followed by Wellingtons. This was where he crewed up – he did one bombing raid on Wellingtons. Next he moved to 1665 Heavy Conversion Unit at Woolfox Lodge, flying Stirlings, then joined 196 Squadron on 5th November 1943. At the time of joining the Squadron, Stirlings were taken off bombing, and joined 38 group, assisting glider pilots with circuits and bumps, interspersed with operations to France, dropping supplies to the maquis. These trips were done at low level on moonlit nights, the theory being that they would be too low for both fighters and ground gunners to get at them. The biggest problem seemed to be avoiding high ground. On the night of 5th June, D-Day minus one, he dropped paratroopers near Caen, close to the now famous Pegasus Bridge. Then on D-Day itself, he towed a heavy Horsa glider to the Caen beachhead. During June he dropped more containers in the area. In September he made various trips to Arnhem. On one trip, due to fog over the North Sea, his glider became detached, finishing up in the sea. Luckily he later learnt the occupants were picked up by Air-Sea Rescue. These trips were done at a very low level, making them sitting ducks for the ground gunners. Aircraft losses were very severe: on one day, less than half the squadron got back to base, although some put down at other aerodromes. On one day, in addition to the gunners, there were German fighters overhead. He would have to take the decision to dive to the deck, lifting over the high-tension cables; the aeroplane escaped relatively lightly, with not much damage. He left the Squadron on completion of his tour in 38 group, on 6th June 1945. He then went back to 1665 HCU, this time as an instructor. Apart from a course on Oxfords at 7 FIS, he finished flying on 25th September 1945 and was demobbed on 27th March 1946, having completed a total of 1,021 hours flying.

Wing Commander B.E. Dick Hogan
Wing Commander B.E. Dick Hogan

Pilot, transferred from the Army to the Royal Air Force in May 1941 and was trained as a pilot on Tiger Moths at Brough on Humberside and on Air Speed Oxfords at Grantham, Lincs. After qualifying in December 1941, he served at several flying stations in the UK, before being posted to Army Cooperation at Old Sarum, Salisbury, as a Flying Instructor. It was here in the Officers’ Mess one night after dinner, that he first met the legendary Group Captain Charles Pickard DSO, DFC. who had recently assumed command of 140 Mosquito Wing in 2 Group. Group Captain Pickard was on the lookout for suitable pilots to join his wing, and was personally recruiting likely chaps in his travels around the flying stations and at the RAF Club in Piccadilly, London, as casualties had been high and replacements too slow coming from the Mosquito Operational Training Unit. After a late night drink Group Captain Pickard asked Dick Hogan two questions, Have you flown 1000 hours and also twin-engined aircraft? After receiving an affirmative reply, he wrote Hogan’s name on the back of an envelope and left the Mess. At the time it was every pilot’s ambition to fly the Mosquito, particularly the Mark V1 Fighter Bomber on low-level operations. The competition was fierce and Hogan’s expectations were none too high after this informal late-night encounter with Pickard. However a few days later he was posted direct to 140 Wing at Sculthorpe, Norfolk where, on arrival, he found great activity on the Wing as they were preparing for the first low-level- raid on the V1 Flying Bomb sites in France. The first attack was to be led by Air Vice Marshal Basil Embry, DSO, DFC, AFC. the Air Officer Commanding 2 Group. His navigator was to be Francis Chichester the famous navigator and yachtsman. Soon after this raid the Wing moved to a new airfield at Hunsdon just north of London. Here Hogan was able to complete a couple of conversion flights and was teamed up with navigator Alan Crowfoot, a splendid, imperturbable Australian. After 10 training flights they were launched into Operation No Ball the code name for the systematic low-level bombing of all the known flying bomb sites, located mainly in the Pas De Calais area. It was tree and wave top flying to keep under the German radar. On approach to the target the boxes of 4 Mosquitoes would climb to about 400 feet, then a shallow dive followed at approximately 50 feet with the bomb release by the pilot of 4 x 500 lb. 11 second delay bombs. (The pilot’s stick head had four separate controls for the operation of; (1) 4 x 20MM Canon (2) 4 x .303 Machine Guns (3) V.H.F. Transmit Button 4) Bomb Release Button.) In the heat of the moment errors could occur! Following 140 Wing’s raid on the prison at Amiens on 18th February 1944, low-level raids were phased out and the Wing tried high-level bombing with a lead aircraft from the Pathfinder Force, followed thereafter by night interdiction. The Germans had re-calibrated their gunsights and the low-level daylight strategy was now too expensive. In the spring of 1944 Hogan spent some months in RAF Hospital, Ely before being returned to duty with a limited medical category. Then followed ground appointments at the Central Fighter Establishment, Tangmere and Air Ministry, London, before being posted overseas to the British Military Mission in Budapest in 1946. This was the beginning of a series of Special Duty assignments, which were followed by attaché posts at the British Embassies in Baghdad, Bonn, Berne and Rome. Hogan also flew Wellingtons, Lancasters and the earlier post-war jets and qualified from the Central Flying School in November 1955 as a jet instructor. From there he took over the University of Birmingham Air Squadron and then as C.O. RAF Staging Post at Hickham A.F.B. Hawaii, the support unit for the atomic test base on Christmas Island. In August 1973 he was recruited by the International Red Cross to coordinate the medical and relief aid in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Wing Commander Hogan retired from the RAF after 33 years of service.


Robin Holmes
Robin Holmes

Chairman Loch Ness Wellington Association and instigator of Wellington recovery

Group Captain Ken Hubbard, OBE DFC AFC

21 / 1 / 2004Died : 21 / 1 / 2004
Group Captain Ken Hubbard, OBE DFC AFC

On 15 May 1957 Valiant XD818 captained by Wg Cdr Ken Hubbard, OC No 49 Sqn, dropped Britain's first H-bomb at Christmas Island in the South Pacific. Awarded the DFC during WWII whilst flying Wellington bombers in Italy with No 70 Sqn, he later flew Liberators and commanded No 104 Sqn with Lancasters. He commanded RAF Scampton during the height of the V-Force build-up with the Blue Steel equipped Vulcan B2s and has flown numerous types including the Victor and Vulcan. He died 21st January 2004.

Flight Lieutenant Mervyn Ingmire DFC
Flight Lieutenant Mervyn Ingmire DFC

As a young man, Mervyn Ingmire witnessed the great air battles over London and Kent during August 1940 from his home in Margate. He volunteered for the RAF and while waiting to be called for aircrew training he saw the huge German raids being intercepted by RAF fighters and watched Ju87s dive-bombing Manston airfield. He joined 115 Squadron in 1941 at Marham, flying Wellingtons and had completed a full tour of operations by April 1942. After a spell on Whitleys in the Western Desert and Mediterranean theatre during 1943, he joined 83 Squadron at Coningsby, part of the 5 Group Lancaster Pathfinder Force. In late December 1944, his aircraft, PB533 OL-Q, was diverted to Metheringham on return from a mission to bomb the synthetic oil refineries at Politz. Short of fuel, the Lancaster crashed while attempting to land in early morning fog, killing the other seven crew of the Lancaster (Squadron Leader Leslie Hatcher DFC AFM, Flight Sergeant H J Naldrett, Flight Lieutenant A J Booker DFC, Pilot Officer E Marron, Wireless Operator R F Goodman, Flight Lieutenant C Summerscales DFC and Wireless Operator F J Bell), but Ingmire was rescued from the wreckage and despite terrible injuries, he survived. After the war Mervyn Ingmire enjoyed a career in the motor industry before retiring to live in Norfolk and sharpen his bridge-playing skills.


Squadron Leader B A Jimmy James MC

18 / 1 / 2008Died : 18 / 1 / 2008
Squadron Leader B A Jimmy James MC

Squadron Leader B. A. Jimmy James, MC, survivor of the Great Escape from Stalag Luft III. Bertram Arthur James was born in India on April 17th, 1915 where his father was a tea-planter. He was educated at King's School, Canterbury, and worked in British Columbia from 1934 until volunteering for flying training with the RAF in 1939. He was commissioned and posted to 9 Sqn flying Wellingtons from Honington in Suffolk. In June 1940 his aircraft was badly hit by flak over Holland while on a bombing raid to Germany and he was forced to bail out. He was captured and taken prisoner but then embarked on what was to become a prolific period of escaping including the Great Escape from Stalag Luft III. Jimmy James was one of 76 officers who escaped from Stalag Luft III on the night of March 24, 1944, and was fortunate not to be among the 50 executed on Hitler's order on recapture. He was sent instead to Sachsenhausen concentration camp from where he tunnelled his way out, only to be caught again after 14 days on the run. He was awarded the MC and mentioned in dispatches for his escape attempts. Squadron Leader B. A. Jimmy James retired from the RAF in 1958 and held a number of posts in the Diplomatic Service. He was the general-secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office-sponsored Great Britain-USSR Association, until joining the Diplomatic Service in 1964. He held posts in Africa, Western and Eastern Europe and London. He retired in 1975, when he visited Sachsenhausen with Jack Churchill and other survivors. He served as the British representative on the International Sachsenhausen Committee until shortly before his death. He died on January 18th, 2008, aged 92

F/O Ted Jenkins
F/O Ted Jenkins

Observer on Wellingtons


Squadron Leader T Kearns
Squadron Leader T Kearns

New Zealander Terry Kearns joined the RNZAF in December 1940, transferring to England in 1941 to join 75 (NZ) Squadron, flying Wellingtons. In 1942 he took part in the first 1000 bomber raids before joining 156 Squadron Pathfinders. After a period as an instructor, he joined 617 Squadron at Warboys on operations. He flew the Mosquito FBVI on precision low-level target marking throughout 1944. He took part in most of 617's major operations, including raids on the Samur rail tunnel, and the V1 rocket sites.

Gunnery Leader Sgt Alistair Lamb
Gunnery Leader Sgt Alistair Lamb

Alistair Lamb, born in Stirling, Scotland, joined the Royal Air Force in March 1944 and went to No.7 Gunnery School at Stormydown in Wales. In August 1944 he went to Market Harborough and started training in Ansons before moving on to Wellingtons. Alistair went to H1654 heavy conversion unit at Wigsley flying in Stirlings and Lancasters. In March he joined No.15 Squadron at Mildenhall and participated in amongst other operations Operation Manna dropping food supplies to the Dutch, on the 30th April 1945 over Rotterdam, 2nd May 1945 over The Hague and 7th May 1945 at Valkenburg. Sgt Alistair lamb and the rest of the crew also took part in Operation Harken Project, photography of U-Boat Pens at Farge. After the war Sgt Alistair Lamb stayed with 15 Squadron at RAF Wyton on Lincolns until August 1947 when he left the RAF and joined the Civil Service. Alistair Lamb still lives in his home town of Stirling.

Sqd Ldr Larry Lewis DFC DFM
Sqd Ldr Larry Lewis DFC DFM

Larry Lewis started the war on Wellingtons, moving to Dakotas on Special Operations in Burma where he won an immediate DFC for a mission to pick up crew and special forces from the jungle, where two other Dakotas had failed.


Group Captain Drane Lowe, CBE DFC AFC
Group Captain Drane Lowe, CBE DFC AFC

Joining the RAF in August 1935 he completed pilot training and was posted to 49 Sqn flying Hawker Hinds as a light bomber. At the outbreak of war he took part in the early bombing raids over France, flying Hampdens and then Wellingtons on missions over occupied Europe. Fully operational until mid 1941, he was then posted to OTU at Cottesmore and Finningley as an instructor. After a long and distinguished career, including a spell flying Canberras, he retired from the RAF in 1965.


Mr. F Lowe, DFM
Mr. F Lowe, DFM

Joined the RAFVR in 1938 and started flying training at Kidlington. He was posted to 16 OTU, Upper Heyford in July 1940 where he completed a course on Ansons and Hampdens. Later he retrained as a staff pilot until he was posted to CTS Finningsley in November 1940, before transferring to 49 Sqdn. Scampton in December 1940. He flew a tour of 30 bombing and minelaying operations on Hampdens before returning to 16 OTU, Upper Heyford in July 1941 as instructor on Ansons and Hampdens and then as staff pilot on Air Firing Training Flights, using Hampdens, Lysanders and Wellington aircraft. On 28 July 1942, he was detailed to captain a Wellington on a thousand bomber raid on Hamburg, with a pupil crew. Although recalled due to bad weather, the trainee WOP failed to receive the signal and the aircraft was shot down by an Me110. Three crew were killed and three bailed out including the second pilot who was later one of the 50 shot after the Great Escape from Stalag Luft 3. Chatting to his twin brother (a Spitfire PRU Pilot) after the end of the war they discovered that he had taken a photograph of a Prisoner of War camp near Bremen, where he was held near to the end of the war. At that time, of course, he had no idea that he was a prisoner in the very same camp! Frank returned to the UK in May 1945 and subsequently was demobbed in January 1946.


Sqn Ldr W E Bill Lucas DFC
Sqn Ldr W E Bill Lucas DFC

Born in 1917, Bill Lucas volunteered for aircrew early in 1940 and after training as a fighter pilot he became, due to the high demand, a bomber pilot and joined 9 Squadron (Wellingtons) in August 1941. After 14 missions over Germany Bill converted to Stirlings and completed a further 26 operations, this time with 15 Squadron at Wyton. After two years instructing at 19 OTU Kinloss he was selected to join Pathfinder Force in October 1944 to fly Mosquitoes with 162 Squadron at Bourn, Cambridgeshire, where he remained until war end to complete 41 more missions making 81 in total. Bill attained the rank of Squadron Leader and was awarded the DFC and a Mention in Despatches. The most memorable of his missions must be the first 1000 bomber raid on Cologne on May 30 1942, as this seems to have struck a lasting memory in the minds of the general public. After the war Bill pursued a career in the insurance industry and also began to pick up the pieces of a serious athletic activity with the Belgrave Harriers which resulted in selection for the 5000 metres at the Olympic Games at Wembley in 1948, but at the age of 32 he was not in his own words “very successful”. Bill says his greatest regret was missing the games in Helsinki in 1940 and the cancelled games in 1944. “These should have been the best athletic years of my life.”

Wing Commander Norman Mackie DSO DFC

1 / 1 / 2003Died : 1 / 1 / 2003
Wing Commander Norman Mackie DSO DFC

Joining the RAF in 1940 he was posted in April 1941 to 83 Sqn at Scampton flying Hampdens and Manchesters, joining OTU as an instructor on Wellingtons in March 1942. He then rejoined 83 Sqn now at Wyton as a Pathfinder flying Lancasters until he was shot down by German Night Fighters in March 1943. Having been captured he escaped to Switzerland and after a period there managed to return to Britain through France and Spain. In May 1944 he joined 571 Sqn flying Mosquitoes with the Light Night Strike Force taking part in many of the units operations over Western Germany. He left the RAF in December 1967.  He died 1st January 2003.

Sqn Ldr Christopher Martindale
Sqn Ldr Christopher Martindale

Posted to 500 Sqn in 1936 he then instructed Polish pilots in preparation for the Battle of Britain and continued as an instructor until being posted to 218 Sqn as a pilot on Wellingtons and Lancasters


Group Captain Roy D Max

1 / 7 / 2007Died : 1 / 7 / 2007
Group Captain Roy D Max

Group Captain Roy Max, who has died aged 88, Roy Max was born on November 24 1918 at Brightwater, near Nelson in New Zealand. After attending Nelson College he learned to fly at the local aero club when he was 18. travelled from New Zealand to join the RAF and received a short servcie commission in August 1938 as a pilot and survived the crippling losses of bombers deployed to France at the outbreak of the Second World War; already a veteran at 24, he was made a wing commander and appointed to command No 75 (NZ) Squadron, the first Commonwealth squadron in Bomber Command. Shortly after the declaration of war in September 1939 No 103 Squadron, equipped with the Fairey Battle, deployed to France. in May 1940 along with the other 9 Fairy Battle squadorns. took part in action against the german Offensive But the Fairy battles were outclassed by the german fighters. On one occassion a force of 70 fairey Battle aircraft took part in a bombingmission on bridges at sedan a total of 41 aircraft were lost., Captain Roy Max dived on a group of enemy tanks in a valley and found that the guns were shooting down on him. His aircraft was hit and unable to climb. Although he and his gunner were wounded, he managed to land on a French airfield. Returning to operations a few days later, he was told that he had been awarded the Croix de Guerre and the news reached his parents and newspapers in New Zealand. In the chaos of the collapsing French administration, however, the paperwork was lost and he never received the medal. By the middle of June No 103 had lost 18 aircraft and nine crews, and Max was lucky to survive when a German fighter strafed the airfield as he was standing on the wing refuelling his aircraft. He jumped into a trench and watched his bomber burst into flames with all his belongings inside it. In the sole surviving aircraft he took off for a maintenance unit near Nantes, where a number of other Battles were found. Ground crew were loaded into the cramped cockpit of Max's aircraft and he headed towards England. He navigated using a map torn from a calendar, skirting the Channel Islands and landing at the first airfield he came to after crossing the English coast in order to determine where he was; he then pressed on to Abingdon. Roy Max his squadorn but now 103 squadron was now equipped with Wellington bombers, and Max flew on the squadron's first operation bombing the docks at Ostend in December 1940. Roy Max also attacked targets in the Ruhr. in March 1941 Roy Max spent some time ferrying Amercina built Hudson bombers form the Us to England, after this he re joined 103 squadron. On July 24th 1941 a 100 boomber day light raid took place against the german naval ships at Brest, Roy Max was leading a section of Wellingtons with no fighter escort, and losses were heavy. But he pressed home his attack, and his bombs were seen exploding on a dry dock. He was awarded the DFC. In July 1943 Max's short service commission was completed, and he reverted to the RNZAF as a squadron leader. Almost immediately he was informed that it had been decided that a native New Zealander should command No 75 (NZ) Squadron and he was promoted to wing commander. Max began operations on August 19 1943, flying the Stirling bomber from an airfield near Cambridge. The Battle of Berlin was under way and the Stirling, unable to climb to the higher levels of the Lancaster and Halifax, suffered heavy losses. Roy Max as the squadorn Commnader flew operations with his crew but, was not expected to fly on every sortie. The Stirling was eventually withdrawn from long-range bombing operations, and Max and his crews flew mining sorties and parachute drops to resistance groups. After converting to the Lancaster and flying a few more operations in support of the impending D-Day landings, his tour ended in May 1944, when he was awarded the DSO, an award that he always claimed belonged to his air and ground crews. Max returned to New Zealand to command a flying training airfield near Christchurch. In 1947 he accepted a permanent commission in the RAF, returning to England as a flight lieutenant. Having attended a course at the RAF Flying College he commanded the bomber squadron at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down, where the new jet bombers for the RAF were being tested. After commands in Germany and Italy and other Air ministry Jobs, in 1965 he became ADC to the Queen and finally retiring form the RAF in November 1968. Sadly on the 1st July 2007 Roy Max passed away.

Flight Lieutenant Edward Ted McGindle
Flight Lieutenant Edward Ted McGindle

Englishman Ted McGindle was studying in Australia at the outbreak of the Pacific war and joined the RAAF in April 1942. After initial training he gained his wings and graduated as a Sgt Pilot. Ted sailed for England and attended 21 OTU Morton-in-the-Marsh in March 1944 where he selected his crew and converted to Wellingtons. Ted McGindle converted to Halifaxes and in August 1944 was posted to 640 Sqn - 4 Group where he completed 11 operations. Later that month he transferred to 462 Sqn RAAF, equipped with Halifaxes and based at Driffield. On his 19th operation on 6th October 1944 to the synthetic oil plants at Sterkrade, Ted McGindle was awarded an immediate DFC and three of his crew immediate DFMs for bringing their crippled Halifax and wounded crew home to Woodbridge. During this seven month period he received four promotions from the rank of Sgt Pilot to Flt Lieutenant and acting Flight Commander in March 1945, completing his operational tour at the age of 21.


Air Commodore Mickey Mount CBE DSO DFC

4 / 8 / 2002Died : 4 / 8 / 2002
Air Commodore Mickey Mount CBE DSO DFC

Flying Officer C.J Mount joined NO.602 squadron on August 8th 1940 after a brief conversion course on Spitfires. On August 18th his Spitfire L1005 was severely damaged in combat with JU 87s and BF109s over Ford. Micky was unhurt. he again escaped injury when his Spitfire X4270 was damaged landing at Tangmere. he served in many of the theatres of WW2 and he flew Hurricanes in Malta and North Africa and Wellingtons in the Middle east. Micky retired and lived in Ascot in Berkshire. He died 4th August 2002.

W/O Rupert Noye DFC
W/O Rupert Noye DFC

72 ops as Rear Gunner on Wellingtons then Lancasters of 166 Squadron.

Flight Lieutenant Tom Payne
Flight Lieutenant Tom Payne

Having joined the RAF in 1941 he completed training to become a pilot before joining 90 Sqn which made a significant contribution to the Battle of the Ruhr as well as raids on Hamburg and Peenemunde. Also serving with 15 Sqn he flew both Wellingtons and Lancasters.


Flight Lieutenant Geoffrey Perks DFC
Flight Lieutenant Geoffrey Perks DFC

Joining the RAF in July 1941 he trained as a pilot in the USA and was posted to 420 Sqn as part of no 6 Group (RCAF) initially flying Wellingtons. The unit then converted to Halifaxes and he moved firstly to 427 Squadron and then 434 Sqn still flying this aircraft. In November 1944 he joined OTU as an instructor on Halifaxes, converting to Mosquitoes in January 1945. He then joined 571 Sqn as part of the Light Night Strike Force, flying the B Mk XVI and dropping 4000lb cookie bombs over Germany. He left the RAF in 1946 but rejoined, finally leaving in 1958

Wing Commander Richard Pinkham DFC
Wing Commander Richard Pinkham DFC

As a pilot he flew the twin-engine Whitley with 77 Sqn before transferring to 150 Sqn in the Western Desert to fly another medium bomber – the Wellington. In total he flew 62 Ops.


Flight Lieutenant Bill Reid VC

28 / 11 / 2001Died : 28 / 11 / 2001
Flight Lieutenant Bill Reid VC

Volunteering for RAF aircrew in 1940, Bill Reid learned to fly in California, training on the Stearman, Vultee and Harvard. After gaining his pilots wings back in England he flew Wellingtons before moving on to Lancasters in 1943. On the night of Nov 3rd 1943, his Lancaster suffered two severe attacks from Luftwaffe night fighters, badly wounding Reid, killing his navigator and radio operator, and severely damaging the aircraft. Bill flew on 200 miles to accurately bomb the target and get his aircraft home. For this act of outstanding courage and determination he was awarded the Victoria Cross. Died 28th November 2001.

Warrant Officer Tony Rogers
Warrant Officer Tony Rogers

Originally from Poland he joined the RAF in 1942 and was first assigned to 303 Sqn with whom he completed over 50 fighter sweeps. He then transferred to 300 Polish Sqn as a pilot on Wellingtons and Lancasters before time with 315 Sqn on Mosquitos. For his distinguished service he was awarded the Polish equivalent to the VC, the Virtute Militare.

Flight Lieutenant John Rollins DFC AFC
Flight Lieutenant John Rollins DFC AFC

After joining the RAF in 1940 he was called up in early 1941 and entered OTU where he qualified as an observer and was then posted operationally to 466 Sqn at Leconfield on Wellingtons. At the end of 1942 he joined 35 Sqn as a Navigator at Gravely as part of the Pathfinder Force, initially on the Halifax and later converting to Lancasters. He remained with the Pathfinders until 1944 when he was posted to Stoney Cross to convert back to Wellington 1C's as a way of becoming reacquainted with two engined aircraft. he spent the remainder of the war flying Dakotas in the Far East and left the RAF in mid 1946.


Flight Lieutenant N R Nicky Ross DSO DFC AE

18 / 4 / 2008Died : 18 / 4 / 2008
Flight Lieutenant N R Nicky Ross DSO DFC AE

No's 40, 103 and 617 Squadrons. Born 1 st August, 1917 at Greenock. Joined RAFVR at Edinburgh 12/7/39. Trained at 11 EFTS, Perth gained wings at 2 FTS Brize Norton, completed training at 20 OTU Lossiemouth Dec 1940, Joined 40 Squadron, 22/1141 as Sgt Pilot on Wellingtons at Wyton and Allconbury. Completed 1st tour 3/7/41 and screened at 27 OTU Lichfield, participating in the three Thousand Force raids on Cologne, Essen and Bremen in 1942. Commenced 2nd tour with 103 Squadron, at Elsham Wolds as Warrant Officer Pilot on Lancasters, 27th March 1943 completing end June. Awarded DFC 517/43. Took crews and Lancaster to Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio via Gander to do experimental work for USAAF ( dropping two Bren Gun Carrier type vehicles by parachute from various heights to target zone. Returned to England and commenced third tour as P/ 0 with 617 Squadron October 1943 at Coningsby and Woodhall. Spa until July 1944. As Flying Officer was awarded DSO (Immediate award). Released from Service asF/Ltin 1946. Nicky Ross passed away on 18th April 2008.


Flying Officer Leslie Rosser
Flying Officer Leslie Rosser

Joined the RAF in April 1941, having transferred from the Army. After two months, he was on his way to the USA via Iceland and Canada. He entered the USA at Detroit, in July 1941, on a student visa and wearing civilian clothes. His pilot training started in Florida at a civilian flying school with most of the instructors being old barnstormers from flying circuses etc. Discipline was maintained by a few US Army officers. Most of the pupils were ex-British Army, so the change of food, climate etc was much appreciated. The final course, before receiving the US Army wings was carried out flying Harvards. The course was completed mid-February and the return to Canada followed. On return to the UK and after some delays the conversion to twin-engined planes was completed at RAF Assington. The OTU course started at Wellesbourne in September 1942, flying Wellingtons, and a full crew formed of pilot, navigator, bomb-aimer, wireless operator and rear-gunner. The crew were posted to 420 Squadron of RCAF at Middleton St George in January 1942. Operations were carried out on targets from Hamburg to St Nazaire - Bomber Command was under pressure to assist the war against U-boats. The last operation over Germany for the crew was on March 5th 1943 and was an historic one for Bomber Command, as the target at Essen was marked by a system called Oboe. This involved a high flying Mosquito and various radio and radar equipment. The crew were posted in April 1943 to 142 Squadron - one of the two RAF Squadrons attached to the US North West African Airforce under General Doolittle. The RAF Squadrons did the night bombing on targets in Tunisia, Italy, Sicily and Sardinia. Twenty-one operations by the crew involved dropping 4,000lb block-busters. After returning to the UK in August 1943, FISgt Rosser instructed at Bruntingthorpe OTU and later after being commissioned, at Edgehill. After VE day he converted to flying Mosquitos at Barford St John and was posted to 128 Squadron at Warboys the day the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan. Since the Squadron was destined for Okinawa it meant there would be no second tours of operations and the Squadron was posted to Melsbroek, now Brussels Airport, to join the 2nd Tactical Airforce. Flying consisted mostly of exercises and formations flying over parts of Germany. He was discharged in February 1946.


Flight Lieutenant Peter Rothwell
Flight Lieutenant Peter Rothwell

Reaching Malta early in 1942, after a tour on Coastal Command Wellingtons in the UK, Peter Rothwell was posted to the Special Duties Flight which he subsequently took over. This remarkable unit of Wellingtons co-operated with the Navy to find enemy convoys, homing ships or aircraft on to them, dropping flares, observing results and finally bombing themselves. After 38 hazardous sorties Rothwell was sent back to the UK. Taking a tired Wellington back to Egypt on the way, he was lucky to survive the aircraft catching fire on take-off.

Warrant Officer Don Say DFC
Warrant Officer Don Say DFC

Joined the RAFVR in March 1939 and was sent for Aircrew training to Calgary and Hamilton in Canada in 1941. He qualified as Observer (armaments) aimer and served first on Vickers Wellingtons with 466 Sqdn (Aus) completing 20 operations before moving on to 196 Sqn for a further ten operations over France and Germany on Stirlings. After six months as Instructor, his second tour of 23 operations in Lancasters was with 514 Sqn. The picture evoked memories of a daylight operation on oil refineries at Bordeaux on 4th August 1944. Crossing the Cornish coast on return at very low level, everyone reported nude sunbathers running for cover, as 300 Lancasters roared overhead. His total war service was six and a half years between 1939 and 1945, completing two operational tours. He was awarded the DFC in 1944.

Warrant Officer Dennis Slack
Warrant Officer Dennis Slack

Upon completing his training on Wellingtons, Dennis was assigned to 158 Sqn as a Bomb Aimer on Halifaxes. In 1943 he was shot down whilst on a raid to Berlin and spent the rest of the war as a PoW in Stalag Luft IV b.

Flight Lieutenant Robert Souter
Flight Lieutenant Robert Souter

Robert Souter joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in February 1941, and after training was posted in 1942 to the Middle East, joining No.108 Squadron then flying Wellingtons. He first flew operationally in June of that year, in the Western Desert campaign, and the last operation of his first tour was in Nov 1942 with the battle of El Alamein. After a period with No.26 OTUWing, Robert undertook a second tour - this time flying Lancasters with No.49 Squadron, up to the end of the war. He had completed a total of 47 operations by that time. After the war he flew Dakotas and Liberators with RAF Transport Command.

Flt Lt Robert Stone, Croix de Guerre
Flt Lt Robert Stone, Croix de Guerre

Volunteered for flying duties in 1941 and was trained as a pilot in Canada. On returning to the UK he trained on Blenheims and was posted to North Africa early in 1943. He was invalided home after a short period, having suffered a rare tropical disease and was posted to Bomber Command and trained on Wellingtons. He was subsequently posted to 550 Squadron, No1 Group, stationed at North Killingholme in Lincolnshire, flying Lancasters. After completing 29 operations he was grounded (having developed a duodenal ulcer) and was discharged from the RAF shortly afterwards. He was subsequently awarded the Croix de Guerre.


Air Commodore D M Strong CB, AFC

21 / 8 / 2011Died : 21 / 8 / 2011
Air Commodore D M Strong CB, AFC

Undergoing pilot training in 1936 David Strong joined Bomber Squadron in 1937. When war broke out he was flying Whitleys with 166 Sqn then went to 104 Sqn flying Wellingtons. In 1941 whilst returning from a bombing raid over Italy his aircraft was struck by lightning and he pulled out at 200 feet over the North Sea. Unable to continue he was forced to ditch and all the crew survived but were captured and sent to Stalag Luft III. After the war he remained in the RAF and after a distinguished career including Senior ASO, RAF Germany and Officer Commanding RAF Halton he retired in 1966. Sadly, David Strong passed away on 21st August 2011.

Sgt George B Thomson
Sgt George B Thomson

George Thomson was trained on Stirlings and Wellingtons before converting to Lancasters and joining No.15 Sqn. He flew most of his missions on Lancaster LS-P, including missions to Stettin and Paris rail yards. While on the Paris mission, LS-M developed engine problems and was left behind by the rest of the squadron. Luckily, two P-38 Lightnings high above spotted the the struggling Lancaster and came down to escort the bomber back to base at Mildenhall. On the night of 12th September 1944, George was Navigator on Lancaster NF958 (LS-M) of No.15 Sqn, his usual aircraft LS-P grounded with engine trouble. This was to be his first and last mission on this aircraft as it was lost in the skies above Mannheim when it was attacked by the Messerschmitt Bf.110G-2 of Ofw Ludwig Schmidt of II/NGJ 6. Five of the seven crew of the aircraft, including George, managed to escape from the burning aircraft but two did not manage to escape the inferno. The aircraft came down in the vicinity of the railway station in Wieblingen, south of Mannheim. Having escaped the aircraft, he did not however manage to evade the enemy, and he was taken into captivity until the end of the war.First Op : I suppose all aircrew looked forward to their first operational flight with some trepidation, but in my own case I didn't have time to think about it, as this tale will tell. Having completed my navigation training I moved on to No. 11 O.T.U at Westcott, in December 1943, flying in Wellingtons and where I crewed up; from there it was on to 1657 Conversion Unit at Stradishall, where we flew Stirlings, then to NO.3 L.F.S. at Feltwell where we converted to Lancasters. Three rounds of circuits and bumps and one 'Bullseye' and then posted to Mildenhall in June 1944 to join XV Squadron. Arriving at Mildenhall, on my first day I reported to the Navigation Office. The Navigation Leader, F/Lt. Jack Fabian, a New Zealander, greeted me warmly enough, but was somewhat perplexed by the fact that he had another Scottish Navigator to deal with. As he said, there were already Scots known as 'Jock', 'Haggis', and 'Bagpipes', so henceforth he would call me 'Tommy'. As I was leaving his Office, he threw a fastball at me - 'Would I like to do an Op that night with a crew whose navigator had gone sick?' I was somewhat nonplussed and replied to the effect that I would have preferred to do my first Op with my own crew. To my surprise he simply said - 'That's O.K. Tommy, there will be plenty opportunities later on. 'Four days later we did a loaded climb and for some reason or another thought that we would perhaps do one or two more exercises before seeing our names on the Battle Order. Next day there seemed to be nothing on so we went our individual ways, with the Flight Engineer and myself deciding that we would go to the Camp Cinema that night. We were settled in our seats, and the big movie had just started - 'The Picture of Dorian Grey' - when a message flashed up on the screen for Sgts Howarth and Thomson to report to the Briefing Room immediately. We hurriedly left the Cinema and made our way to the Briefing Room, wondering what this was all about, when we met the aircrews coming out and getting aboard transport to be taken to their aircraft. Jack Fabian was at the door, and he handed me a Navigations Bag with the comment - You'll fmd everything in there; just follow the plane in front until you get sorted out.' We got transported out to the aircraft where the other members of the crew were already aboard, and I was still unpacking my bag as we trundled to the runway, taking off at 22.57. By the time we were in the air I had unfolded the chart and found where the target was - a 'P' Plane site at L Hey - the route there and back had already been plotted so, in effect, I was being spoon fed for my first Op.

We encountered slight flak on route and were attacked by a Ju88 over the target, forcing the Bomb Aimer to ask the Pilot to go round again. On the second run in to the target another aircraft crossed our path, again forcing a re-run as before, but eventually having unloaded our bombs we headed back home, landing at base two and a half hours after take-off. To my surprise neither I nor the Flight Engineer were challenged as to why we had been at the Cinema, nor did we get a satisfactory explanation from the other crew members as to why they had not made contact with us after seeing the Battle Order for that night.

Four nights later we were on our second Op to another 'P' Plane site, encountering three attacks by Me110s, one of which was damaged by our Rear Gunner. From then on, we never met another fighter until our twentieth Op on 12th September 1944, when we were attacked twice as we turned on to the last leg to the target, Frankfurt. The second attack caused severe damage to the aircraft and set part of the incendiary load alight, forcing us to abandon the plane, and when we bailed out the Flight Engineer and I landed in the same field, but we didnt get to the Cinema that night!

Caught Napping

It was our twentieth operation, the target was Frankfurt and the date was 12th September 1944. I was flying as Navigator in Lancaster LS-M (NF 958), the other members of the crew being FIO N.R. Overend (pilot) a New Zealander; J.D. Jones (Bomb Aimer); R.E. Kendall (Wireless Operator); RJ. Howarth (Flight Engineer); H. Beverton (Mid-upper Gunner) and 1. Spagatner (Rear Gunner). We flew low level across France, only starting our climb when we crossed the German border. At 22.45 as we turned on to the last leg into the target there was a cry of 'Port Go' from the Rear gunner; immediately we plunged into that sickening corkscrew known to all Bomber aircrew, and as we levelled out there was an almighty bang from underneath the Wireless Operators position. Flames rapidly broke through into the fuselage and we realised that we had been hit in the bomb bay, and the incendiary load was alight. The pilot struggled with the controls for a moment or two but, as the flames began to spread across the port wing, he gave the order to bail-out. B.J., the Flight Engineer, went first through the nose hatch, followed by myself, then the Bomb Aimer, while the two Gunners exited through the rear door. I estimate that we baled out at around 12,000 feet, and in the darkness of the night it seemed a long way down. Shortly after we had escaped the aircraft blew up, throwing out the Wireless Operator, who remembers nothing of that incident, and killing the Pilot.

Hitting the ground, I realised that there was another parachutist on the corner of the field in which I had landed, and making my way to him found it to be B.J. our Flight Engineer. Neither of us were injured in any way, so burying our chutes we decided to make tracks and get as far away as we could from the scene of our landing.

That night we simply headed in a southwest direction, keeping to fields and avoiding any roads. At one point we came to a large enclosed area, surrounded by high fencing, which we had to go around. Eventually, as dawn approached we found ourselves on the bank of a fast flowing river - there was a bridge downstream, with the occasional vehicle crossing it. The heavily wooded area on the other bank looked most inviting but prudence dictated that we should stay where we were, as the chances of being spotted as we crossed the bridge were too high for our liking.

As daylight came we could see that we were on the edge of a farm, the buildings of which could be seen some two hundred yards from were we were lying in long grass - fortunately the steep bank on which we lay hid us from the farm but we kept a watchful eye in case anyone came in our direction.

The day passed slowly. We had one Escape Kit between the two of us - B.J. had left his in the aircraft - so we had a couple of Horlicks tablets and risked sharing a cigarette, being careful to blow the smoke into the long grass. It proved to be a very long day, as we lay there waiting for darkness to fall.

As night came so too did the rain. And how it rained! We made our way to the bridge and got across it without any difficulty, then dived into the woods we had seen. And still it rained; so much so that we were obliged to seek shelter, and there was precious little about. An upturned tin bath, which we came across, when held over our heads provided only token cover, and the noise of the rain falling on it forced us to discard our primitive shelter. A thicker clump of trees provided some relief from the rain and we remained there for much of our second night, only resuming our escape attempt when it got a bit lighter. We were following a main road, while staying within cover of the trees, and there seemed to be only military vehicles passing from time to time. As it got lighter we decided to call a halt and get some rest - in any event, we had had little sleep so far. A clump of low scrub provided enough shelter and so we lay down and went to sleep.

It would be difficult to say that we slept well. Periodically, we would waken up and check that there was no one approaching our hideout. The occasional noise of traffic could be heard on the road some distance away - it seemed possible that this was a main route to the south and we took the decision to follow it. We were encouraged to believe that we might yet get out of Germany, and, with luck, get back to Britain.

Up to this point the lack of food had not been of great concern. We still had some Horlicks tablets and a chewy bar in the Escape Kit. We also had a fishing line and a hook, but could not imagine us sitting by a stream while we dangled the line in the expectation that we might catch a fish. Some matches, a water bottle and water purification tablets completed our equipment. I had in my possession a pencil, which when broken open revealed a miniature compass, while B.J. being a pipe-smoker had a tobacco pouch, which, he proclaimed had a map inside. Ripping open the pouch, we were somewhat disappointed to find a map of southern France, and we had a long way to go before it would be of any practical use to us.

Late that afternoon we decided that it would be safe enough to begin walking, provided we stayed within cover of the woods, so off we set. It was slow progress as we constantly had to be on the alert, and every now and then we would stop and listen for any unwelcome sounds. Gradually, as it got darker within the woods, we edged our way nearer to the road and at times walked along it in an endeavour to cover a greater distance. It was a single track road, and not, as we had imagined, a major thoroughfare; it also ran fairly straight so that we could hear, and even see, any approaching vehicle, whereupon we would dive into cover and remain hidden for a suitable period. We continued walking throughout the night, albeit at a fairly slow pace, and as daylight came we found that we were nearing some open country, with a few buildings set well back from the road. Then we had some good fortune by coming across apple trees growing by the roadside. We hastily filled our pockets and made our way across a field towards an old barn where we though we might find cover for that day. We approached the barn with caution, but it did seem to be disused and sure enough when we got inside we had the firm impression that nobody had been in it for some considerable time. A ladder led up to a hayloft and we settled down there, taking turns to sleep and keep watch. During one of my watch periods I came across a bundle of old newspapers and magazines - I could not read them but I thumbed through the pages looking at the odd photographs. Amazingly, I came across a map, which was part of a an advert for a petrol company, and it covered the very area we were in. It was somewhat rumpled, and torn in places, but I stuffed it into my pocket, feeling sure that it would prove useful in the days that lay ahead.

Feeling refreshed, we ate some of the apples and as dusk settled over the countryside we continued on our way. So far as I could judge we had covered some 50 to 60 miles, and were south of Mannheim and heading in the direction of Karlsruhe. We were still making slow progress, keeping to fields, passing through wooded areas, and trying at all times to remain invisible. This night we again experienced rain, and as it got heavier we decided that there was no alternative but to seek shelter yet again. This proved to more difficult than we had expected, but eventually we came to a bridge over an autobahn and took shelter below it at a point as high up from the autobahn as we could find. It proved to be just right for our purpose for, while we could watch the odd vehicle that passed along the road they were unable to detect our presence in the darkness. Thus passed a few miserable hours.

As dawn approached we thought it best to get away from this location, so returned to the fields and continued our walk. We were getting a bit blase by this time, and took the decision to continue walking through the day. As events were to prove this was a day we would not forget in a hurry. At one point we could see workers in a distant field, but if they saw us they took no notice. Boldness overcame us and we ventured on to a quiet country road in an endeavour to cover a greater distance. Some miles on our way we spotted a civilian type truck parked by the roadside. There did not appear to be anyone with it so we approached it carefully, possibly thinking that we might be able to use the vehicle to get us further on our way. There was no obvious way that we could have got it started, which led us to abandon the idea of driving off in style, Before leaving the truck, however, we had noticed a packet lying beside the driver's seat; on closer examination we found it to contain two chunks of bread and some sausage. We could not pass up the opportunity to vary our diet a little, and to this day I wonder what the driver thought about his missing lunch, if that is what it was.

The decision to keep to the road was almost our downfall, for turning a bend in the road a few miles on, we saw ahead a group of houses on either side of the road, with one or two women and children actually within sight of us - indeed, it seemed that they had observed our approach. What to do? Walk on, we agreed! So, putting on a bold front we walked straight ahead at a steady but not fast pace - we nodded to the women as we passed and kept going. My spine was tingling but we dared not look back. Another bend in the road and we were out of view of the women.

Heaving sighs of relief we stepped out a bit faster to get as far away as we could from the hamlet we had passed through. It is perhaps worth mentioning that we had taken the decision not to remove any badges from our uniforms, which meant that we were still wearing our flying badges and our stripes, and yet we had not been recognised.

Later in the day we came across a workmans hut by the roadside and as it was deserted we took the decision to rest for a while inside. It stood back a little from the road, and behind it was a thinly spaced wood. A knothole in the wall facing the road gave us the advantage of viewing anyone approaching. Then the unexpected happened. An army vehicle drew up alongside. As we watched, the driver and a woman got down from the cab. Hell! Were they coming to the hut? Fortunately, they passed behind and went into the wood, re-emerging some ten minutes later. The purpose of their visit was all too obvious, and we watched them climb back into the truck and drive off. If they were satisfied, so too were we!

That was enough excitement for one day, and certainly more than we had experienced in our travels thus far. To avoid another encounter with any of the local population, we kept to the fields and woods for the remainder of that day, and chose to spend the night as 'babes in the wood' once again.

Starting out the next day it was quite apparent that we were suffering from a lack of nourishment. We both felt a bit light headed from time to time and as the day wore on we realised that we needed to find another lorry with a supply of bread and sausage. No such luck, however! Taking it easy, and resting for longer periods in between walking meant that it was going to take longer to get out of Germany than we had imagined. Never mind, just keep going and hope for the best. Later in the day we came across a vast potato field and filled our pockets in preparation for a bean feast that night. We still had a few apples we had gathered earlier in the day and this gave us the prospect of a better repast. The hours of darkness came at last - we were still walking and had returned to a quiet country road on which we saw neither persons nor vehicles. When we came across another hut, again set back a little from the road, we claimed it as our own for the night. There was an added bonus in that this hut contained a stove; ideal for roasting our potatoes, so B.J. foraged for some wood while I went off to find a stream we could hear nearby in order to fill the water bottle. In my wearied state I misjudged the bank and finished ankle deep in the stream. Returning to the hut I took off my shoes and hung my socks above the stove, now alight, and waited for the potatoes to roast. They were excellent, and the apple desert finished off our evening meal. Before settling down to sleep I went out of the hut to relieve myself and to my horror saw flames spouting two or three feet high out of the chimney. A dead giveaway to any passing traffic, so out went the fire and we turned in for our rest.

The next morning was sunny and warm. We resumed our trek and by this time I was estimating that we had covered a fair distance although by no means sure where we were having run off the map I had earlier acquired. Still, we were in reasonably good heart and feeling a bit stronger after our meal the night before. Nevertheless we were walking at a slower pace and we took time to rest more often. The result was that we had probably covered little more than a dozen miles during that day. As evening came we found another road heading in what we though would be the right direction - it led us into the outskirts of a town of some size, so far as we could judge in the dark, and we were wondering what to do next when we heard approaching footsteps. Diving into a garden of a house, we hid behind shrubs until the figure passed, then re-emerged to continue on our way, still wondering what action to take.

A little further on we spied a railway yard and decided to investigate. Would there be any trains that might take us out of Germany? We never did get the answer to that question as we were suddenly confronted by a uniformed person who took a great interest in us. He spoke to us, obviously asking questions, but as we could not understand a word we just stood our ground and shrugged our shoulders. Bemused perhaps, our questioner eventually lost interest and wandered off. We wasted no time in getting out of that yard and hightailing it down the road with a view to getting as far as we could out of that town, a town we were later to learn was called Rastatt.

We walked at a fair pace and when we judged that we were a good few miles out of the town we looked for some place where we could lie up for the rest of the night. There were woods on both sides of the road, but which to choose? We chose to go right and when we were some little distance away from the road we found a hollow under some low scrub, which we settled in for our resting place, and soon we were asleep. I must have slept soundly until I was rudely shaken awake by B.J. who whispered in my ear, 'Look whose coming!' I did look and my heart sank immediately, for there were four German soldiers bearing down on us with rifles and fixed bayonets. There was no chance of escape, and as I looked around I spied an elderly man standing well back watching proceedings - he had in his arm a bundle of wood and it was all too obvious that he had come across us as he searched for wood, and reported us to the military.

As events were to prove he had not had far to go to turn us in, for we had selected as our resting place a spot some two hundred yards from a German Army camp, which we had not seen through the trees while it was dark. We had truly been caught napping!

We were taken back to this camp two or three officers appeared and scrutinised us at close quarters before removing our shoes, presumably to avoid us making a run for it. We stood there not knowing what would happen next. The most senior officer, or so he appeared, stood looking at us in some amusement. Eventually a truck was brought along, we were invited to get aboard - we had no choice - and we were driven back into the town we had walked through the previous evening. What appeared to be the local county jail was our destination, where we were searched then placed in separate cells. I was surprised that the search they made of us had been carried out in a careless manner, for they had missed my escape kit box, which was by now near empty, and a knife I had in my possession. After about an hour in the cell, the door was opened and an officer and senior N.C.O. entered. The officer stood and looked at me while the N.C.O. snapped 'English?' at me. I do not know what prompted me to say 'No', but that was my reply, whereupon the N.CO. shouted 'American?' Again I answered 'No'. The N.C.O. looked puzzled, but the officer smiled and said in almost faultless English, 'Well if you are not English and not American, what are you?' 'Scottish,' I replied. At this the officer turned and said a few words to the N.C.O. who then left the cell and I was left alone with the officer. Curiously, he did not try to interrogate me. Instead, he explained that he had gone to Oxford University pre-war, which no doubt explained his near perfect English. He did say, however, that an Austrian Regiment had picked us up, and that for me the war was over. A few minutes later the N.C.O. returned bearing a tray with a plate of meat and potatoes on it, together with a mug of coffee, then they left me to enjoy my first real meal in eight days. The following day I met up with B.J. when we were moved to another prison some miles away. I was a little amused to learn that when the German officer and N.C.O. had confronted B.J. in his cell, and asked if he was English he had acknowledged the fact, only to be left alone without anything to eat - it was some hours later before he received some bread, cold meat and coffee. Obviously, being Scottish paid off!

Eventually we were taken to Frankfurt and found ourselves in Dulag Luft for interrogation. By this time the attack on Arnhem had taken place and the number of airborne prisoners was such that we were soon moved out to our Prison Camp, Stalag Luft VII in Upper Silesia, which we reached after a train journey occupying several days. At this time we met up with our Bomb Aimer and Wireless Operator, and were more than pleased on arrival at the Camp to find that Spagatner, our Rear Gunner had got there before us. As we were later to have confirmed, the Pilot had indeed been killed in the aircraft, and our Mid-upper Gunner had also been killed, but how and when we never did learn.

Sqn Ldr Douglas Tidy

14 / 4 / 2010Died : 14 / 4 / 2010
Sqn Ldr Douglas Tidy

Sqn. Ldr. Douglas Tidy was born in 1923. Claiming to be 18 in early 1940 he joined the RAF. Defective eyesight that was discovered (despite charts learned and magic white powder’ ended his career as a tyro pilot and by the summer of 1941 he was in he Operations Room at Portreath in Cornwall, happily still with Spitfires, those of 66 and 130 Squadrons. By 1942 he was in his way to the Middle East, having flown on his first twin-engined aircraft, a Wellington of 38 Squadron, as a Wireless Operator. After an attachment to the Transjordan Frontier Force at Zerka, he joined 74 Squadron which was assisting B24s of the 98th Bomb Group, United States Army Air Corps at Ramat David in Palestine. He served under five Commanding Officers with 74 Squadron, before joining 244 Squadron with Blenheims at Sharjah in the Persian Gulf and later with Wellingtons on Masirah Island. From there he went to Aden and back to the UK with redundant aircrew to Mosquitoes at Haverfordwest. Sadly, we have learned that Douglas Tidy passed away on 14th April 2010.

Flt Lt B S Turner DFC
Flt Lt B S Turner DFC

Volunteered for the RAF in 1940 and trained as a Heavy Bomber pilot flying Tiger Moths, Airspeed Oxfords and Wellingtons at Hatfield, South Cerney and Pershore respectively. His first operational posting was to a grass field aerodrome at Feltwell where he flew Wellingtons with 75 NZ Sqn. After a tour of 37 trips mainly over Germany he then spent two and a half years as taxi driver with various navigation training flights and some two years later was posted to 61 Sqn at Skellingforth for a second tour of ops flying Lancasters - flying N for Nan on her 100th trip. After 21 ops he went to T.R.E. Defford as an experimental pilot. At that time the Air Force was preparing Tiger Force for the invasion of Japan, but because of the atomic bomb being dropped the invasion did not take place. Flying at Defford was with radar boffins testing their various offensive and defensive radar equipment in about ten different types of aircraft. In 1946 Fly Lt Turner left the Air Force.

Flying Officer Frank Walker
Flying Officer Frank Walker

Frank Walker joined the RAF in 1943, and did his original training in Glasgow. He was posted to 466 Squadron which was formed at RAF Driffield in Yorkshire on 10th October 1942, and changed over from Wellingtons to Halifaxes in September 1943. As a Rear Gunner on Halifaxes, Frank completed 36 operations before the end of the war.


F/Lt Geoffrey Ware, DFC AE FCA
F/Lt Geoffrey Ware, DFC AE FCA

Started his RAF career in December 1940 at No 1 Receiving Wing Babbacombe, then No 4 Initial Training Wing at Paignton. A long wait in the Liverpool area during which it was sunbathing or fatigues, led to a five-week trip in convoy to South Africa. There followed an enthralling year in what was then Southern Rhodesia for Elementary Flying Training on Tiger Moths and Service Flying Training on Harvards leading to the award of Wings. Instead of being sent to the Middle East, as was normal, a fast, unescorted trip took a boatload of fledgling pilots and navigators back to the UK. It appeared that the strategy of the war had changed and the emphasis was then on the build up of Bomber Command and therefore he was converted to multi-engined aircraft on Oxfords at South Cerney and on Wellingtons at further conversion to Stirlings at Waterbeach, plus two further crew members (making a crew of seven) and on to an operational tour with XV Squadron at Bourn and the award of the WC. It may be appropriate here to mention that the navigator was Brian E.B. Harris, DFC who has provided pictures and information to the authors of Oxford's Own (a history of XV Squadron) and The Stirling. He has also produced a video tape called Remember The Stirling. Brian is now the Chairman of 7he Stirling Project' which is a charity devoted to trying to build a Stirling aircraft for display purposes. (for further details tel: 01483 892626) Following the appropriate training F/Lt Ware became an Instructor at an Operational Training Unit and was Mentioned in Dispatches. After the War was over he transferred to Transport Command and spent the rest of his time in the RAF flying Liberators, mostly empty, to Karachi, and returning with 26 passengers, mostly troops. It was not easy to give up flying completely and he remained with the RAFVR and the RAux AF until they closed down, as a relief from and transition to, training to be a Chartered Accountant.

Warrant Officer Andrzej Wesolowski
Warrant Officer Andrzej Wesolowski

Initially serving with the Polish Army he was captured in 1939 but escaped to England in early 1943. He then joined the RAF as a W.Op/Air Gunner with 304 Polish Squadron completing 27 Ops in Wellingtons.

Flying Officer Dennis Wilburn
Flying Officer Dennis Wilburn

Navigator on Wellingtons with No.104 Sqn and partnered by Off Fred Ashbaugh a Canadian. Dennis Wilburn took part in the raid on the Messerschmitt factory at Steyr in Austria on 24/25th February 1944. Dennis Wilburn was based at Foggia in Italy. Of the 36 Wellingtons that took off from Foggia, only these two found the target. Others, using captured Italian maps later found to be in error, were unable to navigate accurately. Six aircraft were lost in the Alps through flying into mountains where these inaccurate maps indicated incorrect heights.


Warrant Officer Bill Wilcox DFM
Warrant Officer Bill Wilcox DFM

Bill was a Wireless Operator with 466 Squadron on Wellingtons, before being posted to 640 Squadron on Halifaxes. In 1943 he joined 35 Squadron, part of the Pathfinder Force, on Lancasters. He remained with this unit until the end of the war, completing nearly 60 operations.

Pilot Officer Tom Wilson
Pilot Officer Tom Wilson

A pilot with 192 Sqn he flew 13 operations on Wellingtons. In May 1943 whilst his crew was carrying out a top secret mission to test a captured German Radar his aircraft was shot down by a German night fighter and he served the rest of the War as a PoW.

Group Captain Geoffrey Womersley DSO DFC

28 / 10 / 2010Died : 28 / 10 / 2010
Group Captain Geoffrey Womersley DSO DFC

Geoffrey Harland Womersley was born on the 19th November 1914 at Bingley, Yorkshire. Geoffrey went to Bradford Grammar School and in 1936 joined the RAF and trained as a pilot at the RAFs flying school in Egypt. Geoffrey Harland Womersley joined No.102 Squadron flying biplane bombers. The squadron was re equipped with the Whitley bomber. Immediately after the outbreak of war he dropped propaganda leaflets over German cities and bombed the German seaplane bases on Heligoland and Sylt. On the night of May 11 1940, however, Womersley flew on the RAFs first raid on a German town, when 37 aircraft bombed road and rail links at Monchengladbach. The squadron supported the British Expeditionary Force and on 22nd May, his aircraft was hit by flak. Womersley and his crew were forced to bail out. On the ground he inadvertently stumbled into a group of German soldiers. Turning round and striding off in the other direction, he eventually came across some British soldiers. From there he managed to get to Paris and on to the last flight to England from Le Bourget airport. Womersley would go on to complete 30 operations, before becoming a bombing instructor. In August 1942 Womersley volunteered for the new Pathfinder squadrons, joining No 156, one of the Forces original four squadrons. In his Wellington he attacked targets in Germany and in Italy, dropping flares to illuminate the targets. In January 1943, whilst still a junior flight lieutenant, he was awarded a DSO. The citation concluded: He has displayed outstanding ability and pressed home his attacks with unusual courage in the face of enemy fighter and anti-aircraft opposition. 156 squadron was re-equipped with the Lancaster and Womersley went on to complete 25 operations during the Battle of the Ruhr. A few months after receiving his DSO he was awarded a DFC. In April 1943 he joined the air staff at Pathfinder headquarters, working directly for its commander, Air Vice-Marshal Donald Bennett. Ten months later he took command of No 139 Squadron. Womersley was promoted group captain to command the Pathfinder airfield at Gransden Lodge near Cambridge, and flew a number of operations with the resident RCAF Lancaster squadron. He left the RAF in November 1945. Donald Bennett in 1946 established British South American Airways, whose civilianised RAF bombers flew routes to the Caribbean and South America. Womersley along with many other Pathfinder Pilots joined the company. British South American Airways went on to use the Avro Tudor, one of which was lost without trace in the Bermuda Triangle. On May 10th 1954, following the British South American Airways merger with BOAC, Geoff Womersley would go onto to fly a Comet into Rome airport, where another crew took over for the flight to London. Disaster struck when soon after take-off the aircraft suffered an explosive decompression and crashed into the sea off Elba - there were no survivors. Geoffrey remained with the airline until 1968, retiring as one of its senior Boeing 707 captains. Geoff Womersley died on October 28th 2010.