|Flt Lt Phil Ainley DFC|
|Died : 19 / 9 / 2011|| Flt Lt Phil Ainley DFC |
Phil was 15 when war was declared on the 3rd September 1939. He had always wanted to be a pilot and the only way to do this was to join the RAF or the RAF Volunteer Reserve. However, he couldn’t join until he was 17 and so he took up an engineering apprenticeship. When Phil tried to join up again he was told he couldn’t because he was in a reserved occupation. Phil finally joined the RAF in November 1941 when he opted for aircrew as this was the only way he could get out of his apprenticeship. However, he couldn’t start his flying training until he was 17½. In November 1942, Phil was sent to St John’s Wood, to the Air Crew Receiving Centre. Here he was given a uniform and white flashes to put in his cap to show that he was aircrew. He and his colleagues spent five weeks marching around London and having inoculations. After St John’s Wood, Phil was sent to Manchester’s Heaton Park. This was a holding centre for volunteer aircrew and from here everyone was sent for specialist training as pilots, navigators, bombardiers and wireless operators. Phil was sent for pilot training in Silloth, Cumbria. Here he received just a few hours of flying in Tiger Moths and then when he was safe to fly he was passed back to Manchester. From here, Phil was selected for pilot training and was sent with a batch of naval ratings to the US Air Base Gross Ille, Michigan, USA. It was extremely cold, but even so physical exercise had to be carried out at 5.30 in the morning and in singlet and shorts! Phil passed out from his basic flying training and then proceeded to the US Aviation Base, Pensacola, Florida. Here, Phil learned to fly single engine aircraft of various types. In December 1942, Pearl Harbour was attacked and American patriotism was everywhere even on the pats of butter. Any Britons were treated as honoured guests and were adopted by local families. It was decided that Phil was better suited to multi-engine rather than single-engined aircraft and so he was sent to train on Catalina, flying boats. In May 1943 he passed out as a pilot and was awarded his American Naval Gold Wings. The advantage of Phil’s training was that he learned seamanship as well as airmanship. Once back in Great Britain Phil went to Moss Bros to purchase his brand new Pilot Officer’s uniform. His pay had gone up from 5 shillings a day to 10 shilling and 6 pence and beer was only 9d to 10d (old pence) a pint! Unfortunately, there was no need for more flying boat pilots but as Phil had multi-engined experience, he was sent to fly 4 engined aircraft. This meant further training as landing aircraft on land rather than the sea required a different technique. Once this new technique had been mastered Phil was sent to a Wellington Operation Training Unit. Here people were either picked or they did the picking of aircrew. Phil picked a Pilot Officer from the Canadian airforce as his Navigator and a fellow British Pilot Officer as his bomb aimer. It was when training on Short Stirling aircraft that Phil met the rest of his crew; a wireless operator, a Canadian mid-upper gunner, a rear gunner and a flight engineer. Phil’s wireless operator was only 17 ½ as was his rear gunner. Although they had flown in the aircraft for only a few hours, they were seen to be ready to fly Lancaster bombers and were sent to Nottinghamshire for training. This consisted of 14 hours flying time on the Lancaster, 7 hours during daylight and 7 hours at night. On the 15th May 1944, Phil and his crew were sent to 57 Squadron East Kirby, Lincolnshire. He then experienced his first operational flight, sitting alongside a ‘veteran’ pilot. They flew to Amiens where they were due to deposit bombs on marshalling yards. However, they returned with their bomb load! Phil’s first operational flight with his crew was on the 24th May. Their target was the marshalling yards in Antwerp. Things were building up for the D Day landings and so the aim of the bombing raids was to cause maximum disruption to the Germans.
Although the crew were not told when D Day was to happen, they returned from a mission in the early morning on the 4th June and saw numerous ships and barges, so they knew something was occurring. By July, Phil and his crew had flown 14 missions and they were flying almost every other night. After the troops had been landed in France there were more trips into Germany and more aircraft went missing. In the summer of 1944, Phil’s logbook recorded two trips, one with 31 missing and one with 49 missing and each of those aircraft had a crew of 7 men. On the 16th August 1944 the crew were briefed to do a ‘gardening’ mission. Gardening was code for dropping sea mines. The area to be mined was the Stettin Bay Canal in Germany. The mines had to be dropped from only 250 feet and this area was fiercely guarded. Only 6 crews had been detailed to fly down the canal and Phil’s was one of them. Command had laid on an attack on the town of Stettin itself to draw attention away from the Canal. However, the bombing was delayed as the marking for the bombs was off track and the aircraft had the terrifying prospect of orbiting the target at only 250 feet, whilst marking was relaid. The aircraft in front of Phil was blown up and they had to negotiate the debris. Out of the 6 aircraft earmarked to bomb the Stettin Canal, one was blown up, one did not reach Stettin and one went missing. It was for this mission and pressing home the attack that Phil was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Having successfully completed 33 missions Phil and his crew left the Squadron on the 6th October. In 2002, after 58 years Phil was re-united with his Navigator at a Re-union at East Kirkby, the Station from where they flew during the war. Sadly, Phil Ainley passed away on 19th September 2011.
|Flight Lieutenant John Atkins|| Flight Lieutenant John Atkins |
He was an Air Gunner and then Navigator on Lancasters initially joining 166 Sqn and later 7 Sqn. After his aircraft was badly damaged he was forced to bale out over the Dutch coast in October 1944 and spent time in Stalag Luft VII & IIIA.
|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.
|Flying Officer Laurence W Baker|| Flying Officer Laurence W Baker |
Laurie Baker joined 467 Sqn RAAF at Waddington in Nov 1944, flying his first sortie in Sugar as Second pilot, before a further six sorties as Captain, including Sugars last operational sortie on 21 April 1945.
|Warrant Officer John Banfield|| Warrant Officer John Banfield |
Trained as a Bomb Aimer and Navigator with 207 Sqn he was shot down in a Lancaster on 3rd January 1943 whilst on a raid to Essen. After spending 4 weeks in a hospital near Amsterdam he was moved to various PoW Camps including Stalag Luft III until Liberation in May 1945.
|Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Michael Beetham GCB CBE DFC AFC FRAeS|| Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Michael Beetham GCB CBE DFC AFC FRAeS |
Michael Beetham volunteered for the RAFVR in May 1941. After pilot training he was commissioned, and in November 1943 posted to 50 Squadron flying Lancasters at Skellingthorpe. At this time the bomber offensive was at its height, culminating in the Battle of Berlin. Sir Michael and his crew made ten trips to Berlin, lost an engine over Augsburg and took heavy damage during an attack on Leipzig. After completing his first tour and a period of instructing, Sir Michael started his second tour with 57 Squadron at East Kirby, taking part in Operation Exodus, bringing home Prisoners of War from Germany. After a distinguished post war career, Sir Michael received the RAFs top job, Chief of the Air Staff, where he was deeply involved in the Falklands War.
|Flight Lieutenant James Bell DFC|| Flight Lieutenant James Bell DFC |
Joining the RAF as a pilot in 1941, Jim Bell flew 32 operations with 576 Sqn, 31 of these were done in Lancaster ED888, the aircraft that flew 140 operations, more than any other in Bomber Command. His first op as skipper on ED888 was on its one hundredth trip.
|Wing Commander John Bell|| Wing Commander John Bell |
After initially training as a Navigator he went on to complete most of his 50 ops in Lancasters as a Bomb Aimer with 617 Sqn, including all the raids against the Tirpitz.
|Tom Bennett DFM|| Tom Bennett DFM |
Born in 1919, Tom Bennett was a specialist navigator with 30 ops with 49 Sqn Lancasters followed by selection for Leonard Cheshire’s elite Mosquito ‘Marker Force’ within the legendary 617 Sqn. Following the D-Day landings on 5/6th June, there was a very great danger that the Germans would reinforce their troops with their reserves Panzer tank corp. These had been stationed at Calais due to the Germans belief that the invasion would come at that point. The only way to get the Panzer through to the Beachhead at Normandy was via the French Saumur tunnel. 617 squadron were assigned to destroy this and were led by the famous Leonard Cheshire VC OM DSO DFC. He used 3 Mosquitoes as a marker force for the main 617 Bomber Force and the dropping of flares was so accurate that one of the Lancaster’s put a 12000 tall boy straight through the roof of the tunnel and the tunnel was not reopened until 1946. Three Mosquitoes were used on this operation and only one of the crew is surviving today. This is Tom Bennett DFM
|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.
|Warrant Officer Jim Booker|| Warrant Officer Jim Booker |
A Navigator on 625 Sqn Lancasters, flying operationally from late 1944, he flew on the last bombing mission of the European war to Berchtesgaden and supplied relief drops to the Dutch in Operation Manna.
|Flight Lieutenant Albert R T Boys DFC|| Flight Lieutenant Albert R T Boys DFC |
Reg Boys was posted to 467 Sqn RAAF during June 1943, and navigated S for Sugar for three different Captains, including the Squadron C/O, W/Cdr Hay. On 7th May 1945, he navigated Sugar as the first aircraft to bring POWs out of Germany to the UK.
|Flt Sergeant Stan Bradford DFM|| Flt Sergeant Stan Bradford DFM |
A mid-upper gunner on Lancaster ED308 D-Donald of 57 squadron RAF Bomber Command, then based at Scampton. By the end of his tour in March 1944 Stan had become an air Ace, credited by 5 Group with the shooting down of 6 enemy fighters, including a Bf109 over France on his very first operation on the night of August 27th 1943.
|Warrant Officer M Ben Brennan DFM AFM|| Warrant Officer M Ben Brennan DFM AFM |
Ben Brennan volunteered for the RAF in 1941, qualifying as a Flight Engineer in early 1943. Converting to Lancasters, he was posted to join 619 Squadron at Woodall Spa. In late 1943 he went to 83 Squadron at Wyton, as part of the Lancaster Pathfinder Force, before joining No 5 Group at Coningsby. He flew a total of 80 operations during the war.
|Flight Lieutenant Boris Bressloff DFC|| Flight Lieutenant Boris Bressloff DFC |
Having completed his training as a Bomb Aimer he joined 635 Sqn serving with W.O. Ernie Patterson and W.O. Harry Parker on over 50 Ops in Lancasters with Pilot Alex Throne DSO DFC.
|A de Breyne|| A de Breyne |
Pilot of 'Mynarski's Lanc', the Lancaster in which Andrew Mynarski earned his VC after attempting to rescue the rear gunner of the Lancaster, which was on fire as it lurched towards it's doom after losing two engines to a Ju88. After allowing time for the crew to escape, De Breyne parachuted out of the doomed Lancaster at about 800ft.
|Flt Lt Don Briggs DFM|| Flt Lt Don Briggs DFM |
62 ops as Flight Engineer on Lancasters of 156 Pathfinder Squadron. After the war he qualified as a pilot and flew all three types of V-Bomber operationally including the famous Vulcan XH558 as well as Canberras and Meteors. He flew the mission that dropped the third and last Atom Bomb on Christmas Island.
|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.
|Sgt Jim Brookbank|| Sgt Jim Brookbank |
Born in a Victorian terrace in the back streets of Kilburn in North West London and had yet to reach his sixteenth birthday at the outbreak of war. Having experienced the ‘Blitz’ and already obsessed with flying since the age of 12, he - in keeping with many aspiring young aviators - wanted to be a Spitfire pilot. He volunteered as U/T pilot at the age of 18, trained in Canada and qualified as a Bomb Aimer. Jim joined IX Squadron at Bardney in August 1944 and flew on Operations with them until VE Day. He attacked specially selected daylight targets with the Barnes Wallis 12,000lb ‘Tallboy’ bomb, including the final raid of the war on Berchtesgaden on 25th April 1945. Jim completed 23 ops.
|Died : 1991|| P Brophy |
Brophy was the rear gunner in 'Mynarski's Lanc', the Lancaster in which Andrew Mynarski earned his VC after a failed attempt to save the trapped tailgunner. Mynarski, with his parachute and clothing on fire, jumped clear of the aircraft, mortally burned. Brophy survived the subsequent crash without injury, being thrown miraculously clear of the fully laden bomber. Paul Brophy died in 1991.
|Squadron Leader Ken Brown CGM RCAF|
|Died : 23 / 12 / 2002|| Squadron Leader Ken Brown CGM RCAF |
Born 20th August 1920. Joined the Canadian Air Force in 1941, and joined No.617 Sqn in 1943. Pilot and Captain of Lancaster AJ-F, he attacked the Sorpe Dam. Ken Brown died 23rd December 2002.
|Warrant Officer Ron Brown|| Warrant Officer Ron Brown |
Initially served as a Fitter on Hurricanes and Harvards, then joined Aircrew in 1942 and served as a Flight Engineer on Stirlings with 218 Squadron where he towed gliders on D-Day. He went on to complete another Tour with 75 Squadron on Lancasters, completing 64 Operations by the end of the War.
|Warrant Officer William Jock Burnett|| Warrant Officer William Jock Burnett |
Jock Burnett (Flight Engineer) volunteered at the age of 18 as a Direct Entry in Edinburgh F/E and served in the RAFVR from 25th May 1943 until 19th February 1947 following a F/E course at St Athans, South Wales. On passing out from this course Jock was posted to Swinderby on Stirlings heavy conversion unit 1660 before being transferred to Syerston and Lancasters. In early August 1944 Jock joined 617 Sqn at Woodhall Spa and was subsequently posted with the squadron to Waddington and Digri, India. He completed 30 missions, all with Lawrence Benny Goodman as the pilot. 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.
|Group Captain Dudley Burnside DSO OBE DFC*|
|Died : 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.
|Flight Lieutenant Nat Bury DFM|| Flight Lieutenant Nat Bury DFM |
With 207 Sqn he completed a full operational tour as a Flight Engineer on Lancasters including attacks on the German coastal village of Peenemunde where the V-1 and V-2 projects were being developed.
|W. O. G. T. M. Caines|| W. O. G. T. M. Caines |
Volunteered and joined the RAF at age 18 and was called up on 4th December 1940. He subsequently joined 9 Squadron and after 7 Operational sorties was granted four days compassionate leave to visit his wife, who had just given birth to a son in a temporary maternity hospital in Taunton. He returned to find his crew reported missing. He carried on flying with 9 Squadron as a spare Wop but after 13 ops crewed up with F/O Manning who had lost his Wop after five trips. On 23rd March 1944, on his twenty-fifth trip, in Lancaster LM430, WS-B, on the way home from Frankfurt they were hit in the bomb bay by a fighter. Badly on fire and in a steep dive they blew up. The aircraft broke her back and Caines was thrown clear of the wreckage, landing in a little village called Lembeque, near Brussels. He finished the war in captivity and was repatriated a week or so before VE Day. Unfortunately he was the only one to survive the crash.
|Warrant Officer Ken Calton|| Warrant Officer Ken Calton |
Joining the RAF in late 1940, he served as a Flight Engineer with 7, 156 and 12 Squadrons before finally joining 635 Sqn, Pathfinder Force on Lancasters who acted as Master Bombers for this final raid of the war in Europe.
|Squadron Leader Pat Carden DFC AE|
|Died : 28 / 6 / 2008|| Squadron Leader Pat Carden DFC AE |
Joining the RAF in 1932, after qualifying as a pilot, he served as an instructor until 1942, when he joined 15 Squadron at Mildenhall, flying Lancasters. Volunteering for the Pathfinder Force he joined 35 Squadron at Gravely on Halifaxes, followed by 582 Squadron on Lancasters, taking part in many bombing sorties over Normandy, including two missions on D-Day. He finished the war having completed 66 operations. Pat Carden sadly died 28th June 2008, aged 96.
|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.
|Squadron Leader J R Cassels DFC*|
|Died : 19 / 12 / 2008|| Squadron Leader J R Cassels DFC* |
No's 14, 29, 98, 106, 125, 139 (Jamaica), and 162 Squadrons. April, 1941 - Enlisted in Edinburgh and accepted for pilot training. April 1941 to April 1942 - No 4 I.TW. Paignton, No 9 E.F.T.S. Ansty, Coventry, No 12 S.F.T.S. Spittlegate, Grantham, (22/01/1941 Received wings as Sgt. Pilot) No 14 O.T.U. Cottesmore flying Hampdens. April 1942 - No 106 Squadron, RAF Coningsby commanded by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, DSO, DFC. I was second pilot on Manchesters and did 4 operational sorties. Converted to Lancasters as first pilot and did 26 operational sorties, including Le Creusot raid on 17 October '42, between June and December 1942. Final sortie on 8 December 1942. December 1942 to March 1943 - Survived several attempts to turn me into a flying instructor. March 1943 - No 1485 Conversion Unit ie. No 5 Group Gunnery Flight training air gunners. October- November 1943 - No 1655 Mosquito Training Unit. November 1943 to June 1944 - No 8 Group, Pathfinder Force - No 139 (Jamaica) Squadron. H2S Mosquito Marking Squadron, RAF Wyton and Upwood. Completed 44 operational sorties before ending up interned in Sweden. 12 June 1944 to 20th September 1944 interned at Falun, Sweden. October 1944 to June 1945 - rejoined No 139 (Jamaica) Squadron at RAF Upwood after an air crew medical where a Group Captain M.0. told me that, as I was warm and my goolies didn't drop oftwhen I coughed, I was back to war. Completed 46 operational sorties before V.E. day. Total sorties on 139 squadron 90. June 1945 to July 1946 - Transport Command, No 162 Squadron flying Mosquitos (ALDS ic, Air Delivery Letter Service) RAF Blackbush. August 1946 to February 1950 - No's 14 and 98 Squadrons, No 139 Wing, RAFO, at RAF Wahn and Celle. February 1950 to August 1950 - abortive EIPS Course. August 1950 to October 1951 - Air Traffic Controllers Course and ATC Officer at RAFWest Raynham. November 1951 to October 1952 - No 29 Night Fighter Squadron, RAF Tangmere. Meteor NFXI. October 1952 to April 1953 - Air Ministry and All Weather Wing, RAF West Raynliam. April 1953 to November 1955 - No 12 Group Headquarters, Group Accidents Officer. November 1955 to April 1957 - No 125 Night Fighter squadron, RAF Stradishall, Meteor NFM and Venom NF. April 1957 to August 1959 - Eastern Sector Operations Centre, Recovery Executive. RAF Neatishead. October 1959 to July 1962 - Hg FEAF, Joint Intelligence Staff. Commissioner Generals Office and RAF Changi. July 1962 to March 1965 - No 3 Group Hg, OC HQ Unit and RAF Liaison Officer to USAF Mildenhall. Retired from RAF as Squadron Leader March 1965. Employed by Airwork Services Ltd, as pilot. March 1965. March 1965 to August 1970 - No 3 (Civilian Anti Aircraft Unit) Exeter Airport. Vampire TX1 and Meteor T=. September 1970 to April 1977 - FRADU ( Fleet Requirements Air Defence Unit) RNAS Yeovilton. Hunter GAII and Mk 8. September 1977. Aged 55. RN age limit for fast jet flying. September 1970. Commissioned in RA17VR M. September 1970 to May 1982 - No 4 AEF, Exeter Airport, Chipmunk. Retired from RAFVRM aged 60, May 1982. Total Flying Hours - 11,300 Ins. Sadly passed away 19th December 2008.
|Flight Lieutenant J Castagnola DSO DFC|| Flight Lieutenant J Castagnola DSO DFC |
Joining the RAF in 1941 he graduated as a pilot after completing his training in America. Returning to England he joined 51 Squadron in early 1943 flying from RAF Snaith. Joining 617 Squadron in early 1944 he took part in many of the squadrons successes including attacks on U-boat pens and all three raids against the Tirpitz.
|Flight Lieutenant George Chalmers DFC DFM|
|Died : 8 / 2002|| Flight Lieutenant George Chalmers DFC DFM |
George Alexander Chalmers was born on February 12 1921 at Peterhead in Scotland. He was educated at Aberdeen Academy before working briefly at a local Crosse & Blackwell factory and joining the RAF as a boy entrant. After boy's service and qualifying as a wireless operator and air-gunner, Chalmer joined the RAF in 1938. Geogre Chalmers was posted to No 10, a two-engine Whitley bomber squadron at Dishforth, Yorkshire, from where he took part in leaflet-dropping operations over Germany after the outbreak of war. In August 1940 Chalmers transferred to No 7, the RAF's first four-engine Stirling bomber squadron which was operating from Leeming. There followed a spell with No 35, a four-engine Halifax bomber squadron, with which Chalmers was fortunate to survive an attack on the battle cruiser Scharnhorst at La Rochelle - his captain managed to make base despite being severely wounded and piloting a badly-damaged aircraft. When he joined 617 Squadron he was a Flight Sergeant and served as wireless operator on Lancaster AJ-O during the Dambusters raid which was piloted by Bill Townsend. Awarded the DFM for his part in the attack on the Ennepe Dam he was commissioned a few months later and awarded the DFC after 65 operations. In 1946 Chalmers was granted an extended service commission, and served in No 617 and No 12 Squadrons until 1950, when he was posted to No 38, a Lancaster squadron in the Middle East. He was released as a flight lieutenant in 1954, and served in the Reserve until 1961. Meanwhile, he had joined the civil service at Harrogate, where he worked for the Ministry of Defence dealing with the RAF's technical requirements. In this period his advice was much valued in the sphere of flight refuelling. On his retirement from the MoD in 1984, the company Flight Refuelling hosted a farewell party for him at which he was hailed as an expert in specialised spares procurement, especially in relation to a refuelling system of outstanding value used by the RAF in the Falklands conflict. Sadly, George Chalmers passed away in August 2002 aged 81.
|Flight Lieutenant Mike Chatterton|| Flight Lieutenant Mike Chatterton |
RAF pilot Mike Chatterton flew the Battle of Britian Memorial Flight Lancaster in the 1990s, amassing over 500 flying hours, and also is an experienced Nimrod pilot.
|Group Captain Leonard Cheshire VC OM DSO** DFC*|
|Died : 31 / 7 / 1992|| Group Captain Leonard Cheshire VC OM DSO** DFC* |
One of the most courageous and determined bomber leaders of World War II, Leonard Cheshire flew four operational tours, starting in June 1940 with 102 Squadron on Whitley bombers at RAF Driffield. In November 1940, he was awarded the DSO for getting his badly damaged aircraft back to base. He completed his first tour in January 1941, but immediately volunteered for a second tour, this time flying Halifaxes with 35 Squadron. He became Squadron Leader in 1942, and was appointed commanding officer of 76 Squadron later that year. Leonard Cheshire ordered that non-essential weight be removed from the Halifax bombers in a bid to increase speed and altitude, hoping to reduce the high casualty rates for this squadron. Mid-upper and nose turrets were removed, and exhaust covers taken off, successfully reducing the loss rate. In July 1943 he took command of 617 Squadron. During this time he led the squadron personally on every occasion. In September he was awarded the Victoria Cross for four and a half years of sustained bravery during a total of 102 operations, leading his crews with careful planning, brilliant execution and contempt for danger, which gained him a reputation second to none in Bomber Command. Sadly, Leonard Cheshire died of motor neuron disease on 31st July 1992, aged 74.
|Ronald Clark DFC|| Ronald Clark DFC |
Volunteered for flying duties in 1941 and after interviews completed initial training in Paignton. A flying grading course followed at Kingstown near Carlisle surprisingly near my family, before being sent as Ambassadors for Britain across the Atlantic to be trained by the USAAF. After more initial training to learn the American way, not a bad way, we embarked on the flying training and after receiving the silver wings, the next port of call was Bournemouth in a hotel which shortly afterwards was demolished by the Luftwaffe. Several courses preceded our arrival at Lindholme heavy conversion unit before joining the Battle of the Ruhr with No 100 Squadron based at Waltham near Grimsby. My crew and I were assigned a brand new Lancaster III EE139 which we almost did for on our twenty-fourth trip with her to Manheim, but she went on to complete 120 operations before being unceremoniously scrapped. Little did we think that over 60 years later she would be recalled to life by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. After a period of instructing I was then posted to No 7 Sqdn for deployment to the Far East, which was stymied by the dropping of the atomic bomb, I did a lot more instructing before applying for a secondment to BOAC.
|Air Commodore Charles Clarke|| Air Commodore Charles Clarke |
A pilot on Lancasters he served with 619 Sqn but was shot down in February 1944 by a German night fighter whilst on a mission to Schweinfurt, it was his 18th ‘Op. He subsequently spent time as a Pow in Sagen, North Camp.
|Flight Lieutenant Bill Cleland DSO DFC|| Flight Lieutenant Bill Cleland DSO DFC |
Having qualified as a Pilot he was posted to 12 Sqn in early 1944 before transferring to 156 Pathfinder Squadron. By the end of the war he had completed 77 Ops in Lancasters.
|Warrant Officer Colin Cole|| Warrant Officer Colin Cole |
Having completed training as a Wireless Operator he flew 18 Ops on Lancasters with 617 Sqn including raids to sink the Tirpitz and the final raid of the war in Europe on Berchtesgaden.
|Flight Lieutenant John A Colpus DFC|| Flight Lieutenant John A Colpus DFC |
Posted to 467 Sqn at Bottesford in Sept 1943, Jack Colpus flew 4 operations on S for Sugar, including the trip to Berlin on 26 Noc 1943, where Sugar collided with another Lancaster over the target. With exceptional skill, Jack brought Sugar safely home.
|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.
|Warrant Officer James Copus|| Warrant Officer James Copus |
Joined the RAF in 1940 on Lancasters with 97 Sqn Pathfinders. He baled out on a bombing raid over Hanover and was captured and taken PoW and interned at Stalag Luft I.
|Flight Lieutenant John Cox DFC|| Flight Lieutenant John Cox DFC |
Born in 1923, after reaching eighteen, John Cox joined the RAF in March 1942. He soon found himself on the Queen Mary en-route to Canada for pilot training, returning to become operational on Lancaster’s with 622 Squadron based at Mildenhall, whom he joined in July 1944. His tour of 30 operations included the successful raid on Walcheren Island in Holland, whose objective was to breach the sea wall in order to flood the island, forcing a full scale German retreat. After hostilities he flew for BOAC, followed by 27 years service with BA, becoming senior captain on 747s.
|Warrant Officer Lou Crabbe|| Warrant Officer Lou Crabbe |
Served on 49 Sqn as a Flight Engineer on Lancasters from 1944. This was the same squadron with which Wg Cdr Roderick Learoyd won his VC. He flew a total of 33 Ops including raids on Dresden, Munich and the mighty Battleship Koln.
|Squadron Leader Lawrence Curtis DFC*|
|Died : 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 Ron Curtis DSO DFC|| Squadron Leader Ron Curtis DSO DFC |
Qualifying as an Observer in 1941, Ron joined 144 Squadron on Hamden’s before transferring to 44 Squadron at Waddington as a Navigator on Lancaster’s. At the end of the 1942 he moved to Marham, converting to Mosquitos, and in 1943 was posted to 109 Squadron equipped with Oboe as part of the Pathfinder Force. He flew 104 Oboe operations and 139 ops in total, and was widely credited with helping advance development of the Oboe system.
|Reg Davie|| Reg Davie |
Flew on Lancasters and Mosquitos
|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.
|Warrant Officer Ken Duddell|| Warrant Officer Ken Duddell |
Completed a full Tour with 103 Sqn as a Flight Engineer on Lancasters during 1944 and went on to be Chairman of the 103 Squadron Association, leaving the RAF in 1968 as a Master Engineer.
|Lishman Y Easby|| Lishman Y Easby |
Lishman Y. Easby (Wireless Operator) joined the RAF in 1941 after service in the Home Guard. He was selected for training as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner but after training as a W/Op he was posted to Coastal Command 159Gp HQ, Liverpool, and served in 1942 as a ground wireless operator. Later in the year he was called for training as a W/op (air) which was followed by an air-gunner course. Following this he was posted to an Operational Training Unit and joined Ron Clark and his crew as a W/op on 4 engined aircraft – the two jobs were separate. The crew were later posted for further training, first on Halifax and then on Lancasters; then posted to 100 Sqn, Waltham, near Grimsby, where they were given a brand new Lancaster which they named the Phantom of the Ruhr. Their Flight Engineer, Harold Bennett DFM painted its name and insignia on the nose of the aircraft. The same name today adorns the Lancaster which flies as part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. In the Phantom they completed 21 ops to Germany and two to Italy, after which the Phantom was taken in for extensive repairs due to enemy damage. The crew completed a further four ops which then completed their tour. For their 27th op the crew were transferred to 625 Sqn Kelstern (Lincs) which turned out to be their final operation and they were then disbanded. Lishman Easby was then posted to OTU near Shrewsbury to help with the training of new crews. Later he was posted to 298 Sqn Transport Command with another pilot (Ian Forbes) and crew where they received training in towing Horsa Gliders in preparation for an airborne attack on Singapore. However, the war ended suddenly and the Sqn was posted to India and eventually to Burma to take part in Operation Hunger. This entailed dropping sacks of rice on isolated villages thus saving them from famine. This ended his service and he was released from service in 1946. He agreed to his name being held in reserve as a Minute Man until aged 45. During this time he could be called back in an emergency for immediate service. However, this never happened.
|Warrant Officer Jock Elliott|| Warrant Officer Jock Elliott |
Jock completed a full tour during the Spring/Summer of 1944 as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner with 550 Squadron on Lancasters. Returning from a trip to Revigny his Lancaster ran out of fuel and the crew bailed out safely over England.
|Flying Officer John Elliott|| Flying Officer John Elliott |
During the Summer of 1944 from June to September, G for George completed a full tour of operations from North Killingholme, carrying out many bombing raids in support of the Normandy Landings, including the bombing of Caen on the 7th July. Five days later on the 12th July after a raid on Revigny, the Lancaster ran out of fuel on the way back and the whole crew made a successful bail out over England, and then continued operations through the war.
|Wing Commander Mac England DFC|| Wing Commander Mac England DFC |
‘Mac’ England joined the RAF in 1938 and after qualifying, posted as a pilot into Lancaster’s. In 1941 he was transferred from Bomber command to fighter Command-flying Spitfires on coastal sweeps. After a short period of time on Spitfires he was transferred back again to bomber Command, and in 1943 completed 30 Operations on Lancaster’s. When he retired in 1974 he had flown a total of 36 different aircraft including Hunters and Canberras.
|Warrant Officer Eric Evans|| Warrant Officer Eric Evans |
After qualifying as a Rear Gunner he served with 463 RAAF Sqn serving on Lancasters from Waddington. In November 1944 his Lancaster was shot down by a German night fighter whilst on a mission over Germany and he served the rest of the War as a PoW.
|Group Captain William Farquharson DFC|| Group Captain William Farquharson DFC |
William Farquharson was a pilot with 115 Squadron and flew Lancasters with 195 Squadron.
|Flying Officer C B R Fish|| Flying Officer C B R Fish |
Leaving university early he joined the RAF in November 1941 to train overseas and qualified as a navigator in the summer of 1942, remaining with OTU for a period. Due to his expertise in high altitude bombing he was called up to 617 Sqn in July 1944 on Lancasters and took part in many of the squadrons precision bombing raids, including the attack on the Tirpitz. He remained with 617 Sqn until he left the RAF in 1946 to return to university.
|Flight Liutenant M B Flatman|| Flight Liutenant M B Flatman |
Joining the RAF in 1942, with pilot training in the USA, Mark Flatman is unusual in that his first operational posting was direct to 617 Squadron in September 1944. The final Tirpitz operation was his first as Captain of Aircraft, having done three operations as second pilot, including the previous Tirpitz attempt with Tony Iveson. He was to stay with 617 Squadron until November 1946. Granted an extended service commission he went on to the Bomb Ballistic Unit at Martlesham Heath flying Lancasters, Lincolns and Mosquitoes on experimental work. He left the RAF in 1949 to return to farming, for which he was originally trained.
|Flight Lieutenant Les Fletcher DFC*|| Flight Lieutenant Les Fletcher DFC* |
Initially trained as a pilot in America and was posted to 100 Squadron in the spring of 1943 on Lancasters. Completing a full tour and after a spell training he was posted to 571 Squadron Light Night Strike Force, where he completed two tours on Mosquitos. He finally ended the war flying Yorks for the Diplomatic Service.
|Warrant Officer Jack Forrest|| Warrant Officer Jack Forrest |
Flight Engineer on 619 Sqn flying Lancasters. On his 29th Operation, having already completed an Operation on the eve of D-Day, he flew again in the afternoon of the 6th June 1944 and was shot down over Caen, ending up as a PoW in Stalag Luft 7. He took part in the Long March with Doug Fry.
|W/O Ray Francis|| W/O Ray Francis |
A Flight Engineer with 622 Sqn on Lancasters, flying from Mildenhall from January to August 1944. Ray completed 30 Ops, surviving the trip to Nuremberg in March 1944, and he flew over the D-Day beaches in June 1944.
|Warrant Officer Stanley Franks|| Warrant Officer Stanley Franks |
A Flight Engineer with 15 Squadron from December 1944. He still went on to complete 30 Operations in a Lancaster Burns Bomber Boys. After his Tour was finished he was posted to Tiger Force in India.
|Flying Officer Norman A. Gampe RAAF|| Flying Officer Norman A. Gampe RAAF |
Norman Gampe joined the RAAF in September 1942. After training as a pilot in Australia, he sailed to the UK, and in the later half of 1944 attended 19 OUT, then converted to Lancaster’s. In January 1945, Norman was posted to 619 Squadron equipped with Lancaster’s, based at Strubby. On ANZAC Day-25th April 1945, Flying Officer Gampe completed his 13th and final Operational Sortie of the war with 619 Sqn when he bombed Hitler’s Eagles Nest at Berchesgarden.
|Squadron Leader John Gant DFM MBE|| Squadron Leader John Gant DFM MBE |
As Bomb Aimer, John flew on Lancasters with 12 Sqn from Wickenby and completed a full tour during 1944-45. During an Air Gunnery exercise the mid- upper turret locked on firing and shot the plane down! All the crew successfully baled out.
|Warrant Officer Laurie Godfrey|| Warrant Officer Laurie Godfrey |
As a WOP/Air Gunner he joining 408 Sqn, only the second RCAF squadron formed overseas, serving on first Halifaxes and Lancasters completing 32 operations.
|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.
|Flight Lieutenant John M. Grant RAAF|| Flight Lieutenant John M. Grant RAAF |
John Grant joined the RAAF in October 1942. He trained as a pilot in Australia, and then attended OUT and HCU in the UK. In October 1944 John was posted to 619 Squadron equipped with Lancaster’s, and based at Strubby. Grant went on to complete his tour of 30 sorties with the squadron. After this, flight Lieutenant Grant was assigned to Tiger Force, where he was to lead 619 Squadron in the planned RAF component of MacArthur’s proposed invasion of Japan.
|Sergeant Raymond E. Grayston|
|Died : 15 / 4 / 2010|| Sergeant Raymond E. Grayston |
Ray Grayston had been serving in 50 Squadron when he was posted to 617 Squadron in March 1943. The flight engineer of Les Knight’s Lancaster AJ-N, they attacked and successfully breached the Eder Dam, Ray was shot down on 16th September 1943, and was taken to Stalag Luft III as a POW. Sadly, we have learned that Ray Grayston passed away on 15th April 2010.
|Flight Sergeant Arthur Hale|| Flight Sergeant Arthur Hale |
Serving as a Flight Engineer on Lancasters with 463 Sqn as past of the RAAF his aircraft was shot down in November 1944 on a raid to Dusseldorf and he spent the rest of the war as a PoW in Staleg Luft VII. His aircraft on the night of 2nd - 3rd November 1944 was Lancaster PD338 (JO-C) of 463 Sqn. Of the seven crew, two were killed in the crash and the other five were taken prisoner.
|Squadron Leader Malcolm Mac Hamilton DFC*|| Squadron Leader Malcolm Mac Hamilton DFC* |
After joining Coastal Command in 1943, Mac converted to Lancasters, and was posted to Bomber Command, joining 619 Squadron at Woodall Spa for his first tour. Here he flew sorties mainly to Berlin andthe Ruhr. For his second tour he joined Cheshires 617 Squadron, again at Woodall Spa, where he flew precision operations, including the raids on the Saumur rail tunnel, the U-boat pens, V1 sites and V2 rocket bases, and the raids against the German battleship Tirpitz.
|Flying Officer Sir Michael Hanham DFC|| Flying Officer Sir Michael Hanham DFC |
He joined the RAF straight from school in 1942 and initially qualified as a navigator but then retrained as a flight engineer in 1943. He volunteered for the Pathfinder Force and joined 35 squadron as a flight engineer on Halifax's and Lancasters, completing 55 operations with this unit. In May 1945 he became a Flying Control Officer and was posted to India, leaving the RAF in 1946.
|Flt Lt George Harris DFC|| Flt Lt George Harris DFC |
Flew on Lancasters with 101 Squadron special duties.
|Warrant Officer John Harrison|| Warrant Officer John Harrison |
While flying with 106 Squadron on Lancasters, John's plane was shot down on 19th February 1944 while on a raid to Leipzig. After capture he was interned in Stalag Luft VI.
|Fl. Lt. Thomas Harvell RAF|| Fl. Lt. Thomas Harvell RAF |
Flight Engineer and Co Pilot Lancaster Bombers, N.514 Sq. RAF Bomber Command based in Cambridgeshire England. He completed 11 missions over Germany, before being shot down at Domremy (S.W. Nancy) in France. He then joined the FFI (French resistance) at Neuf Chateau. The mayor of the town later awarded Thomas Harvell the Medal of Honour in recognition of his wartime services an 50 years of continued friendship with his former resistance colleagues. He moved to another area, Doubs, near the Swiss border and helped the resistance liberate the town of Pierrefontaine. he was again awarded and became a Citizen of Honour. The Resistance Veterans Association proposed him for the Legion of Honour but as Thomas Harvell was still RAF/British he never received this award. The RAF did, however, award him several combat medals.
|Flight Lieutenant Leslie Hay|| Flight Lieutenant Leslie Hay |
Joining the Royal Air Force in May 1941, Leslie Hay was trained as a pilot in Canada. On qualifying he returned to England and eventually was posted to join No.49 Squadron, then based at Fiskerton in Lincolnshire, flying Lancasters. From there he flew his first operation on 1st August 1944, following the Normandy invasion. Leslie Hay completed a total of 36 combat operations in the Lancaster, all with No.49 Squadron, at the height of Bomber Commands offensive against Germany
|Warrant Officer Richard Basher Hearne|| Warrant Officer Richard Basher Hearne |
‘Basher’ Hearne joined the RAF in 1942 and trained as a Flight Engineer. His first operational posting was to 622 Squadron at Mildenhall in Suffolk, equipped with Stirlings, and then, in November 1943, he transferred to 15 Squadron, also flying from the same base. The squadron re-equipped with Lancaster’s the following month.
|Flt Eng William (Bill) Higgins|| Flt Eng William (Bill) Higgins |
Flt Eng William (Bill) Higgins Born in Plymouth, Devon, joined the RAF at the age of 17 and became a flight engineer on Lancaster with 195 Squadron.in October 1944. whihc flew from RAF Wratting Common. Bill Higgins flew on most missions that 195 Squadorn took part in including there last mission on the 24th April 1945 the bombing of Railway facilites at Bad Oldesloe. and also took part in the supply drops to the Dutch at The Hague on the 7th May 1945. After the war end Bill transferred to air traffic control in Occupied Germany durign the Belrin Airtlift. and after leaving the RAF, Joined the civil servcie and worked onRadar, including the intallation of radar on HMS Cavalier in Singapore.
|Warrant Officer Jeff Hildreth|| Warrant Officer Jeff Hildreth |
A Wireless Operator/Air Gunner who joined the recently reformed 170 Sqn at Hemswell in October 1944. He went on to complete 28 Ops on Lancasters over North West Europe before the War finished in May 1945.
|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.
|Group Captain Ken Hubbard, OBE DFC AFC|
|Died : 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.
|Flying Officer Bernard T. Hucks DFC RAAF|| Flying Officer Bernard T. Hucks DFC RAAF |
Bernie Hucks joined the RAAF in October 1941. He trained as a Wireless Operator in Australia, and then attended 14 OUT in the UK. In June 1943, Hucks was posted to 619 Squadron equipped with Lancaster’s, and based at Woodhall Spa. After completing his tour of 27 sorties, Warrant Officer Hucks was awarded the DFC for skill and fortitude against the enemy. After instructing Bernie flew one last sortie with 463 Squadron RAAF on ANZAC Day – 25th April 1945.
|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 Tony Iveson DFC|| Squadron Leader Tony Iveson DFC |
Tony Iveson fought in the Battle of Britain with RAF Fighter Command, as a Sergeant pilot, joining 616 Squadron at Kenley flying Spitfires on 2 September 1940. On the 16th of September, he was forced to ditch into the sea after running out of fuel following a pursuit of a Ju88 bomber. His Spitfire L1036 ditched 20 miles off Cromer in Norfolk, and he was picked up by an MTB. He joined No.92 Sqn the following month. Commissioned in 1942, Tony undertook his second tour transferring to RAF Bomber Command, where he was selected to join the famous 617 Squadron, flying Lancasters. He took part in most of 617 Squadrons high precision operations, including all three sorties against the German battleship Tirpitz, and went on to become one of the most respected pilots in the squadron.