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One of the greatest aviation artists of all time, Robert Taylor, his entire back catalogue aviaton art prints are available direct from military art.com
One of the greatest aviation artists of all time, Robert Taylor, his entire back catalogue aviaton art prints are available direct from military art.com
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Military and aviation arist David Pentland. His entire range of German armour and other military forces are available at great discounted prices direct from The Military Art Company
Ivan Berryman is recognised as one of the leading aviation and naval artists, his entire range of prints published by Cranston Fine Arts are available direct from us, including many original aviation paintings.
Ivan Berryman is recognised as one of the leading aviation and naval artists, his entire range of prints published by Cranston Fine Arts are available direct from us, including many original aviation paintings.
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Nicolas Trudgian.  His last remaining aviation art prints from his back catalogue published by Military Gallery and bought over in 2007 by Cranston Fine Arts are available only direct from our websites.  See Nicolas Trudgian's full range here.
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Lancaster

Manufacturer : Avro
Number Built : 7377
Production Began : 1942
Retired : 1963
Type : Bomber

The Avro Lancaster arose from the avro Manchester and the first prototype Lancaster was a converted Manchester with four engines. The Lancaster was first flown in January 1941, and started operations in March 1942. By March 1945 The Royal Air Force had 56 squadrons of Lancasters with the first squadron equipped being No.44 Squadron. During World War Two the Avro Lancaster flew 156,000 sorties and dropped 618,378 tonnes of bombs between 1942 and 1945. Lancaster Bomberss took part in the devastating round-the-clock raids on Hamburg during Air Marshall Harris' "Operation Gomorrah" in July 1943. Just 35 Lancasters completed more than 100 successful operations each, and 3,249 were lost in action. The most successful survivor completed 139 operations, and the Lancaster was scrapped after the war in 1947. A few Lancasters were converted into tankers and the two tanker aircraft were joined by another converted Lancaster and were used in the Berlin Airlift, achieving 757 tanker sorties. A famous Lancaster bombing raid was the 1943 mission, codenamed Operation Chastise, to destroy the dams of the Ruhr Valley. The operation was carried out by 617 Squadron in modified Mk IIIs carrying special drum shaped bouncing bombs designed by Barnes Wallis. Also famous was a series of Lancaster attacks using Tallboy bombs against the German battleship Tirpitz, which first disabled and later sank the ship. The Lancaster bomber was the basis of the new Avro Lincoln bomber, initially known as the Lancaster IV and Lancaster V. (Becoming Lincoln B1 and B2 respectively.) Their Lancastrian airliner was also based on the Lancaster but was not very successful. Other developments were the Avro York and the successful Shackleton which continued in airborne early warning service up to 1992.

Lancaster


Latest Lancaster Artwork Releases !
 The words from Air Vice-Marshal the Hon. Ralph Cochrane., newly appointed as AOC of No.5 Group, to the young Wing Commander were simple enough.  <i>I can't tell you the target</i> he continued <i>but you've got to fly low-level, on the deck, and at night.  As far as aircrews are concerned, I want the best - you choose them.  And by the way... I want to see your aircraft flying on four days</i>.  Guy Gibson, the highly decorated Wing Commander concerned, had 173 operations behind him and was due to be rested when the unexpected call to see Cochrane had come.  <i> Would you like to do one more trip?</i> he'd been asked.  <i>What kind of trip?</i> he replied.  <i>An important one</i> was all Cochrane would say and now, two days later, he was being asked to form a squadron.  What the special target might be Gibson could only speculate but, whatever it was, he realised it would be dangerous.  Cochrane had given him four days.  Within an hour he'd selected the aircrew; he knew most of them personally and had flown with several before.  There was no doubt they were the very best in Bomber Command.  Exactly four days later Squadron X - soon to become 617 Squadron - was ready at RAF Scampton.  Many familiar faces were there to meet him : amongst the pilots he spotted Hoppy Hopgood, Dave Shannon from Australia, and Canadian Lewis Burpee from his own 106 Squadron. together with Dinghy Young whom he'd chosen as a flight commander.  The tall, lugubrious figure of New Zealander Les Munro was there along with two other pilots from 97 Squadron, David Maltby and the big, beefy, American pilot Joe McCarthy with his Bomb-Aimer George Johnny Johnson.  His B flight commander, Henry Maudsley was there, as was Australian Mick Martin, the expert in low-level flying.  Every one of the nineteen crews who would fly the mission was there and seven weeks of intensive low-level flying lay ahead before, on the afternoon of 16th May 1943, Gibson finally revealed the target - that night they were to attack the mighty dams of the Ruhr valley.

Pathway to the Ruhr by Anthony Saunders.
 In one of the boldest precision raids of World War II, the valiant men of 617 Squadron breached the mighty dams of Germany. They were the Dambusters. On the night of 16/17 May 1943, nineteen Lancasters and 133 men from the recently formed 617 Squadron carried out one of the most spectacular precision raids in the history of air warfare. This highly secret undertaking went under the code name of Operation Chastise, but the world would come to know it simply as the Dambuster Raid.
Operation Chastise by Robert Taylor. (GS)
 Guy Gibson leads the first wave of 617 Squadron's Lancaster bombers towards the German border and on to the Mőhne dam.  After crossing the coast a fraction off course, Gibson adjusts his compass heading slightly and, as the unmistakable thunder of 12 cylinder Merlin engines at full throttle shatters the night, follows the course of a large canal where the owner of an ancient windmill, hearing the noise, hurries outside to witness the event.  Nobody expected it to be easy.  Nothing that the men of the recently formed 617 Squadron had faced before had ever been easy but, as Wing Commander Guy Gibson stood in front of them on the afternoon of 16th May 1943, they soon realised that the mission facing them would be the hardest – and most dangerous – they had ever faced.  Their task that night was to destroy the mighty dams of Germany.  For weeks they had been honing their skills of low-level flying, but until that final briefing in the operations room, only Gibson and a few top brass knew the objective.  Tonight all their training would be put to the test.  To evade enemy radar they would have to fly all the way to the Ruhr at tree-top height, and they must do so in complete radio silence.  Once at the target they must launch their radical bouncing bombs – designed by Barnes Wallis – from a height of 60ft at exactly 230 mph.  But to get there would require exceptional navigational skills and courage of the highest order.  The breathtaking skill and courage displayed by the crews of 617 Squadron on the moonlit night of 16th / 17th May 1943 created a legend that remains undiminished.
On Course for the Möhne Dam by Richard Taylor.
 As they cleared the surrounding hills the valley unfolded to reveal the black waters of the lake glistening in the crystal clear moonlight.  And then, away in the distance, they saw the target they had come to destroy – the Möhne Dam.  The largest dam in Europe, the fortress-like walls of Möhne held back nearly 140 million cubic metres of water essential to the industry and factories of the Ruhr.  The Air Ministry had long ago decided that if the Möhne dam, and the two other major Ruhr dams – the Eder and Sorpe – were destroyed, it could deliver a massive blow to the Nazi war machine.  But cracking open the mighty dams would require exceptional flying skills; and so, on 21 March 1943, a new squadron was formed specifically for the task, the only time this ever happened in Bomber Command.  Known as 617 Squadron and led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, it was not only the squadron that was unique, so was the weapon they would be using – Upkeep – a cylindrical, hydrostatic 'bouncing' bomb.  The brainchild of Barnes Wallis, Upkeep was designed to skip across the surface of the water, sink against the dam's massive wall, and explode with enormous force at a precise depth.  In Robert Taylor's sensational new painting Guy Gibson and Mick Martin draw the enemy's fire as 'Dinghy' Young clears the dam's parapet seconds after releasing his bomb.  A few moments later Young's bomb will successfully detonate against the dam leaving it mortally wounded allowing David Maltby in AJ-J to finish the task.  With the Möhne Dam breached Gibson, with the remaining crews, will turn south to repeat the operation at the Eder Dam.
The Dambusters - Last Moments of the Möhne Dam by Robert Taylor.

Lancaster Artwork Collection



Avro Lancaster Mk III ND845 MG-C. by M A Kinnear.


The Sinking of The Tirpitz by Gerald Coulson.


Peenemunde by Frank Wootton.


Chadwicks Masterpiece by Ivan Berryman.


Moonlight Run (Dambusters) by Ivan Berryman.


The Night They Broke the Dams - Operation Chastise by Ivan Berryman.


The Dambusters by Ivan Berryman.


Lancaster Arrival by Graeme Lothian. (P)


Bill Reid VC by Graeme Lothian. (P)


Gunners Moon by Ivan Berryman.


Raid on the Tirpitz by Ivan Berryman.


The One That Broke The Dam by Ivan Berryman.


O Safe Home by Ivan Berryman.


Moment of Truth by Ivan Berryman. (P)


The Hardest Task by Ivan Berryman. (P)


No Way Back by Ivan Berryman.


Determined to the Last by Ivan Berryman. (GS)


Attack on the Sorpe by Ivan Berryman.


A Wing and a Prayer by Ivan Berryman.


Tragedy at the Eder by Ivan Berryman.


Incident over Mannheim by Ivan Berryman.


A Lucky Escape by Ivan Berryman.


Tragedy Above Hamm by Ivan Berryman.


Not This Time by Ivan Berryman.


Unmissable Chance by Ivan Berryman.


Teamwork by Ivan Berryman.


The Attack on Villers Bocage by Ivan Berryman.


617 Squadron Outbound to the Ruhr by Ivan Berryman.


Undetected by Ivan Berryman.


Last One Away by Ivan Berryman.


Operation Manna by Ivan Berryman.


Bombing Up by Ivan Berryman.


The Horror and the Glory by Ivan Berryman.


First Strike by Ivan Berryman.


Under Cover of the Night by Simon Smith.


Last Long Shadow by Anthony Saunders.


Lancaster Dawn by Anthony Saunders.


Jet Attack by David Pentland.


Combat Over Domremy by Graeme Lothian.

Goner 78A - The Dambusters Raid by Tim Fisher.


Distant Dispersal by Graeme Lothian.


Nursing Her Home by Ivan Berryman.

Target Y The Eder Dam Raid, The Ruhr Valley, 17th May 1942 by David Pentland.


Gibson VC by Graeme Lothian.


Lancaster VC by Graeme Lothian.


The Dambusters by Graeme Lothian.

The Night Awaits by Keith Woodcock.


The Dambusters by Simon Smith.

The Shining Sword by Simon Smith.

Gibson by Robert Tomlin.


Third Time Lucky by Ivan Berryman.


Operation Chastise - The Night They Broke the Dams by Ivan Berryman.

Moral Support by Philip West.

Forming Up by Randall Wilson. (GL)

Operation Chastise - The Dambusters by Philip West.

Every Second Counts - The Dambusters by Philip West.


En-Route by Anthony Saunders.


Dambusters by Anthony Saunders.


Well on the Way to Make History - the Dambusters by David Pentland.


Avro Lancaster B.1 by Ivan Berryman.

Towards Victory by Philip West.


GONER 58A - Mohne Dam, Germany, 17th May 1943 by David Pentland.

Inbound to Target - The Dambusters by Robert Taylor.


Bomber Command - Target Berlin by Michael Rondot.


Dambusters - The First Wave by Ivan Berryman.


Dambusters - Moment of Truth by Ivan Berryman.


The Dambusters by Gerald Coulson.


Bravest of the Brave by Ivan Berryman.


Attack on the Sorpe by Ivan Berryman.


Raining Fire by Ivan Berryman.


The Eder Breaks by Ivan Berryman.


Night of Strong Winds by David Pentland.


Sinking the Tirpitz by Nicolas Trudgian.


Bomber Force by Nicolas Trudgian.


Cloud Companions by Robert Taylor.


Target Peenemunde by Robert Taylor.

Lancaster VC by Robert Taylor


One Hundred Up! by Simon Atack.

Against All Odds by Ronald Homes.


Primary Target by Philip West.

Outward Bound by Philip West (AP)


Operations On by Philip West.


Mission Completed by Simon Smith.


Duel in the Dark by Robert Taylor.


Strike and Return by Robert Taylor.

Preparing for the Tirpitz by Philip West.

Lancaster Legend by Philip West.


Homeward Bound by Nicolas Trudgian.

Welcome Home by Stephen Brown.

Heading Home by Philip West.

Eye of the Storm - The Dambusters by Philip West.

Target Bearing 270 by Robert Taylor.

Legends of the Air by Philip West.

Primary Target by Philip West - Original Sketch. (P)

In the Mists of Time by Philip West.

Almost Home by Philip West.


Breaching the Eder by Simon Smith.


Dambusters Outward Bound by Simon Smith.

Preparation, Trepidation, Relaxation by Keith Woodcock.

Night Mission Ahead by Keith Woodcock.

Home on Three by Fred McMain.

Lancaster - The Heavy Brigade by Keith Woodcock.


Return of the Dambuster by Keith Woodcock.


Mynarskis Lanc by Nicolas Trudgian.


Band of Brothers by Robert Taylor.

Inbound by Stephen Brown.


Summer Harvest by Gerald Coulson.

Dambusters - The Impossible Mission by Robert Taylor.


The Homecoming by Keith Woodcock.

High Cost by Robert Taylor.

A Winters Dawn by Philip West.


Dambusters - The Morning After by Gerald Coulson.

Night of Heroes - The Dambusters by Philip West.

Enemy Coast Ahead - The Dambusters by Philip West.

Twos Company by Philip West.


Breaching the Dams by Nicolas Trudgian.


Safely Home by Nicolas Trudgian.

Dambusters - Breaching the Eder Dam by Robert Taylor.


Enemy Coast Ahead by Simon Atack.


Lancaster by Frank Wootton.

Low Pass Over the Möhne Dam by Anthony Saunders.


The Dambusters by Ivan Berryman.


Bomb Away! The Third Assault by Robert Taylor.


Day Duties for the Night Workers by Robert Taylor.


Into Attack by Gerald Coulson.


Moonlit Lancaster by Gerald Coulson.


Prelude by Geoffrey R Herickx.


Old Sugar by John Young.


Operation Chastise by John Young.


Winter Homecoming by Robert Taylor. (GS)


Salute to the Stump by Graham Bosworth.


A Welcome Sight by Richard Taylor.


Towards Night's Darkness by Robert Taylor.


Berlin Boar Fight by Anthony Saunders.


Final Briefing by Anthony Saunders.


The Breach by Anthony Saunders.

The Dambusters - Last Moments of the Möhne Dam by Robert Taylor.

On Course for the Möhne Dam by Richard Taylor.


Pathway to the Ruhr by Anthony Saunders.

Dambusters, May 1943 by Peter Read.

The Legend Lives On by A Bramham.


Now They Know We Are Here! by P E Holland.


Tractor Girl by David Pentland.


Topping Up by David Pentland.


Dam Defenders by David Pentland.


Tribute to the 617 Sqn Dambusters Crew of Lancaster AJ-N by David Pentland.


Tribute to the 617 Sqn Dambusters Crew of Lancaster AJ-L by David Pentland.


Tribute to the 617 Sqn Dambusters Crew of Lancaster AJ-G by David Pentland.


Tribute to the 617 Sqn Dambusters Crew of Lancaster AJ-P by David Pentland.


Tribute to the 617 Sqn Dambusters Crew of Lancaster AJ-M by David Pentland.


Tribute to the 617 Sqn Dambusters Crew of Lancaster AJ-A by David Pentland.


The Secret Weapon by David Pentland.

Long Night Ahead by Gerald Coulson.


The Long Journey Home by Adrian Rigby.


A Lincolnshire Sunset 1944 by Gerald Coulson.


Alone at Dawn by Gerald Coulson.


Winter Ops by Gerald Coulson.


Outbound Lancaster by Gerald Coulson.


Off Duty Lancaster at Rest by Gerald Coulson.


Merlins Thunder by Gerald Coulson.


Band of Brothers by Gerald Coulson.


Lancaster Lift-Off by Gerald Coulson.


Returning from Caen by Graeme Lothian.


Crewing Up by Graeme Lothian.

In Remembrance by Michael Turner.


Lancaster Dispersal by Michael Turner.


Dambusters over the Mohne by Ivan Berryman.


Bombers by Keith Aspinall.

Breaking the Silence by Keith Aspinall.

Gibson Over the Mohne by Keith Aspinall.

Last One Home by Keith Aspinall.


Climbing Out by Keith Aspinall.


Predator by Keith Aspinall.


End of a Long Night by Keith Aspinall.

Safely Home by Keith Aspinall.


Here Comes Another One, Skipper by Keith Aspinall.


Lincolnshire Winter 1943 by Keith Aspinall.


Tallboy Raid by Keith Aspinall.


Tonight We Make History by Keith Aspinall.

Operation Chastise - The Dambuster Raids by Keith Woodcock.


Lancasters by Keith Woodcock.


On Finals for Christmas by Keith Woodcock.


Unexpected Snow by Keith Woodcock.


Winter Departure by Keith Woodcock.


Time Flies by Keith Woodcock.

Lancaster Dawn by Barry Price.


Operation Chastise - The Dambuster Raid by Barry Price.

Heading into Darkness by Adrian Rigby


Enemy Coast Ahead by M A Kinnear.


The Sinking of the Tirpitz by Frank Wootton.


Broken Silence by Roy Garner.

Home at Dawn by Nicolas Trudgian.


Moonlight Hunter by Nicolas Trudgian.

RAF Lancasters by Barry Price .

Lancasters - 97 Squadron by Barry Price.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight by Trevor Mitchell.


Operation Chastise by Tony Sargeant.

Story of the Lancaster

Bombing Up Yorker by Robin Smith.

Morning Glory by Robin Smith.

Snowbound Lancasters by Robin Smith.


60th Anniversary D-Day Poppy Drop by Robin Smith.

Sunset Saviours by Robin Smith.

Bombers Moon by Robert Taylor.


Escort for the Straggler by Robert Taylor.

Climbing Out by Robert Taylor.

Crewing Up by Robert Taylor.

Dambusters by Robert Taylor.

Early Morning Arrival by Robert Taylor.

G for George by Robert Taylor.

Lancaster by Robert Taylor.

Lancaster Under Attack by Robert Taylor.

Last Flight Home by Robert Taylor.

Memorial Flight by Robert Taylor.

Operation Chastise by Robert Taylor.

Operations On by Robert Taylor.

Straggler Returns by Robert Taylor.


No Turning Back by Robert Taylor.


Dam Busters Setting Off by Simon Atack.

Night Raiders by Stan Stokes.

Avro Lancaster Poster by P Oliver.


Lancaster BIIIs of 61 Sqn RAF by Keith Woodcock.

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

No.100 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 12th July 1917

Sarang tebuan jangan dijolok - Never stir up a hornets nest

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No.100 Sqn RAF

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

Full profile not yet available.

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.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

Full profile not yet available.

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.120 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st January 1918

Endurance

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No.120 Sqn RAF

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No.129 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st March 1918
Fate : Disbanded 1st September 1946
Mysore

I will defend the right

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No.129 Sqn RAF

Flew Mustangs from April 1944.

No.138 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 20th September 1918
Fate : Disbanded 1st April 1962.

For Freedom

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No.138 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

Full profile not yet available.

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

Full profile not yet available.

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.153 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 4th November 1918
Fate : Disbanded 2nd July 1958

Noctividus - Seeing by night

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No.153 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.170 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 15th June 1942
Fate : Disbanded 14th November 1945

Videre non videri - To see and not be seen

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No.170 Sqn RAF

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No.179 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st September 1942
Fate : Disbanded 30th September 1946

Delentem deleo - I destroy the destroyer

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No.179 Sqn RAF

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No.186 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 31st December 1918
Fate : Disbanded 17th July 1945

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No.189 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 20th December 1917
Fate : Disbanded 20th November 1945

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No.189 Sqn RAF

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No.195 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 16th November 1942
Fate : Disbanded 14th August 1945

Velocitate fortis - Strong by speed

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No.195 Sqn RAF

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.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.203 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st April 1918
Fate : Disbanded 31st December 1977

Occidens oriensque - West and east

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No.203 Sqn RAF

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No.207 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st April 1918
Fate : Disbanded 30th June 1984

Semper paratus - Always prepared

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No.207 Sqn RAF

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No.213 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 15th January 1918
Fate : Disbanded 31st December 1969

Irritatus lacessit crabro - The hornet attacks when roused

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No.213 Sqn RAF

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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

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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.219 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 22nd July 1918
Fate : Disbanded 31st July 1957

From dusk till dawn

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No.219 Sqn RAF

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No.224 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st April 1918
Fate : Disbanded 31st October 1966

Fedele all amico - Faithful to a freind

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No.224 Sqn RAF

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No.227 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st April 1918
Fate : Disbanded 5th September 1945

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No.227 Sqn RAF

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No.279 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 16th November 1941
Fate : Disbanded 10th March 1946

To see and be seen

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No.279 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.35 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st February 1916
Fate : Disbanded 28th February 1982
Madras Presidency

Uno animo agimus - We act with one accord

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No.35 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.407 Sqn RCAF

Country : Canada
Founded : 8th May 1941
Fate : Disbanded 4th June 1945
Demon

To hold on high

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No.408 Sqn RCAF

Country : Canada
Founded : 15th June 1941
Fate : Disbanded 5th September 1945
Goose.

For freedom

2nd RCAF Squadron to be formed overseas.

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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.427 Sqn RCAF

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

Ferte manus certa - Strike sure

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No.427 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.433 Sqn RCAF

Country : Canada
Founded : 25th September 1943
Fate : Disbanded 15th October 1945
Porcupine

Qui s'frotte, s'y pique - Who opposes it gets hurt

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No.433 Sqn RCAF

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No.434 Sqn RCAF

Country : Canada
Founded : 13th June 1943
Fate : Disbanded 5th September 1945
Bluenose

In exelcis vincimus - We conquer the heights

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No.434 Sqn RCAF

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No.44 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 15th April 1916
Fate : Disbanded 21st December 1982
Rhodesia

Fulmina regis justa - The Kings thunderbolts are righteous

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No.44 Sqn RAF

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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.463 Sqn RAAF

Country : Australia
Founded : 25th November 1943
Fate : Disbanded 21st September 1945

Press on regardless

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No.463 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.467 Sqn RAAF

Country : Australia
Founded : 7th November 1942
Fate : Disbanded 30th September 1945

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No.49 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 15th April 1916
Fate : Disbanded 1st May 1965

Cave canem - Beware of the dog

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No.49 Sqn RAF

49 Squadron was formed on 15th April 1916, during the First World War. In the course of the war, it flew DH4 and DH9 aircraft before disbanding in July 1919. Reformed in 1936, they flew Hind and Hampdens before war broke out in 1939. It was in a Hampden of 49 Sqn that Roderick Learoyd won the first Victoria Cross awarded to Bomber Command, when on the night of 12th August 1940, he and four other aircraft attempted to breach the heavily defended Dortmund-Ems canal. The squadron transferred to Manchesters and Lancasters, and after the war to Lincolns, before being disbanded once again on 1st August 1955. Less than a year later, on 1st May 1956, the squadron were reformed, equipped with Valiant V-Bombers of Britain's nuclear deterrent programme, but exactly nine years later, with the aircraft grounded, the squadron disbanded for the last time.

No.50 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 15th May 1916
Fate : Disbanded 31st March 1984

From defence to attack

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No.50 Sqn RAF

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No.514 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st September 1943
Fate : Disbanded 22nd August 1945

Nil obstare potest - Nothing can withstand

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No.514 Sqn RAF

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No.550 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 25th November 1943
Fate : Disbanded 31st October 1945

Per ignem vincimus - Through fire we conquer

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No.550 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.576 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 25th November 1943
Fate : Disbanded 13th September 1945

Carpe diem - Seize the opportunity

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No.576 Sqn RAF

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No.582 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st April 1944
Fate : Disbanded 10th September 1945

Praecolamus designantes - We fly before marking

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No.582 Sqn RAF

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No.61 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 25th July 1917
Fate : Disbanded 31st March 1958

Per prurum tonantes - Thundering through the clear sky

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No.61 Sqn RAF

On July 1917 at RAF Rochford in Essex No.61 Squadron was formed and along with two other squadrons formed the London Air Defence Area intended to counter the daylight air raids. 61 squadron was equipped with the Sopwith Pup. The squadron first went into action on 12 thAugust, when a formation of 10 German Gotha bombers were seen over the Thames. Sixteen Sopwith Pups of No.61 Squadron took off to intercept them and succeeded in turning the enemy back, but not before two bombs had been dropped near No.61s hangars on Rochford Aerodrome. In 1918, 61 squadron was re-equipped with SE5s. When the armistice had been signed and the war was over 61 squadron was disbanded on 13th June 1919. No. 61 Squadron was re-formed on 8th March 1937 as a bomber squadron, and initially flying Hawker Audax, then the Avro Anson, followed by the Bristol Blenheim and during World War II flew with No. 5 Group, Bomer Command flying the Handley Page Hampden. The squadrons first operational mission was on 25th December 1939. The squadron then was equipped with the Avro Manchester. The slow delivery of the Manchester meant that the squadron operated both aircraft from July 1941 when the first Manchesters arrived, through to October 1941 when the use of the last of the Hampdens stopped. The squadron struggled on with the Manchester before converting to the Avro Lancaster in 1942, which 61 squadron flew for the rest of the war. Four of its Lancasters; ED860 N-Nan, EE176, JB138, and LL483, each served on more than 100 operational sorties. Records show that in the case of the first three aircraft, the long road to their centuries included participation in the raid on 3/4 November 1943, when Flt Lt William Reid of No. 61 Squadron won the Victoria Cross. After the war No. 61 Squadron re-equipped with Avro Lincolns in May 1946 and saw action in Malaya during Operation Firedog and during the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya. In 1954 at RAF Wittering, 61 Squadron was equipped with the new English Electric Canberra. The Canberras of the squadron were used during the Suez Crisis in 1956. Finally on March 31st 1958, 61 squadron wasd disbanded.

No.617 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 23rd March 1943

Apres mois, le deluge - After me, the flood

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No.617 Sqn RAF

Crews of the 617 Sqn Dambusters Aircraft:

Crew of M for Mother :
Pilot : Flt Lt J V Hopgood
Flight Engineer : Sgt C Brennan
Navigator : Flg Off K Earnshaw
Wireless Operator : Sgt J W Minchin
Bomb Aimer : Sgt J W Fraser (survived)
Front Gunner : Plt Off G H F G Gregory
Rear Gunner : Plt Off A F Burcher (survived)

Crew of T for Tommy :

Pilot : Flt Lt J C McCarthy
Flight Engineer : Sgt W G Radcliffe
Navigator : Flt Sgt D A MacLean
Wireless Operator : Flt Sgt L Eaton
Bomb Aimer : Sgt G L Johnson
Front Gunner : Sgt R Batson
Rear Gunner : Flg Off D Rodger.

Crew of A for Apple :

Pilot : Sqn Ldr H M Young
Flight Engineer : Sgt D T Horsfall
Navigator : Flt Sgt D W Roberts
Wireless Operator : Sgt L W Nichols
Bomb Aimer : Flg Off V S MacCausland
Front Gunner : Sgt G A Yeo
Rear Gunner : Sgt W Ibbotson.

Crew of P for Popsie :

Pilot : Flt Lt H B Martin
Flight Engineer : Plt Off I Whittaker
Navigator : Flt Lt J F Leggo
Wireless Operator : Flg Off L Chambers
Bomb Aimer : Flt Lt R C Hay
Front Gunner : Plt Off B T Foxlee
Rear Gunner : Flt Sgt T D Simpson.

Crew of G for George :

Pilot : Wing Cdr G P Gibson
Flight Engineer : Sgt J Pulford
Navigator : Plt Off H T Taerum
Wireless Operator : Flt Lt R E G Hutchison
Bomb Aimer : Plt Off F M Spafford
Front Gunner : Flt Sgt G A Deering
Rear Gunner : Flt Lt R D Trevor-Roper.

Crew of L for Leather :

Pilot : Flt Lt D J Shannon
Flight Engineer : Sgt R J Henderson
Navigator : Flg Off D R Walker
Wireless Operator : Flg Off B Goodale
Bomb Aimer : Flt Sgt L J Sumpter
Front Gunner : Sgt B Jagger
Rear Gunner : Flg Off J Buckley.

Crew of N for Nan :

Pilot : Plt Off L J Knight
Flight Engineer : Sgt R E Grayston
Navigator : Flg Off H S Hobday
Wireless Operator : Flt Sgt R G T Kellow
Bomb Aimer : Flg Off E C Johnson
Front Gunner : Sgt F E Sutherland
Rear Gunner : Sgt H E O'Brien.


No.619 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 18th April 1943
Fate : Disbanded 18th July 1945

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No.619 Sqn RAF

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No.622 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 10th August 1943
Fate : Disbanded 30th September 1953

Bellamus nocta - We make war by night

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No.622 Sqn RAF

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No.625 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st October 1943
Fate : Disbanded 7th October 1945

We avenge

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No.625 Sqn RAF

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No.626 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 7th November 1943
Fate : Disbanded 14th October 1945

To strive and not to yield

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No.626 Sqn RAF

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No.630 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 15th November 1943
Fate : Disbanded 18th July 1945

Nocturna mors - Death by night

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No.630 Sqn RAF

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No.635 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 20th March 1944
Fate : Disbanded 1st September 1945

Nos ducimus ceteri secunter - We lead, others follow

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No.7 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st May 1914

Per diem per noctem - By day and by night

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No.7 Sqn RAF

No.7 Squadron was formed 1st May 1914 at Farnborough as a Scout squadron, and went to France April 1915, equipped with the Vickers Gunbus. No.7 squadron saw service through the war with BE2c, RE5 and RE8 aircraft. The squadron pioneered the use of R/T (instead of normal W/T), using it operationally for the first time in October 1918. Disbanded at Farnborough on 31st December 1919 it reformed at Bircham Newton on 1st June 1923 equipped with Vickers Vimy bombers. These were replaced by the Vickers Virginia after moving to Worthy Down in April 1927. Between the wars No.7 squadron was equipped with various aircraft including the Handley Page Heyfords, Vickers Wellesleys and Armstrong Whitworth Whitleys and became the leading bomber squadron, winning the Laurence Minot Memorial Bombing Trophy more than any other squadron. At the outbreak of World War II, the squadron was equipped with Handley Page Hampdens, until August 1940, when it equipped with the RAF's first four engined bomber, the Short Stirling Mk I - becoming the first RAF squadron to be equipped with four engined bombers. The first raid by No.7 was 10th February 1941 on Rotterdam. The squadron settled down to a night bombing role, adding mine laying to its duties in 1942. Later with four other squadrons, it formed the nucleus of the new Pathfinder Force, its task to find and accurately mark targets with flares. In May 1943, the Stirling (which was handicapped by a low operational ceiling - it had to fly through flak rather than over it) was gradually replaced by the Avro Lancaster, which No.7 used in Peenemunde in August. From June1944 and until the end of the war, the squadron also undertook a daylight operational role in support of land forces in France and the low countries, and against V-1 and V-2 sites. No.7 squadron flew to Singapore in January 1947, and converted to Avro Lincolns, seeing action against Communist terrorists in Malay, during 'Operation Firedog'. Returning to UK, having won the Laurence Minot Memorial Bombing Trophy outright for the eighth time it was disbanded 1st January 1956. Reforming in November of the same year with the Vickers Valiant 'V' bomber. Disbanded on 30th September 1962, it was reformed in May 1970 at RAF St. Mawgan on target provision duties. Equipped with the English Electric Canberra, the squadron provided targets for the Army and Navy anti aircraft guns. They also provided silent targets for radar station practice. On 12th December 1981 the squadron was again disbanded, reforming soon after as the second operational Boeing Vertol Chinook helicopter Squadron on 2nd September 1982.

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.82 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 7th January 1917
Fate : Disbanded 10th July 1963
United Provinces

Super omnia ubique - Over all things everywhere

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No.83 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 7th January 1917
Fate : Disbanded 31st August 1969

Strike to defend

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No.83 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.90 Sqn RAF

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

Celer - Swift

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No.90 Sqn RAF

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No.97 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st December 1917
Fate : Disbanded 2nd January 1967
Straits Settlement

Achieve your aim

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Signatures for : Lancaster
A list of all signatures from our database who are associated with this aircraft. A profile page is available by clicking their name.
NameInfo

Flt Lt Phil Ainley DFC

19 / 9 / 2011Died : 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.

P Brophy

1991Died : 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

23 / 12 / 2002Died : 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*

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.

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

28 / 6 / 2008Died : 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*

19 / 12 / 2008Died : 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

8 / 2002Died : 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*

31 / 7 / 1992Died : 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*

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 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

15 / 4 / 2010Died : 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

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.

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.


Warrant Officer Norman Jackson VC

26 / 3 / 1994Died : 26 / 3 / 1994
Warrant Officer Norman Jackson VC

Norman Jackson joined 106 Squadron as a flight engineer, and his 30th operational raid earned him the Victoria Cross. While climbing out of the target area over Schweinfurt, his Lancaster was hit by an enemy night-fighter and the inner starboard engine set on fire. Although injured by shrapnel he jettisoned the pilots escape hatch and climbed out on to the wing clutching a fire extinguisher, his parachute spilling out as he went. He succeeded in putting out the fire just as the night-fighter made a second attack, this time forcing the crew to bale out. Norman was swept away with his parachute starting to burn but somehow survived the fall to spend 10 months as a POW in a German hospital. Sadly, Norman Jackson died on 26th March 1994.

Flight Sergeant Ken Jenkinson
Flight Sergeant Ken Jenkinson

Initially on Lancasters with 57 Sqn, as Radio Operator to pilot Ian Ross, he remained with the crew when they joined 617 Sqn and their aircraft crash landed in Russia after the first raid on the Tirpitz.


Flight Lieutenant Edward Johnson

1 / 10 / 2002Died : 1 / 10 / 2002
Flight Lieutenant Edward Johnson

He joined the RAFVR early in the war, serving with 50 and 106 Squadrons. When he joined 617 Squadron in 1943 he was the bomb aimer on Lancaster AJ-N piloted by Les Knight on the Dambusters raid. During that raid they first attacked the Mohne Dam and then went on to attack and actually breach the Eder Dam, for which he was awarded the DFC. Later in 1943 he was shot down but evaded capture and during a two month journey returned to England via Holland, France, Spain and Gibraltar. Sadly, Edward Johnson died 1st October 2002.


Squadron Leader George L. Johnson DFM
Squadron Leader George L. Johnson DFM

Joining the RAF in 1940, George Johnson served with 97 Squadron before joining 617 Squadron. Bomb aimer on American Joe McCarthy’s Lancaster AJ-T, they attacked the Sorpe Dam, for which he was awarded the DFM. Commissioned a few months later, George retired from the RAF in 1962.

Warrant Officer Ken Johnson
Warrant Officer Ken Johnson

As a Mid-Upper Gunner he flew on Lancasters with 9 and 61 Squadrons taking part in many raids including the final attack to sink the Tirpitz in November 1944 along with attacks on Berchtesgaden, Hitlers alpine home.

Flight Lieutenant Maxwell G Johnson
Flight Lieutenant Maxwell G Johnson

Max joined 467 Sqn at Waddington in June 1944, flying S for Sugar on his first operational sortie. On 18th July, he took evasive action when attacked by enemy fighters, this action popping 126 rivets in Sugars mainplane, putting her out of action for several months.

Flight Lieutenant Eric Jones DFC
Flight Lieutenant Eric Jones DFC

Eric Jones joined the RAF in April 1941 and trained as a pilot in Canada. Back in England he was posted to No.49 Squadron flying Lancasters, and flew his first operation on the night of 22nd August 1943. The target that night was Leverkusen. On the night of 14th January 1944 on a raid against Brunswick his aircraft shot down an Me110 nightfighter south of Hannover. He flew 12 trips to Berlin, the most heavily defended target in the Reich. Eric Jones completed a tour of 29 combat operations in the Lancaster. He was awarded the DFC.

Warrant Officer John Jones
Warrant Officer John Jones

Was a Bomb Aimer on Lancasters with 15 Squadron. On the night of 12th September 1944 they were on a mission to Frankfurt when the plane was attacked by Heinrich Schmidt of 2/NJG6. All the crew baled out and John finished the War as a PoW in Stalag Luft 7.

Sqn Ldr Douglas Joss MBE
Sqn Ldr Douglas Joss MBE

A Rear Gunner posted to 626 Squadron at Wickenby on Lancasters where he completed a full tour during 1944. After the War in an attempt to keep Bomber Command veterans in touch with each other he was the founder member of the Wickenby Register.


Warrant Officer James Kelly
Warrant Officer James Kelly

Radio Operator Jim Kelly served RAF 419 Moose Squadron. James Kkelly was the wireless operator on the fateful Mynarksi Lancaster bomber. They were flying a mission over Cambrai on the night of June 12th and 13th when the aircraft was hit. Four of the crew members: Brophy, navigator Robert Bodie, radio operator James Kelly and pilot de Breyne were hidden by the French and, except for Brophy, returned to England shortly after the crash.

Flt Sgt Robert P E Kendall
Flt Sgt Robert P E Kendall

Bob Kendal enlisted for the Royal Air Force on the 1st of September 1941 as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner and completed training as a Wireless Operator on the 9th of July 1942 and was ordered to report tothe 38th (Welsh) Division Signals Unit. On the 19th of October 1942 Bob Kendall was posted to the 30th Kings Regiment at Portland, Dorset and then to the 9th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He was recalled to the RAF on the 22nd ofMarch 1943, promoted to Sergeant and posted to No.6 (observer) Advanced Flying Unit on the 4th of September. In November 1943 Bob was posted to No.11 Operational Training Unit at Wescott/Oakley and went to RAF Methwold in March 1944. On the 4th of June 1944 Bob was posted to No.3 Lancaster Finishing School at RAF Feltwell and on the 18th of June joined No.15 Squadron at Mildenhall and was promoted Flight Sergeant. Bob Kendall had flown as Wireless Operator of a variety of aircraft, De Havilland Dominie, Proctor, Avro Anson, Wellington, Stirling and Lancasters. Robert Kendal flew most of his missions on Lancaster LS-P, including missions to Stettin, Paris rail yards and Berlin. While on the Paris mission, LS-P 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, Bob was 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 Bob, 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 and he was taken into captivity until the end of the war. On the 10th of May 1945 he returned to England from POW in Germany and on the 1st of June was promoted Warrant Officer. He was released from service on the 23rd of July 1946.

Warrant Officer Ernest Kenwright DFC DFM
Warrant Officer Ernest Kenwright DFC DFM

Joining the RAF in 1940 he was initially posted to Cardington as a driver and ended up on the Isle of Sheppey releasing explosive met balloons in order to hamper enemy aircraft. Volunteering for aircrew he attended a gunnery course at Stormy Down in 1942 and shortly after joined 51 squadron at Snaith in Yorkshire, as a Rear Gunner on Halifaxes. In 1943 after many operations with the main force he volunteered for the Pathfinders and joined 35 Squadron at Gravely on both the Halifax and Lancaster. He remained with this unit until the end of the war completing 82 operations and left the RAF in 1946

Wing Commander Rollo Kingsford Smith DSO DFC AM
Wing Commander Rollo Kingsford Smith DSO DFC AM

Rollo Kingsford Smith flew in the Pacific escorting the 1st AIF convoys to leave Australia. Posted to Europe he commanded 467 and 463 Lancaster Sqns RAAF, Bomber Command, also 627 Pathfinder Mosquito Sqn becoming Chief Instructor. Commanded RAAF contingent to victory celebration in 1946.


Warrant Officer Harold Kirby
Warrant Officer Harold Kirby

Called up in 1942 he attended a flight mechanics course at RAF Halton and then qualified as a flight engineer in 1943, joining 467 Squadron at Waddington on Lancasters. In August 1944 his aircraft was forced to crash land after an operation when a 1000lb bomb from another Lancaster ripped through their port wing and destroyed their undercarriage over France. In September 1944 he joined 97 Squadron at Coningsby on Lancasters as part of the Pathfinders and remained with this unit until the end of the war. He left the RAF in 1946.


Flt Lieutenant Bob Knights DSO, DFC

4 / 12 / 2004Died : 4 / 12 / 2004
Flt Lieutenant Bob Knights DSO, DFC

A member of the elite 617 Dambusters squadron, Bob Knights had a key role on the night before D-Day. With the rest of the squadron he flew on Operation Taxable which simulated the approach of the invasion across the Pas de Calais by dropping metal strips of window to a very precise pattern. The enemy was completely deceived and kept most of their best troops on the wrong side of the Seine. Bob Knights had already flown a full operational tour with 619 Squadron Lancasters, including eight trips to Berlin, before volunteering for 617 Squadron. Under Cheshire he flew on some of the squadrons most challenging precision operations and later under Willie Tait took part in the attack that finally destroyed the Tirpitz. Seconded to BOAC in December 1944 he stayed with the airline after the war for a 30 year long career. He died 4th December 2004.

Flight Lieutenant William N Kynoch DFC
Flight Lieutenant William N Kynoch DFC

Bill Kynoch commenced operations with 467 Sqn RAAF in Sept 1943. For twice returning his aircraft under difficult circumstances he was awarded the DFC. He flew S for Sugar on one operation on 6 April 1945, completing his tour on 18th April.

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.

Wing Commander Roderick Learoyd VC

24 / 1 / 1996Died : 24 / 1 / 1996
Wing Commander Roderick Learoyd VC

On the day that war was declared Rod Learoyd was on patrol flying Hampdens with 49 Sqn. Continually involved with low level bombing, on the night of 12th August 1940, he and four other aircraft attempted to breach the heavily defended Dortmund - Ems canal. Of the four other aircraft on the mission, two were destroyed and the other two were badly hit. Learoyd took his plane into the heavily defended target at only 150 feet, in full view of the searchlights, and with flak barrage all around. He managed to get his very badly damaged aircraft back to England, where he circled until daybreak when he finally landed the aircraft without inflicting more damage to it, or injuring any of his crew. For his supreme courage that night he was awarded the Victoria Cross. He later joined 44 Sqn with the first Lancasters, and then commanded 83 Sqn. He died 24th January 1996.

Squadron Leader Frank Leatherdale DFC
Squadron Leader Frank Leatherdale DFC

Originally flew as a Navigator with 115 Squadron on Lancasters and after a period of instructing was sent to 7 Squadron PFF as a Master Navigator. Frank finished the War on Mosquitoes and completed 59 Operations with Bomber Command.


Lt Cdr Edgar Lee DSO

29 / 10 / 2009Died : 29 / 10 / 2009
Lt Cdr Edgar Lee DSO

Joined the Royal Navy in May 1940, two days before his nineteenth birthday and after initial training began a flying course in Trinidad in September 1940. He qualified as Observer in April 1941 and was commissioned as Midshipman (A) RNVR. Promoted to Sub-Lieutenant (A) RNVR at the age of 20 in May 1941 and appointed to 825 Squadron in HMS Ark Royal in June 1941, flying operationally with 825 Squadron in Swordfish TBR until the Ark Royal was sunk in November 1941. Edgar returned to England and the squadron reformed at Lee-on-Solent - again in Swordfish in late December 1941, still under the command of Lt Commander E Esmonde DSO, RM. He took part in the Channel attack on the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau on 12th February 1942. All the aircraft were shot down, with only five survivors; Edgar and his pilot were rescued from a dingy by MTB. He joined the new 825 Squadron in March 1942 and flew in that squadron until July 1942, then sent for re-posting to RNAS St Merryn on Flying Control duties. At the end of February 1943, Edgar was seconded to 106 Squadron RAF Bomber Command, flying in Lancaster, under the command of Wing Commander Guy Gibson, DSO DFC RAF. Six Naval Observers were seconded to 5 Group Bomber Command, three were lost and three returned to naval duties at the end of July 1943. Edgar was promoted to Lieutnant (A) RNVR in November 1943. Instructing in Canada, August 1943 to November 1944 and returned to England to qualify as a Signals Officer in August 1945. From Staff Signals Officer to Rear Admiral reserve Aircraft from September 1945 until demob in July 1947. Edgar rejoined the reserve in 1956 and was promoted to Lt Cdr RNR in November 1961 serving in most NATO and National exercises until 1981 and as Acting Commander RNR in exercises from 1969 until retirement at 60 in 1981. Sadly Lieutenant-Commander Edgar Lee died on October 29th, 2009, aged 88. Edgar Lee was the last surviving member of those gallant aircrew of 825 Squadron Fleet Air Arm that in February 1942 made the attack in Swordfish torpedo bombers on the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau accompanied by the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen.

Warrant Offier Ron Legg
Warrant Offier Ron Legg

Joined the RAF at Lord Cricket on 12th July 1943. Prior to that he was an engineering apprentice with a well known Bristol company. He was called to the Aircrew Selection Board at Oxford and chose to become a Flight Engineer and following a minor operation on his nose, he went to Lords Cricket Ground. After three weeks initial training in London, he went to Torquay and then to St Athans for the six months training as a Flight Engineer. He passed out in March 1944 having never flown in an aeroplane. When on his first leave, friends would say What's it like up there? he was embarrassed to admit that he had not yet flown. After his leave, he was posted to Scampton where he met the lads that had been crewed up at OTU and were destined for the Lancaster. His next posting was to Winthorpe, 1661 Heavy Conversion Unit. The aircraft was the Stirling and he flew with Sgt Anscombe for a full course; this was mainly to gain air experience. He was then crewed up with F/L Oldacre and did the same course again as the F/E. An experienced F/E flew with them until he was satisfied that they were competent. The next posting was with his crew to Syerston for a conversion on the Lancaster and then to 9 Squadron, Bardney where they did a total of about 12 hours on training flights. The pilot had to do one operation as a 2nd pilot, on that trip he was shot down but he baled out and evaded capture. They then returned to another HCU 1654 Wigsley, once again on the Stirling and another pilot W/O Ross. From there the course was completed and they went through the Lancaster finishing course once again, then to 57 Squadron East Kirkby for operational flying. the first op was a daylight raid on Wilhelmshaven 5th October 1944 and the last on 7th April 1945. His total was 31 operations. He was then posted to a holding unit for redundant aircrew and never flew again with the RAF.

Warrant Officer Jack Linaker
Warrant Officer Jack Linaker

As a Rear Gunner on Lancasters he was posted to 9 Sqn which was one of only two squadrons equipped with the Tallboy bomb used for precision bombing and went on to lead the final raid on Berchtesgaden. He completed 18 Ops.


Corporal Kenneth Lucas

1 / 2011Died : 1 / 2011
Corporal Kenneth Lucas

Ken Lucas joined the RAF in June 1940, and trained as ground crew for bomber Command. He was sent first to 49 Squadron at RAF Scampton, before transferring to 617 Squadron upon its formation, Involved in all the major servicing of the aircraft before the raid including fitting the motors that drove the belt that spun the bomb, and attaching the critical lamps to the underside of the aircraft. Sadly, Ken Lucas passed away in January 2011.

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.

Squadron Leader Mick Maguire
Squadron Leader Mick Maguire

Having signed up in 1936, he served as both a Gunner and Bomb Aimer with 88 and 9 Squadrons. He flew on many aircraft including Blenheims, Bostons and Lancasters and also spent time with the Air Ministry.

Sergeant Len Manning
Sergeant Len Manning

As a Rear Gunner on Lancasters with 57 Sqn, his aircraft was shot down by a German Night Fighter on only his 3rd Operation on 18th April 1944. Taken in by local French civilians, they kept him in hiding until the Allies advanced through Northern France before he finally got back to Britain on 5th September 1944.

Air Marshal Sir Harold (Mick) Martin KCB CB DSO* AFC RAAF

3 / 11 / 1988Died : 3 / 11 / 1988
Air Marshal Sir Harold (Mick) Martin KCB CB DSO* AFC RAAF

Born 27th February 1918, Australian Mick Martin joined the RAF in 1940 and had flown tours with 455 Squadron RAAF and 50 Squadron RAF before joining Guy Gibson at 617 Squadron. Pilot of AJ-P, Mick Martin was Deputy Leader of the Dams Raid and flew in Gibsons lead group. Third aircraft to attack the Mohne Dam, he was awarded the DSO for his part in the raid. Mick Martin later served with Leonard Cheshire, and went on to a distinguished career after the war. ADC to the Queen in 1963, he eventually retired from the RAF as an Air Marshal in 1974. Mick Martin died 3rd November 1988.

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 Joe C McCarthy

6 / 9 / 1998Died : 6 / 9 / 1998
Flight Lieutenant Joe C McCarthy

In March 1943, a special Royal Air Force (RAF) unit, 617 Squadron, was created to try a new tactic--low altitude bombing using deep penetration bombs that weighed from 9,500 to 22,000 pounds. Their first targets were three dams in the Ruhr industrial area of western Germany: the Mohne, the Eder, and the Sorpe. These dams supplied water for Ruhr steel mills and hydroelectric power. Twenty Avro Lancaster bombers were specially modified for this mission to carry a new, rotating skip bomb that would bounce across the lake, sink, and then explode at the base of the dam. So secret was the dambusting mission, that the pilots and navigators were briefed only the day before as to the actual targets. The three dams were struck, and two were breached, on the night of 16 May 1943. Joe McCarthy, from Long Island, New York, was an original member of 617 Squadron. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in 1941 and soon transferred with his crew to RAF Bomber Command. From 1941 until late 1944, he flew the Hampden, Manchester, Lancaster, and Mosquito bombers and compiled a total of 80 combat missions. As Officer Commanding, German Aircraft Flight, he tested and flew over 20 different German aircraft, which had been taken from captured German airfields back to Farnborough for extensive engineering evaluation. During this period, McCarthy flew the first British operational jet, the Meteor, and the experimental Windsor bomber. Upon returning to Edmonton, Canada, he continued flight testing a variety of aircraft for cold weather operations as well as the experimental Canadian flying wing. During 28 years in the RCAF, he flew 64 different British, American, German, and Canadian aircraft. Later assignments included base executive officer for an F-86 NATO installation in France; Commander, Flying Training School, RCAF Station Penhold, Canada; and Commanding Officer of the 407 Maritime Squadron, flying the P2V Neptune. From 1961 to 1962, he was Chief of Air Operations for the United Nations' forces in the Congo, and from 1963 to 1966, worked in plans and policy for CINCLANT/CINCLANTFLT. Wing Commander McCarthy's final assignment was as base operations officer for two maritime squadrons flying the Argus antisubmarine warfare aircraft in Nova Scotia. He retired from the RCAF in 1969 and, after a second career in real estate, fully retired in 1986. Passed away 6th September 1998.

Flight Sergeant Grant S McDonald RCAF
Flight Sergeant Grant S McDonald RCAF

Grant McDonald was the rear gunner on Lancaster AJ-F flown by Ken Brown. On the way to the Ruhr, the gunners shot up and damaged three trains in an eventful trip before reaching the Sorpe Dam.

Flight Sergeant Jim McGillivray
Flight Sergeant Jim McGillivray

Having completed training as a Rear Gunner he as posted to 115 Sqn serving on 12 Ops on Lancasters from Autumn 1944 until the end of the war.

Flight Lieutenant A M McKie

1 / 8 / 2008Died : 1 / 8 / 2008
Flight Lieutenant A M McKie

Born in Crewe in July 1922, Alex McKie joined the RAF in 1938 as an apprentice, and was selected for pilot training in 1942. After training, he joined No.106 Squadron flying Lancasters as a navigator. With this squadron, he flew eight raids to Berlin. Completing 30 operations, he was awarded the DFM, before volunteering in June 1944 to join No.617 Squadron, a squadron which by this time was famous for the legendary Dambusters raid. During a raid on the German battleship Tirpitz in Norway, Mckie and his crew were forced to crash-land in neutral Sweden after losing two engines. After blaming their intrusion into Sweden on faulty navigation, they were repatriated. Sadly, Alex McKie passed away on 1st August 2008.

Flight Lieutenant Ronald W Meeking
Flight Lieutenant Ronald W Meeking

Undertook flying training at Heany, Southern Rhodsia and at Nakuru, Kenya, before joining 55 Squadron in the Western Desert where he flew Mark IV Blenheims and Baltimores. Following an injury, he was repatriated to the UK and eventually joined 57 Squadron at East Kirkby in December 1944. From then until 1945 he completed 16 operational flights, the last being on April 25th 1945 when he was engaged in dropping mines in Oslo fjord and upon returning to East Kirkby, the aircraft he was flying, Lancaster LM231 was the last Lancaster to return to East Kirkby from an operational flight.

Warrant Officer David Morland DFM
Warrant Officer David Morland DFM

David Morland joined 467 Sqn RAAF in Aug 1944. On 11th Sept he was wounded when a Ju88 attacked his Lancaster, smashing his turret. Without hydraulics he returned fire probably destroying the enemy. Morland completed one sortie in S for Sugar on 21 Dec 1944.

Flying Officer Neville J Morrison
Flying Officer Neville J Morrison

Neville Morrison was posted to 467 Squadron on Lancasters, where he completed a full tour, including one operation on S for Sugar on 24th June 1944. Morrison immediately began a second tour, this time with 463 Sqn RAAF.


Squadron Leader Les Munro DSO DFC RNZAF
Squadron Leader Les Munro DSO DFC RNZAF

New Zealander Les Munro was the Captain and pilot of Lancaster AJ-W assigned to attack the Sorpe Dam, but was forced to turn back en-route to the target after heavy flak damage over Holland had rendered his aircraft unable to carry on with the operation.

Flying Officer John W Nedwich DFC
Flying Officer John W Nedwich DFC

Joining 467 Squadron RAAF in August 1943, Sgt Nedwich flew in S for Sugar to Hanover on 27th Sept 1943, Sugars first operational sortie with the squadron. After completing 20 ops with 467 Sqn, Nedwich joined 97 Squadron, Pathfinder Force. He completed 46 combat operations.


Flight Lieutenant Douglas Newham LVO DFC
Flight Lieutenant Douglas Newham LVO DFC

Douglas Newham was a navigator with 156 and 150 Squadrons before transferring to the Lancasters of 10 Squadron.


Flying Officer Bill North
Flying Officer Bill North

Flying Lancasters with 61 Squadron, in 1944 he was shot down over Northern France. With his aircraft badly hit, he gave the order to bale out, but as some of the crew had damaged parachutes, he elected to stay with the aircraft and crash land. Despite being badly wounded, he managed to land his Lancaster at night, and every crewmember walked away - two of them evading capture and returned to England. Bill spent the rest of the war as a POW.

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

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

Sergeant Stefan Oancia DFM

15 / 5 / 1999Died : 15 / 5 / 1999
Sergeant Stefan Oancia DFM

Born in Stonehenge, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1923, Sgt. Stefan Oancia enlisted in the RCAF on the 1st ofAugust 1941. Trained at No.2 ITS (graduated 4 December 1941), No.3 AOS (graduated 13 March 1942), No.2 BGS (graduated 25 April 1942) and No.1 ANS (graduated 25 May 1942) and was the bomb aimer on F/Sgt. Kenneth W Brown's Lancaster ( AJ-F Freddie). He survived the raid and the war and was awarded the DFM, presented at Buckingham Palace on 22nd June 1943. Sadly he passed away on the 15th of May 1999.

Warrant Officer Harry Parker DFM
Warrant Officer Harry Parker DFM

As a Flight Engineer he flew 54 Ops on Lancasters with 635 Sqn Pathfinder Force in the same crew as W.O. Ernie Patterson and Flt Lt Boris Bressloff. Post-war he flew with Leonard Cheshire in his privately owned Mosquito.

Flg Of Harold Parkin
Flg Of Harold Parkin

Harold Parkin Joined the RAF in 1941 and underwent initial pilot training was at Stratford-on-Avon, and at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. After the exams he was sent for Northamptonshire to learn to fly in the Tiger Moths. Harold Parkin was posted to Spittlegate near Grantham, a permanent RAF base, where he got his wings in 1942. For a period of time here went to Montrose in Scotland for training as a flying instructor and intructed at Little Rissington, near Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds where he spent the next two years training new pilots. In 1944 he was given a commission and sent to Operational Training Unit at Bruntingthorpe. As part of his flying squad, he had one bomb-aimer and one gunner from Rhodesia, and because of this, the rules required that they came under the (44th.) Rhodesian Squadron. Harold Parkin was involved in the last raid of the war. The mission was to fly to Berchtesgarten, Hitler’s retreat in Bavaria. The mission was in broad daylight with 2 fighter escorts, where they proceeded to bomb Hitler’s SS barracks in the bottom of the valley. In 1945-6, Harold served in transport operations, being based first in Stradishall, Suffolk and then at Stoneycross in the New Forest. They spent most of that time taking freight to Karachi and ferrying POW from Japanese prisoner of war camps. Harold Parkin left the RAF in 1946 but in 1951 joined the reserve and in 1953 was called up to train Pilots for the Korean war. Harold was at Flying Training Command HQ, near Reading as part of the Examining Board. until his retirement in 1972. Harold piloted the Lancaster Bomber Yorker Mk.111 Lancaster KM-Y 44 (Rhodesia Squadron). Yorker was one of about 35 Lancasters (out of thousands that were produced during the war) which completed over 100 operations.

Corporal Beck Parsons
Corporal Beck Parsons

Vital to the whole Dambusters operation was the complete dedication by the ground crew of 617 Squadron. Personified by Beck Parsons. Joining the RAF in 1940, he trained as an electrician and worked with Avro Manchester’s with 207 Squadron at Waddington. In March 1943 he was posted to 617 Squadron at Scampton where he flew with Barnes Wallis during the tests on the bouncing bomb. As Electrical NCO Beck was responsible for the electrics on “B” flight at the time of the raid, together with ‘Top Maintenance’ on five of the Lancaster’s, including those of Guy Gibson and Mick Martin.

Warrant Officer Ernie Patterson DFC
Warrant Officer Ernie Patterson DFC

Joining the Royal Air Force in 1942, he served with 635 Sqn Pathfinder Force until the end of the war. As a WOP/Air Gunner he completed 51 Ops on Lancasters – all of which were with Flt Lt Boris Bressloff and W.O. Harry Parker.

Flight Sergeant Alan Payne DFC
Flight Sergeant Alan Payne DFC

Trained as an Observer, but served as Bomb Aimer with 630 Squadron on Lancasters completing 29 operations before transferring to 620 Sqn Transport Command. He also completed a tour as Navigator.1

Warrant Officer Reg Payne
Warrant Officer Reg Payne

Having completed his training as a WOP/Air Gunner he joined 50 Sqn on Lancasters in the same crew as Marshal of the RAF Sir Michael Beetham. With this crew he completed over 30 ops including 10 to Berlin.

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.

Warrant Officer John Pearl
Warrant Officer John Pearl

As a Mid-Upper Gunner he served with 207 Sqn on Lancasters. On his 8th Operation in April 1945 his aircraft was shot down and he then spent three days evading capture before finding his way into US occupied territory.


M/Sig R D Pearson
M/Sig R D Pearson

Joined the RAF in 1943 to begin training as an Air Gunner. After the usual short attachments at various training stations eventually ending up at No 2 AGS Dalcross. Air firing was carried out from an Avro Anson. There was always a mad rush to be first aboard the aircraft on every detail, not from enthusiasm, but from trying to avoid winding up the undercarriage after take off. M/Sig Pearson went from Dalcross to Kinloss to join a crew flying Whitleys and several months later ended up at 158 Sqdn Lissett to commence operations on Halifaxes. After half a tour and very happy at Lissett his crew were posted onto a PFF Sqdn, 635 Sqdn Downham Market. His first operation, and very nearly his last, was a daylight raid on Hamburg. On the bombing run, they had the misfortune to be selected by the pilot of a ME262 as his victim. He was not spotted until he was dead astern and blazing away with the four 30mm cannon in the nose. Evasive action was given and the pilot promptly stood the Lanc on its nose. Unfortunately not all the cannon shells missed and they lost quite a piece of fuselage leaving ammo belts hanging out in the slipstream. After regaining level flight, they were attacked again by another ME262, but this time they were lucky. Both ME pilots decided to push off and find some other sitting duck! Despite these attacks, they carried on and bombed, making their way home across the North Sea, not a pleasant journey. The pilot received an immediate award of the DFC. M/Sig Pearson finished the war out at Downham Market and after the war in Europe ended was posted to 83 Sqdn Conningsby for Tiger Force training and operations against the Japanese. Fortunately the war in the east ceased just as they were ready to depart. He was demobbed in May 1947, but was not happy out of uniform so was back in again at the end of 1949 as an A/G flying on Lincolns at 9 Sqdn. Binbrook. He had a short detachment with 617 Sqdn at Shallufa, Egypt and at the end of 1952 was posted onto B29 aircraft with 15 Sqdn. Coningsby. After six months he was posted to Little Rissington on a Link Trainer course and then to FTS Syerston as a Link instructor to Naval cadet pilots. In 1955, he was required to either remuster to a ground trade or take another aircrew trade. He was posted to Swanton Morley to take training as an Air Signaller and from then to St Mawgan 228 Sqdn on Shackletons. Next came a posting to Northolt in a drawing office drawing En-Route charts and Terminal Approach Procedures. Back to flying in 1961 and a posting to 224 Sqdn Gibraltar and then to Air Traffic Control School at Shawbury. On completion of this course came a posting to RAF Lyneham as Local Controller and thence to RAF Colerne as Approach Controller. He left the service in 1968.

Flying Officer Roy L Pegler
Flying Officer Roy L Pegler

After joining the Australian Army, Roy transferred to the RAAF in March 1943. He retrained as a bomb aimer, and was posted to 467 Squadron RAAF. On his first op, his Lancaster was involved in a mid-air collision, his skipper managing to return to the UK where the crew bailed out. Pegler went on to complete a further 30 ops, including one trip in S for Sugar.


Flight Lieutenant John Petrie-Andrews DFC DFM
Flight Lieutenant John Petrie-Andrews DFC DFM

John Petrie-Andrews joined the RAF in 1940. After training as a pilot, in January 1943 he was posted to join 102 (Ceylon) Squadron at Pocklington for his first tour, flying Halifaxes. In February 1943 he transferred to 158 Squadron, still on Halifaxes. John the joined 35 Squadron, one of the original squadrons forming the Pathfinder Force. Here he flew first Halifaxes before converting to Lancasters. John Petrie-Andrews completed a total of 70 operations on heavy bombers, including 60 with the Pathfinders.

Warrant Officer J D Phillips
Warrant Officer J D Phillips

Having qualified as a Flight engineer, he was one of the first crews to join 617 Sqn following the Dams raids and completed operations against the mighty Tirpitz Battle Ship.

Flg Off Jim Pinning
Flg Off Jim Pinning

volunteered and was called up for Air Crew duties in April 1942. After some Pilot training in S Rhodesia and returning to England, Jim qualified as a Flight Engineer, joining Flying Officer David Coster and crew at Conversion Unit flying Stirlings. After a course at Lancaster Finishing School, a posting to IX Squadron, Bardney resulted. On his seventh trip Jim flew in WS.T LM448 (as illustrated in “Preparing for the Tirpitz”) on the final Tirpitz raid, but as the result of heavy flak damage causing a loss of fuel and power a course was set for Sweden where, after evading enemy fighters over Norway, a crash landing was made. After returning to England the crew re-joined the Squadron and Jim completed 22 ops. by the end of the war. After cancellation of the Tiger Force destined for the Far East, Jim joined Squadron Leader (Jock) Blair for the Squadron’s brief visit to India.

Flight Sergeant Gerald Prettejohns
Flight Sergeant Gerald Prettejohns

Joining the RAF in 1943, he flew as a Flight Engineer serving with 106 Sqn before moving to 9 Sqn. He completed a full tour on Stirlings and Lancasters including raids against the Tirpitz.

Flt Lt W G Rees
Flt Lt W G Rees

Volunteered for Aircrew at age 19 and was called up in April 1942. After initial training he went to Miami, Oklahoma where he gained his Pilots Wings in July 1942. He returned to the UK and after further training volunteered for Special Duties and was posted to 9 Squadron who were about to embark on their 12,000lb Bomb campaign. His first flight was on “T” for “Tommy”. His service with the Squadron included many Tallboy and 12,000lb HC bomb raids and he specialised in Wind Finding exercises. After the German capitulation he trained with Tiger Force and finally served at Waddington until his release from the service.


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.


Sqn Ldr Stu Reid
Sqn Ldr Stu Reid

Squadron Leader, Lancaster of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (2006)

Harold Riding
Harold Riding

617 Squadron Lancasters.

Harold Roddis
Harold Roddis

Flight Mechanic on the 617 Squadron Dambuster aircraft.

Flying Officer Dave Rodger

1 / 9 / 2004Died : 1 / 9 / 2004
Flying Officer Dave Rodger

Born in Sault Ste marie, Ontario on February 23rd 1918, he son of a Scots carpenter, David Rodger was an avid collector of aeroplane magazines as a boy, that began his interest in flying. David Roger went to the local technical school, then worked for Algoma Steel while serving in the Canadian Militia. Rodger joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in October 1941 and trained as an air gunner before being commissioned as pilot officer, and then arriving in England in 1942. David Rodger converted to Lancaster bombers, and joined No 97 Squadron at Woodhall Spa near Lincoln, and it was here he teamed up with McCarthy. During their time with 97 squadron they attacked the main industrial cities on the Rhur and also Hamburg and Berlin. By the time they joined No 617 Squadron, they were recognised as an experienced crew. Rodger and McCarthy had already completed more than 20 bombing raids together when they were selected to join No 617 Squadron, forming at RAF Scampton in March 1943 under the command of Wing Commander Guy Gibson. David Rodger was the rear gunner in Big Joe McCarthy's Lancaster, which attacked the Sorpe Dam during Operation Chastise, the Dam Buster raid of May 16th 1943. On the night of the raid their aircraft was unservicable due to an engine problem, so they took the reserve aircraft which had been fitted with the upkeep bouncing bomb, but not had time to be fitted with the crucial spoptlights which were used to keep the aircraft at the height of 60 feet. As McCarthy took the bomber across the coast at 100ft, Rodger, in the rear turret, was soon in action trying to douse the searchlights before having a lively exchange with a light flak gun. By the time they arrived at the Sorpe, McCarthy's men were the only survivors of the team charged with attacking the dam, which was shrouded in mist as they arrived. With a tall church spire on the approach and a hill to be avoided after the attack, McCarthy had great difficulty getting into position to drop the mine. The lack of the height-finding spotlights made the job almost impossible. The crew made nine dummy attacks before releasing their weapon accurately at last. But the force of the explosion was insufficient to breach the earth dam, and McCarthy and his men set course for base. After the success of the Dam raids 617 squadron now under the command of Wing Commander Leonard Cheshire specialised in the attack of pinpoint targets, and Cheshire and his four senior crews from the dam buster raid developed daring and accurate low-level target-marking techniques. Rodger was appointed the gunnery leader of the squadron in September. Rodger then attacked targets in Italy, and made pinpoint raids against viaducts and the huge concrete constructions associated with the V-1 rocket programme in the Pas de Calais. In addition to their marker role, the Lancasters of No 617 carried the massive 12,000-ton Tallboy bomb, which was used to devastating effect against V-sites and railway tunnels. During the night of June 5 1944, 16 Lancasters of No 617 carried out a unique operation, dropping a dense screen of window (foil strips) which advanced slowly across the Channel to simulate a large convoy of ships approaching the French coast between Boulogne and Le Havre, north of the real invasion area. After 14 months on No 617, McCarthy and his crew were finally rested in July 1944. Rodger, who had flown 50 bombing operations, including 24 with No 617, was awarded the DFC for his calm resolution in the face of the heaviest opposition, which has been an inspiration to his crew. Rodger returned to Canada in September 1944, where he married, and was released from the RCAF the following year. He returned to work at Algoma Steel, where he became a superintendent. Always a keen outdoorsman, he loved fishing and played his last game of ice hockey at 84. David Rodger died on September 1st 2004 in Canada aged 86.

Flying Officer Dave Rodger DFC RCAF

1 / 9 / 2004Died : 1 / 9 / 2004
Flying Officer Dave Rodger DFC RCAF

Canadian Dave Rodger joined the RCAF in 1941, and was posted to 97 Squadron before joining 617 Squadron in March 1943. He was rear gunner in the Lancaster of Joe Mccarthy, AJ-T, that attacked the Sorpe Dam. Sadly, Dave Rodger died on 1st September 2004.


Wing Commander Ernest Rodley DSO DFC AFC AE
Wing Commander Ernest Rodley DSO DFC AFC AE

Ernest Rodley initially joined the RAFVR in 1937 and was commissioned and posted to Bomber Command in 1941. Joining 97 Sqn flying Manchesters he was involved in the attack on the Scharnhorst, Prinz Eugen and Gneisenau whilst in Brest harbour and in the famous Augsberg daylight raid for which he received a DFC. At the end of 1942 he joined RAF Scampton helping to convert to Lancaster Bombers before rejoining 97 Sqn at Bourn as a Pathfinder. After a spell at Warboys as an instructor he took command of 128 Sqn at Wyton, flying Mosquitoes as part of the Light Night Strike Force and involvede in doing 7 trips to Berlin. Staying with this unit he finished the war having completed 87 operations. In 1946 Ernest Rodley joined British South American Airways flying Lancastrians across the Atlantic from a tented Heathrow. On 13th April 1950 he was checked out on the new Comet jet airliner by John Cunningham and became the worlds first jet endorsed Airline Transport Pilots Licence holder. Ernest Rodley retired from BOAC in 1968 as a Boeing 707 Captain, joining Olympic Airways a few days later. He amassed an amazing 28000 flying hours.

Warrant Officer Ken Rogers
Warrant Officer Ken Rogers

As a Radio Operator he served with 9 Sqn similar to W.O. Jack Linaker. He completed 34 Ops on Lancasters including precision bombing on Bergen, Munich and the Arnsberg Viaduct in the German Rhine River Valley.

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.

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 Raymond Sayer DFM
Warrant Officer Raymond Sayer DFM

Ray Sayer completed 6 ops on S for Sugar. On 8 Feb 1945 his Lanc was attacked by a Ju88 and set on fire. Sayer managed to extinguish the fires enabling the skipper to get the badly damaged Lanc home. For his actions, Sayer was awarded the DFM.

Squadron Leader Thomas Scholefield DFC*
Squadron Leader Thomas Scholefield DFC*

Tom Scholefield was posted to 467 Squadron RAAF in April 1944. On 3 May he flew S for Sugar on his second operation. Midway through his first tour he was promoted, and transferred with his crew to 97 Squadron. Pathfinder Force for a second tour.

Air Commodore John Searby DSO DFC

14 / 1 / 1986Died : 14 / 1 / 1986
Air Commodore John Searby DSO DFC

John Searby joined the RAF in 1929 as a Halton apprentice but was a Sergeant Pilot flying bombers when war broke out. Joining 106 Squadron he flew Lancasters with Guy Gibson and eventually took over as Squadron Commander when Gibson left for 617 Squadron. A specialist in navigation, he was then chosen by Arthur Harris to take command of No.83 Pathfinder Squadron at Wyton. Searby quickly developed a superb reputation as a Pathfinder and was involved in countless precision raids including his role as Master Bomber on the Peenemunde raid, coordinating the attack by over 600 heavy bombers. He died on 14th January 1986.

Group Captain Dave Seward AFC
Group Captain Dave Seward AFC

Dave Seward flew RAF Meteors, Canberras and Javelins and USAF F-86, F-102 and F-106 fighters. In 1961, as C.O. of No.56 Sqn he led the 'Firebirds' Lightning aerobatic team and later Commanded the Lightning OCU and Battle of Britain Flight, flying the Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire.

Squadron Leader David J Shannon DSO* DFC* RAAF

1993Died : 1993
Squadron Leader David J Shannon DSO* DFC* RAAF

Born 27th May 1922 in Australia, Dave Shannon joined the RAAF in 1941, and trained as a pilot. He flew an extended tour of 36 operations with 106 Squadron RAF before being chosen for 617 Squadron. Pilot of Lancaster AJ-L in Gibsons group, he was called off as he began his run on the Mohne Dam after the breach became apparent; but flew on and was the first pilot to attack the Eder Dam. Awarded a DSO for the Dams operation, he later served as Deputy to Leonard Cheshire, flying Mosquitos on what was by then his third tour. He later served with 511 and 246 Squadrons, and returned to Australia after the war. David Shannon died in 1993.

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.

Pilot Officer Richard Dick Starkey
Pilot Officer Richard Dick Starkey

Dick Starkey was with 106 Sqn as a pilot on Lancasters when his aircraft was shot down in March 1944. After hospitalisation he moved to Stalag Luft III arriving within days of the execution of 50 escapees.

Flt Lt Ted Stocker DSO DFC
Flt Lt Ted Stocker DSO DFC

A massive 108 ops as Flight Engineer on Lancasters of 35 Pathfinder Squadron.

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.


Sergeant Frederick E. Sutherland RCAF
Sergeant Frederick E. Sutherland RCAF

 ‘Doc’ Sutherland was the front gunner on Les Knight’s Lancaster AJ-N that went to the Mohne Dam, and then successfully attacked and breached the Eder Dam. Shot down four months later, he managed to evade capture and escape back to England with the help of the Resistance movements, returning through Holland, France and Spain.

Warrant Officer Dennis Swains
Warrant Officer Dennis Swains

Volunteered in 1941 but did not join up until 1944 and trained as an Air Gunner on Lancasters on a heavy conversion course.

Flight Sergeant Ray Swift
Flight Sergeant Ray Swift

Upon completing his training as a WOP/Air Gunner he was posted to 138 Sqn with whom he completed 46 Ops on Stirlings before transferring to Lancasters with 218 Sqn.


Group Captain J B Tait DSO*** DFC* ADC

31 / 5 / 2007Died : 31 / 5 / 2007
Group Captain J B Tait DSO*** DFC* ADC

One of Bomber Commands most outstanding leaders, James Willie Tait was one of only two RAF officers who had the distinction of being awarded three Bars to his DSO, as well as a DFC and Bar. On the night before D-Day Tait was the 5 Group Master Bomber directing from the air the massed attack by Lancasters on the German defences in the Cherbourg peninsula. By then Tait had already flown more than 100 bomber sorties with 51, 35, 10 and 78 Squadrons. A Cranwell-trained regular officer, he was very much in the Cheshire mould: quiet, bordering on the introspective. He was to go on to command the legendary 617 Dambusters Squadron and lead it on one of its most famous raids which finally destroyed the German battleship Tirpitz. In July 1944 when Leonard Cheshire was replaced by Wing Commander J B Willie Tait, 617 Squadron discovered that it had acquired a Commanding Officer very much in the Cheshire mould. Quiet, bordering on introspection, Tait, who was a Cranwell-trained regular officer, had already flown over 100 bombing operations with 51, 35, 10 and 78 Squadrons before joining 617. Tait had also received a DSO and bar and the DFC. He was 26. In the best traditions of 617 Squadron, Tait wasted no time in adapting to the Mustang and Mosquito for low level marking. He appointed two new Flight Commanders including Squadron Leader Tony Iveson DFC. Although involved in many of 617 Squadrons spectacular operations, Taits name is always associated with the destruction of the Tirpitz. An earlier attack on the ship by the squadron on 15th September 1944 had caused severe damage but Tirpitz was still afloat. On 29th October the Squadron was frustrated on the second attack by cloud over the target. The final attack was launched in daylight on 12th November 1944. Leading a mixed force of 617 and 9 Squadron Lancasters, Tait achieved complete surprise and had the satisfaction of seeing the Tirpitz destroyed at last. He had led all three attacks. On 28th December 1944 Tait received a third bar to his DSO, becoming one of only two RAF men to achieve this distinction. It coincided with his leaving 617 Squadron. Tait served in the post-war RAF, retiring as a Group Captain in 1966. He died 31st May 2007.

Flight Lieutenant Tommy Taylor DFC MiD*
Flight Lieutenant Tommy Taylor DFC MiD*

A Pilot with 9 and 467 Squadrons, Tommy completed two full tours on Lancasters flying from Bardney and Waddington. He finished the War flying Boulton and Paul Defiants on North Sea patrols in 1945.

Flying Officer Phil Tetlow
Flying Officer Phil Tetlow

Joining the RAF in August 1942 he soon began wireless training and, after a spell with 17 OTU, joined 9 Sqn at Bardney. He completed a total of 42 ops including all three raids against the Tirpitz.

Flt Lt Ken Thomas DFC
Flt Lt Ken Thomas DFC

Originally joined the RAF as a mechanic, but went on to complete his pilot's course. Ken completed 30 Operations flying Stirlings and Lancasters for 622 Sqn at Mildenhall.

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.

Flt Lt Dennis Thorpe
Flt Lt Dennis Thorpe

Was on his 31st Operation flying Lancasters with 626 Sqn from Wickenby when he was shot down by a night fighter. All of crew escaped but did not all survive to be taken PoWs. Dennis was captured and interned at Stalag Luft I.


Warrant Officer F L Tilley
Warrant Officer F L Tilley

After training as a Flight Engineer he volunteered for 617 Sqn taking part in all the raids against the Tirpitz, but at the end of 1944 was forced to crash land in East Germany after being badly shot up and injured on a mission.

Warrant Officer Frank Tolley
Warrant Officer Frank Tolley

Served with 625 Sqn, flying as a Bomb Aimer in Lancasters. He completed 22 Ops including attacks on the Dortmund Emms Canal, and Dresden.

Flight Lieutenant Bill Townsend CGM DFM

4 / 1991Died : 4 / 1991
Flight Lieutenant Bill Townsend CGM DFM

Pilot and Captain of Lancaster AJ-O, he attacked the Ennepe Dam. Transferring to the RAF from the Army in 1941, Bill Townsend served a tour as a pilot with 49 Squadron, before joining 617 Squadron, at the time a Flight Sergeant. As part of 617 Squadron Bill Townsend flew Lancaster ED-886 codenamed AJ – O for Orange in the famous dambuster raid of May 1944. Flight Sergeant Townsend flew his bomber and crew in the third wave of the famous raid. After the first two dams (Mohne and Eder) were breached, O for Orange was tasked to attack the Ennepe dam. With no anti-aircraft firing at them, they had time to do three trial runs before they released their bomb, but it failed to damage the dam. Forced to fly back at tree top level by enemy action, his Lancaster was the last to return. It limped home short of one engine. He was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal for his courageous actions in the raid. Bill Townsend was later promoted to Flight Lieutenant. He had been a pupil at Monmouth and after the war studied at Lincoln College, Oxford. He became a business man and a civil servant after his studies. FLt/Lt Townsend passed away in April 1991 , there with a flypast by 617 Tornadoes at his cremation on the 15th April 1991

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.

Flight Lieutenant Murray Valentine
Flight Lieutenant Murray Valentine

Completing his first tour as a Wireless Operator with 61 Sqn, he flew with 617 Sqn dropping the 12,000 lb Tallboy and 22,000 lb Grand Slam bombs. The war ended halfway through his second operational tour.

Flight Sergeant Eric Varney
Flight Sergeant Eric Varney

Joining 207 Sqn he served as a Mid-Upper Gunner on over 20 Ops on Lancasters including the controversial joint RAF and USAAF raids on Dresden in February 1945.

Flying Officer Albert Wallace
Flying Officer Albert Wallace

After joining 467 Squadron RAAF at Waddington, Albert Wallace completed six sorties in S for Sugar as gunner, including Sugars last operational trip on 23rd April 1945.


Squadron Leader E Gray Ward DFC
Squadron Leader E Gray Ward DFC

After joining the RAF in November 1940, Gray Ward trained as a pilot. His first operational squadron was 50 Squadron flying Lancasters, before he joined 57 Squadron as a Flight Commander. In late 1944 he was selected to join 617 Squadron, and took part in the 22,000lb Grand Slam raids on the Bielefeld and Arnsberg viaducts.

Wg Cdr Peter Ward-Hunt DFC

7 / 12 / 2005Died : 7 / 12 / 2005
Wg Cdr Peter Ward-Hunt DFC

Born 6th December 1916. Joined the RAF in July 1937, with No 106 Sqn flying Hampdens, moving to No.49 Sqn at the end of that year. After a period as an instructor, joined No.207 Sqn flying the Manchester. He was selected to convert others to Lancasters in May 1942, and became a flight commander of No 106 Sqn in February 1943. He died 7th December 2005.

Flt Lt David Ware MBE DFC AFC
Flt Lt David Ware MBE DFC AFC

Having completed Pilot training he joined 635 Sqn, part of the Pathfinder Force where he completed 45 Ops on Lancasters including the final raid at Berchtesgaden.

Flight Sergeant Jack Watson DFM
Flight Sergeant Jack Watson DFM

Upon completing his training as a Flight Engineer he joined the same Lancaster crew as Flt Lt William Cleland completing over 76 Ops with this crew in 12 Sqn and later 156 Pathfinder Squadron.


Flight Lieutenant Fred Watts DFC

6 / 8 / 2007Died : 6 / 8 / 2007
Flight Lieutenant Fred Watts DFC

Fred Watts joined the RAF in 1940, and qualifying as a pilot was posted to 630 Squadron in 1943 flying 15 operations on Lancasters out of East Kirby. He joined 617 Squadron in April 1944 and took part in many of the precision operations that the Squadron was renowned for, including raids on V1 sites, V2 rocket bases, and all three attacks on the Tirpitz. He left 617 Squadron in March 1945 to join 83 Pathfinder Squadron for Far East deployment with Tiger Force but VJ-day brought disbandment of the Force before it could be despatched. He stayed on in the RAF after the end of the war, retiring in 1964. He died 6th August 2007.

Sergeant Douglas E Webb

2002Died : 2002
Sergeant Douglas E Webb

Mr Webb flew 27 missions as a gunner on Lancaster bombers before being selected in March 1943 for the 617 Squadron, which attacked the Mohne, Sorpe, and Eder dams - flooding the German war industry. He passed away in 2002.

Flight Lieutenant Ernest Webb DFC
Flight Lieutenant Ernest Webb DFC

After joining the Royal Air Force in June 1941, Ernie Webb was chosen for training as a pilot. After qualifying he was posted in 1943 to join No.49 Squadron, based at Fiskerton in Lincolnshire. The squadron were by that time flying Lancasters, and heavily involved in the RAF Bomber Command offensive against the major targets in Germany. He flew a total of 30 combat operations in the Lancaster during his tour with No.49 Squadron, and later went on to serve with No.242 Squadron, RAF Transport Command. Ernest Webb was awarded the DFC.

Flight Sergeant John Weston
Flight Sergeant John Weston

Having completed training as a Rear Gunner he joined 15 Sqn in the Summer of 1944 and served on Lancasters until the end of the war.


Flight Lieutenant John Frederick Wickins DFC
Flight Lieutenant John Frederick Wickins DFC

Nos44, 106 and 241 Squadrons. RAFVR 1939. Trained as AG 26/8/40. Qualified 26/9/40. Rank-Sgt. Posted to 241 Squadron Army Co - op Nov. 1940. Apr 1941 - 241 Sqd -Joined the Fifth Army Division at Bury St Edmunds - Lysanders were thcaircraft. Oct 1941 Commissioned and posted to Scampton -Waddington 44 squadron. No Ops but one flightvdth S/L/ NettletonV.C. W/C LeroydV.C. was Flight Commander. April 1942 posted to Coningsby 106 Squadron and joined W/C Gibson's crew as Rear Gunner and started my Ops tour. Started in Manchesters then Lancasters completed 24 ops trips with W/C (Gibson) which was more than anyone else. Then went on my pilots course. Aircraft flown: Tiger Moth - Solo in Shrs. 10mins. Canada Curnell - Solo. Anson 11 - Solo. 25 Aug 1944. Passed above average and got wings, UK 1945 - Oxford. UK 1945 Nov - then posted to Farnborough Experimental & Research Dept re Gurinery. Operational record, date. target, pilot, comment. 22/4/42, Baltic, W/C Gibson, Mine Laying. 23/4/42, Rustock, S/LNelms, Mine Laying. 23/4/42, Rustock, W/C Gibson, Mine Laying. 8/5/42, WarDemunde, W/C Gibson. 30/5/42, Cologne, S/L Wooldridge, first 1000 +raid. 1/6/42, Essen, S/L Wooldridge, 1000 +raid. 2516/42, Bremen, 1000 + raid. 29/6/42, Bremen, S/LWooldridge, 1000 + raid. 8/7/42, Wilemishaven, W/C Gibson. 1117/42, Danzig, W/C Gibson, Daylight 10.15 hrs. 18/7/42, Essen, W/CGibson, Recalled. 26/7/42, Hamburg, W/C Gibson. 29/7/42, Dusseldorf, W1C Gibson. 27/8/42, Gdynia, W/C Gibson, Graf Zeppelin - Sub Docks 9.50 hrs. 1/9/42, Saarbucken, WIC Gibson, First 8000 Ibs bombs on Germany. 13/9/42, Bremen, WICGIbson. 1919/42, Munich. P/O1Butterworth. 23/9142, Wismar, W/CGibson, DorrilerWorks. 5110/42, Aachen, P/01,Vellington. 15/10/42, Cologne, WICGibson. 17/10/42, LeCreusot, W/CGibson, Daylight 94 A/C 10.25 hrs target Montchanin Power Station. 22/10/42, Genoa, W/C Gibson, Largest on Italy at that time 9.30 hrs 8000 Ibs bomb. 24/10/42, Milan, W/C Gibson, Daylight 10.25 hrs. 7/11142, Genoa, W/C Gibson. 18/11142, Turin, W/C Gibson, Flat works. 20/11/42, Turin, P/0 Cooper, Lost an engine. 28/11/42, Turin, W/C Gibson, 8000 Ibs first ever Italy. 11/11/42, Essen, W/C Gibson. 18/1/43, Berlin, W/C Gibson, lst 8000 Ibs bomb Berlin took Major Dimbelby (BBC News). 14/2/43, Milan, W/C Gibson. 25/2/43, Nurenberg, W/C Gibson, 8000 Ibs bomb. 26/2/43, W/C Gibson. 28/2/43, St.Nazarle, F/Lt Shannon (Dam Buster)


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.

Warrant Officer Tony Winser

13 / 11 / 2011Died : 13 / 11 / 2011
Warrant Officer Tony Winser

Called up one day after his 18th birthday to join the Royal Air Force on 16th July 1943. After basic training as an Air Gunner he served on operations in September 1944. Tony Winser served as a Rear Turret Air Gunner in Lancasters with 12 and 626 Squadrons, completing 31 Ops and was the second highest scoring Bomber Command Ace of the war shooting down 7 enemy aircraft. Sadly, we have learned that Tony Winser passed away on 13th November 2011.

Flight Lieutenant Andrew Wiseman
Flight Lieutenant Andrew Wiseman

Served as an Observer/ Bomb Aimer on Lancasters with 466 RAAF Sqn and was shot down in April 1944 whilst carrying out his 11th Operation. He was sent to Stalag Luft III, entering the camp just after the ‘Great Escape’ attempt’

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.


Flight Lieutenant Dennis Woolley DFC DFM
Flight Lieutenant Dennis Woolley DFC DFM

Flight Lieutenant Dennis William, Woolley. DFC, DFM. 106 (5 Group) and 83 (S-PFF- Group) Squadrons. 1940 - Volunteered for air crew service. 1941 - Trained as an Air Observer in Manitoba. 1942 - Did 1st tour, on Manchesters (6 trips) and on Lancasters (27 trips). Awarded DFM. 1942 - 3 - Instructor at Winthorpe, Notts. 1943 - Engaged in special operations relating to the advancement of the Italian campaign. Based latterly in Sicily. 1944 - Did 2nd tour in Bomber Command in 83 (PFF) Squadron. 25 trips in Lancasters. Awarded DFC and Pathfinder Badge. 1944 - 5 - Joined Transport Command, Transatlantic Ferry Unit based at Darval, Montreal. 1945 - 6 - Seconded to what is now known as British Airways. Based at Poole, navigating Sunderland flying boats to and from Singapore. 1946 - Demobilised.

Squadron Leader Harry Wright DFC*
Squadron Leader Harry Wright DFC*

Harry Wright joined the RAF in February 1940, training as a navigator. In August 1943 he was posted to join 35 Squadron at RAF Graveley, part of 8 (Pathfinder) Group. Converting to Lancasters in March 1944, Harry became Pathfinder Navigation Leader with 35 Squadron. He flew the last of his 57 operations, to Heligoland, in the final few hours of the war, May 1945.


Wing Commander Jim Wright DFC
Wing Commander Jim Wright DFC

Upon completing his training in 1943 Jim Wright joined 61 Sqn at Syerston as a Navigator on Lancasters and served in the crew of Flight Lieutenant Ken Ames DFC and Bar. After completing 5 operations with 61 Sqn, F/L Ames and crew were posted to East Kirkby to join the newly formed 630 Squadron. After a brief spell in hospital, after a trip to Kassel on the 22 October 1943 and after completing 22 operations with 630 Squadron, Jim Wright joined 97 (Pathfinder) Squadron at Coningsby for the commencement of their 2nd tour. Jim and the crew completed 16 operations with 97 squadron with their last operation was on the 19th of September 1944. In January 1944 they completed trips to Stettin, Brunswick, Magdeburg and 4 to Berlin. Their next trip to Berlin was on 15th February 1944 followed by operations to Leipzig, Stuttgart and Augsburg. In March they went to Stuttgart, Charmand-Ferront, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Nuremburg. In April to Toulouse, Pillau Canal (Konigsberg), Tours and Juvisy. In May, to finish their first tour, they went to Bourg. Following completion of operational duties with 97 Squadron Jim Wright was seconded to BOAC and served as an Operations Officer at Hurn and Heathrow in1945 until being demobed in October 1946. Then Jim worked for BOAC 1946 until December 1950 as an Air Traffic Control Officer (ATCO) in British West Africa (Yundum & Half Die, Gambia) and as a Flight Operations Officer at Prestwick and Heathrow before rejoining the RAF 1951 for ATCO duties until he retired in 1976.

About our Signatures on Artwork

 

AVIATION PRINTS

Click above to see all of our half price aviation prints - Eight random items are displayed to the right.

Some Current Half Price Offers

 High above the trenches in April 1918, 74 Squadron engage the famed JG 1 led by the renowned ace baron von Richthofen in his distinctive bright red DR 1. Edward Mick mannock flying a SE5.a diving down top engage another Fokker Dr1 as the red baron flies past momentarily catching each others eyes. The new CO of 74 squadron, major Grid Caldwell MC (bar) New Zealands top ace can be seen above entering the dog fight. But it would be Mannock who would go on to great fame. with 61 confirmed victories and to win the VC, DSO (bar) and MC (bar) After 74 squadron he replaced Billy Bishop of CO 85 Squadron on the 3rd July 1918, scoring 46 victories in the Se5.a He was killed by ground fire near Lestram, France on the 26th July 1918. his Victoria Cross being gazetted on the 18th July 1919. The red baron CO of the Richthofens Flying circus didnt survive the month, also killed by ground fire on the 24th April, he was buried by the Allies with full military honours.

Dawn Dog Fight, Mick Mannock VC by Graeme Lothian.
Half Price! - £50.00
Depicting Mustang aircraft escorting Flying Fortresses on a bombing raid over Germany.

Guardian Angel by Anthony Saunders.
Half Price! - £25.00
 Designed by the great Ernst Heinkel, the diminutive D.1 was an essential stop-gap that provided the Austro-Hungarian pilots with a front line fighter until they were able to re-equip with Albatros scouts in the Summer of 1917. This little aircraft performed well and was generally held in high regard by its pilots, although it did have some shortcomings, namely that forward vision was extremely limited and the Schwarzloses gun was completely concealed in the overwing pod that made it inaccessible in the air. Most unusual of all was its interplane strut arrangement, designed to reduce drag, which gave it the nicknames Starstrutter or Spider. These examples are shown passing above the German cruiser Derfflinger. 

Brandenburg D.1 by Ivan Berryman. (GL)
Half Price! - £350.00


A Tribute to Sir Thomas Sopwith by Roderick Lovejoy.
Half Price! - £70.00

 An Avro Anson comes under attack from an Me109.

Avro Anson by Ivan Berryman.
Half Price! - £40.00
  Eight minutes after the gliders had touched down at LZ-Z the first of the paratroops started to arrive at 1353.  Thirty six C47s over DZ-X dropped the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment at 1403.  On the ground are the discarded chutes of the 2nd Battalion dropped ten minutes earlier.  In the middle distance can be seen the blue smoke used to identify DZ-X, left by the 21st Independent Para Company.  Dropped by the 14 and 59 Sqn/ 61 Troop Carrier Group which had taken off from Barkston Heath, Lincolnshire, the 2nd and 3rd Para Battalions, which dropped slightly earlier had enplaned at Saltby airfield.  Between 1353 and 1408 2276 paratroops jumped at an altitude of between 700 to 900ft..

Arnhem - September 17th 1944 by Graeme Lothian (P)
Half Price! - £1800.00
After take off a Sunderland of Coastal Command flies low over its base at Rosneath on the Gareloch, as Royal Navy battleships lay at anchor around the naval base of Faslane, near Helensburgh, Scotland during 1945.

Sunderland Over the Gareloch by Geoff Lea.
Half Price! - £50.00
B129.  Concorde over Manhattan by Ivan Berryman.

Concorde over Manhattan by Ivan Berryman.
Half Price! - £15.00

NAVAL PRINTS

Click above to see all of our half price naval prints - Eight random items are displayed to the right.

Some Current Half Price Offers

H.M.A.S Hobart glides past Mount Fiji for the surrender ceremony with Missouri in the Background. Tokyo Bay 1945.

Slow Ahead by Randall Wilson.
Half Price! - £35.00
 The Type VII U-Boat became the standard design for German submarine warfare during the Second World War, sometimes hunting in packs, but more often alone. This Type VIIC has just claimed another victim, surfacing under the cover of night to observe the fiery demise of another victim.

Lone Wolf by Ivan Berryman.
Half Price! - £25.00
B63AP.  HMS Malaya at Capetown by Ivan Berryman.

HMS Malaya at Capetown by Ivan Berryman (AP)
Half Price! - £25.00
 Forming part of the Eastern Task Force covering the landings at Normandy in June 1944, the cruiser HMS Mauritius is shown in company with the monitor HMS Roberts and the cruiser HMS Frobisher shelling German batteries at Merville, Houlgate and Benerville as the combined British and American forces embark upon what would become known forever as D-Day.

Operation Neptune by Ivan Berryman.
Half Price! - £15.00

 Royal Fleet Auxiliary Olna prepares to receive HMS Active (F171) during the Falklands campaign of 1982.  HMS Coventry (D118) is in the background
RFA Olna by Ivan Berryman (P)
Half Price! - £625.00
 To increase the strength of the US fleet in the Pacific during the critical early months of the war, USS Indiana went through the Panama Canal. On the 28th of November 1942 USS Indiana joined Rear Admiral Lee's aircraft carrier screening force. For the next 11 months, USS Indiana helped protect USS Enterprise and USS Saratoga, which had been supporting the US invasion on the Solomon Islands. On the 21st of October 1943 USS Indiana went to Pearl Harbor, but after only a couple of weeks left to support forces designated for the invasion of the Gilbert Islands. The battleship protected the carriers which supported the Marines during the bloody fight for Tarawa atoll. Then, in late January 1944, she bombarded Kwajalein for eight days prior to the Marshall Island landings on 1st February 1944. USS Indiana collided with the battleship USS Washington while refuelling destroyers, killing several men. Temporary repairs to her starboard side were made at Majuro and USS Indiana returned to Pearl Harbor on 13th February 1944 for additional repair work. The painting shows USS Indiana with one of the two carriers she protected.

USS Indiana, First Tour of Duty by Anthony Saunders. (Y)
Half Price! - £230.00
Originally constructed as a Home Fleet Repair Ship, HMS Cyclops was later converted into a submarine depot ship and enjoyed a long career, both in the Mediterranean and in home waters.  Here she prepares to receive HMS Sceptre.  Another S-class submarine is already tethered alongside.

HMS Cyclops Prepares to Receive HMS Sceptre by Ivan Berryman (P)
Half Price! - £500.00
DHM1449GS.  Tirpitz Passing Through Kiel Canal by Ivan Berryman.

Tirpitz Passing Through Kiel Canal by Ivan Berryman (GS)
Half Price! - £250.00

WORLD WAR TWO MILITARY PRINTS

Click above to see all of our half price world war two military - Eight random items are displayed to the right.

Some Current Half Price Offers

 Below the vast bulk of the Zoo Bunker one of three giant Flak towers designed to defend Berlin from air attack, some remnants of the citys defenders gather in an attempt to break out of the doomed capital. Amongst which are troops from the 9th Fallschirmjäger and Münchberg Panzer Divisions, including a rare nightfighting equipped Panther G of Oberleutnant Rasims Company, 1/29th Panzer Regiment.

Panther at the Zoo, Tiergarten, berlin, 2nd May 1945 by David Pentland.
Half Price! - £100.00
CC017. Original art for the poster of the film The Big Red One starring Lee Marvin by Chris Collingwood.

Original art for the poster of the film The Big Red One starring Lee Marvin by Chris Collingwood.
Half Price! - £2000.00
 Kursk, Russia, July, 1943. T-70 light tanks of 2nd Tank Army on a reconnaissance patrol near Ponyri-Goreloje.

Looking for Trouble by David Pentland. (P)
Half Price! - £700.00
 Panzer IIs and IIIs of the African Korps, 15th Panzer Division drive towards Arcoma during the epic battles for the Gazala line.

Battle for Gazala by David Pentland. (GL)
Half Price! - £300.00

 1st Battalion in action at Escaut Canal, Belgium, May 1940. The last Highland Regiment to wear a kilt in battle, attacking the Germans at the River Escaut.  From the Diary of Captain R. Leah, 1st Battalion, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders : Tuesday 21st May : Bn left Ere about 2 a.m. to march back. Fortunately Coy Cmdr. were required for some sort of recce and we went in C.O.s car.  Arrived Taintignies 3 a.m. and self went out again with Wilkie in C.O.s car to look for for C Coy which had gone astray, and to see Q.M. about Bn rations in Wez-Velvain.  Could not find either.  Met the Battalion arriving from Ere when I left the village at 3 a.m.  Got back myself at 4 a.m. found empty house which I entered by window and slept well for 5 hours. Officers mess going in house beside M.T. park, and had good breakfast.  Fairly quiet morning and orders to move this afternoon to Bn assembly position S of Wez-Velvain.  Thence we were directed to Merlin and prepared for counter-attack to drive enemy off Western side of Escaut.

The Queens Own Cameron Highlanders by David Rowlands (C)
Half Price! - £20.00
 Sturmgeschutz IIIF of Stug Battalion Grossdeutschland, and supporting infantry from GD Regiment 1 battle against Soviet forces defending the strategically important city of Voronezh on the Don. Combined arms operations such as this proved the value of the assault gun, which took a terrible toll on enemy armour and men alike.

Assault on Voronezh, Russia, 2nd - 7th July 1942 by David Pentland. (F)
Half Price! - £120.00
 Churchill MkIV tank of the 6th Guards Tank Brigade (comprised of 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards, 4th Battalion Coldstream Guards and 3rd Battalion Scots Guards), pass infantry of the 2nd Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders during the Battle for Caumont.

Operation Bluecoat, Normandy, 30th July 1944 by David Pentland. (GL)
Half Price! - £300.00
 Hill 112, Normandy, 28th June 1944.  Infantry of the 11th Armoured Division digging in during the battle for the strategically important Hill 112.  The division comprised of the 8th Motor Battalion Rifle Brigade, 4th King's Shropshire Light Infantry, 3rd Monmouthshires,1st Herefords, 3rd Royal Tank Regiment, 2nd Fife & Forfarshire, Yeomanry and 23rd Hussars.

Digging In by David Pentland. (P)
Half Price! - £700.00

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