Month: July 2022

80th Anniversary: Early Months of the Path Finder Force

A cautious approach was taken towards the creation of the Path Finder Force in summer 1942, reflecting the controversy about whether it was required at all and whether it would manage to live up to its supporters’ expectations. It was given ‘lodgings’ with 3 Group, and a hotch-potch of squadrons with different aircraft. Read the Full Read More

80th Anniversary: Harris’s Attitude to the PFF

Sir Arthur Harris, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Bomber Command, had been strongly opposed to the setting up of a separate elite target-marking force, believing this would leave to rivalry and jealousy within the non-Pathfinder squadrons (known as Main Force) who would inevitably resent having their best crews taken away from them. He never quite got Read More

80th Anniversary: Bennett chosen to lead the PFF

Donald Bennett was Harris’s personal choice for the command of the Path Finder Force; he took up his post on 15 July 1942, one month before the PFF officially came into existence. Bennett , right, with one of his top officers, John Searby, 1944 At 32 years of age, Bennett was considerably younger than his Read More

80th Anniversary: Harris Opposition to PFF

As part of our 80th Anniversary celebrations, a reminder of just how controversial the creation of the Pathfinders was. When the formation of the Path Finder Force was first being discussed in the first half of 1942, the name used in RAF memoranda and papers was the ‘Target Finding Force’. Harris’s correspondence with Charles Portal, Read More

Bennett and the Tirpitz

In April 1942, Donald Bennett was shot down attacking the feared German battleship, the Tirpitz, which was holed up in a Norwegian fjord. After many trials and with the assistance of the Norwegian people, he escaped from Occupied Norway to neutral Sweden. He was back in the UK in late May. Less than seven weeks Read More

80th Anniversary of the Pathfinders

The 80th Anniversary of the formation of the Path Finder Force is fast approaching, and to celebrate we are running a series of features about the Force, its leadership and its history. The PFF was officially formed on 15 August 1942, but its leader, Donald Bennett, took up his post exactly one month earlier, on Read More


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