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 15 July.

We are therefore beginning with Bennett, whose character was inextricably woven throughout the PFF. Without him, it would have been a very different Force.

Our first feature is on Bennett and the Tirpitz. In April 1942, he was shot down attacking the feared German battleship in a Norwegian fjord, and escaped through Occupied Norway to neutral Sweden. He was back in the UK in late May; less than seven weeks later, he became the leader of the Pathfinders.