Jack Skingley & the Edwards crew

The Edwards crew went missing on the Courtrai operation of 20/21 July 1944. No trace of them was ever found, and they are commemorated on the Runnymede memorial. The bomb aimer on the crew was Jack Skingley. He was married with two children. His daughter, Jackie Maude, recently gave the manuscript of her father’s poem Read More

Feature for September 22

Bennett was strongly averse to publicity, unlike his great rival Cochrane in 5 Group who had his own PR specialists, one of several reasons why the Dambusters became so enduringly famous. The Feature Page for September picks up on Bennett’s dislike of publicity and 5 Group’s expertise in it. See also this page on how the Read More

PFF Squadrons in 5 Group

A question which comes up perennially about the Pathfinders is why some of them were flying with 5 Group as opposed to 8 Group (as the Pathfinders had become in early 1943) and why they continued to be awarded PFF badges and certificates. This page provides the answer: PFF Squadrons in 5 Group. 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: 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

Geoff Baker, RAAF, 97 Squadron.

A further addition to the library today … A personal account by Stan Hurd of a friend, Geoff Baker, “an ordinary person who went to war that changed his life. It tells the story of his experiences flying a Lancaster bomber for Bomber Command during WWll.” Baker was flying with 97 Squadron at the time Read More

Criticism of Bombing, Wartime

During the war, public opinion in Britain and the Dominions was firmly on the side of Bomber Command. However, there was also some determined criticism of Bomber Command’s campaigns, not least by George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, who argued the case against area bombing in the House of Lords. (Note: George Bell’s reputation has become Read More

Harris, Bennett & Flying Boats

At the beginning of the 1930s, long before he was the chief of Bomber Command, Harris served as Commanding Officer of 210 Squadron, based at Pembroke Dock in Wales, which flew flying boats. Bennett, who had arrived at Pembroke Dock shortly before Harris, was to be one of Harris’s Flight Commanders on the squadron. Read Read More

Medicine in Bomber Command

A Medical Officer’s office in a Nissen hut, note the very cramped space and the stethoscope on the papers on the desk. The wartime RAF had very extensive medical services. Most were located in the hospitals and rehabilitation centres, and in the research establishments which investigated all aspects of aviation medicine, including psychology. A quick Read More

PR & Bomber Command

During the war, the exploits of Bomber Command were celebrated in all the mass media, including newspapers, newsreel, and radio. Two of the most notable operations were the Augsburg raid of April 1942 (in which Ernest Deverill flew), and the Dams Raid of May 1943, led by Guy Gibson. Some of the survivors of the Read More

Bomber Harris – Interview 1943

In 1943, E Colston Shepherd, the editor of The Aeroplane, interviewed Harris both at his office and at home, the latter being Springfields at Great Kingshill, close to High Wycombe’s Bomber Command HQ. In the subsequent article in the Picture Post, Colston Shepherd described Harris as: A caption to the photograph, above, of Harris with Read More

Bomber Harris and the London Blitz

Here is a priceless story told by Harris about the London Blitz in 1940. The sentry whom he describes surely has a direct lineage from Shakespeare’s clowns. During the Blitz, Harris used to go up on the roof of the Air Ministry to watch the sight of London burning. On what was probably the night Read More


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