Remembrance Day 2022

Remembering all the Pathfinders lost in the war, and those who survived but suffered from terrible memories in after-years, and all their friends and families. Image above: Remembrance scroll, sadly issued in many thousands, this one for James Kirkwood, 97 Squadron, who died with all his crew on 17 December 1943 in a crash caused Read More

Remembrance: 16/17 December 1943, Black Thursday

On Thursday and Friday this week we remember the 50 Pathfinder aircrew who were killed in crashes in England on Thursday and Friday 78 years ago. The crews had just returned safely from that night’s operation to Berlin when a series of fatal accidents occurred due to dense fog, difficulties in landing and petrol shortage. Read More

Remembrance Sunday: Lewis Austin

The total wartime losses for the Path Finder Force were given by their commander, Donald Bennett, as being 3,618 men.[1] It was a large figure for a small Force which only came into existence in the fourth year of the war. Today we feature just one of those lost Pathfinders, Flying Officer Lewis Walter Castle Austin, Read More

Remembering Derek

Sometimes it is the smallest items which tell the most. A few old newspaper cuttings, preserved for many years, reveal how greatly Derek Charles Carrott, of the Townsend crew of 405 Squadron, was missed by his family. He was the flight engineer and the only British member of the crew, all of the rest of Read More

The Moore Crew

The Moore crew were all killed when their aircraft crashed at Gelsenkirchen in June 1943. James Parker McMillin was 97 Squadron’s Navigation Officer, and he had only stepped into the navigator role when the usual crewmember could not fly. Like so many other of these specialist officers, who had already completed their tours but still Read More

“A Chance Encounter” – The Loss of the Moore Crew

Last summer, when lockdown was in progress in many parts of Europe, Dr Olav Heinemann of the University of Duisburg-Essen came across a stone commemorating an RAF crew in his local churchyard at Gelsenkirchen. His curiosity thoroughly aroused, he researched the story behind the stone and his article “A Chance Encounter” is printed in full Read More

Pathfinder Aircrew

This book has been 14 years in the making; it contains many personal stories, letters and photographs from the Archive, and has been written by our Chairperson, Jennie Mack Gray. It is on sale in our new Shop from which all profits go to the RAF Pathfinders Archive. We are offering FREE SHIPPING for a Read More

Den Burg, Texel, Xmas Eve

The annual lighting of candles on the 167 graves at the War Cemetery at Den Burg, Texel, took place yesterday evening, Christmas Eve. This is a very simple but extremely moving and quietly spectacular ceremony, and for the last three years we have published photographs of it. Extremely powerful guns were located on Texel during Read More

16/17 December 1943: RAF Wyton Display

For more details of the display at RAF Wyton Heritage Centre, see this page. Read More

16/17 December 1943: Remembering the Thackway Crew

The Archive has its roots in a tragedy which occurred on 16/17 December 1943, afterwards known as Black Thursday. At that time, the crew of Ted Thackway were serving with 97 Squadron, which was stationed at Bourn in Cambridgeshire. The crew’s first operation was to Berlin on 16 December. Returning safely to England, they crashed in Read More

The Night of the Fog: 16/17 December 1943:

The disastrous night of 16/17 December 1943 came just one month into the Battle of Berlin,  Bomber Command’s all-out attempt to win the war by attacking the German capital and other key cities. But it was not the Germans who were responsible for the heavy losses that night, but the RAF’s eternal enemy, the weather. Read the Read More

Pathfinder War Losses

Above: Temporary grave marker for the Coates crew, killed 25 March 1944, RPA/H97/Coates The total Pathfinder losses, incurred from August 1942 to May 1945, were given by Donald Bennett, their Air Officer Commanding (AOC), as being 3,618 men. As the AOC of the Pathfinders, Bennett was in the best position to know the sacrifices which Read More


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