Townsend Crew, Wendell Pierce Drew

The Townsend crew have appeared before on this website. Except for the flight engineer, DEREK CARROTT, they were all Canadians and one of them, WING COMMANDER GRAY, was a thirty-six-year-old of comparatively senior rank flying as a gunner. The crew, who were never found, are remembered at Runnymede with the sole exception of Colin John Read More

Remembering Our Queen, 1926-2022

The very sad news that Queen Elizabeth has died brings to mind the several photographs of her, linked to the Pathfinders, which we have in the Archive. Although it is slightly out of focus, our favourite has always been this one taken during the ceremonial Royal visit to RAF Oakington, home of 7 Squadron and Read More

80th Anniversary: One Last Gem

William Anderson was one of the handful of Staff Officers at PFF HQ who was in at the very beginning. Anderson was an outstanding navigator, and there is much more come about him; however, in this month which celebrates the 80th Anniversary of the formation of the Pathfinders, we simply could not resist this absolutely Read More

80th Anniversary of the PFF: Today

To all our friends, supporters, and generous donors over the years – We celebrate the formation of the Path Finder Force on 15 August 1942 and remember with great gratitude what they did for us. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY. Read More

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 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

The Queen & RAF Remembrance

The Queen’s long association with the Royal Air Force began during the Second World War. Our second post celebrating her 70th Jubilee concerns Runnymede in 1953. The Runnymede Memorial commemorates all members of the Air Forces of Britain, the Dominions and the colonies who were lost without trace during the Second World War. Read More

Princess Elizabeth and the Navigator

As one of our two contributions to the Jubilee celebrations, here is a picture of the Queen when she was still Princess Elizabeth. The RAF navigator who is fourth from her left is Flying Officer Ramesh Chandra Datta, of the Palmer crew, 97 Squadron. There is no further information for this photograph but it would Read More

Crisis in Ukraine

The recent terrible events in the Ukraine have raised deeply disturbing echoes of the Second World War. Our Archive works to commemorate the RAF Pathfinders who died or were injured, physically or psychologically, in that bloody conflict. Their sacrifices, and those of millions upon millions of other people, both military and civilian, eventually brought victory Read More

HAPPY XMAS and Best Wishes for 2022

Menu card for the Sergeants’ Mess at RAF Station Graveley, on Christmas Day 1944, when Victory was just beginning to look certain. With our our very best wishes to all our readers and supporters THE RAF PATHFINDERS ARCHIVE team From the family archive of Bill ‘Worcester’ Phillips, Bryant crew, 35 Squadron, courtesy of Lisa Phillips. 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

Remembrance Day, 2021

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. ONE OF THE MANY PATHFINDER CREWS LOST After three and a half months of ops at the worst time of the bombing war – the Battle of Berlin – 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

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