Category: 83 Squadron

The Loss of the Rust Crew

The Pathfinders suffered heavy losses during the fourth week of June 1943. Amongst the crews who lost their lives were the crew of Maurice Edgar Rust. The crew were on a bombing operation against Mulheim on the night of 22/23 June; they crashed in the target area and all were killed. Amongst the dead was Read More

Remembrance: Black Thursday

This detail from a photograph shows part of the funeral procession for 405 Squadron members, mostly Canadians, who were buried on 22 December 1943 at Cambridge City Cemetery. At the rear are Bill Bessent (nearest the camera) whose twin brother Bob was amongst those killed, and the one surviving uninjured crewmember from Bob’s crew, Les 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

Robert Murray Buchan, Navigation Staff Officer

In the earliest days of the Pathfinders, the PFF had a Staff Officer contingent of only five, of whom William Anderson was one. Another was Robert Murray Buchan, the Navigation Staff Officer. Sadly, Buchan went missing on 25 August with an 83 Squadron crew, a mere ten days after the PFF was formed. The crew was that Read More

RNZAF Boys on Ship to Canada

An unusual photograph of trainee aircrew leaving their homeland: RNZAF Boys on Ship to Canada Read More

Searby & the End of a Kiwi Gunner’s Tour

John Searby (left, with Bennett in 1944, IWM: CH 20628) was one of the best known and most revered of the Pathfinder squadron and station commanders. According to the dates in Bennett’s book Pathfinder, he was: CO of 83 Squadron from 9 May 1943 until 2 November 1943 Station Commander at Upwood from 20 November Read More

The RAF and the Channel Dash

On 11 February 1942, the prestigious German battleships the Scharnhorst, the Gneisenau and the Prinz Eugen broke out of the westerly French port of Brest and sailed east, up the English Channel, in a break for the security of the German-controlled waters beyond it. Amongst the RAF aircraft scrambled to attack the ships on 12 February Read More


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