Category: 97 Squadron

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

The Loss of the Armstrong Crew

80TH ANNVERSARY. On 23 June 1943, a Lancaster of 97 Squadron crashed on the Dutch city of Utrecht. The Lancaster broke up while on fire in the air, and five Dutch civilians were killed when huge chunks of flaming debris fell on their houses and set them alight. Five of the crew died, but two Read More

New Year’s Eve, Stalag IVb, 1944/45

Following on from our recent feature on Christmas 1944 in a POW Camp, here is the Archive’s farewell to 2022 and welcome to 2023, with another item from Albert East’s time in Stalag IVb: New Year’s Eve, Stalag IVb, 1944/45. From the Archive’s collection of Albert East’s papers and memorabilia, kindly donated by his son Read More

Remembrance on Texel, Xmas Eve

Jan Nieuwenhuis sent the following message late yesterday: “Today late this afternoon, we again placed candle lights in front of all the war graves at the Texel War Cemetery…” With grateful thanks to Jan Nieuwenhuis and all who have helped in this year’s remembrance. Jennie Mack Gray writes: I have always loved this simple but Read More

Season’s Greetings

See our new Feature Page: Christmas 1944 in a POW Camp To all our supporters and to everyone who has kindly donated information, documents, photographs and artefacts related to the Pathfinders this year, we wish you A Very Happy Christmas and New Year 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

The Pathfinder Badge, post-war

When checking through the pages of our old website, in search of images of Pathfinders wearing their PFF badges post-war, I found one of Charles Owen, an outstanding pilot and captain with 97 Squadron in the Pathfinders, 1943-1944. (Note: For an artistic representation of an RAF officer wearing his PFF badge in the 1960s, see Read More

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

Princess Elizabeth and Ralph Saunders

We have just received this wonderful photograph, taken in 1945, after Ralph Saunders’ return from prisoner of war camp. Ralph was shot down on the Leipzig operation of 20/21 October 1943 when flying with the Painter crew, 97 Squadron. Only two of the crew survived to become prisoners of war. Here we see Ralph, second 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

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

Hit by Incendiaries over the Target: the true story of Brock Robertson’s DFC

Brock Robertson won his Distinguished Flying Cross for an operation to Hamburg on 24/25 July 1943, just over a month before his death. What the official citation for the award deliberately omitted to say was that Brock’s aircraft had been badly damaged by incendiaries dropped by another aircraft when over the target. The true cause Read More

Brock Robertson & His Crew

Oliver Brock Robertson was an outstanding Canadian pilot who flew with 97 Squadron. He won the Distinguished Flying Cross in unusual circumstances in July 1943, just over a month before his death in action. There is an interesting family background, including his rescue by his adopted brother Donald and Teddy, the family dog, from goring Read More

Crash site of Kenneth Brown crew

Following on from the interesting and detailed German eyewitness reports of The Loss of the Robertson Crew, published at the end of January 2022, we have more German eyewitness reports of another 97 Squadron crew, lost in the same month as the Robertson crew. This was the Kenneth Brown crew who were flying on the Read More

The Loss of the Robertson Crew

We have just added some interesting and unusually detailed German eyewitness reports of the loss of the Robertson crew after the Nuremburg raid of 27/28 August 1943. Lancaster JA958K crashed at Bubenreuth, near Erlangen, around 16 miles (25.5 kilometres) north of Nuremburg. Five of the crew were killed immediately, including Oliver Brock Robertson, the Canadian Read More

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