Category: THE RAF

Wing Commander Gray, RCAF

We had an email recently, from Richard Curtis in Kitchener, Ontario, asking why Wing Commander Charles Gray was on the last flight of the Townsend crew, 405 Squadron. For details of the deaths of this crew on 29 July 1944, see our page: REMEMBERING DEREK. Only one body was ever found, that of Colin John 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

80th Anniversary – Lane Crew

80 years ago, on the operation against Krefeld of 20/21 June 1943, 35 Squadron had a disastrous night, losing four crews in mainland Europe and one at sea. A sixth crew, that of Sergeant Milne, ditched 30 miles off Cromer on the Norfolk coast, and all were incredibly fortunate to survive. The Lane crew were 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

Navigational Equipment: Captain Field’s Improved Parallel

Dudley Archer was an outstanding navigator who flew two tours with the Pathfinders (see his impressive decorations in THE PATHFINDER EAGLE). He was on the 582 Squadron crew of Ted Swales on the operation in which Ted Swales won a posthumous VC; the rest of the crew, including Archer, survived. The date was 23 February Read More


Up until at least the end of 1943, carrier pigeons were carried on all operational bomber aircraft (and also on Coastal Command long-range sorties) as a back-up system in addition to a wireless SOS when an aircraft was either abandoned in flight or had to be ditched. Every Bomber Station had an NCO ‘pigeon keeper’ who came Read More

Remembrance Sunday

Photograph, possibly taken in November 1942, of a Remembrance ceremony at St. Bartholomew’s Church, Great Gransden, Cambridgeshire. The lych gate in the picture is still there today. The central figure is the exiled King Peter of Yugoslavia, in RAF uniform, with his mother Queen Marie standing beside him. The Yugoslavian Royal Family lived in Great Read More

The Danish Shoulder Flash

The Library on this website has a new article, by Mikkel Planthinn, about the Danish Shoulder Flash, worn on the RAF uniform to indicate that the wearer was from the Allied country of Denmark. Denmark was invaded by German troops on 9 April 1940 and would remain occupied until liberation on 4 May 1945, only Read More

Lancaster Gunners “Hotting Up”

This month’s feature centres on an article in The Illustrated London News on 18 December 1943. A fabulous charcoal double-page drawing accompanies the piece. The scene is a Nissen hut where the gunners are undergoing their last preparations before the take-off. Some are already fully dressed, wearing their parachute harnesses and flying helmets, and carrying their parachute 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

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

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

1 2 3 4

Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox: