109 Squadron, A Flight, October 1944 – Aircrew and Ground Crew

The ground crew on Bomber Command squadrons were the unsung heroes, working hard in all weathers.  It is good to see in this remarkable photograph of ‘A’ Flight of the Pathfinders’ 109 Squadron that the ground crew are standing alongside the men whom they kept in the air.

This is a much clearer version of a photograph that we already had. It comes from Roger Jackson, the son of Arthur Jackson who served as an airframe fitter. Arthur is in the top left of the photograph.

109 Squadron, October 1944, Arthur Jackson detail

Roger Jackson wrote of his father in April 2020:

He never really talked about his service other than a few old yarns about his time with his best mate Jimmy Funnell who is also in the picture at bottom centre. He came out of the RAF with just his demob suit which went into the wardrobe and was never worn again. I remember it as a child.

He was one of three brothers who each went into different services, one the Navy and the other the Army. My father enlisted in the Air Force with his friend but they ended up being posted to different squadrons. He always joked that the Air Force put everyone in the wrong job. My father had engineering skills while his friend was a chippy, he ended up as an airframe fitter, which [on a Mosquito] was all woodwork, while his friend became an engineer.

The only times he flew were on test flights when they needed a fitter on board. He never saw action but I remember him telling that he had been chased by a German fighter once. The Mosquito was unarmed but had the speed to outrun it.

It seems very likely that the CO is the much decorated older officer in the centre top row of the photograph, seen in the detail below on the far left. However, there is a slight mystery about the names which  needs to be sorted out. Also worth noting is the good luck symbol on the side of the Mosquito, together with a very impressive tally of ops flown.

109 Squadron, October 1944, Arthur Jackson, detail 2