635 Squadron & C Flight, 97 Squadron


97 Squadron’s C Flight, both aircrew and ground crew at the time of moving to 635 Squadron at Downham Market.

The following details appear in 97 Squadron’s ORB, 19-21 March 1944.

  • Movement Order is attached for the move of “C” Flight to form one flight in No 635 Squadron at Downham Market. This move reduces 97 Squadron to a two flight Squadron with aircraft on basis of 16.1.E and 41.R in accordance with Estab. LVE/BC/3364.  The Advance Party moved off on the 18th March and the Main Party moved off with equipment by road on 20th
  • 9 aircraft and crews also took off by air. The rear party consisting of 2 crews leave on the 21st.  14 aircraft were detailed for operations today but were cancelled soon after briefing.
  • The move of “C” Flight to No 635 Squadron has been completed today. 14 Lancasters have been detailed for operations for tonight and crews briefed.  The operation was cancelled in late afternoon.

Many of the names which are so familiar from their operations with 97 Squadron went to Downham Market with C Flight. Amongst these were the Riches and Mansbridge crews, who had survived Black Thursday but would lose their lives flying with 635 Squadron.

Other Black Thursday crews transferring to 635 Squadron were:

Billing crew

Henson crew (Henson was the only crew member who flew on Black Thursday – as second pilot)

Nicholls crew

Smith crew

Snell crew

Though one or two crew members might be lost flying with other crews, the bulk of all the above crews survived the war. The following crews also transferred:

Coutenay crew

Farrant crew       

Leader crew (killed in April 1944)

Lyon crew

Voyce crew

Wheble crew