97 Squadron – Commanding Officers

97 Squadron – Commanding Officers, Bourn to Coningsby

Noel Fresson

Group Captain Noel H FressonĀ 

Fresson was CO when 97 Squadron moved to Bourn from Woodhall Spa in March 1943.
He was posted to RAF Snaith on 15th December 1943.

Photograph by kind permission of his son, Anthony Fresson, and with thanks to David Layne.

Jim Carter small

Left: Wing Commander E J Carter

Carter assumed command of the Squadron on 7th January 1944. He would command the Squadron until his death on D-Day, 6 June 1944.

Photograph courtesy of James Steward, Carter’s nephew.

S/L Dunnicliffe, 97 Squadron CO on Black Thursday

Squadron Leader Dunnicliffe. Hind Archive.

S/L Dunnicliffe (above and at the bottom of the page with his crew in March 1944) was the acting Commanding Officer on the night of Black Thursday, 16-17 December 1943.

He had only taken over from Group Captain N H Fresson on 15th December when Fresson was posted to RAF Snaith. Dunnicliffe was well-liked and a very capable officer, but his was only a temporary caretaking appointment – Wing Commander E J Carter would succeed him as CO three weeks later, on 7th January 1944.

After Black Thursday, the terrible task befell Dunnicliffe of sending 28 letters to the bereaved families, and a further 8 letters to the families of the Brill crew who were missing (and later were confirmed as all killed over Berlin). It is his signature that appears on all the condolence letters.


Dunnicliffe Crew, March 1944
Dunnicliffe Crew, March 1944. Hind archive.