Pathfinder Aircrew, their Friends, their Families, and the World they Knew
Author: RAF PATHFINDERS ARCHIVE
The Archive covers many aspects of life in RAF Bomber Command from 1942, the year in which the Path Finder Force (the PFF, later known as 8 Group) was formed. However, the Archive's specific focus is upon the Pathfinders as they were generally called. Historically, this Archive has always been centred around 97 Squadron, which belonged to the Pathfinders for one year. However, we are now looking to substantially increase the Archive to include all PFF squadrons, PFF HQ, and the wider Bomber Command and Home Front milieus. The aim of the Archive is to provide an in-depth illustration of what life - and death - were like for Pathfinder aircrew, their working comrades, their friends, and their families.
It seems that there may have been a mix-up about the exact date of Ken’s birthday. One source (family) said 21 January, another 13 January. We are checking but in the meantime please send your goodwill messages in as soon as possible and don’t leave them until the 15th which was the original cut-off date!
During the war, public opinion in Britain and the Dominions was firmly on the side of Bomber Command. However, there was also some determined criticism of Bomber Command’s campaigns, not least by George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, who argued the case against area bombing in the House of Lords. Wartime Oppostion to Bombing
Ken Newman (second from right) who flew with the Steven crew but who missed their fatal flight on 14 January 1944 due to a bad skin complaint, will be 100 years old on 21 January. If anyone would like to send a message to Ken, please send us an email via our usual email address (email@example.com) or a message via our FB site. He doesn’t do computers, so what is sent will be printed out for him.
Ken has always felt deeply grieved by the loss of the Steven crew and of Leslie Laver who took his place on that last night.
Please make sure that we receive any messages for Ken by 15 January at the latest.
The last post of 2020, which looks at a little known subject related to yesterday’s theme of Propaganda and Public Information: what RAF bombers dropped in addition to bombs. On the new website there are two new pages about this subject, see: RAF Bombers Deliver More than Bombs …
On our new site we have published a post on a public information poster from Berlin 1940, which was a forewarning of the later demonisation of the RAF bomber crews as terrorflieger, ‘the terror fliers’. This was used as justification for violence against them if they were shot down. See: Der Feind, The Fiend
The annual lighting of candles on the 167 graves at the War Cemetery at Den Burg, Texel, took place yesterday evening, Christmas Eve.This is a very simple but extremely moving and quietly spectacular ceremony, and for the last three years we have published photographs of it. See our new website: Den Burg, Texel, Xmas Eve
Happy Christmas to everyone who has supported us over the years, and may next year, 2021, see life restored to something like normality after the immense problems and sorrows caused by the Corona virus. To see the menu at RAF Station Graveley on December 1944, visit our new website: Christmas at Graveley Last Year of the War
The three Victoria Crosses awarded to Pathfinders were all gazetted in 1945, some time after the deaths of the recipients. The three men who performed extraordinary feats of heroism and self-sacrifice were Ian Willoughby Bazalgette, Robert Anthony Maurice Palmer, and Edwin Swales.