Tales From the Archive – No. 1

A little later than intended, the first TALES FROM THE ARCHIVE is published this afternoon. It contains more information about Norman Edmondson, mentioned in the last post, together with details of two interesting oddities in the Archive. There are also details of 97 Squadron at Coningsby when it had been loaned to 5 Group.

Tales from the Archive – 1. November 2017



Norman Thomson Edmondson, 156 Sqd

Lost on 30/31 March 1944 on the infamous Nuremburg raid. This was one of four 156 Squadron aircraft, flying from Upwood, which were shot down that night. The aircraft was brought down by a night fighter and crashed at Oberirsen, in Western Germany, east of Bonn. By some miracle, the pilot Lindley survived to become a prisoner of war.

Capt: L Lindley
F/E: Ronald Thomas Harper, aged 21
Nav: John Waite Henry, aged 28
BA: Bankole Beresford Vivour, aged 24
W/Op: John Esprey Bates, aged 22
M/U: Norman Thomson Edmondson, RCAF, aged 20
R/G: Dennis Bertram Bloomfield (no age on CWGC)

Norman Edmonson’s nephew, Gordon, recently sent us some photographs of a small notebook that Norman used to carry with him, which was kept in its own little leather zip-up folder stamped with an Air Force crest.

According to Chorley, Vivour was a Nigerian, an unusual nationality for Bomber Command.


Acquisition of Deverill Collection

The purchase of the DEVERILL collection was finally completed last week. This is the first major acquisition of the RAF Pathfinders Archive.

It was very important to buy the collection not only because of Deverill’s iconic status in Bomber Command, 97 Squadron, and the Pathfinders, but also because it would be a huge loss to history if this collection was broken up, as often happens nowadays.

Deverill’s Air Force Cross, DFM, and double DFC, together with other important items, in particular his two logbooks which cover his service from 1938 to December 1943, are now at the Pathfinder Collection at RAF Wyton. As Wyton is still a military base, the Deverill collection benefits from the very high level of security there. The phrase ‘guarded by men with guns and dogs’ pretty much sums up the situation.

The Deverill medals and logbooks will be on display at RAF Wyton by the 74th anniversary of the loss of Deverill and six of his crew, which occurred on BLACK THURSDAY, 16/17 December 1943.

Two Requests for Information

We have two unusual requests for information to post this morning.

One concerns Jurik Herman, a Polish airman who flew as a Navigator in a Mosquito squadron.

The other concerns an unknown airman whom we hope someone can identify, his wartime photograph was kept by the young woman in the photograph above. SEE FULL DETAILS



Master List of Aircrew

There are some 500 aircrew on whom we hold information. The Master List appears for the first time today, Remembrance Sunday 2017, on the Catalogue page. This is the beginning of the projected database and it is very much a work in progress. It is anticipated that the next update to the Catalogue will be in a month’s time, before Black Thursday.

Crew Pages on the Website – Change of Policy

It has now been decided that due to the ever-increasing volume of data, we are going to have to adopt a new policy for the website and change the old established policy of having a separate crew page for each crew.

What we will be doing in future is:

  • Make a detailed announcement every time we acquire new material about a member of aircrew
  • Add the name or names to the Master List of aircrew on whom we hold data – this is the beginning of the projected database
  • Publish an updated version of the Master List on the website – it is planned that the first version of this List will appear before 11 November, Remembrance Day
  • Have a feature each month for a particular crew or a particular incident or topic

The only ‘old style’ crew pages currently online are those related to Black Thursday. It is anticipated that these will remain on the site permanently in order to link them in to the display at RAF Wyton.

More details about the Master List will appear when it is published. It will, of course, be fully searchable, and we will be delighted to answer research requests concerning the names which are on it.





Changing the Website

The website is currently being updated to a more modern and easy-to-follow format. Please excuse any oddities you may come across – everything will be ironed out as soon as possible.