Surviving congratulatory telegrams about a medal award, sent by one’s old Commanding Officer, seem to be somewhat rare. George Granger’s family must have been enormously proud of the high honour which George had received when he was awarded the DFM because they carefully preserved the telegram, together with the invitation to the investiture and one of the tickets to Buckingham Palace.
Two years ago, the RAF Pathfinders Archive bought the Deverill Collection to ensure that it would not go into private hands and possibly end up being sold off in separate parts. Since the Archive acquired the Deverill Collection, it has been on loan to the Heritage Centre at RAF Wyton, where it can be seen by the public, by appointment.
The Deverill Collection’s future as part of RAF history, and in particular the history of the Pathfinders and Black Thursday, 16/17 December 1943, is now assured. However, the Archive still has to raise £4,280 – 10% of the purchase price – to settle the remaining balance of the interest-free loans taken out to finance the purchase. Clearing the balance will enable us to look to the future when we may be able to acquire other suitable Pathfinder items. These too will be loaned for display at RAF Wyton, and will enhance the wonderful collection already there.
We are launching an appeal to all our supporters to help us clear the outstanding balance of the Deverill Collection purchase. Please contribute what you can to help us settle the last debts for this outstanding pilot and ‘Knight of the Air’.
We are giving away a free pair of Black Thursday booklets to anyone who contributes £30 or more.
Above: the new Black Thursday display at RAF Wyton. See this page: The Deverill Collection at RAF Wyton
The Caterpillar Club, for aircrew whose lives had been saved by a silken Irvin parachute, is well-known. Less so is the Goldfish Club, for aircrew whose lives had been saved by an emergency dinghy. Few of the aircrew who ditched in the sea survived, but one of the lucky ones was Robert Butler, who won the badge on 28 February 1942 whilst in training. See: Robert Butler Wins a Goldfish
Although this whole site is intrinsically about the Air War, as part of the reorganisation of the website we have collected a number of topics on one page for easy reference. These include such subjects as Animals in the Air War, Lancaster Art, Superstitions, and Pilot Officer Prune. The Air War
Still on the subject of Mosquito crews, Alistair Wood’s logbook contains details of the training course he undertook at Warboys under the auspices of 1655 MTU, (Mosquito Training Unit). It was here that he teamed up with Flying Officer Hicklin, seen above with Alistair on the right.
We have published the second part of Alistair’s story tonight, which picks up from when he completed his first tour with Main Force and concludes with his Pathfinder tour on Mosquitoes, then VE Day, and the Cook’s Tour which he undertook with his pilot, Hicklin. Alistair Wood: Part 2, 105 Squadron, Pathfinders
Like many Pathfinder aircrew, Alistair Wood had flown on operations with Main Force before he joined the Pathfinders. His crew, piloted by Wilfred Elder, a New Zealander, had some particularly dramatic and dangerous times on their first tour. See the first of our two-part account of Alistair’s service in the RAF: Alistair Wood: Part One, 76 Squadron, Main Force
Alistair McKenzie Wood was a Pathfinder navigator who had first completed a somewhat dramatic tour on Halifaxes with 76 Squadron of Main Force before retraining for Pathfinder duties in a Mosquito. See the first of several pages linked to our very interesting archive of material related to Alistair’s two tours: Alistair McKenzie Wood & 105 Squadron, Bourn
We have received two messages in the last day about typos on the website, and this seems as good a time as any to say that we welcome any such feed-back in the interests of historical accuracy. With our slender resources, there is an enormous time-pressure on keeping the website up to date as well as dealing with everything else – a huge email correspondence, charity admin, research, cataloguing, etc – so there is bound to be the occasional mistake or imperfection. Many thanks to those who wrote in. Offending typos duly corrected!
All Pathfinder squadrons carried out a constant programme of on-the-job training. The squadrons varied greatly in how much detail they gave in the ORBs about the programmes, which included exercises such as Fighter Affiliation and Y Bombing Runs. See this new page: Training on the Squadron, 635 Squadron