As part of the reorganisation of the website, we have grouped all the pages about Pathfinder training in one place, so that topics can be scanned through quickly. All future posts about Pathfinder training or training accidents will be added to this page. See: Training the Pathfinders
Wing Commander Dixie Dean, the commanding officer of the Pathfinders Navigation Training Unit, was so well thought of that in February 1944 he received a letter of the highest praise from Air Commodore Donald Bennett, AOC of the Path Finder Force. Bennett was not a man given to praise or hyperbole, which makes the letter all the more striking. See our new page: WingCo Dixie Dean, CO of the Pathfinders NTU
This extraordinarily beautiful landscape in mid-Wales was the scene of a terrible tragedy on 10 April 1944. A Lancaster from the Pathfinder Navigation Training Unit at Warboys broke up in the air some 200 miles west of Warboys and crashed, killing all of the crew. See our new page: NTU Lancaster fatal crash in Wales
As part of the reorganisation of the website, we have grouped all the Mosquito pages on one page – Mosquito Squadrons, Crews, and Related Topics – so that topics can be scanned through quickly. All new posts about Mosquito squadrons and crews will be added to the list.
A training unit Mosquito was struck by lightning on 31 December 1944. The crew baled out safely but the aircraft was lost. The restored undercarriage and other parts can now be seen in a dramatic display at RAF Wyton – see our new page: NTU Mosquito Struck by Lightning
The beautiful image on this post is of the grave of Ray Hutchings Logan, a Mosquito navigator, who lost his life on 28 May 1943 when the Mosquito he was flying in was hit by a German nightfighter and exploded in mid-air. The pilot, Chrysler, survived by coming down by parachute. See our new page: Two Canadians & a Mosquito of 109 Squadron
Although Pathfinder Mosquito crews did not have the same attrition rate as those flying in Lancasters and Halifaxes, their work was still highly dangerous. The light-weight Mosquito aircraft was liable to break up in an accident, as happened on 4 November 1944 when the crew of Edward Wallace and Robert Soutar lost their lives.
It seldom happens that a photograph with unknown aircrew in it gets even partially identified, but amazingly this has happened with the photograph we featured almost exactly one year ago of an unknown Pathfinder crew at a wedding.
The man second from the right has been identified by his children as John Graham Walters, a bomb aimer, who was with 35 Squadron at Graveley. See the revised page on the photograph.
For the colourised photograph of the wedding photograph, our thanks are due to Paul Smith who sent the black and white version originally.
In January this year we featured a magazine cover with a lovely picture of a bulldog posing as ‘Pilot Officer Prune’ and his unknown human friend, a pilot. We later discovered that the pilot was Flight Lieutenant Leslie Barr.
A very interesting article appeared in The Telegraph two days ago about Barr’s crew, who were shot down on 10 September 1942 near Echt in Holland, west of Dusseldorf, the target of that night’s operation. Only two men out of the crew of eight survived. Barr and another crew member are buried at Jonkerbos War Cemetery, but the bodies of the four remaining crew members had sunk deep into the marshy ground, and they are remembered at Runnymede. The article in The Telegraph concerns these last four crew members and one Dutch family’s long crusade to have the bodies recovered from the mud and honourably buried.
We would like to share this wonderful cover for the RAF journal Air Mail, which was published in October 1948. It makes an antidote to the tragic stories often told on this website.