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.

Steven Crew

The Steven crew are one of the most important on this website, and Heavens knows why it took so long to transfer them from the old site. They have now been given a new and detailed page.

This was prompted partly by the wonderful surprise of receiving a photograph of Ridley Brown, the bomb aimer, from his grandson, Simon Brown, which is now on the page.

Ridley Brown and Albert East were the two survivors from the loss of the plane, and after the war, once they had returned from prisoner of war camp, they gave all the information that they could to the families of the men who had died.

 

Mansbridge Crew – Gerry Cruwys

Unfortunately, in the transfer from the old website, the biography of Gerry Cruwys written by his niece, Debbie Kennett, was mislaid. It is now back on the Mansbridge crew page.

Cruwys - Gerry in pilot uniform colour web (2)
Gerald Cruwys. The white band on his cap shows that he was designated for aircrew training. Courtesy of Debbie Kennett.

See also this post on a video about the Ottignies operation in which this crew was lost.

 

Mansbridge Crew

Alain Libert, who for some years has been researching the Ottignies operation, 20 April 1944, and the loss of the Mansbridge crew, has produced a two-part video on the subject. Although it is in French, it can be easier to follow for English-speakers if you turn on the auto subtitles in YouTube. With thanks to Debbie Kennett, niece of Gerald Cruwys, the navigator of the Mansbridge crew.

Ottignies Operation, 1

Ottignies Operation, 2