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!
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.
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
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.
A new method of cataloguing has been adopted which it is hoped will finally clear the log-jam of names and crews we would like to see online. Pages will be added as and when they are completed. Amongst the first to go online will be the latest additions to the Archive, although there will also be some from a few years back, depending on what we are working on at the time.
Jack Blair was a highly dedicated officer who flew more than his fair share of ops. In 1943, he was a member of John Sauvage‘s crew on 97 Squadron; in 1944, having moved to 156 Squadron, he was flying with a pilot named Ward when the crew were shot down on their return journey. Thanks to Arjan Wemmers and many others, a wonderful collection of material has been assembled on the Ward crew, and in particular on Jack Blair. (See catalogue item: Ward Crew and Squadron Leader Blair.) We are very pleased to have this collection in the Archive.
We are starting a new method of cataloguing the Archive, and in time the website will be reorganised to reflect this, but time being short and hands being few it is going to take a while. The first page from the catalogue is for a 156 Squadron crew, and details of this are on the post which will appear immediately after this one. Jack Blair was originally a member of John Sauvage‘s crew.
Earlier this year we received a very nice colourised version of the lovely photograph of Hugh Baker, standing outside a rather grand house in Hastings in 1942. Due to much dedicated local sleuthing, the actual house has been identified. See the update on THIS PAGE
Ernest Deverill, the much-decorated 97 Squadron pilot killed on Black Thursday, whose medals, logbooks and other memorabilia are on display at RAF Wyton, is buried at St Mary’s, Docking, Norfolk. The epitaph on his gravestone comes from the same hymn as the one for Arthur North, of the 105 Squadron crew buried at Bergen, Norway, who were mentioned on yesterday’s post. For details of the epitaphs on these gravestones and of the hymn from which they were taken, see O Valiant Hearts.