New Website for the Archive

At the RAF Pathfinders Archive, we have begun a review of this entire website: raf-pathfinders.com 

It has been added to and expanded for many years, and is now very much in need of an overhaul.

To facilitate the clean-up, a new website has been set up which has the marginally different address of: rafpathfinders.com

Whilst this is very much an ongoing project, it is probable that all the information will eventually be transferred to the new site.

On it, we are using a whole new cataloging system which should make subjects and groups of subjects very much easier to find. Much improved search facilities have also been installed.

All new material will be added there but for the time being posts will keep this old website very much up to date. 

PFF HQ and Hamish Mahaddie

From: Jennie Mack Gray – It has been quite a while since this website was updated, due mainly to me taking a sabbatical to finish my book on the Pathfinders (this was delayed, like so much else, by COVID-19).The book is not yet entirely done but it is very close. The working title is

Belonging to the Elite: Courage, Love and Loss in the Pathfinders of Bomber Command

The website will have a number of updates in the course of the next few weeks, but tonight two pages have been added about the Pathfinder leadership:

Pathfinder HQ; Ops Room and Group Photo 1944

Hamish Mahaddie, IWM sound recordings (1972 & 1989)

 

Sean Feast & Meet The Team

We are delighted to welcome Sean Feast as a Trustee of the Archive. Sean is a keen supporter of the military with a passion for aviation. Amongst his many books is The Pathfinder Companion, which was published in association with the Pathfinder Collection at RAF Wyton.

With Sean’s arrival, we have set up a Meet the Team page which gives details of who is behind the scenes at the Archive.

Research Enquiries

Unfortunately, due to the ever-increasing number of enquiries and our slender resources, not to mention the complications brought by COVID-19, we can no longer undertake research enquiries except for a selected few. These are the ones which promise to add interesting information to the Archive. For further information on what the Archive is interested in and how you can undertake your own research, see our new page: RESEARCH ENQUIRIES

The Pathfinders’ World

Just a quick note, prompted by a comment on our Guy Gibson post yesterday, to say that over the coming months we will be substantially increasing information on the background to the Path Finder Force’s war. This is because the Path Finder Force cannot be seen in isolation from the world in which it operated, which self-evidently had a profound effect on how the Force developed and what its personnel thought about serving in it.

Our tagline has always been:

Pathfinder Aircrew, their Friends, their Families, and the World they Knew

For more about our research aims, see the ‘Sourcing the Archive’ section of The Archive

Victory in Europe: Avoiding Damage to Public Property

All the Pathfinder squadrons and units recorded in their ORBs on 8 May 1945 that Victory in Europe had been achieved. Above is our favourite entry.

The full page of the ORB, which is that of the NTU (National Training Unit) at Warboys, is below: (see also Training the Pathfinders)

It is interesting to note that the Pathfinders clearly knew that victory had been declared on 7th May, one day before the public announcement.

VE Day Warboys NTU , marked up

The RAF’s Sir Arthur Tedder and the German Surrender

Probably at no time in its existence has the prestige of the RAF stood higher than at the end of the Second World War. The huge part that the RAF had played in the Allied victory was emphasised at that time by the fact that it was Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder who was the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, second only to General Eisenhower himself. The RAF’s Sir Arthur Tedder & the German Surrender

Special Leave, Travel Restrictions, and Egg Rationing

The last of our topical posts for the time being on the type of restrictions and shortages which people put up with during the war. The three items all appeared in the same edition of the Manchester Evening News on 3 November 1943.

The main interest is in the marriage of Cyril Tate – he and three of his fellow pilots managed to get special leave for his wedding, a very unusual dispensation given that all four pilots would be away from duty at the same time. This is a particularly nice photograph of a wartime wedding, with everyone looking very happy.

Then we have the rather feisty Joyce Daisy Munro , who was summoned for going into a restricted area ‘for the purposes of pleasure’:

no pleasure in goodbye, manchester evening news, 3-11-43

Lastly, for anyone grumbling because they can’t get any eggs from the supermarket (dried eggs were proverbially disgusting):

no egg shortage, manchester evening news, 3-11-43