Victoria Cross: 23 December 1944

On 16 December 1944, German Panzers spearheaded a surprise attack in the Ardennes that smashed through thinly held Allied lines, catching the Allied commanders completely off-guard. The Allied fight-back included this extraordinary feat of heroism which won Bob Palmer one of the three VCs awarded to Pathfinders: Victoria Cross, 23 December 1944: “Heroic Endeavour” The story is told by Sean Feast.

Dominion Aircrew

There are three new pages on our new website, all to do with Dominion crew. This photograph of a rescued Wellington crew comes from Allan Templeton’s logbook, from the time he was with Air Sea Rescue. Allan was a Newfoundlander. The other two pages focus on Australian and New Zealander airmen in training.

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.

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