Dixie Dean, CO of PFF NTU

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

Model Lancaster, O-Orange

This fabulous radio-controlled model Lancaster may make you smile, standing so proudly in front of the tomato plants, though she is sure to be a very  different beast when she flies.

There is a tragic background story to this icon of a real wartime Lancaster …

model lanc 2

The model aircraft’s markings are PB517, GT-O, standing for 156 Squadron O-Orange. They were chosen by Owen Gomersall to commemorate the Lancaster flown by his grandfather, Lionel Williams, who was on our last post. ‘Tom’ last flew this aircraft on 28 January 1945. Two months later, on 31 March, tragically close to the end of the war, Lancaster PB517 was lost with all its crew on a Hamburg operation. Those who died were:

F/L A C Pope, DFC
F/O G A J Morrison
F/L L E Munro, DFC, RCAF
P/O E H Marlow
F/O T M McCabe
F/S K Antcliffe
P/O I W Kelly, RCAF 
P/O R C Fletcher, RCAF

It was the second Lancaster which was lost from 156 Squadron that night, the other being that flown by Flying Officer H F Taylor. Again the entire crew was lost. 

F/O H F Taylor, DFC
P/O H Woolstenhulme
Sgt J P Williams
Sgt L H Joel
F/O R L Martin, DFC
F/O L A Cox, DFC
F/Sgt K A L Mitchell
Sgt R Goldsbury

This loss of 14 young men from Upwood in a single night only five weeks before the war ended must have been a serious blow to those living and working on the station.