The village of Warboys has a fine parish church called St Mary Magdalene. In it there is a beautiful memorial window to the Pathfinders, commemorating the various PFF squadrons or training units which were based at Warboys and nearby Upwood. (See the first few items on our page: Training the Pathfinders)
Andrew Laing, who sent us the photograph of the Pathfinder window, writes:
Hidden behind Warboys village adjacent to the A141, lies RAF Warboys, an airfield that played a major part in the Second World War.
His Trail 17 – Aviation Trails leads through RAF Warboys and its environs, including the adjacent village where St Mary Magdalene and its remarkable window can be found. Information is also provided about RAF Upwood, with many atmospheric photographs.
Still on the subject of Mosquito crews, Alistair Wood’s logbook contains details of the training course he undertook at Warboys under the auspices of 1655 MTU, (Mosquito Training Unit). It was here that he teamed up with Flying Officer Hicklin, seen above with Alistair on the right.
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
This extraordinarily beautiful landscape in mid-Wales was the scene of a terrible tragedy on 10 April 1944. A Lancaster from the Pathfinder Navigation Training Unit at Warboys broke up in the air some 200 miles west of Warboys and crashed, killing all of the crew. See our new page: NTU Lancaster fatal crash in Wales
A training unit Mosquito was struck by lightning on 31 December 1944. The crew baled out safely but the aircraft was lost. The restored undercarriage and other parts can now be seen in a dramatic display at RAF Wyton – see our new page: NTU Mosquito Struck by Lightning
The Path Finder Force had a training unit, the NTU, to teach the highly specialised Pathfinder techniques before the crews moved on to their Pathfinder squadrons. For most of its existence, the Unit was based at Warboys, also home for a while to the Mosquito Conversion Unit, the MCU.
Featured image, the King inspecting Warboys in February 1944.
We very seldom hear about what life was like for children on Bomber Command or PFF bases. For a wonderful child’s eye view of life on a Pathfinder base, including a fabulous anecdote about the legendary Mahaddie at a party given for the children of PFF personnel at Warboys, see The Engineering Officer at Warboys.