To: The Path Finder Force
From: Air Vice-Marshal D C T Bennett, CB, CBE, DSO.
Great Britain and the Commonwealth have made a contribution to the civilised world so magnificent that history alone will be able to appreciate it fully. Through disaster and triumph, sometimes supported and sometimes alone, the British races have steadfastly and energetically over many long years flung their forces against the international criminals. VE Day, 1945 – Victory at the Pathfinders
Although Pathfinder Mosquito crews did not have the same attrition rate as those flying in Lancasters and Halifaxes, their work was still highly dangerous. The light-weight Mosquito aircraft was liable to break up in an accident, as happened on 4 November 1944 when the crew of Edward Wallace and Robert Soutar lost their lives.
Cecil Macgown, the Group Medical Officer of the Pathfinders, usually known as Doc Macgown or ‘Mac’, was in the RFC during the First World War. In one momentous letter to his sister in 1917, he wrote: “Still alive and getting along fine. Very fed up at being out of everything. A shell hit my machine at 3000 feet up and I hit the ground rather forcibly.” To read more, see: Doc Macgown in WWI
This year will be a busy one for the Archive. Following the acquisition of the Deverill Collection, we will be fund-raising this year in order to settle the interest-free loans from supporters which enabled us to buy the Collection at very short notice.
The Deverill Collection cost £42,000 (by way of comparison, Dambuster collections are selling for three times this, or more, in the current market). £28,050 has already been settled, having been funded by donations and Gift Aid. This leaves £13,950 to be fund-raised.
If you would like to make a contribution, please go to our DONATE page. Alternatively please CONTACT us if you would prefer an alternative method of payment such as cheque or postal order. All donations towards this most important collection will be very gratefully received.
We would also be very pleased to hear from anyone who would like to run a fund-raising project of their own for the Deverill Collection.
The Deverill Collection is now on display at RAF Wyton, and can be visited by appointment.
Early next month we will be adding the first details of our projected commemorations for the 75th anniversary of Black Thursday, 16/17 December 1943, which will centre around the Deverill Collection at RAF Wyton. We will be giving further details of our fund-raising for the Deverill Collection at the same time.
1409 Met Flight’s primary duty was to ascertain the weather conditions over the targets before a bombing operation. They also checked weather conditions over the British Isles, which were critical to the safe take-off and landing of operational aircraft. This might seem like a dull routine job, but it was anything but. The dangers which the crews faced were extreme,
The new page on 1409 Met Flight gives a brief outline of its work.
It also includes details of the Maurice Briggs and Baker crew, together with links to some of the extensive research which has been carried out about them.
There has been a bit of a delay in announcing the good news but the Charity Commission has now been updated with the details of our new trustee, and we are delighted to welcome on board John Clifford, Senior Curator at the Pathfinder Collection, RAF Wyton.
John has an immense fund of knowledge about the Pathfinders, and was the key man in setting up the Black Thursday display at RAF Wyton last December, just in time for the 74th anniversary, a massive achievement considering how short of time we all were to get the Deverill collection purchased and on display.
Further details of our partnership with RAF Wyton.
Just in time for the 74th anniversary of Black Thursday, which begins tomorrow, the senior curator at the Pathfinder Collection, RAF Wyton, has created a display around the Deverill collection and other very evocative mementos of the night of 16/17 December 1943. Time was very short to arrange this display, and we are most grateful to John Clifford and other members of the Heritage Centre staff for managing to put on such an attractive display at such short notice. FULL DETAILS
The Path Finder Monument has now been completed and was recently unveiled at RAF Wyton on Path Finder Sunday.
It will be relocated to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, where it will remain permanently.