Pathfinder Squadrons in 5 Group

Hind Archive

97, 83, and 627 Squadrons of the Path Finder Force – 8 Group – were ‘loaned’ to 5 Group in April 1944 against the strong opposition of the Pathfinders’ commander, Donald Bennett. The squadrons remained Pathfinders, carrying out pathfinder duties, and as such were still eligible for the full award of the Pathfinder badge, as can be seen, for example, in 97 Squadron’s ORB for September 1944:

The following officers were permanently awarded the PFF Badge on the dates shown:-

149331     A/F/L P.J.Drane                       GD           1.9.44                 161609     A/F/L R.L.Lasham                   GD                 1.9.44

134687     A/F/L D.Bowes                         GDN        1.9.44                 149529     A/F/L C.S.Chatten DSO DFC   GD 1.9.44

151017      A/F/L K.H.H.Cook                   GDB         1.9.44                 173966     P/O T.W.L.Leak                        GDB                 1.9.44

178826     P/O C.D.Hooton                       GDE         2.9.44                 172347     P/O K.Swale                              GDN                 2.9.44

170882    P/O J.A.Pearson                       GDE         2.9.44                 173966     P/O A.J.Tindall                         GDS                 2.9.44

Aus401950 A/S/L H.B.Locke DFC           GD           1.9.44                 Aus413349 A/F/L J.V.Comans                 GD                 1.9.44

Aus415500 P/O A.Boultbee                      GDG         2.9.44                 Aus420904 P/O J.W.Nedwich                 GDB                 2.9.44

Aus421736 P/O C.W.Lacy                         GDG         2.9.44                 132535     A/F/L R.D.Parker                     GDN                 19.9.44

There are a number of notable names on the above list, such as Pete Drane, Clifford Chatten, and Bob Lasham, who were flying with 97 Squadron before it was reassigned to 5 Group.

At this period, whilst stationed at Coningsby, the squadron was closely allied to 54 Base, and the cream of the crews (if they wished to continue operational flying after their PFF tour was completed) went on to become master bombers and controllers there. The most famous of the pilots at 54 Base was Guy Gibson. See this page: Master Bombers