Peter Drane, from Lancaster to Mosquito

Peter Drane was a Lancaster pilot with 97 Squadron, who completed his second tour on 9 August 1944. By now, 97 Squadron had been loaned to 5 Group.

Peter Drane logbook 1944

In a most unusual move, on 24 August 1944, only two weeks after completing his Lancaster tour, Peter moved back to the Pathfinders to join 139 Squadron as a Mosquito pilot. His Lancaster navigator, Charles Trotman, did not want to start a new tour, and the navigator with whom Peter flew in 139 Squadron was Kenneth Swale.

Ken had formerly been flying with 97 Squadron’s Cawdery crew. This rather blurry image of him is from a photograph taken with them. (With thanks to Arthur Tindall.)

Ken Swale, Cawdery crew photo

By August 1944, Ken was flying with Wing Commander Ingham’s crew with a number of his old Cawdery crew crewmates.  On 4 September he is recorded as moving to 139 Squadron. It seems fairly certain that he and Peter must have agreed their partnership before Peter left 97 Squadron.

Wendy Drane, who sent us the photographs above, writes:

After Mosquito bomber familiarisation he was operational again in October and somehow managed to find the time to get married. Five weeks after his marriage he took off from Upwood with his navigator Kenneth Swale DFC. They took off from Upwood the evening of 14th January 1945 . Returning from Berlin he could not land at Upwood and tried to get into Thurleigh. During appalling weather conditions he clipped a hedge. He and Kenneth Swale were killed at 02.15 on 15th January.