The Creation and Evolution of the Pathfinders

These are the main pages on this website about the creation of the Path Finder Force and its changing composition.
See also this page on its highly gifted leader, Donald Bennett Donald Bennett, The Pathfinders’ AOC, who can be seen in the centre of the picture above 



About the Pathfinders & Conditions of Service

Pathfinder Overview



The Path Finder Force, which had a difficult beginning, went through a number of changes in its three-year life.

The creation of the Path Finder Force in 1942 was violently opposed by the head of Bomber Command, Arthur Travers Harris. His opposition to the idea only ended when he was given a direct order by the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill.

Harris v. Portal, the Formation of the Path Finder Force, 1942


When Harris conceded defeat, he put forward Donald Bennett for the position of CO of the new Force, believing him to be the only man capable of the job at that point.

Sir Arthur Harris & the Appointment of Bennett


The Path Finder Force started off small, but once proven rapidly expanded.

PFF – Setting up the Force


Later, when the bitter rivalry with 5 Group developed, Harris took some of the Pathfinder Squadrons away from Bennett

Harris transfers Pathfinder Squadrons to 5 Group

Pathfinder Squadrons in 5 Group


See also the link below for detailed lists of PFF squadrons and bases:

PFF Squadrons


And these newsheets for press coverage about the Pathfinders:

Tales from the Archive 7. 17 April 2018

Tales from the Archive 7, plus – 17 April 2018