WingCo Dixie Dean, CO of the Pathfinders NTU

Wing Commander Dixie Dean, the commanding officer of the Pathfinders NTU, was so well-thought of that he received the following letter from 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. Bennett addresses the letter to Dixie Dean at Upwood, rather than Warboys, to which all the work of the unit was consolidated by the following month. See PFF Navigation Training Unit, NTU

dixie dean, NTU, Bennett

Wg Cdr Dixie Dean

With thanks to the Pathfinder Collection, Heritage Centre, RAF Wyton, for the two images.


DIXIE DEANS – Man of Confidence

The Pathfinders’ Dixie Dean should not be confused with the RAF pilot Dixie Deans, famous for being a highly revered Man of Confidence to British PoWs in Germany.  Deans, who was shot down in 1940, spoke fluent German, and as Man of Confidence was the liaison man between the PoWs and the Germans or the Protecting Power. Deans was well-known to many PFF PoWs who are named on this site, amongst them Sid Smith of the Nicholls crew and Wally Layne of the Fletcher crew, both of whom were on the Long Marches at the end of the war in which Deans played such a crucial leadership role. Deans was later awarded the MBE for his outstanding work.