No 2 SFTS (Service Flying Training School) Brize Norton, Oxfordshire

No 56 Course, 2 Service Flying Training School, Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, 13th November 1940 to 31st March 1941.

56 Course

56.1. A/CDT. A C S Innes (1254031 to 63110, Commissioned on  3rd April 1941) FL Arthur Charles Sydney Innes died 22nd July 1943, age 21, whilst flying  mosquito, HJ726 (Or 675) FB.VI, with 23 Night Fighter Squadron based at Luqa in Malta. The Son of Arthur Charles Wolseley Innes and Etta Maud Innes, of Exmouth, Devon. He became a FO on 3rd April 1942 and FL on 3rd April 1943. The aircraft took off at 2350 Hours on 21st July 1943 from Malta on a night intruder raid around the Rome area, having received a renewed bombing raid on Malta on the night of the 19th, the squadron was told to resume their very effective intruder raids on German bomber bases, which had previously pushed the German bomber squadrons further into Northern Italy. The reasons for the loss and the crash site have not been established but that night Italian radio reported that a twin engine night fighter was shot down whilst attacking an aerodrome in the Rome area. The crew of 2 consisted of Flt/Lt Arthur Charles Sydney Innes and F/O John Maden Lord, both are listed on the CWGC web site as being 29 Squadron but the ORB shows then being in 23 Squadron.

The crew are buried in Rome War Cemetery, Italy, in a joint grave I.B.11.

56.2. A/CDT. S P Johnson (1159998 to 63111, Commissioned on 3rd April 1941). FO Stephen Phillip (Lowthian) Johnson was captured and became a Prisoner of war on 8th December 1942, aged 19, whilst flying Mosquito IV DZ314 with 105 Squadron. A veterinary Surgeon, his address was C/o Midland Bank, Northallerton, Yorkshire. Promoted to FO on 3rd April 1942 and FL on 3rd April 1943. The Mosquito was airborne at 1158 hours on 8th December 1942 from Marham for a low-level attack on the Den Helder Docks. The aircraft ditched at 1245 Hours in the Waddensea 5 km NE of Den Helder, The Netherlands, after being shot down by Marineflak during the attack.

The crew of 2 consisted of FO Stephen Phillip Lowthian Johnson and Sgt Ernest Cyril Draper.

Sgt E C Draper was interned in Camps L1/L6/357, POW No.922 and FO S P L Johnson in Camps Stalag Luft 3, Sagan, arriving in December 1942, departing in January 1945 for Stalag Luft 3A, Luckenwalde where he arrived in February 1945 until he was liberated by the Russians in May 1945. POW No.865.

After completing 56 course (Stephen states 68 course) at Brize Norton, Stephen Johnson qualified as a flying instructor at Upavon, and returned to Brize Norton for one year.  He then requested a transfer to Operations, and joined 105 Squadron at Marham.  His first operational mission was a single-aircraft raid in a Mosquito on Den Helder, Holland, in November 1942. He was shot down at low altitude, and both he and his navigator survived the subsequent ditching at Waddenzee, near Den Helder.  He was transferred to Stalag Luft III, where he spent the rest of the war, and wrote a book (recently reprinted) called “Fishing from Afar”. Towards the end of the war he was force-marched to Luckenwalde, like many others. After the war, Stephen resumed practice as a Veterinary Surgeon in Darlington.  He re-married in 1949 and moved to the Scottish Borders, where he lived until his death in August 1997. He also published ‘A Kriegie’s Log, the lighter side of Prison Camp’.

56.3. Cadet M O Ogier (931400 to 102584, Commissioned 26th July 1941) PO Michael Owen Ogier died on 12th March 1942, aged 20, whilst flying Whitley Z9293 KN-D with 77 Squadron. The son of Squadron Leader Lionel Leverett Ogier and Dorothy Gwynedd Eardley Ogier, of East Hanningfield, Essex.

The aircraft was airborne from Leeming between 1850 and 1900 Hours on a raid on Emden and was lost without trace with the loss of all those on board. The cause of loss and the crash-site have not been established. The raid was not a success with between 9/10-10/10 cloud over the target, and bombing photographs indicated that the nearest bombs were 5 miles from the designated target.

The crew of 5 consisted of PO James Spalding, Sgt Edmond Patrick Hanrahan, PO Michael Owen Ogier, Sgt Joseph William Dale and Sgt James Monkman Parker. PO M O Ogier is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, panel 71, as are the rest of the crew. PO Spalding was the lone survivor of a Whitley bomber lost on 16th February 1942, which crashed with the loss of the rest of the crew on returning from a raid on St. Nazaire, when he bailed out.

 

56.4. A/CDT. C H Secord (1252822 to 63112, Commissioned on 3rd April 1941) FL Campbell Herbert Secord, sometimes referred to as H Campbell-Secord), born 21st September 1912, joined 120 Squadron as a PO on 4th July 1941 from No. 3 School of General Reconnaissance, together with FO M F Dear, and was promoted to FO on 3rd April 1942 and FL on 3rd April 1943.

Whilst at 120 Squadron he was involved in the loss on 6th November 1941 of Liberator I AM910, which took-off at 1225 Hours on A/S sweep to cover M/V Nottingham with Secord as second pilot but crashed at 2300 Hours on landing at RAF Nutts Corner, Northern Ireland causing damage to the undercarriage and was written off. The crew of 9 consisted of SL R T F Gates, P/O Herbert Campbell-Secord, PO Layton, Sgt Clare, Sgt Barthorpe, Sgt Watson, Sgt George, Sgt Knight and Sgt Crossey. MV Nottongham was torpedoed on 7 November 1941 at 53.24 N and 31.51 W.

Also on 5th April 1942 Liberator AM924 took off at 0438 hours on a ‘Skipper’ Escort with P/O Secord as Captain and P/O Dear as second pilot. The crew also included P/O Layton, Sgt Clare, Sgt Watson, Sgt Barthorpe, Sgt George and sgt Gordon. At 0729 the aircraft sighted Liberator L/120 AM916, and followed it until noon when they spotted ‘Skipper’ and took up patrol position on port beam of convoy. At 1013 Hours a Sunderland joined the escort and was with the force when last seen at 1250 Hours. At this point, they spotted an Arado some 6 miles from the convoy and gave chase, however, at 1300 Hours, D120 took a hit in the petrol tanks from Machine gun bullets. Secord, judging the rate of petrol loss, started to climb to 17,000 feet, when the port engine cut out. Secord flew the aircraft in a tail down position to stem the flow of fuel from the stricken tanks and landed safely at Predannock at 1559 hours. The Arado was thought to be undamaged, as he took evasive measures to avoid damage and was more manoeuvrable than the Liberator.

Secord was posted to RAF Station Farnborough on No 11, short Oxygen course w.e.f 10.4.42, returning on 16.4.42.

It is understood that Secord ceased to be engaged on active service on 23 June 1942 when he was posted to the Air Ministry where at one time he was involved with the development of a low level hand held bomb site for use with Coastal Command when dropping depth charges when attacking U-boats. He is noted as retaining his rank on retirement on 21st September 1957, which indicates that he served for a period of time following the war in the RAFVR, with the rank of FO.

On leaving 120 Squadron, Dear took charge of his own aircraft, only to become a casualty on 21st August 1942.

56.5. A/CDT D H Hodgkison (929755 to 63109, Commissioned on 3rd April 1941) PO Douglas Henry Hodgkison died  30th September 1941, aged 26, whilst flying an Airspeed Oxford as an instructor with 35SFTS, British Commonwealth Air Training Programme school, part of the Empire Air Training Scheme, which opened 4th September 1941. The son of Frederick Harold and Ethel Maude Hodgkison, of Uplands Park Road, Enfield, Middlesex, England. This was the first serious accident of 35 SFTS. Hodgkison arrived at 35SFTS by rail from Halifax on disembarkation Canada at 21.00 Hours on 24th September 1941, just 6 days later he would be killed.

He was the instructor at the controls of Airspeed Oxford AS550, when at about 11.00 Hours in clear weather at about 1000ft, his aircraft collided with Airspeed Oxford AS186 and crashed just South West of the auxiliary field at Hamlin, 5 miles North of the aerodrome at North Battleford SK. Both came down in flat spins about a quarter of a mile apart in a fallow field property of Mr A.A. Stewart (NE corner of Section 6, Township 45, Range 16). Hodgkison and Evans were killed, possibly due to the fact that they were not strapped in. , it was not clear if they had been flying that way or if they had und, it was not clear if they had been flying that way or if they had undone them in an attempt to bail out. Cause was eventually found to be lack of proper lookout by both crews. Hodgkison may have been distracted by Evans’ air-sickness. Two airmen were killed in the incident, the instructor and a pupil being Pilot Officer D H Hodgkison and LAC Bruce Trevor Evans (1294171). LAC M R Hall, (1199394) the sole occupant of the other aircraft, was also injured, in the mid-air collision but escaped with a fractured jaw, bruises and abrasions. He was described as an exceptional student, likely to do well. The News mentions that Funeral services were held on 2nd October 1941 from Sallows & Boyd’s Funeral Home. The crew are buried in North Battlesford Cemetery, Canada. Hodgkinson in Plan M, Block 18, Grave 1.

56.6. Cadet E T King

56.7. A/CDT M F Dear (1168611 to 63107, Commissioned 3rd April 1941). FO Michael Francis Dear died 21st August 1942, aged 20, whilst flying B24 Liberator III LV340 OH-X with 120 Squadron, having joined 120 Squadron on 4th July 1941 from No. 3 School of General Reconnaissance, together with P/O Secord, 56.4. The son of Reginald Edward Beckly Dear and Lilian Mabel Dear, of Weybridge, Surrey. The aircraft took Ballykelly on an air test flew into Limnalary Mountain in bad weather at Carnlough, County Antrim with the loss of all those on board. Whilst recorded as an air test most other aircraft in this area had been grounded due to the Weather so why was this air test authorized. There is some doubt over this and as to what was the real purpose of the flight.

The crew of 8 consisted of FO Michael Francis Dear, Sgt Arnolous Bothma Meyer, P/O Albert Benjamin Gomperts, Sgt Charles Humphrey, Sgt Robert Ainslie, Sgt Thomas William Taylor RNZAF, Sgt Ivan Victor McQuay and Group Captain Harry King Goode DSO DFC AFC. Group Captain H K Goode, Sgt Meyer and Sgt Taylor, from Marlborough, New Zealand rest in Tamlaght Finlagan Church of Ireland Churchyard, County Londonderry, PO Gomperts in Willesden Jewish Cemetery, Middlesex and FO Dear in Anfield Crematorium, panel 1, Liverpool. Sgt Humphrey was taken to Maidstone Cemetery, Kent, Sgt Ainslie to the Central Churchyard, Tollcross, Glasgow, and Sgt McQuay to St. Mary Churchyard, Sholing, Hampshire for burial. Group Captain Goode, a 1914-18 fighter ace, had retired from the RAF and was thought to be on board as a civilian in the Air Accident Branch, investigating the loss of a previous aircraft, but this is subject to conjecture based on the comments above.

19 OTU No8 Course Pilots 22-9-40 (3)

Flight-Lieutenant T M Bulloch of No. 120 Squadron RAF, a successful anti-submarine pilot, with six of the crew of his Consolidated Liberator, probably taken at Nutt’s Corner, County Antrim. They are, seated (left to right): Pilot Officer M F Dear (2nd pilot), Flight Lieutenant Bulloch (pilot and Captain), and Pilot Officer M B Neville (navigator); standing (left to right): Sergeant F N Hollies, Sergeant J W Turner, Sergeant G Millar and Sergeant R McColl.

56.8. CADET E O Townsend

56.9. CADET W Puttick (929723). Sgt. Wilfred Puttick died 26th July 1941, aged 27, whilst flying Whitley Z6624 ZA-A with 10 Squadron. The son of John and Mabel Puttick, of Ewell, Epsom, Surrey. The aircraft was airborne at 2228 Hours on 25th July 1941 from Leeming on a raid on Hannover and crashed at Koersel (Limburg), 15 km NNW of Hasselt, Belgium with the loss of all those on board. The reason for the loss has never been established.

The crew of 5 consisted of PO William McNaughton Spiers MiD, Sgt Wilfred Puttick, PO Harry Joseph Daniels, Sgt Cyril Webster Fitzmaurice D E Lawson and Sgt Douglas Bernard Beverley. PO Daniels had received a Commendation of Gallantry.

The crew are buried in Koersel Communal Cemetery, Beringen, Limburg, Belgium, W Puttick in Grave 5. There is also a monument in Flitwick extension churchyard, Bedfordshire. In memory of Ester Grey who died on 11th June 1918, aged 71. Also in proud and loving memory of Sgt pilot Wilfred Puttick  RAFVR Grandson of the above and dearly loved youngest son of John and Mabel Puttick who was killed in action July 26th 194, aged 27 years. While there is light l will remember. When the night comes l will not forget.

56.10. CADET J A Reynolds

56.11. CADET C W Robinson (913652) Sergeant Claud William Robinson died on 28th November 1941, whilst acting as second pilot/observer on board Hudson V AM799 NR-V with 220 Squadron. The aircraft took off at 1246 Hours from Wick on operation Varro. The aircraft suffered engine failure during an attack on shipping near Stavanger, Norway and was lost with the full crew. No bodies were ever recovered.

The crew of 4 consisted of FO Ernest William Tate DFC, Sgt Claud William Robinson, Sgt Percy Shane and Sgt Basil Ransone Edis.  The crew are commemorated on the Runnymede memorial, Robinson on panel 51.

1n 1939, Women’s Voluntary Service for Civil Defence for Cirencester Rural District Council recorded that there were looking for volunteers to assist with housing refugee children from Birmingham. Mrs Claud Robinson volunteered for Bagendon and Woodmancote.

56.12. CADET G E Abecassis (1169816 to 115865, Commissioned 18th December 1941) Squadron Leader George Edgar Abecassis was captured on 7th October 1944, aged 31, whilst flying Stirling Stirling LK238 MA-X (Also reported wearing the Squadron ID MA-Y when lost) with 161 Squadron. A Motor Engineer, he was living at Abbey Lodge, Ashley Park Avenue, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey. Promoted to FO on 1st October 1942, FL 18th December 1943, MiD 14th January 1944 and he was awarded the DFC on 23rd March 1945, for services whilst flying with 161 Squadron. His promotion to SL is not documented. He remained in the RAF after the war, retiring from the service on 13th February 1953.

The aircraft was airborne at 2229 Hours on 6th October 1944 from Tempsford on a SOE operation at the time, Operation Tablejam 26 (Check out Verity) and was headed for Jutland, Denmark with weapons for the Dutch resistance. It was shot down in the early hours of 7th October 1944 by a Ju88 operated by 111./NJG3, and made an emergency crash landing between Gording and Vemb, a small town 17 km WSW of Holstebro. The crew, with the exception of WO Philp, ran from the burning plane through the darkness to a wooded hilltop about 5 miles from the crash site, where they spent the night. The following morning, although they were all suffering from various injuries and burns. they sent PO L N Flowers, who was badly burnt, to the nearest farm to get medical treatment and split into two groups. SL G E Abecassis and FO K G Walker remained at large until 12th October when they were captured on the bridge at Randers. The remaining 3 airmen, initially in their uniform to ensure that they were not mistaken for spies, evaded with the help of the Dutch, by getting across Jutland to Grenå and then to Sweden, before arriving in England on 7th November 1944. PO L N Flowers also evaded with the help of a number of Dutchmen and also reached England having met up with the rest of the crew in Sweden. It is thought that PO R F Philp was killed in the crash landing and his body was badly burnt. He was found in the wreckage and initially buried near the crash site but moved on 15th June 1945 to Gørding Churchyard.

The crew of 7 consisted of SL George Edgar Abecassis, PO L N Flower, FL Robert (but known as Richard) Richard Gee, PO Ross Ferrier Philp, FO Ken G Walker, PO Patrick (Paddy) Joseph Moloney and FO Samuel Connor Woodham.

WO Philp is buried in Gørding Churchyard, but also remembered on a memorial plaque in St. Clement Danes Church together with 69 other airmen who lost their lives while transporting weapons to the Dutch underground. FL Gee was flying his 60th operational sortie. SL Abecassis was confined in Hospital due to injuries and then sent to Stalag Luft 3, Sagan (Belaria) on 7th November 1944 and moved on 28th January 1945 to Stalag Luft 3a, Luckenwalde, arriving on 4th February 1945, where he was liberated by the Russians on 7th May 1945. PO P J Maloney was later to be killed serving in South East Asia. The destiny of the other survivors is unknown. Abecassis also flew with 51 Squadron after OTU.

56.13. CADET K W Davies

56.14. A/CDT R H Hawken (1166015 to 63108, Commissioned on 3rd April 1941) FL Raymond Harry Hawken, was born in 1922, promoted to FO 3rd April 1942 and FL 3rd April 1943. He survived the war and was still in the RAF in 1958 at least with the rank of Flight Lieutenant, although appears to have the rank of SL. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, as a FL, whilst with 692 Squadron on 4th December, 1945, there is however no citation.

56.15. A/CDT A E Richardson (1003962 to 63474, Commissioned on 3rd April 1941) Arthur Edward Richardson, FO 3rd April 1942, FL 3rd April 1943, stayed in the RAF after the war and was transferred to the Royal Air Force Regiment on 25th June 1947 and promoted to SL on 1st January 1953 retiring from the Royal Air Force Regiment on 31st December 1965.

56.16. CADET L H Gruer (1166485). Sgt Lawrence Harold Gruer died 30th July 1941, aged 20, whilst flying Blenheim V6176 XD-? with 139 (Jamaica) Squadron. The son of the Hon. Mr. Justice Harold George Gruer, M.A., I.C.S., and Eileen Gruer. The aircraft was airborne at 1400 Hours from Oulton targeting towns and targets in NW Germany and crashed into the sea, cause unknown, with the loss of all those on board.

The crew of 3 consisted of Sgt Lawrence Harold Gruer, Sgt John Mortimer Blundell and Sgt Derek Godfrey Dennis-Smither. The body of Sgt Blundell was eventually washed ashore and is buried in the Fourfelt Cemetery, Esbjerg, Denmark along with F/Sgt Barrie K Nicholls of 7 Squadron. The two other airmen killed have no known graves and both are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Gruer on panel 44. Sgt. Gruer had been posted to 139 Squadron, like Ken and his crew from 13 OTU on 12th July 1941.

56.17. CADET J W Nowlan

56.18. CADET A G Sheffield

56.19. CADET E Francis

56.20. CADET J Hamilton-Martin

56.21 CADET W A S Evill (1166733 to 102082, Commissioned as Sergeant on 28th June 1941) PO William Alan Strathern Evill died on 19th August 1941, aged 18, whilst flying Whitley Z6564 ZA-Z with 10 Squadron. The son of Air Chief Marshal Sir Douglas Claude Strathern Evill, G.B.E., K.C.B., D.S.C. A.F.C, and Lady Evill (nee Kleinwort), of Winchester. The aircraft was airbourne at 2223 Hours on 18th August 1941 from Leemimg on a raid on Cologne and was lost with all those on board. This aircraft was one of three 10 Squadron aircraft lost on this raid, all three shot down by flak approaching the target. The aircraft crashed near Rekem (Limburg), 14 Km ESE of Genk, Belgium, killing all the crew.

The crew of 5 consisted of P/O William Alan Strathern Evill, Sgt Kenneth Mervyn Tompkins, Sgt Cyril Patrick O’Dell, Sgt Donald Maclachlan Duffy and Sgt Thomas Hill Park. Park was an American from Jersey City, serving in the RCAF. They are all buried in Rekem Communal Cemetery. Evill in Grave/Memorial Reference: Coll. grave 1-3. Evill was born on 23rd December 1922, he joined 2 SFTS at the age of 17. He and Sgt K M Tompkins were only 18 when they died. This was Alan Evill’s second mission as captain, flying his first three missions as second pilot to Sergeant Aubrey Poupard, 55.18.

56.22. CADET B B P Roy (1168048 to102582, Commissioned on 26th July 1941) PO Bruce Buchanan Percival Roy died 8th November 1941, aged 23 whilst flying Whitley Z6820 DY-? with 102 Squadron. J R Croucher, P C Eyre, J V Moorfoot and B B P Roy all transferred into 78 Squadron in July 1941, J R Croucher, B B P Roy and P C Eyre being transferred onto 102 Squadron later that year. The son of Hector Buchanan Roy and Constance Matilda Roy, of Palmer’s Green, Middlesex. The aircraft was airborne at  2203 Hours on 7th November 1941 from Topcliffe on a raid on Berlin and was last heard off on W/T at 0743 Hours calling for help. The aircraft was lost without trace with the full crew.

The crew of 5 consisted of PO Bruce Buchanan Percival Roy, Sgt David Roe Pritchard, Sgt Kenneth Harwood-Smith, Sgt Samuel Thomson and Sgt Phillip Henry Stanton. Sgt Harwood-Smith’s brother died flying an 82 Squadron aircraft on 10th August 1940. All the crew of the aircraft are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Roy on Panel 34.

B B P Roy suffered another accident when on 31st August 1941, a 102 Squadron Whitley, Z6869 DY-? was on a raid on Essen when it was destroyed on the ground at Topcliffe by an explosion which totally wrecked the Whitley as it prepared to take-off. The crew had a quite remarkable escape, as did the crew of another Whitley which was damaged by the explosion. The crew at that time were P/O B B P.Roy, Sgt L W Carr, Sgt P L N Trehearn, Sgt P A Taylor and Sgt R Gayler.

56.23. CADET N L Williams.

56.24. CADET K Lister (1252690 to 139030, Commissioned on 21st July 1942) Sgt Ken Lister went on to train with Ken Fenton at 13 OTU and then on to serve with 21 Squadron at Watton in Norfolk flying Blenheim’s before going onto serve in Egypt with 21 Squadron until August 1941 and then 84 Squadron in December 1942, before joining 34 Squadron in January 43 until October 1944. Promoted to FO on 21st July 1943 when he was awarded the DFC on 22nd August 1944 while serving as a F/O with 34 Squadron. He received an extended service commission on 28th February 1946 and was promoted to FL on 1st July 1946, Squadron Leader on 1st January 1954 and Wing Commander on 1st January 1960, retiring from the service on 7th February 168 at his own request.

56.25. CADET D W R Studd (1168893). Flight Sergeant Dennis William Rolve Studd died 15th June 1942, aged 22, whilst flying Oxford BG397 with 2 PAFU (Pilot Advanced Flying Unit, formerly 2 SFTS), which crashed on arrival at Brize Norton. The son of Albert W. Studd and Una V. Studd, of Winton, Bournemouth. D R Griffiths was the passanger but survived. The weather was recorded as cloudy with slight drizzle clearing during the morning and becoming cloudy for the remainder of the day, visibility poor at first becoming very good later and the wind WSW-NNW. At 0110 Hours the aircraft struck the railway embankment adjacent to the airfield when approaching to land. F/Sgt D W R Studd was killed in the incident.

FSgt Studd is buried in Bournemouth North Cemetery, Rox F.4., Grave 93.

56.26. CADET V G Farrow (929616). Sergeant (Pilot) Victor Gordon Farrow died on 19th July 1941, aged 19, whilst flying Blenheim Z7439 GB-H with 105 Squadron. The son of Sidney Herbert and Constance Farrow, of Romford, Essex. The aircraft was one of 5 aircraft on this raid, being airborne at 1122 Hours from Swanton Morley on an anti-shipping raid on a convoy of eight merchant vessels escorted by six flak ships spotted of Hague. Attacks were made by the squadron on three Merchant vessels of 6000 tons and one of 4000 tons. The latter attacked by Sgt farrow, was seen to blow up as his aircraft successfully dropped all four bombs along the stern of the vessel in the face of very heavy Flak. The ship exploded, and debris was blown high into the air, the other vessels being left enveloped in black smoke, one burning fiercly. However, the Blenheim fell victim to the intense and continuous Flak and crashed into the sea off Schevingen, Holland with the loss of the crew.

The crew of 3 consisted of Sgt Victor Gordon Farrow, FSgt Oswald Harry Robinson and Sgt Edwin Cyril Saunders. The bodies of Sgt Farrow and Sgt Saunders were eventually washed ashore and are buried in Westduin General Cemetery at Den Haag, Farrow in Allied plot. Row 3, Grave 62. F/S Robinson has no known grave and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

56.27. CADET V J Moorfoot (1051804 to 114923, Commissioned on 18th December 1941) F/L Vivian John “Jack” Moorfoot  He was born on 12th May 1920 in Glanford, Norfolk and died January 2000 in Norwich. J R Croucher, P C Eyre, J V Moorfoot and B B P Roy all transferred into 78 Squadron in July 1941. He was transferred to 78 Squadron from OTU in June/July 1941, flying Whitley’s and on completion of a tour in February 1942 he was transferred to 1502 BAT Flight as an instructor at Driffield. He remained there for a year. Promoted to FO on 1st October 1942 and FL on 18th December 1943. Mentioned in despatches on 14th January 1944 as an acting F/L. He married Miss Marguerite (Margaret?) Ann Wild of Orpington, Kent on 18th July 1942.

Sgt V J Moorfoot was involved in an incident when Whitley Z6491made a forced landing near Kepwick Hall on 9th July 1941 at 0525hrs whilst returning from a raid on Hamm, having run out of fuel. The five crew members were uninjured and the aircraft was removed and repaired. The crew of 5 consisted of Sgt Bernard Thomas McColl Jones, Sgt Vivian John Moorfoot, Sgt Smythe, Sgt Beaton and Sgt Jones.

He was also involved with an incident on 17th August 1941 with Whitley Z6495 of 78 Squadron, which left Middleton St. George at 2332 Hours on a raid on Cologe but upon returning landed at Middleton St. George’s Q-site at 0100 Hours by mistake slightly damaging the aircraft. The primary target was not reached owing to mechanical trouble, and the bombs were jettisoned in the sea. The aircraft made for Waddington but owing to a pin-point error landed at the ‘Q’ Site causing slight damage to the undercarriage.

56.28. CADET H A L Wagner (1253461 to 174157, Commissioned on 23rd March 1944) F/O Hubert (Hughie) Athelstane Lancelot Wagner was captured on 3rd August 1944, aged 27, at Creil whilst flying Lancaster ME839 AS-N with 166 Squadron Lancaster. A medical student, living at Beresford House, Alstonefield, Near Ashbourne, Derbyshire. Promoted to FO 22nd September 1944. The aircraft was airborne at 1130 Hours on 3rd August 1944 from Kirmington to attack a flying-bomb site at Trossy St. Maximin when it was hit by bombs from another plane crashing at 1415 Hours to the North of the target area. Of the crew of 7, 5 were killed, 2 being taken prisoner. FO H A L Wagner was captured, with injuries to both feet and head and was treated for 3 days in a girls school by a German doctor and before being sent to POW camp. Sgt S Witham evaded.

The crew who died are FO Hubert Athelstane Lancelot Wagner, FO William Samuel Richards, Sgt Sid Witham, Sgt John Richard Davies, Sgt Henry Charles Joseph Buckler, Sgt Francis James Graham and Sgt Lewis John Arthur.

Creil Communal Cemetery holds 4 of those killed, buried in Creil Communal Cemetery, while Sgt Arthur is buried at Marissel French National Cemetery.

FO H A L Wagner was sent to Stalag Luft 3, Sagan arriving on 22nd August 1944, leaving on 28th January 1945 and arriving at Stalag Luft 3A, Luckenwalde (No POW No.) on 8th February 1945, where he was liberated by the Russians on 22nd April 1945.

Sgt S.Witham Evaded having bailed out and landed in a quarry near St Maxim. He hid in a nearby forest until the following morning and then began walking NE . After several hours he met a French girl who went and brought her brother. They hid Sgt Witham in a slit trench near their house where he stayed until the next morning. The following day 5th August they took him to a house where he stayed overnight. On the 6th August the woman of the house took him to Chantilly to meet a man who would help him further. The Frenchman took him to a house in Chantilly where he stayed until the 7th September when he made contact with the Allied Forces. On the 8th September he was airlifted to the UK. The crew were on their 20th Operation.

Extract from ‘On Wings of War’ A History of 166 Squadron by Jim Wright acknowledged.

56.29. A/CDT J R Croucher (929745 to 63106, Commissioned on 3rd April 1941) PO John Rhodes Croucher, died 7th September 1941, aged ?????, whilst flying Whitley Z6754 H DY-B with 102 Squadron, on the same raid that Sgt P C Eyre was lost. J R Croucher, P C Eyre, J V Moorfoot and B B P Roy all transferred into 78 Squadron in July 1941, J R Croucher and P C Eyre being transferred onto 102 Squadron later that year. The aircraft was airborne at 2034 Hours on 6th September 1941 from Topcliffe on a raid on the Synthetic rubber plant at Hüls and came down in the sea, some 60 miles ENE of Bircham Newton, Norfolk. Nothing was heard from the aircraft until on the return leg when a distress message was heard followed at 0135 Hours by a second message informing that they were ditching in the sea and a position was given. The aircraft and crew were lost without trace, despite the ASRS being dispatched and a 24 hour search being undertaken. A Whitley claim was made that corresponds with this loss by Uffz. Heinz Grimm of 4./NJG1. The report states that the Whitley air gunners did return fire during the combat and hit Uffz. Grimm in the thigh, both he with his Bordfunjer, Ogefr. Meisnner were forced to bale out of his Bf110 C-4 to the north of Franeker.

The crew of 5 consisted of PO John Rhodes Croucher, Sgt John Richard Tugman, Sgt Henry Leslie Benjamin Morphett, FSgt Alan Leonard Halsey and FSgt John Glover RCAF. They have no known grave but are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Croucher on Panel 32.

56.30. CADET R J Greenough (1053685). Sgt Reginald James Greenough, died on 26th August 1941 aged 19, whilst flying Blenheim R3767 UX-R with 82 Squadron. The son of Thomas Ernest and Jessie Greenough, of Stainforth, Doncaster, Yorkshire.

The aircraft took off from Bodney on a raid to Heligoland to carry out coastal sweeps when it was shot down, with the loss of the full crew, by fighters from 3/JG52. The crash site was never established and the bodies never found. 82 Squadron lost 4 Blenheims on this operation with two ships claimed as sunk.

The crew consisted of Sgt Reginald James Greenough, Sgt Alfred Albert Matthews and Sgt Hubert Bonnett. All are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

56.31. CADET W A Mackillop (1053612)Sergeant William Angus Mackillop died 4th July 1941, aged 20, whilst flying Blenheim Z7426 GB-B with 105 Squadron. The son of Henry and Jessie H Mackillop of Waterloo, Liverpool. The aircraft was airborne at 0521 Hours from Swanton Morley on a raid on Bremen, together with aircraft from 107 Squadron, the aircraft, flying in close formation at ground level, successfully attacked the targhet of the docks, railways and factories. Mackillop’s aircraft was hit in the fuel tanks by Flak on the approach to the target. Sgt Mackillop bravely wrestled with his controls until they dropped their two bombs (which both fell short of the docks), but then the Blenheim could fly no longer and plunged into a factory in the target area with the loss of all those on board.

The crew of 3 consisted of Sgt William Angus Mackillop, Sgt Eric Gordon Nethercott and Sgt Gordon Frederick Entwistle. All are buried in Becklingen War Cemetery, Soltau, with the other twelve 105/107 Squadron airmen killed on this operation. Mackillop is buried in grave 26. E. 9

56.32. CADET J A Hope (1250767 to 111768, Commnissioned on 20th October 1941) James Anthony Hope. Promoted to FO on 1st October 1942, FL on 29th October 1943. He remained in the RAF attaining Squadron leader on 17th September 1952, Wing Commander on 1st July 1960 and Group Captain of the Education Branch on 1st July 1966. He received a DFC on 30th March 1943 whilst flying with 196 Squadron and received an OBE for overseas service on 11th June 1966.

His citation for his DFC reads:- Flying Officer Hope was captain and pilot of an aircraft (………of 196 Squadron) which was detailed to attack Essen one night in March, 1943. While the target was still a distance of 200 miles away the aircraft was involved in a collision and severely damaged, making any evasive action which might become necessary well nigh impossible. It was also found impracticable to climb much beyond 14,000 feet.

Despite the serious handicaps Flying Officer Hope, with grim determination, proceeded on his mission which he successfully accomplished. This incident is typical of the fine fighting spirit, courage and devotion to duty which have characterised, all this officer’s operational flying.

56.33. Cadet P A P Gay (931848 to 129226, Commissioned on 26th June 1942) Peter Alfred Parrish Gay. He was promoted to FO on 26th December 1942 and FL on 26th June 1944. He was awarded an Air Force Cross on 1st January, 1945 whilst with 78 (General Reconnaissance) Operational Training Unit. The citation reads:-

“This officer is a Flying Instructor in the Wellington Conversion Flight at No.78 Operational Training Unit. He has shown ability much above the average and has maintained a high standard. Flying Officer Gay has been given the most difficult pupils to train and has succeeded in coaching them up to the solo stage when other instructors have failed. His flying skill, airmanship and zeal are an example to all pilots and a model for junior officers.”

56.34. CADET K Fenton (1053472) POW.

56.35. CADET P C Eyre (1165193) Sergeant Philip Colmer Eyre died 7th September 1941, aged 20, whilst flying Whitley Z6970 DY-R with 102 Squadron, on the same raid as P/O J R Croucher. J R Croucher, P C Eyre, J V Moorfoot and B B P Roy all transferred into 78 Squadron in July 1941, J R Croucher and Eyre being transferred onto 102 Squadron later that year. Eyre, was the son of James Colmer Eyre and Annie Margaret Eyre, of Westminster, London. The aircraft was airborne at 2105 Hours on 6th September 1941 from Topcliffe and was shot down by a night-fighter and crashed at 0107 Hours at Sambeek (Noord Brabant), 26 km NE of Helmond, Holland with the loss of all those on board.

The crew of 4 consisted of Sgt Phillip Colmer Eyre, Sgt Leonard Albert Stock, Sgt Kenneth Pearson Withyman and Sgt Thomas McGill. The crew are buried in Eindhoven (Woensel) General Cemetery, P C Eyre in plot JJ, Grave 37.

56.36. CADET D D P Thomas (929865). Sergeant (Pilot) Desmond David Patrick Thomas died on 12th July 1941, aged 19, with another member of 56 Course, whilst flying Wellington Ic Z8775 with 15 Operational Training Unit. The son of David William Charles and Eleanor May Stephens Thomas, of Pantgwyn, Cardiganshire. Sgt. E O Townsend, No. 8, was also on board. 15 OTU started a new task in May 1941 training crews for Wellington squadrons overseas. The Ferry Training and Despatch Unit was formed at Harwell to train selected crews from No.15 OTU for Wellington transit to the Middle East. Probable destination units were No.37 or No.38 Squadron based at Shallufa (Egypt) or No.40 Squadron which left Alconbury on 31/10/41 for Luqa (Malta). ). The aircraft, under control of Overseas Air Delivery Flight took off from Luqa on ferry to Egypt, raised flaps too early and crashed near Safi with the loss of all those on board.

The crew of 5 consisted of Sgt. Desmond David Patrick Thomas, Sgt. Eugene Oscar Townsend, Sgt. Lionel Francis Clay, Sgt Arthur James Worsfield, Sgt William John Quinn Ramsay and Sgt Ralph Winston Askin. They are buried in Malta (Capuccini) Naval Cemetery, Prot. Sec. (Men’s). Plot F. Coll. Sgt. Thomas in grave 49.

56.37. CADET M H C Phillips, (1100064 to 115785, Commissioned on 30th January 1942 as Flt Sgt) Flight Lieutenant Michael Henry Clarmont Phillips DFC was captured by the Germans on 10th November 1944, aged 23, whilst flying Mosquito MM624 VY-Q with 85 Night Fighter Squadron. Promoted to FO 1st October 1942 and FL on 30th January 1944. He received his DFC on 13th April 1945 whilst flying with 85 Squadron. He resided at The Manor House, Woodmancote, Near Emsworth, Hampshire. The aircraft was airborne at 1730 Hours on 6th November 1944 from Swannington in support of the main bomber force on an operation against Koblenz and FL M H C Phillips was captured on 10th November 1944 at Hackenburg. He reported suffering with frostbite when he was captured. The cause of loss and crash-site have not been established. FL D V Smith reported that he was captured on 8th October 1944? at a point 5 miles South east of Altenkirchen.

The crew of 2 consisted of FL Michael Henry Claremont Phillips DFC and FL Derek Viney Smith DFC.

F/L M H C Phillips and F/L D V Smith were interned in Stalag Luft 1, Barth arriving 23rd December 1944. POW Nos. not established.

No 55 Course, 2 Service Flying Training School, Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, 13th November 1940 to 31st March 1941.

55 Course list

55 Course photo

55 Course 2 SFTS, excluding Mingard (2), Smeaton (21) and Tipper (36) but including Abecassis (12 – 56 Course), Ashton (11 – 57 Course), Bryson, Flynn, House (7 – 57 Course), Mulhern and Money.

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