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RAF Cosford in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- RAF Cosford during the Second World War -

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RAF Cosford

   Cosford was opened in 1938 as a joint aircraft maintenance, storage and technical training unit, home to Number 2 School of Technical Training. The Station has first and foremost remained a training unit, but also has played other memorable roles including assembling Spitfire fighters and later assembling Horsa troop carrying gliders for the invasion of Europe. A major military hospital, built on the site in 1940 which played a major role in prisoners-of-war repatriation at the end of the War. Dispite its planned life of only 10 years, the hospital remained open until 31 December 1977.

Today the site is still in use by the training school and is host to The Royal Air Force Museum.


19th Jun 1941 Aircraft Lost

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Those known to have served at

RAF Cosford

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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Flt Lt Norman Jones DFM. flight eng. 9 Sqd.

My father was born on the 12th of December 1921, the only on of farming parents. The farm was just outside the Roman village Ventra Silrum, better known as Caerwent. Dads father was a lay preacher and a follower of John Wesley, he did not approve of dad joining the R.A.F:- He never inherited the farm.

Dad first tried to join the R.A.F after a little girl playing by the Severn tunnel junction was killed by a German plane flying overhead. Nothing else was around at this time. Dad was eventually recalled in February 1941 and was told that he would need to be prepared to fly. He trained as a fitter engineer at R.A.F Cosford and worked on Hampdens, Manchesters and Lancasters. He was then posted to Swinderby in 1942 and left in charge of a major overhaul team working on Lancasters, attending Rolls Royce in Derby to qualify as a test engineer.

In May 1943 due to a shortage of flight engineers, he joined a Lancaster crew to take part in operational rids flying over Germany. Dad’s role as a flight engineer included controlling engine pressures, temperatures and fuel consumption, assisting the pilot and taking over the controls as and when required. He also had to plot a navigational course using the stars, send emergency radio signal and man the gun turrets. Before he earned his Pathfinder badge he was required to carry out the visual bomb aiming.

The crew he flew with consisted of 7 young men:- Pilot squadron leader-Mitchell (who later became group captain,) a Canadian Flight engineer- Norman Jones (dad), Navigator, Bomb aimer, Wireless operator, Mid upper Gunner, Rear gunner-Known as “tail end Charlie,” a very lonely position.

In June 1943, the crew were posted to No. 9 Squadron Bardney Lincoln. The Lancaster was U-Uncle. By then Dad had completed his first operational tour, which consisted of 30 operations flying over enemy territory mainly at night, 7 to 8 hours through search light and enemy flak. From the minute they flew over France they were under attack and often returned to base with a damaged plane.

Dad was then invited to join the Pathfinders along with his Lancaster crew, and joined 83 Pathfinder squadron. The Pathfinders were the Lancaster crews who flew in first, dropping flares to mark targets for the bombers. They circled around and above the target until the last bomber left. Sometimes the Pathfinders had to re-mark the targets before finally flying over and dropping their load. They were the crews that went in first and were the last to leave.

The crew were very close, in fact Mitch, Dad’s pilot, refused to fly without him. They practiced “the corkscrew” to evade enemy fighters. They would complete this move by closing the throttle so that the plane would drop, and then increase the throttle on the climb. This would cause the plane to corkscrew. No mean feat when you consider the size of the Lancaster, 69 feet and 6 inches in length, with a wingspan of 102 feet and 4 large Merlin engines, plus fuel.

On one occasion whilst flying, there was a group captain who was on board as an observer. The rear gunner called out “corkscrew right,” so immediately dad and his pilot carried out this procedure, dad then glanced over his shoulder to see his “special passenger” dangling in the air due to the force of the corkscrew, and then of course when they came out of it he landed rather forcefully! On return to base he gave the crew an excellent report and stated “they will be the crew that survive.” On the worst night 17 planes took off and only 7 came back, a total loss of 70 men from No. 9 squadron.

The D.M.F was awarded to dad in 1944 for courage and coolness of a high order. Prior to D-day he was involved in clearing the beaches ready for the landings. On June the 6th 1944, he took off at 01.45am to bomb La Paenelle; this was the start of the invasion. The following night he flew to Caen and on the 8th to Auranches. When he had completed his 2nd operational tour, dad had to accept being posted as a flying instructor to R.A.F Wigsley on Stirlings. You were considered lucky to complete 5 ops in all, dad completed 60. His next posting was to R.A.F Hendon as a second pilot, where he flew VIPs in Dakotas to visit the concentration camps. He also completed a trip to Lagos in West Africa.

Dad was commissioned in October 1944, and this relatively easy posting was not to last for long. The next posting was training on rescue gliders and a trip to Burma to carry out this work. He served in Mingladon and Akyab, making many friends along the way. Whilst serving in the Far East he became very ill with Dinghue fever and jaundice. Dad still worried bout his friends in Burma to this day because of the political state of the country. My father remained in contact with Mitch until approximately 2 years ago, when he received a goodbye letter. Naturally this was very upsetting. Trying to gather information about dad R.A.F experiences has been an uphill struggle, because for many men of my father’s age it is not an easy subject.

I feel that I must mention here, because so much has been written about bomber command, that on all bombing missions it was instilled in the crews that they must aim for targets, e.g. Hamburg, where the U-boats were held in pen, factories, communications and marshalling yards. Never once did the crew think they were bombing civilians. During this operational tour they flew to Berlin, Hamburg, Nuremburg, Hanover, Munich, Essen, Manheim, Munchen, Gladbach, Remscheid, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Kassel and Milan. Over 55,000 bomber crew lost their lives, sometimes whilt training in this country. I know my father still has nightmares about his wartime service, and you can only begin to imagine what it must have been like night after night, returning to base, going to bed to catch up on sleep and awaken to see empty beds next to you.

My mother also served in the R.A.F and this is where my parents met. They married in Yorkshire in January 1944 then travelled to Chepstow on honeymoon, only to find a telegram waiting calling dad back to service. They went on to have 3 children, myself and a younger sister and brother. Ad continued in the R.A.F until 1946 and remained in the reserve until 1960. He also ran the A.T.C until we moved to West Wales. He now has 6 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren, who are all extremely proud of him!

Teresa Lloyd

LAC Ronald George Harveye 76 Squadron

My father LAC Ronald George Harvey was at Holm-on-Spalding-Moor for part of the second world war with 76 Squadron. He joined in 10/4/1940. He was also at Leconfield and RAF Cosford. In March 1945 he was sent to the Middle East and discharged on 18/12/45.

My father died in 1996 and I have his RAF records. If anyone is still alive who knew him or can give me any more information on him and his service I would be very grateful as I am researching my family tree.

Cheryl Wild

LAC Ronald George Harveye 76 Squadron

My father LAC Ronald George Harvey was at Holm-on-Spalding-Moor for part of the second world war with 76 Squadron. He joined in 10/4/1940. He was also at Leconfield and RAF Cosford. In March 1945 he was sent to the Middle East and discharged on 18/12/45.

My father died in 1996 and I have his RAF records. If anyone is still alive who knew him or can give me any more information on him and his service I would be very grateful as I am researching my family tree.

Cheryl Wild

Cpl. Frederick Norman "Hitch" Hitchmough

My father is now 92 years old and has written his memoirs in a short form for me his daughter Janet. I intend to put these memoirs into a book at some stage.

He joined the R.A.F in 1937 and often refers to his stay at Wittering as 'the happiest times of his life' before war was declared. He arrived in the January of 1937 with 23 fighter squadron and as a Flight Mechanic was allocated to B flight. He refers to the death of one of the pilots who crashed and the fact that he had been booked to fly with him as a passenger but changed his mind at the last minute. In fact his parachute was still inside the plane. He also refers to another pilot who was killed when his chute failed to open when he was flying formation with two other Blenheims and had his tail chewed up by the propeller of the plane. These, of course, had a lasting affect on my dad. This was were he was{playing cards in the hanger} when Chamberlain made his speach on entering the war.

After Wittering he was posted to Croydon and his war had begun. My dad served in Egypt, Abu Suier, Heliopolis Cairo Western Desert, Corsica, Italy and embarked on a convoy that took him around South Africa to Port Said.

His health is failing now but he still enjoys telling stories about the things he got up to, to his grandchildren. He was stationed at R.A.F. Cosford when he met my mother who he was married to for 40 years before she died in 1998. He is much loved and cherished.

Janet Edwards

George E. Waterman RAF Cosford

George E. Waterman was a foreman bricklayer at RAF Cosford from about 1940 (he retired about 1965). He lived in Loak Road, Albrighton and I would like to hear from anyone who remembers him.

Don Roberts

A.C.I/LAC Donald George Porritt MU/MEF 107 B Squadron

I have found many photos of my father,- Palestine, Egypt, RAF Halton and Cosford.

I think he may have joined up in Jan 1940? - RAF Malton, in A Squadron initially. He was in Egypt by June 1941. One or two of the photos, have all the names on the back, a group, with names, is dated 28th Aug. Cosford. Block 3. A squadron. 2 Wing. RAF Malton. I will happily attempt to copy some of the photos if needed.

My father was in the RAF after the war, based in Ismalia, by now married, with mum and me as a baby.

He died in 1950, polio, having left the RAF in approx.1949.

Mrs Elizabeth Carrick

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