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

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- RAF Full Sutton during the Second World War -

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RAF Full Sutton

   RAF Full Sutton was a Bomber Command Station, opening in May 1944. It was home to 77 Sqd who moved here from Elvington.

The airfield closed in 1963, the site is now used as an industrial estate and a prison.

Squadrons stationed at RAF Full Sutton

  • 77 Squadron 15th May 1944 to May 1945.


17th Jun 1944 77 Squadron Halifax lost

14th Mar 1945 77 Squadron Halifax lost

If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.

Those known to have served at

RAF Full Sutton

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Bullen DFC. Peter Gadsby. FO
  • Cork Cliff.
  • DeVis Selwyn George. P/O. (d.19th March 1945 )
  • Graham Duncan. PO

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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Cliff Cork 77 Squadron

This is a story of my Grandfather, Cliff Cork. He is still alive, living in Australia. He was stationed at Full Sutton during WW2 with the 77 Squadron.

He was an Australian mixed in with Canadians and Brits flying Halifax Bombers into Germany. They started with leaflet raids progressing to bombing industrial targets on the Ruhr.

Sometime during May of '44 (to the best of his recolection) they were dropping incendiaries on a refinery at Strassen along the Ruhr when a bomber above dropped its load on their plane and lit it up like a birthday cake.

    The pilot Stan Goodman, survived the crash and flew during peacetime with the Canadian Airforce.
  • Billy Grogan was the bomb aimer, surviving the crash.
  • Tommy Cousins was killed in the crash, he was the Navigator.
  • George Hudson was the rear gunner, he survived.

My Pop was the Wireless Op and Electronics man. He vividly remembers jumping out through the flames of the burning Halifax. His next memory is coming to in the pine forests. He was recalling to me the aluminium foil all through the trees. Different lengths of foils were used to disrupt the German radar systems. He recalls it looking alot like Christmas!

His recollections also include several dire events. During his capture he was transported accross the Ruhr in a small boat chained to another man. A Colonel (to the best of his recolection) was having a Birthday celebration and was quite drunk, he withdrew his service revolver and began to play Russian Roullette, pointing the gun back and forth between them. The man beside him was shot in the head and killed, Pop was forced to carry the man from the boat before he was allowed to be un-chained and wash up. He was later informed the individual responsible was disciplined. His Wing Commander was Ron Corony (unsure of spelling). I am now 36 years old and living in Canada. I have 2 boys and a beautiful wife. This, and other stories, are to Honour Great Men and Women. Do not be decieved, no one in my generation has the courage to do as these men and women did. Thank you to the 77. TO BE, RATHER THAN TO SEEM! sincerely

Rod Cork

PO Duncan Graham 77 Squadron

My father, Duncan Graham, was a pilot officer in 77 Squadron, Halifax bombers, which flew out of Full Sutton in Yorkshire. His last operation was on 25th April, 1945, as part of a group of bombers who took part in a raid on German naval guns on the Island of Wangerooge off the Dutch coast. He joined the air force at the start of the war, learning to fly in South Africa.

Like many men who went through the war he was reticent to talk about the bad times. But he did tell me many rather amusing stories. On one occasion the squadron was assembled for the visit of some bigwig from the War Office. Adherence to uniform was often quite casual in the air force, but on this occasion everyone was informed to dress correctly. My dad said that everyone thought something important must be coming up. The man from the War Office arrived and proceeded to say that something very disturbing had been happening. He had discovered that some aircrew, upon being shot down over enemy territory, had battle dress over their pyjamas. This must, he said, stop forthwith. It wouldn't so, he continued, for RAF men to be arrested in their pyjamas. Needless to say assurances were given. Needless to say they were soon ignored.

On another occasion my father told me that the men from his squadron were taken in lorries and dropped off in the countryside with rudimentary compasses and maps and told to make their way back to the base; a training exercise should they happen to be shot down. One of the men in my father's lorry cut a hole in the canvas covering of the truck and happened to recognise the area near where the lorry stopped. Instead of tracking their way across country, the men went to a nearby village and spent a couple of hours in the local pub, sampling their ale. They then flagged down an army lorry and were dropped off a couple of miles away from their RAF base. They returned to base as the second party to return and were commended for their efforts!

Duncan learned to fly out in South Africa after joining up. Upon returning to Britain on a troop ship, on which there were many Italian prisoners of war, my dad was asked to take guard duty as there was a shortage of army personnel on board. An army sergeant accompanied him and, upon coming along a companionway, they saw an armed soldier at the end of the corridor quickly rush into a cabin. Upon entering the cabin they discovered that the British Army guard had given his gun to an Italian and told him to stand outside while he had a cigarette. The Italian had seen my father and the army sergeant coming along the corridor and had gone back into the cabin to alert the Tommy.

Strictly speaking it was a shooting offence, handing your weapon to an enemy in a time of war. My father counselled the army sergeant who wished to pursue the matter, advising him that both of their leaves would be cancelled if they reported the matter and had to attend a court martial as witnesses. In the event the unfortunate soldier had to peel potatoes for the rest of the voyage. As my father said, however, he never saw a happier bunch of prisoners than the Italians who were just pleased to be out of a war they had little enthusiasm for.

Roger Graham

P/O. Selwyn George DeVis 77 Sqn. (d.19th March 1945 )

Selwyn DeVis Headstone

My cousin Selwyn de Vis was the son of Frederick Selwyn de Vis and Hazel Doreen Victoria de Vis (nee Bird) (DOB 20 Jul 1897), of Magill, South Australia, Australia. Hazel was my motherís sister (Dorothy Edith Bird) I have one photo somewhere of Selwyn in uniform. I remember after Hazel passed away there was a war service medal which has since disappeared.

From the brief information it would appear that the story of that last fateful mission. All I know is that the Halifax RG529 took off from RAF Full Sutton at 0047 hours on the night of 18/19th March 1945, detailed to bomb Witten, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it failed to return to base. One report suggests that the aircraft crash landed and all the crew survived only to be captured by locals. While in captivity several German civilians murdered all the captured crew. All except for one instigator who disappeared were brought to trial and executed.

It is a strange story and there must be more to it. An interesting book could be written. There are more questions than answers. If the story is accurate then there would have been a trial perhaps, maybe records? Also, what made a 20 year old enlist in the RAAF only to be killed some 12 months later only a short time before the war ended? I would be interested in any information you may have. I am 64 years and wish to leave this part of my family history for my children. I believe they should have some tangible connection to their heritage.

Phil Baldwin

FO Peter Gadsby Bullen DFC 77 Squadron

My father, Peter Bullen DFC, was a very proud man who we know lied about his age to get in to the RAF. He was one year younger than the age for recruitment. On 16th September 1941, he enlisted in the ranks of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and was mobilised on 9th March 1942. On 12th November 1944 he was granted an emergency commission in the general duties branch of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve as a pilot officer on probation. He was promoted to the war substantive rank of Flying Officer and confirmed in his appointment of Flying Officer Bullen.

I am aware that he flew in a Lancaster Bomber and was awarded the DFC at some stage. I also understand that he flew an incredible 36 missions which I am lead to believe is more than the average.

  • Dec 1943 Feb-1944 A.F.V. West Freugh, Wigtown, Scotland. Sergeant.
  • Feb 1944-June 1944 21 OTU Moreton-in-the Marsh, Glos. Sergeant.
  • July 1944-Aug 1944 1664 HCU Dishforth, Yorks. Sergeant (later Flight Sergeant).
  • Aug 1944-March 1945 77 Squadron (Bomber Command) Full Sutton, Yorks. Flight Sergeant (later Pilot Officer).
  • April 1945 - Air crew Re-Allocation Centre, Catterick, Yorks. Flying Officer.
  • May 1945-Nov 1945 RAF Metheringham, Lincs (intelligence). Flying Officer.
  • Nov 1945-March 1946. 8301 AD wing RAF, BAFO, BAOR (intelligence). Flying Officer.
  • March 1946-May 1946. 8501 AD wing RAF, BAFO, BAOR (DG Administration). Flying Officer.
  • May 1946. 5355 wing RAF, BAFO, BAOR (DG Administration). Flying Officer.

    At present, this is the only information I have found but the search goes on. He went on to have a very successful career and family life. He sadly passed away in 2005 without really telling his family much about his days in the RAF. Miss him so very much.

  • Catherine Everson

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