You are not logged in.
RAF Luqa in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

The Wartime Memories Project

- RAF Luqa during the Second World War -


Airfields Index
skip to content


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to accept cookies.


If you enjoy this site

please consider making a donation.




    Site Home

    WW2 Home

    Add Stories

    WW2 Search

 WW2 Features

    Airfields

    Allied Army

    Allied Air Forces

    Allied Navy

    Axis Forces

    Home Front

    Prisoners of War

    Allied Ships

    Women at War

    Those Who Served

    Day-by-Day

    Library

    The Great War

 Submissions

    Add Stories

    Time Capsule

    TWMP on Facebook



    Childrens Bookshop

 FAQ's

    Your Family History

    Volunteering

    Contact us

    News

    Bookshop

    About











World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

RAF Luqa



10th February 1941 Operation Colossus

May 1941 Withdrawn

22nd July 1941 

6th Nov 1941 Moves

26th Dec 1941 Move to Malta

14th Feb 1942  Malta

14th Feb 1942 Reorganisation

March 1942 Detachment

March 1942 Defence

2nd March 1942 Nigh Raid

6th March 1942 Harbour Targeted

14th March 1942 Disbanded and reformed

14th April 1942 Aircraft Lost

August 1942 Reorganisation

20th Aug 1942 Aircraft Lost

6th Sept 1942 

22nd Sept 1942 Aircraft Lost

23rd Sept 1942  Aircraft Lost

October 1942 Rest

8th Nov 1942 Operation Torch

27th Dec 1942 Move to the Mediterranean

3rd March 1943 Aircraft Lost

15th May 1943 Aircraft Lost

June 1943 Squadron Departure

7th Dec 1943 On the Move


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



Those known to have served at

RAF Luqa

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

The Wartime Memories Project is the original WW1 and WW2 commemoration website.

Announcements

  • To commemorate the 70th anniversary of VE Day, we are launching a new feature, Second World War Day by Day and also a new Library to allow access to records which have previously been held in our offline archive.
  • Looking for help with Family History Research?   Please read our Family History FAQ's
  • The Wartime Memories Project is run by volunteers and this website is funded by donations from our visitors. If the information here has been helpful or you have enjoyed reaching the stories please conside making a donation, no matter how small, would be much appreciated, annually we need to raise enough funds to pay for our web hosting or this site will vanish from the web. In these difficult times current donations are falling far short of this target.
    If you enjoy this site

    please consider making a donation.

  • We are also looking for volunteers to help with the website. We currently have a huge backlog of submissions which need to be edited for display online, if you have a good standard of written English, an interest in the two World Wars and a little time to spare online we would appreciate your help. For more information please see our page on Volunteering.

Research your own Family History.

Aug 2017 - Please note we currently have a large backlog of submitted material, our volunteers are working through this as quickly as possible and all names, stories and photos will be added to the site. If you have already submitted a story to the site and your UID reference number is higher than 234727, your information is still in the queue, please do not resubmit without contacting us first.

      

We are aware of the issue with missing images, this is due to the redesign of the website, images will reappear as soon as the new version of the page is completed, thank you for your patience.

We are now on Facebook. Like this page to receive our updates.

If you have a general question please post it on our Facebook page.



Wanted: Digital copies of Group photographs, Scrapbooks, Autograph books, photo albums, newspaper clippings, letters, postcards and ephemera relating to WW2. We would like to obtain digital copies of any documents or photographs relating to WW2 you may have at home.

If you have any unwanted photographs, documents or items from the First or Second World War, please do not destroy them. The Wartime Memories Project will give them a good home and ensure that they are used for educational purposes. Please get in touch for the postal address, do not sent them to our PO Box as packages are not accepted. World War 1 One ww1 wwII greatwar great
Did you know? We also have a section on The Great War. and a Timecapsule to preserve stories from other conflicts for future generations.






F/Lt. Herbert Lindsay "Monk" Reynolds 37 Squadron

Lindsay Reynolds or Monk as he was known to his crew, enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in November 1940. Following BCATP training as an Observer in western Canada he set sail for Britain in August 1931. He was assigned to No. 22 OTU at Wellesbourne. Later he was sent to the Middle East. Having sufficient flying time to his credit he and his crew left for Gibraltar from Overseas Air Dispatch Unit, Portreath on 23 March 1942 aboard Wellington aircraft DV517B.

On 31 March the crew were briefed for their six hour and fifty-two minute flight to Malta. Less than two hours after take they were in trouble. Fuel consumption was down. They knew they had to return to Gibraltar. Lindsay launched a ``sea marker`` to get a better reading on wind velocity and direction. On their descent into Gibraltar they flew over a merchant convoy of fifteen ships. Attempting to line up over the runway, they knew it was going to be rough landing. Just prior to crashing Lindsay braced himself with the insteps of both feet against the main spar of the aircraft. The plane crashed on landing and collided with two spitfires. Everything went up in flames, but the crew were able to escape the wreckage. The pilot, P/O Norman Knight was severely traumatized and was quickly removed from the rest of the crew. All the crew were badly shaken up. Lindsay had broken a bone in his foot but decided not to mention it to the medical officer for fear that he would be held back from operations. The crew returned to England aboard the Llanstephan Castle in search of another plane. They did no flying during April and May 1942. Lindsay was showing signs of PTSD, feeling anxious and struggling to concentrate. “After our accident the M.O. seemed to think it quite natural to be so affected but I do wish I could feel more at ease than I do. To rest is utterly impossible, and I dread the thought of flying again…I also find it so hard to study…sometimes I find myself reading and reading and not getting a thing out of it…” (Letter from Lindsay to his brother Arnold, 21 May 1942).

During the last week at Hartwell the crew was assigned another pilot, P/O Sgt. Mackenzie – a Canadian. On 6 June the crew flew to Gibraltar aboard Wellington DV652V. They left Gibraltar for Malta the next day, arriving on the same day as Canada’s Ace, “Daredevil” George Beurling. The crew landed at 21:35 local time. The plan was to refuel as quickly as possible. While refuelling took place the crew was briefed on the next leg of their journey to Egypt. They were informed that they would be transporting civilians – the wife and two children of an officer. Suddenly the briefing was interrupted by a bombing raid. It was imperative that the plane get airborne before it was hit and put out of action. Interrupting the briefing, and rushing to the plane with their precious cargo, they boarded and lined up for take off. The two Wellingtons ahead of them were hit as they attempted to get airborne. Now Lindsay’s crew had slightly less runway to work with and Sgt. Mackenzie, giving it all he had, managed to get airborne avoiding the enflamed wreckage at the end of the runway at Luqa airstrip. They had escaped the bombing, and quickly Lindsay navigated their course away from the enemy airplanes over the skies of Malta. Ninety minutes later they were recalled to Malta. At 01:45 on 10 June they landed at Luqa airfield for the second time in five hours. The fires of bombed and burned wreckage were all around the airfield illuminating the night sky, and the acrid smell of jet fuel and chemicals filled the air. It was a frightening sight. Their passenger, the mother of the two children, had not been informed that they were returning to Malta. She thought she had escaped the nightmare, only to find that she had returned to it. Upon learning of her whereabouts she burst into tears.

The crew spent two eventful days on Malta. During this time Lindsay did a shift as acting air traffic controller at Luqa. He experienced another “first.” Up until that point he had only attended military funerals, but on Malta, because he was “a religious man,” he was required to perform the burial service of a fellow airman killed in the bombing the night before since there was no available padre. At twenty-two years of age, with only the New Testament that he carried in his breast pocket, he dutifully performed his sacred duty. The next day the crew was walking over open ground on their way to Veletta. Just as they reached the middle of the field, out of nowhere came a German fighter pilot swooping down to fire on the airmen in the field. They were like ducks in a barrel. The German pilot came low enough to look into the faces of the airmen,andt to their great surprise and overwhelming relief, rather than firing on them he signalled with his finger and flew off. He could have gunned them down with the push of his thumb, but didn’t have the stomach for it.

The crew arrived at the RAF station at El-Daba, Egypt on 12 June 1942. While at El-Daba the crew was broken up and ordered to different squadrons. Lindsay was ordered to report to 37 Squadron RAF at Abu Sueir. He arrived at Abu Sueir on 30 June. Lindsay’s first night of operations was 8 July 1942. Wellington AD645H was airborne by 22:30 (local time), and Lindsay navigated the plane to the Target – Tobruk. The captain announced that the target was dead ahead and ordered him forward to prepare for the bomb run. He lay on the padded inside panel of the entry hatch to drop his bombs. He heard the pilot say he could see fires in the dock area and some bursting flak. Lindsay called out the approach bearings for the bomb run to the captain, who confirmed he had opened the bomb doors. He flipped his toggles on the bomb panel to arm the bomb. On the final approach he called out course corrections with “left, left…right, left…Hold it, steady, steady…bombs gone!” With that cry from Lindsay Pilot Officer Dudley threw the aircraft into a rather violent bank to port. The interior of the aircraft was suddenly lit up in the orange flash of exploding shells. Suddenly the sky lit up. They were caught in the search lights of the German ground forces. The crew heard the unmistakable sound of flak, too close for comfort. Their skilled and seasoned pilot suddenly took the most violent evasive action, putting the aircraft into a nose dive in an attempt to avoid the enemy search lights. He continued to dive while the crew hung on for dear life. The Wellington vibrated and shook, and all but broke apart as they descended at this accelerated pace. Pilot Officer Dudley then attempted to pull out of the dive. He pulled back on the control column or stick. Nothing happened. The gravitational force was too great. He tried again, and this time he put both feet on the instrument panel and pulled, using the full weight of his body. He was unable to muster enough strength on his own to overcome the gravitational force of the dive. Dudley shouted at the second pilot to help him. Together they put all their weight into it, and pulled back for all they were worth. As the men pulled with all their might, suddenly by shear brute force, the aircraft began to recover from the dive and they were on their way back to base. Later that month P/O J.R. Dudley was awarded the DFC for his courage and skill as a pilot. Lindsay always credited P/O Dudley for saving his life that day. On nights when he wasn’t flying he enjoyed sitting off by himself in the desert looking up into the night sky. This is when he felt closest to God, and would often take his Methodist hymn book with him to read.

He flew throughout July and August, with some time off to visit some of the holy spots of Palestine and some time at the beach. The break was important to the stressed aircrew. In September his crew crash landed in the desert. The crew slept during the heat of the day and walked at night until they were picked up by British forces. After verifying their identities they were returned to base at Abu Sueir.

On 1 October Lindsay was promoted to Warrant Officer. A tour of operations was considered to be 30 operational flights. Lindsay completed an official tour of operations in the month of September, but continued flying with the squadron. He was yet to receive any further orders. They continued to fly, attacking shipping and jetties at Tobruk. Lindsay’s final operation was on 12 October 1942. He ended his tour as he had begun it – bombing enemy shipping at Tobruk. He was finished. The Air Force said so. He had completed a tour of 32 operations, and had logged a total of 251 hours and 50 minutes of operational flying. He was ordered back to Britain. On 23 October, the opening day of the Battle of El Alamein he said good-bye to his crew and 37 Squadron, and travelled to 23 PTC. Yet unknown to him, on the same day he was promoted to Pilot Officer. He would have to wait until his return to Britain to be notified of his promotion.

Lindsay’s return trip to Britain took a total of 87 days. He arrived back in Canada the end of March 1943. Within three months of his arrival home he married his sweetheart, Jean Hull. They enjoyed 62 years of life together, until his death in 2005. Lindsay spent the remainder of the war as a flight instructor at No. 9 AOS at St. Jean, Quebec, and finished with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. By war’s end he had in his possession an Air Observer’s Badge and Operational Wings. Over the course of his service in the RCAF Lindsay had also earned four medals: Africa Star and Clasp; Defence Medal, General Service Medal, and Canadian Volunteer Service Medal. In Canada these medals were not automatically issued to deserving veterans. In the RCAF the onus was oddly on the veteran to make application for any medals he had earned. Lindsay would not apply for the medals that he had earned and was entitled to have, as he” saw no virtue in seeking reward for doing one’s duty”. He had simply done his duty, nothing more, and that was all.

In July 1945 he registered in the Engineering program at McGill University. Upon graduation he was employed by Shell Canada, and continued with them as a chemical engineer until his retirement in 1983. For a more detailed read on the life and service of Lindsay Reynolds see Duty With Honour: The Story of a Young Canadian With Bomber Command

Elizabeth Reynolds



Sgt. James Samuel Sargent DFM. 82 Squadron

James Sargent is my father but, as I was not born until 1945, I don't know too much about his time at RAF Watton except that he was a member of 82 Squadron, flying Blenheim bombers. He was a navigator and flew with Taff Watkins (pilot) and Eric Chandler (gunner). Later, when 82 sqn. was sent to Malta, his aircraft was badly damaged by flak and the pilot (Taff Watkins)was badly wounded in the legs. Although not trained as a pilot, my dad managed to fly the aircraft back to base (Luqa)and Taff Watkins regained enough consciousness to land safely. For this, he was awarded the DSO and Eric Chandler and my father were both awarded the DFM.

My dad continued to fly throughout the war and had a long career in the RAF, retiring as a Sqn. Ldr. Taff, Eric and my dad remained lifelong and both Taff and Eric were my godfathers.

G Sergent



"Taff" Watkins DSO 82 Squadron

Taff Watkins was a pilot in 82 squadron at RAF Watton flying Blenheim bombers, with James Sargent (Navigator) and Eric Chandler (gunner). When 82 sqn. was sent to Malta, his aircraft was badly damaged by flak and he was badly wounded in the legs. Although not trained as a pilot, James Sargent managed to fly the aircraft back to base (Luqa) and Taff Watkins regained enough consciousness to land safely. For this, he was awarded the DSO and Eric Chandler and James Sargent were both awarded the DFM.




Eric Chandler DFM 82 Squadron

Eric Chandler was a gunner flying in Blenheim bombers with 82 Squadron from RAF Watton. Later, when 82 sqn. was sent to Malta his aircraft was badly damaged by flak and the pilot (Taff Watkins)was badly wounded in the legs. Although not trained as a pilot, navigator James Sargent managed to fly the aircraft back to base (Luqa) and Taff Watkins regained enough consciousness to land safely. For this, Taff Watkins was awarded the DSO and Eric Chandler and James Sargent were both awarded the DFM.




Pte. George William Hall 2nd Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment

George Hall was posted to Malta in 1939 where he was defending Luqa Airfield till November 1942. The 2nd Battalion Royal west Kent Regiment was then posted to North Africa. Records are not clear as to when he was captured but family members have told of capture in Malta. George was then marched and moved by train to Stalag IVf Hartmansdorf Chemnitz. Records first list George as missing, however, was reported on 16th of November 1943 as Prisoner in German hands. George was later set free and left the forces in 1946. Not much is know of his time in the battalion but if anyone knows of George please add your stories and comments.

Thomas Bryan







Recomended Reading.

Available at discounted prices.



Duty With Honour: The Story of a Young Canadian With Bomber Command

Elizabeth Reynolds


Lindsay Reynolds or Monk as he was known to his crew, enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in November 1940. Following BCATP training as an Observer in western Canada he set sail for Britain in August 1931. He was assigned to No. 22 OTU at Wellesbourne. Later he was sent to the Middle East.







Links

















    The Wartime Memories Project is a non profit organisation run by volunteers.

    This website is paid for out of our own pockets, library subscriptions and from donations made by visitors. The popularity of the site means that it is far exceeding available resources.

    If you are enjoying the site, please consider making a donation, however small to help with the costs of keeping the site running.



    Hosted by:

    The Wartime Memories Project Website

    is archived for preservation by the British Library





    Website © Copyright MCMXCIX - MMXVII
    - All Rights Reserved