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

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- RAF Oakington during the Second World War -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

RAF Oakington

14th Jul 1941 Aircraft Lost

7th Aug 1941 Aircraft Lost

26th Aug 1941 7 Squadron Stirling lost

31st Oct 1941 Aircraft Lost

19th Nov 1941 Aircraft Lost

21st Nov 1941 Aircraft Lost

1st Dec 1941 Aircraft Lost

17th Jan 1942 Aircraft Lost

10th Nov 1942 7 Squadron Stirling lost

11th May 1943 

22nd Jun 1943 7 Squadron Stirling lost

15th Aug 1943 7 Squadron Lancaster lost

3rd Sep 1943 Bomber Command

9th Oct 1943 7 Squadron Lancaster lost

18th Oct 1943 7 Squadron Lancaster lost

18th Nov 1943 Lancaster JA970 lost

22nd Nov 1943 Lancaster JB115 lost

21st Dec 1943 7 Squadron Lancaster lost

2nd Jan 1944 7 Squadron Lancaster lost

6th Jan 1944 7 Squadron Lancaster lost

29th Jan 1944 7 Squadron Lancaster lost

16th Feb 1944 7 Squadron Lancaster lost

16th Mar 1944 7 Squadron Lancaster lost

24th Apr 1944 7 Squadron Lancaster lost

5th May 1945 7 Squadron Lancaster lost

17th May 1944 571 Squadron Mosquito lost

24th Jun 1944 7 Squadron Lancaster lost

13th Sep 1944 7 Squadron Lancaster lost

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

Those known to have served at

RAF Oakington

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Davenport Leslie Ernest James. Sgt.
  • Earngey Edward Joseph. F/Lt.
  • Glover Henry Raymond. Flt.Sgt. (d.25th June 1943)
  • Goodman William Edward. Sgt.
  • Naylor Kenneth. Sgt. (d.30th Nov 1941)
  • Saltmarsh DFC and bar.. Leonard James. Sqd.Ldr.
  • Turner Archibald Clarke. Flt.Sgt.

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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Sgt. Leslie Ernest James Davenport nav. 7 Squadron

I have done alot of research on my Grandad, Leslie Ernest James Davenport. He volunteered for the RAF and was posted with 7 Squadron. At the start of the war he was in training and flew with a Wellington Squadron in Lincolnshire but I have been unable to find any information on this.

I am aware he was with 7 squadron at Oakington in Cambridge. I am aware of 13 of his missions, then on the Sept 7th 1941 he was shot down over Recklinghausen Germany, after a bombing raid to Berlin.

His regular crew wee:

  • F/O D.T Witt - passed away in 1963
  • Sgt. L D A Bolton
  • P/O D.K Deyell
  • Sgt. A.E Burrows - KIA
  • P/O J.L.A Mills - KIA
  • Sgt J.T Prentice - Living in NZ

      Other people I am aware he would have known were: A.H Piper (who passed away three years ago),D.H Williams, F.C Williams, K.O Blunden, E.S Baker, R. Blacklaw, Sgt. Hale, K. Huntley, J.T Copley,

      The crew he was shot down with on the 7th September 1941, were all POWs.

      • F/sgt Alick Yardley - Serv.No 748748 - taken to Stalag Luft 6
      • F/O C.M Hall (RAAF) 402002 - still alive
      • Sgt. J.H Boulton 742790
      • Sgt J. Sutton 746720
      • Sgt A. Speakman 551472
      • Sgt D. Owens 528924

      I have been to the records office at Kew and found all about the raids he was on I know he was based at Oakington with 7 Squadron. He saw active service with 13 missions that I am aware off between June 1941 - September 1941. I am aware of the POW camps he was in as well from Hyderkrug, Sagan, Lamsdorf, Thorn, Fallingbostel.

      I am interested whether anyone has photo's of squadron 7 (Aircrew and planes) or knows if any of the above airmen are still alive and how I could trace them or their families if they have passed?

      My grandad was a navigator and mainly a front gunner. He went on raids such as Cologne, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Bethune (France), La Pallice (France), Borkum Seaplane base, Hannover, Keil, Duisburg, Huls to name some.

      I am aware of the many books which some are in my posession but I would love to know whether any of these veterans are still about. Any information will be greatly recieved. I would love to meet or speak with people that may know my grandad or served in the same squadron. My grandad has sadly passed away in 1988. I was unable to speak to him about the war. I do have photos in my family of some of my grandad and colleagues that maybe of interest to others. Look forward to any info that comes up.

Ian Davenport

Flt.Sgt. Henry Raymond Glover 7 Squadron (d.25th June 1943)

My brother, Henry Glover is mentioned in the "Memoirs of Group Captain T.G. Mahaddie: The story of a Pathfinder." The plane he was in was shot down over Holland and he is buried in Castricum Protestant Churchyard Noord, Netherlands. Plot J Coll.grave 6. His squadron flew Stirlings, from Oakington, Cambridgeshire.

Jean Fielding

Sqd.Ldr. Leonard James Saltmarsh DFC and bar. 7 Squadron

Leonard Saltmarsh served before and after the war in the Surrey Constabulary and I am working on the history of that force. In December 1942 he trained in a Tiger Moth and went on to fly Wellingtons and Lancasters with 7 Squadron, Pathfinders. He was awarded the DFC for actions on the 26th of August 1944 in a raid over Kiel. He flew 99 Operational sorties.

D.F.C. London Gazette 3 October 1944. The original recommendation states:

‘Flying Officer L. J. Saltmarsh has so far completed 17 successful sorties as Pilot and Captain of Lancaster aircraft, and has been most conspicuous at all times for his extremely high standard of courage and resoluteness. On two difficult occasions during daylight attacks on Vaires on 12 July 1944 and on Emieville on 18 August 1944, he observed a crippled bomber proceeding at a very reduced speed away from the target. On both occasions he dropped behind the main bomber stream in order to escort the damaged bomber safely back to England. On 15 August, during a daylight attack on the airfield at St. Trond, one of his engines became unserviceable on the way to the target and the propellor had to be feathered. But inspite of the fact that he was getting behind the main stream, owing to his reduced speed, he pressed on and bombed the target, and secured an aiming point photograph. On the way back from the target another engine became unserviceable but did not deter Flying Officer Saltmarsh from proceeding to and bombing an alternative airfield target with a bomb that had failed to be released over the primary target, and once more he secured an aiming point photograph. He eventually arrived safely over base and made a perfect two-engined landing. It was not until after he had landed that he reported the fact that two engines had become unserviceable during the sortie. This very gallant pilot is strongly recommended for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.’

Bar to D.F.C. London Gazette 16 November 1945. The original recommendation states:

‘This officer has completed 53 operational sorties, of which 28 have been carried out in the squadron, in the Path Finder Force, 18 of them as Captain of a Marker Crew. Flight Lieutenant Saltmarsh is an efficient and skilful pilot who has always shown a strong devotion to duty and a cheerful confidence which has always inspired a high standard of morale in his crew. He has always displayed exceptional fearlessness in the face of danger, complete disregard for personal safety and has pressed home his attacks against the enemy with the utmost determination.’

Leonard James Saltmarsh commenced pilot training at No. 31 E.F.T.S. at De Winton, Alberta in December 1942, and graduated from No. 34 E.F.S. at Medicine Hat in June 1943. Back in the U.K., he attended No. 11 A.F.U. at Shawbury, prior to joining No. 26 O.T.U. at Little Harwood in early January 1944, where he gained experience on Wellingtons, and then attended a conversion unit for Lancasters at Waterbeach, at which place he joined No. 514 Squadron that June.

Thus ensued his first tour of operations, commencing with a strike against L’Hey on the 23 June and ending with another against Emmerich on 7 October, the intervening period witnessing him attack numerous French targets in support of the Allied invasion, but also a number of heavily defended German targets, including Bremen, Dortmund, Saarbrucken, Stettin and Stuttgart. And as confirmed by the recommendation for his D.F.C. after 17 sorties, several of these trips were not without incident, his flying log book further stating that his Lancaster received flak damage during strikes against enemy panzers and transport at Villiers Bocage on 30 June and against a supply depot at Beauvoir on 2 July. Similarly, too, during a visit to Bremen on the night of 18-19 August.

In October 1944, Saltmarsh attended the Path Finder Force’s training centre at Warboys, as a result of which he was transferred to No. 7 (P.F.F.) Squadron at Oakington in the following month, flying his first such sortie on the night of the 11th-12th, against Dortmund. A daylight strike against enemy communications at Julich, in support of General Patton’s troops, followed on the 14th and a night operation to Sterkrade on the 21st, Saltmarsh’s flying log book again noting flak damage. Then on the 29th he flew as support aircraft to the Master Bomber on a raid to Dortmund, a role that he would fulfil with growing regularity over the coming months. Such heavily defended targets as Duisburg, Essen (twice) and Karlsruhe formed the backbone of his operational agenda in December, while January 1945 saw him attacking, among other locations, Hanover, Magdeburg, Munich and Stuttgart, his flying log book noting an encounter with a Ju. 88 on the Munich run. February witnessed his Lancaster carrying out strikes against Dortmund, Gelsenkirchen, Ludwigshaven and Pforzheim, in addition to participating in the famous “firestorm” raid on Dresden on the 13th, an action that Saltmarsh would robustly defend in years to come.

March saw him completing five more sorties to German targets, three of them in daylight, and April another four, two of these in daylight, including Bremen on the 21st, which latter operation marked the end of his operational tour. He did, however, fly three “Cook’s Tours” to the Rhur in May, and ended his career with an appointment in Transport Command in December 1945. Over and above all of this, however, it would appear that he flew 56 “unspecific” sorties of a secret nature, evidence for which is to be found in the following endorsement from “Bomber” Harris. He also flew: Diversions, experimentation of special equipment, including radar, photographic reconnaissance, these top secret sorties and others. In May 1945 he was selected and volunteered to form a new squadron for the continuation of hostilities against Japan.’

Any information on Mr Saltmarsh DFC and Bar would be appreciated

Robert Bartlett

Sgt. William Edward Goodman 7 Squadron

My dad, William Goodman, known as ‘Bill’ joined up on 8 Aug 1940 at the age of 18. He was eventually sent to join 7 Squadron in Oakington on Short Stirlings. He completed 24 sorties and was shot down on his 25th on 7 June 1942 near Blija, Holland. After being processed at the Dulag Luft he was sent to Stalag Luft III and spent a year there. From here he was moved to Heydekrug and then Thorn and Fallingbostel, after which he did a great deal of walking!

The crew, when he was shot down, were: F/O Tayler (Captain), Sgt. Henigman (2nd Pilot RCAF), P/O Earngey (Navigator RAAF), Sgt. Goodman (Front gunner), Sgt. Arnold (Rear gunner), Sgt. MacNamara (engineer), F/O Spry (mid-upper). The plane (W.7471 ‘J’ ) took off at 23-59 on 6th June from Oakington on a sortie to Emden and the records state: ‘Missing. Nothing heard after take-off’.

Whilst at Stalag Luft III he wasn’t one of the escapers, although he helped with maps as this was something that he was most interested in doing. He looked forward to the end of the war, though, and decided to take exams in Book-keeping with a view to getting a job after the war was over. However, he eventually became a police officer with Manchester City Police and remained so until his retirement. He kept in touch with some of his aircrew and POW pals through organisations such as the ex-POW organisation and RAFA.

He left my sister and me a superb manuscript of his memoirs of his whole life and it is those chapters on his WWII experiences that I have now had made into a book: ‘Of Stirlings and Stalags: an air-gunner’s tale’ by WE ‘Bill’ Goodman. He mentions so many of his fellow airmen and POWs that I’m sure it could prove to be useful for those who are wondering what their forbears lives were like during that period of our collective history.

Gill Chesney-Green

Flt.Sgt. Archibald Clarke Turner 7 Sqn

My Uncle Archie Turner joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1940 at the age of 19. He was shipped to England and joined 7 Squadron Pathfinders RAF Bomber Command based at Oakington, 4 miles north of Cambridge, England. In 1943 Archie’s plane, an Avro Lancaster (serial No JB 303, nick-name Freddie), was on a bombing raid targeting Berlin, Germany. As a Pathfinder aircraft they guided other bombers to their targets using flares. The seven crew was made up of 6 Englishman & Archie.
  • Pilot: F/O GA Beaumont from London, England (fallen)
  • Navigator:. Sgt WA Meek from Edinburgh, Scotland (fallen)
  • Bombardier: P/O Ansfield Ted, from Lancashire, England (captured)
  • Flight Engineer: Sgt D. Ashworth, from Lancashire,England (fallen)
  • Radio operator: F/S Wilson D from London, England (fallen)
  • Turret gunner: Sgt PJ Palmer of London, England (fallen)
  • Rear Gunner/Nav: F/S AC Turner, New Zealand (captured)

Sitting in the rear gun turret Archie’s job, as a tail-gunner, was to watch for enemy fighter planes and to shoot them down. About 20 miles northwest of Frankfurt, Germany Archie’s plane came under attack. Below is an excerpt from Flying Officer Ted Ansfield who along with Archie was the only survivors from the attack;

“Another echo suddenly appeared on his screen, he could barely utter a warning cry, the pilot reacted instantly and pushed the craft back to port to initiate a "corkscrew-defence manoeuvre” - but it was too late ... Our Lancaster, "Freddie", had received its deathblow. All four engines, the tanks and the fuselage were ablaze. The bomb doors were jammed and the release button for the bombs stopped responding because the power supply had been interrupted. The hydraulic system had also broken down. I quickly fixed our position on my air-to-ground radar and saw that we were about 20 miles northwest of Frankfurt. I wanted to pass this information on to the crew; however I saw that my radio had been shot away. As I straightened up, to reach my instruments, I also noticed that the sleeve of my flying suit was shot through. I leaned forward and shouted the established position to our Navigator - Bill Meek. He pulled the curtain aside in order to pass the message on to our radio operator who was supposed to report this information to our base, but Dave lay dead on his keyboard. I went forward to assist the pilot in manoeuvring the spinning aircraft. It was no use; we were quickly spiralling to the ground. The flight engineer - Dennis Ashworth - had received the order to "bale out" and removed the front hatch. At my request, he jumped. At that moment, I heard screams. It could really only be the pilot or the navigator, so I went back to the cockpit. But it was the turret gunner who was caught in the flames. This is confirmed by the rear gunner - Archie Turner, a New Zealander. After the command to "bale out", he left his turret and came toward the fuselage. There he saw that the turret gunner - P.J. Palmer - was surrounded by flames. After trying in vain to reach him, he strapped on his already singed parachute and left the aircraft. We tried again to stabilise our "Freddie’s" flight, but it was impossible. Beaumont, the pilot pressed my hand one last time and said: "See you in Hell." So I climbed up and out of the bow - at that moment there was a blinding flash, and from then on I knew nothing more... Our rear gunner Archie Turner maintains that while hanging from his parachute he observed a renewed night fighter attack that led to an explosion. This explosion had torn the aircraft apart. Seeing no parachutes, Archie Turner assumed he was the only survivor." After a number of days on the run Archie was captured by the Germans and taken to a Prisoner of War Camp, where he spent the rest of the war.

Wayne Turner

F/Lt. Edward Joseph Earngey 7 Squadron

Ted Earngey was based at Oakington as a Navigator in a Stirling bomber. His aircraft was shot down by Luftwaffe night fighter on 6th of June 1942 and he spent remainder of war in Stalag Luft III in Sagan, Poland.

Sgt. Kenneth Naylor 101 Squadron (d.30th Nov 1941)

I understand that Ken Naylor, who was 21, was in a flight over the North Sea when there was engine trouble causing the plane to ditch. His mother states two crew members were picked up by fisherman and became German prisoners of war. Ken and at least two others died.

In a documentary shown in England in 2011 an ex Wellington pilot called 'Tiny' Cooling spoke about Ken as a young flyer who everybody liked but nobody took any notice of because he looked like he was 'just out of his pram'. Cooling commented that he once found Ken weeping like a child because his best friend hadn't returned. Three weeks later Cooling was clearing out Ken's room because he hadn't returned.

Rosalie Maher

Recomended Reading.

Available at discounted prices.

Of Stirlings and Stalags: an air-gunner's tale

W. E. Goodman

When William 'Bill' Goodman died in 2002 little did his daughters know the extent of the memoirs he had been writing in the few years before his death. Bill's life, from joining the Raf in 1941 at the age of 18 to his demob in 1948, was fraught with adventure. He describes his service with 7 Squadron at Oakington; he then highlights the terrifying events of the night their Stirling was shot down over Holland, his subsequent incarceration at Stalag Luft 3, periods in other camps and, finally, the long debilitating march back home. All this with fascinating commentary, vivid description and the intimacy of his experience. The reader will meet his fellow airmen and Pows, the man who shot down their Stirling on that eventful night, the heroes of the Dutch resistance and, surprisingly, a kindly and caring guard in Stalag Luft 3! A fascinating first-hand account of a young man's wartime experience.

Black Night for Bomber Command - The Tragedy of 16 December 1943

Richard Knott

"I am not pressing you to fight the weather as well as the Germans, never forget that." So wrote Winston Churchill to Arthur Harris, the Commander-in-Chief of RAF Bomber Command, after the terrible events of 16 December 1943. In the murky dusk almost five hundred heavy bombers, almost entirely Lancasters, set out for Berlin from their bases in eastern England, from north Yorkshire to southern Cambridgeshire. They lifted off at around 4 pm to bomb the target four hours later and were expected to return at midnight. 328 aircrew lost their lives that night - they were the victims of the weather, not the Germans.This book relates the tragic circumstances of individual crews as they struggled to find their home bases in low cloud and fog. It also includes stories from the local people who remember hearing a low-flying aircraft and all too often the frightful explosion as it struck unexpected high ground or even trees. Some rescue attempts were successful, but for most aircrew it was death i


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