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No. 37 Squadron RAF
No. 37 Squadron, RFC, was formed as an experimental squadron at Orfordness, Suffolk in 1916, absorbed by the experimental station at Orfordness, and re-formed as a Home Defence squadron at Woodham Mortimer, Essex. In 1919, No. 37 was re-numbered 39 Squadron.
In April 1937, the squadron was re-formed as No. 37 (Bomber) Squadron from a nucleus provided by No.214 Squadron. It was equipped with Handley Page Harrows at first, but by the outbreak of the Second World War was flying Vickers Wellingtons.
A mission on 18th December 1939 was so disastrous (a force of 22 Wellingtons, six from No. 37 and the remainder from Nos. 9 and 149 Squadrons, were pounced upon by Bf109s and 110s to which the Wellingtons had no reply owing to their limited fields of fire. In this operation No. 37 lost five of its six aircraft. A direct outcome of this air battle was the decision to fit Wellingtons with armour plate and self-sealing fuel tanks.
In November 1940, by which time it had flown many more operations in Northern Europe - the great majority of them night-bombing operations - No. 37 moved to the Middle East to support allied operations in that region for the remainder of the war. On 2 October 1945 the Squadron moved to Palestine but returned to Egypt in December where it was disbanded on 31 March 1946.
Airfields flew from.
List of those who served with No. 37 Squadron RAF during The Second World War
L.A.C John Charles Sharpe MID. 37 Sqd.
My father served with 102 Squadron from 21/08/ 39 to 14/06/40.He was an air gunner for the period 01/01/40 to 14/06/40.He joined 37 Squadron on 29/09/40 and shipped to the Middle East on 13/11/40. He remained with this Wellington squadron until his return to the U.K in early 1944 seeing service in the Middle East, Greece & Italy.His rank on return was Corporal and he was mentioned in Dispatches on 01/01/43
W/O Harry Barber 37 Squadron
I am still trying to find out more about what happened to my grandad, Harry Barber but I do know that he joined the RAF as a brat (underage at 15), and that he flew Wellingtons as a wireless operator with 37 Squadron.
He was shot down over Tunisia mid-43 and was captured with the four other survivors of his crew after nine days (surviving on lizards and suffering a broken arm). We know that the Germans who found him and his crew were inclined to shoot them, but their senior officer saw how young they all were (around 19) and took them prisoner and went by the rules.
They were taken to Stalag Luft III, and a bit later split up, with two sent to other camps while my grandad and his crew member Sqdn Ldr Bob Nelson - who is famed for inventing the ventilation system of the escape tunnels for the great escape - remained at Stalag Luft III.
My grandfather was not part of the escape, as only a few days before had tried to make a break for it and had been caught. He spent his 21st birthday in solitary, with the German guard taking pity and giving him an extra slice of bread. If he hadn't been in solitary due to his impatience, he would have been one of the men most likely shot after the escape. After the war, he went on to become a commercial airline pilot with a few different airlines. He died before I was born and so I never got to hear any of his stories first hand. If anyone knows anything else about my grandfather, please get in touch via the website if possible, as I would love to find out more about his time in the RAF.
Cpl. John Charles Sharpe MID. 37 Sqd.
my father, Jack Sharpe served with 37 squadron in the Middle East and Italy from September 1940 to September 1943 as an airframe fitter having been with 102 squadron at Driffield from July 1938 to to August 1940 (some of this time as an air gunner). He appeared in an article in Americas Life magazine dated 10th June 1940 entitled "The RAF fliers are young and brave", where he is pictured in the rear turret of a Whitely.
Ft.Lt. Arthur Benjemin "Mobs" Mobley AFC. 37 Squadron
My father, Arthur Mobely served at Feltwell in 1939/40 with 37 Squadron.
Wing Co. Kenneth Wallis 37 Squadron
I am a volunteer involved in the restoration of the Royal Flying Corps airfield at Stow Maries in Essex. It was one of the three stations that No 37 squadron was based at in WW1. I am creating a display of the full history of 37 Squadron and during my research, discovered that Wing Commander Wallis was a member of this Squadron. Ref The lives of Ken Wallis. He is famous for his developements to the Autogyro and many other inventions. He was a Wellington Bomber pilot during WW2. He lives in Norfolk and still flies at the age of 94.
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