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No. 49 Squadron RAF
No.49 Squadron, RFC, was formed at Dover, Kent, in 1916, and in November 1917, went to France as a day-bombing squadron. In May 1919, the squadron was posted to Germany as part of the Army of Occupation. Post-war disarmament led to its disbandment in July of that year. It was re-formed at Bircham Newton in 1936 as a bomber squadron with Hawker Hinds.
When war came No.49 was flying Hampdens from Scampton, Lincolnshire, and in April 1940, helped inaugurate the RAF's sea-mining campaign, soon after dropping bombs as well as mines.
In 1942 No.49 Squadron converted to Manchesters, then Lancasters, and in October led No.5 Group's epic dusk attack on the Schneider armament and locomotive works at Le Creusot. In 1943 the squadron took part in the first shuttle-bombing raid on Friedrichshafen and Spezia, and the raid on Peenemunde. Among the targets which it attacked during 1944 were the coastal gun battery at La Pernelle on the Normandy coast and the V1 storage sites in the caves at St. Leu d'Esserent on the River Loire. In December 1944, it took part in a raid on the German Baltic Fleet at Gdynia and in March 1945, was represented in the bomber force which destroyed the defences of Wesel just before the crossing of the Rhine.
The Squadron retained Lancasters until it was re-equipped with Lincolns in November 1949.
Airfields No. 49 Squadron RAF flew from.
- RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire. from 3rd Sept 1939 to Jan 1943
- RAF Fiskerton, Lincolnshire. from Jan 1943 to Oct 1944
- RAF Fulbeck, Lincolnshire. from Oct 1944 to Apr 1945
- RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire. from April 1945
List of those who served with No. 49 Squadron RAF during The Second World War
Sgt. Sydney James Hitchings 49 Squadron
My father Sgt Sidney Hitchings was POW number 276 in Stalag Luft 1
WR Chorley’s RAF Bomber Command Losses of Second World War (vol 1939 – 40) states: Night of 4/5 Set 1940 49 Squadron Hampden mk 1 P 1347 EA-D Op: Stettin
- Pilot F/O LM Hodges POW escape report WO 208/3304 S/PG 345
- Observer Sgt SJ Hitchings POW 276
- WOp/AG Sgt JH Wyatt POW escape report WO 208/3303 S/PG 280
- Wop/AG Sgt LC Turnbull POW 285
t/o Scampton. Strayed off course after being fired on by light flak from an airfield in Brittany, the Hampden was force landed in a field near St Brieuc. (Hodges and Wyatt escaped and arrived home via Gibraltar on 31 July 1941. Hodges rose in rank to become Air Chief Marshall Sir Lewis Hodges and was president of the RAF Escaping Society).
My father was one of the early pows in Stalag Luft 1 and the accompanying photos are from there. He was moved to several other camps including Stalag Lufts 3 and 4 and eventually after the forced marches of winter 1944 arrived at Camp 357 from which he was repatriated.
A group photo in front of what appears to be stage set. The reverse shows that it was posted from Stalag Luft 1 and I think the postmark is 1942-7-18. S.J.Hitchings is second from left front row
A propaganda “Christmas Spread” photo but my father told me all of the items were made of paper! SJH 3rd from right. 4th from left (with beard) is Sgt JC Shaw
Sgt JC Shaw (middle) and SJH back right. Others unknown. Sgt Shaw was shot while attempting to escape on the night of 2/3 Jan 42 (see Footprints in the Sands of Time, Clutton-Brock. p46.)
Sgt LC Turnbull
Sgt LC Turnbull (front) and SJH
6. S.J.Hitchings back left, others unknown.
Sgt. Ted "Lad " Cachart 49th Squadron
Warrant Officer. E.B. (Ted) Cachart. Wop/Ag, 49th Squadron (Lancaster) RAF Fiskerton, Lincolnshire - otherwise known as 'Ted the Lad' - was UK’s youngest ever Bomber Command crew member. He managed to enlist at the age of fifteen and, by the age of 18, had been promoted to Sgt. Wop/Ag. In January 1944, Ted and his crew, two of whom were Royal Canadian Air Force, survived a mid-air collision near Berlin, only to become prisoners of war. All crew members of the second Lancaster tragically perished.
At the age of 86, Ted Cachart is on a mission to help other WW2 veterans access lottery funding before the Heroes Return 2 programme ends in January 2012. World War II veterans, their wives, husbands, widows or widowers and, in some cases, accompanying carers are eligible to apply for lottery funding that enables them to visit the countries where they or their loved ones once served. Funds of between £150 and £5,500 are available, depending on the number of people taking part and the destination. There are still many people who are unaware of this programme. It is not just ex-Army, Air Force and Navy personnel who can apply; Merchant Navy, Auxiliary Territorial Service, Navy Wrens and, in some cases, members of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force may also be eligible.
The 'Heroes Return 2' programme was first launched by The Big Lottery Fund in 2004 and has already provided over 50,000 veterans with funding, affording them to travel to places such as France, Holland, Italy, Greece, Malta, India, America, the Far East and North Africa. The scheme was extended by 12 months to allow more veterans to participate, with closing date for applications now being 31st January 2012.
Time is fast running out and Ted Cachart desperately wants to spread the word and help as many people as possible access the funds before it is too late. Having been through the successful application process himself, Ted is offering to help others do likewise. Based on his personal experience, he is offering general advice and free help with the associated form filling.
Ted Cachart knows only too well the bravery shown by the men and women who saw active service during World War II. He experienced the terrors himself, from the exceptionally young age of 15 (he 'embellished' his age in order to enlist), and is now appealing to everyone to spread the word that the 'Heroes Return 2' programme is ending in January 2012. It is hoped that many more people can benefit from this opportunity to travel and pay their final and fitting respects, revisit old battlefields and/or visit the sites where their loved ones fought.
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