- No. 77 Squadron Royal Air Force during the Second World War -
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No. 77 Squadron Royal Air Force
No. 77 Squadron was reformed in June 1937 at Finningley, Yorkshire, as a bomber unit, having been disbanded at the end of the Great War.
Airfields at which No. 77 Squadron were based:
- Driffield. 1939 to 15 April 1940 and 4th May 1940 to 28 Aug 1940
- Kinloss. 15 April 1940 to 4th May 1940
- Linton on Ouse. 8 Aug 1940 to 5th Oct 1940
- Topcliffe. 5th Oct 1940 to 5th Sep 1941
- Leeming. 5th Sep 1941 to 5th Oct 1942
- >Elvington. 5th Oct 1942 to 15th May 1944
- Full Sutton. 15th May 1944 to May 1945.
9th Sep 1939 77 Squadron Whitley lost
11th Nov 1939 77 Squadron Whitley lost
27th Mar 1940 77 Squadron Whitley lost
12th May 1940 Bombing Raid
12th May 1940 Massed raid
11th June 1940 First attack on Italy
23rd Sep 1940 Whitley Lost
17th Apr 1941 Eleven Aircraft Lost
20th Apr 1941 Aircraft Lost
2nd May 1941 Aircraft Lost
9th May 1941 Aircraft Lost
17th May 1941 Aircraft Lost
12th Jun 1941 Aircraft Lost
27th Jun 1941 Aircraft Lost
6th Jul 1941 Aircraft Lost
7th Jul 1941 Aircraft Lost
9th Jul 1941 Aircraft Lost
23rd Jul 1941 Aircraft Lost
30th Jul 1941 Aircraft Lost
5th Aug 1941 Aircraft Lost
6th Aug 1941 Aircraft Lost
2nd Sep 1941 Aircraft Lost
6th Sep 1941 Aircraft Lost
20th Sep 1941 Aircraft Lost
29th Sep 1941 Aircraft Lost
12th Oct 1941 Aircraft Lost
31st Oct 1941 Aircraft Lost
30th Nov 1941 Aircraft Lost
1st Dec 1941 77 Squadron Whitley lost
7th Dec 1941 Aircraft Lost
27th Dec 1941 Aircraft Lost
17th Apr 1943 77 Squadron Halifax lost
28th Aug 1943 77 Squadron Halifax lost
23rd Apr 1944 77 Squadron Halifax lost
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 with
No. 77 Squadron Royal Air Force
during the Second World War 1939-1945.
- Archibald Thomas. F/O (d.13th May 1943)
- Berry Thomas George . Sergeant (d.21st Jan 1944 )
- Brown Victor R .
- Brown Victor R..
- Brown. George William. Sgt
- Bullen Peter Gadsby. FO
- Clark D. A.. Sgt.
- Clark D. S. . W/Cdr
- Cork Cliff.
- Cottam. Cleveland. Sgt (d.9th Oct 1940)
- Currie Alfred Ross. Flt. Sgt. (d.22nd June 1943)
- Currie J.. Sgt.
- Cuthbertson Alfred. Sgt. (d.4th July 1943)
- DeVis Selwyn George. P/O. (d.19th March 1945 )
- Eddleston Maurice Clive. Flt.Sgt. (d.14th Feb 1945)
- Embling. John Robert Andre . W/Cdr
- Fearneyhough Neville Aubrey. Flt Sgt.
- Forster Robert. Sgt. (d.22nd Jun 1943)
- Galletly Andrew William Storrar. P/O.
- Gardner John. Sgt.
- Gerry J.. Sgt.
- Gilbert. D H. Sgt
- Goodhead Leslie Coulton. T/Sgt
- Graham Duncan. P/O
- Graham Duncan. PO
- Grogan Ronald John. F/O.
- Hadingham. David Arthur Charles. Midshipman
- Haffenden Maurice Ernest. Sgt. (d.23rd September 1943)
- Hagan A.. P/O
- Hammond. Albert E. Sgt (d.9th Oct 1940 )
- Hannigan Alexander J. SqdLdr. (d.6th Sep 1941)
- Hardy Sydney John. F/Sgt.
- Harvey Frederick Walter. Flt/Sgt (d.23rd Jun 1944)
- Hawthorne F. G.. Sgt.
- Hewitson C.. Sgt.
- Holroyd . Flt.Sgt.
- Huntley William. Sgt. (d.21st Jan 1944)
- Jones Ronald Charles Cottingham. Sgt.
- Kennedy John James O'Neil. Flt Sgt. (d.16th Feb 1944)
- King Rolph Henry. W/O (d.22nd June 1943)
- Marlow G.. Sgt.
- Matthews Edward Harry. Sgt.
- Miller. Hubert H. P/O
- Newell Norman Lindsay. Flt.Sgt. (d.16th February 1944)
- Nicholson S. H. A.. Sgt.
- Ogier Michael Owen. P/O (d.12th Mar 1942)
- Olding Jack Douglas. Sgt. (d.1st May 1943)
- Pinder Charles Alan . Sergeant (d.21st Jan 1944 )
- Pritchard . F/Lt.
- Renton Dennis . Flight Sergeant (d.21st Jan 1944)
- Roncoroni J. A. . W/Cdr
- Scully Gerard. Sgt. (d.13th May 1943)
- Smith F. K.. Sgt.
- Sutton Edward.
- Thomas Cyril George. Sgt.
- Thorpe. G. Sgt (d.15th Jan 1945)
- Tittley Donald Frank. Sgt.
- Wardman. Joseph Reginald. Sgt (d.15th Jan 1945)
- Waterston John. Flt.Sgt.
- Watson Dennis Sydney. Sgt. (d.15th Feb 1945)
- Whittam wilfred. Sgt. (d.27th Feb 1942)
- Williams Cyril. Sgt. (d.15th Dec 1940)
- Williams Harold William . Sergeant (d.21st Jan 1944 )
- Wilson Samuel James. Sgt. (d.27th Aug 1943)
- Wilson Samuel James. Sgt. (d.28th Aug 1943)
- Wood Arthur. FO (d.14th February 1945)
- Wright Noel William. Sqd.Ldr. (d.24th August 1943)
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. Gerard Scully bomb aimer 77 Sqd. (d.13th May 1943)The the 13th of May 1943 at 06:20 on return to Elvington Halifax KN-K (JB 865) crashed in a field at High Belthorpe farm at Bishop Wilton killing the Pilot F/O Archibald and the Air Bomber Sgt Scully. The remainder of the crew, Sgt C.Hewitson, Sgt J.Gerry, Sgt G.Marlow, Sgt F.K.Smith and Sgt J.Currie, had only minor injuries.
Sgt Scully was taken to his home town and buried at Olton Franciscan Cemetery, Solihull. He was 21 years old, his parents were Thomas and Freda Veronica Scully, of Edgbaston, Birmingham.Mavis Jarvis
F/O Thomas Archibald pilot 77 Sqd. (d.13th May 1943)The the 13th of May 1943 at 06:20 on return to Elvington Halifax KN-K (JB 865) crashed at Bishop Wilton killing the Pilot F/O Archibald and the Air Bomber Sgt Scully. The remainder of the crew, Sgt C.Hewitson, Sgt J.Gerry, Sgt G.Marlow, Sgt F.K.Smith and Sgt J.Currie, had only minor injuries.
This aircraft crashed in a field at High Belthorpe farm. I was almost 14 years of age at the time and helped my mother to take care of the surviving members of the crew. F/O Archibald is buried in Barmby-on- the-Moor at St Catherine's Churchyard, he was 32 years old, the son of John and Janet Archibald and husband of Perla Doris Archibald. Sgt Scully was taken to his home town.
My mother received a letter of thanks from the Commanding Officer of No. 77 Squadron which my brother gave to the Museum at Elvington. There was also a later letter in which he said that the survivors were all flying again, and I would like to know if they survived the rest of the war.Mavis Jarvis
Sgt. John Gardner 77 Sqd.My father was John Gardner, he was shot down in 1943 and survived by using his parachute and is consequently a member of the caterpillar club. He was repatriated at the end of the war.
Lancaster JD205 KN-Y took off at 23:50 on the 21st of June 1943 from Elvington. It was shot down by a night-fighter flown by Hptm Manfred Meurer, of 1./NJG1, and crashed at 02:04 at Esch, Noord Brabant, near Boxtel, Holland. The two airgunners lost their lives,and P/O A.Hagan evaded capture, Sgt Hawthorn initially evaded but was captured in Brussels on the 11th of August 1943 the rest of the crew were taken as Prisoners of War. Sgt Gardner was confined in Hospital due injuries.
The crew were:
- Sgt J.Gardner
- Sgt S.H.A.Nicholson
- Sgt F.G.Hawthorne
- P/O A.Hagan
- Sgt D.A.Clark
- Sgt R.H.King RCAF airgunner
- Sgt A.R.Currie RCAF airgunnerGillian Houghton
Flt. Sgt. Alfred Ross Currie air gunner 77 Sqd. (d.22nd June 1943)Alfred Currie was an airgunner in the same crew as my father, John Gardner. Alfred lost his life in the early hours of the 22nd of June 1943 when their Lancaster was shot down over Holland, he was 33 years old.Gillian Houghton
W/O Rolph Henry King air gunner 77 Sqd. (d.22nd June 1943)Rolph King was an airgunner in the same crew as my father, John Gardner. Rolph lost his life in the early hours of the 22nd of June 1943 when their Lancaster was shot down over Holland.Gillian Houghton
P/O A. Hagan 77 Sqd.P/O Hagan was in the same crew as my father John Gardner. Their Lancaster was shot down over Holland in the early hours of the 22md of June 1943. P/O Hagan evaded capture, the other survivors were taken as prisoners of war.Gillian Houghton
Sgt. F. G. Hawthorne 77 Sqd.Sgt Hawthorne was in the same crew as my father John Gardner. Their Lancaster was shot down over Holland in the early hours of the 22md of June 1943. Sgt Hawthorn initially evaded but was captured in Brussels on the 11th of August 1943.Gillian Houghton
Sgt. S. H. A. Nicholson 77 Sqd.Sgt Nicholson was in the same crew as my father John Gardner. Their Lancaster was shot down over Holland in the early hours of the 22nd of June 1943.Gillian Houghton
Edward Sutton DFM 77 SquadronI am looking for any information on my grandad, Edward Sutton, a Rear Gunner with 77 Squadron, who was awarded the DFM by King George in 1944.Christopher Morgan
T/Sgt Leslie Coulton Goodhead 1473 Flight 11 FTS 109 Squadron 77 SquadronMy father served with 77 Squadron from 24/10/42 to 13/1/44, when he was discharged unfit for further service.
He joined the RFC as a boy, serving from 25/9/1917 to 26/4/19, training as a fitter. He re-enlisted 3/5/1921 to 1/2/1927 becoming an engine fitter and serving in Egypt and Aden. He was in E class reserve and was recalled to service 25/8/1939. He served in France 27/4/1940 to 17/6/1940, when he was able to get a ship to the UK from Brest.
Prior to 77 Sqdn. he served at 11 FTS, 109 Sqdn., Leuchars, and 1473 Flight.
He died in 1967. I have his service papers and a number of photographs from the 1920s of various subjects, plane crashes, Aden countryside, sports teams, etc.Brian Goodhead
Sgt. Samuel James Wilson 77 Squadron (d.27th Aug 1943)I never met my Uncle Jim and I really wish I had, but even though I have never met him I have alway been from an early age very much proud of him. I have been to his Grave in Durnbach War Cemetery when I was a child with my Father, and now thanks to the internet I have learnt much more about life in Bomber command but there is so much more I need to know. My thoughts are with all those brave men who served our crown and country. I know it will be hard but I would love to hear from someone who was in my Uncle's crew or some relative of one of the surviving crew, There name are Bradley, Willis and Graham, their aircraft number was JD383.David Wilson
Flt/Sgt Frederick Walter Harvey 77 Squadron (d.23rd Jun 1944)My Dad, Fred Harvey served in the RAF. He was shot down over Denmark on mine laying duty.He is buried in a cemetary in Faaborg. He was a Wireless Operator. His aircraft was a HalifaxV LL235 77 Squadron, flying from RAF Elvington.Jack Harvey
Cliff Cork 77 SquadronThis 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! sincerelyRod Cork
Flt Sgt. Neville Aubrey Fearneyhough 77 SquadronMy father Neville Fearneyhough (d 2006) was stationed at RAF Elvington with Squadron 77. He was shot down in Holland on 1 May 1943 on the way to bomb Essen.(He was the navigator/observer) Only he and another, Butlin, survived. He was hidden by Dutch resistance leader Dr J Kreimel near Apeldoorn and was put on the escape route via Paris. This had been infiltrated by de Witter and he was betrayed to the Gestapo. He eventually was a POW of the Luftwaffe. He escaped during the retreat from the Red Army but was recaptured and treated for dipththeria in a POW hospital full of Russians with TB. As a POW he taught himself Latin and was able to matriculate.
I can't trace any more wartime information about Joe Kreimel, but I do know he was decorated by Prince Bernhard and I have letters from him to my father after the war. He was a doctor and hid a number of Jews as well as allied Airmen.Sue Christie
Sgt. Donald Frank Tittley 77 SquadronThis fragment, in the possession of his younger brother, is all that can be found of a longer account of the wartime experience written by the late Donald F Tittley. (1434973 WO1 RAF. )
Donald Tittley's Recollections of 77 Squadron RAF. At the Squadron Re-Union in September 1989 I was asked to produce what I could remember of my time at Elvington with 77 Squadron.
It was in July 1943 that I was first introduced to other members of the crew at Rufforth and we were brought to Elvington in a service bus. We were put in a Nissen hut miles away from the station proper. It was a time of considerable activity and losses; we were held in reserve until we replaced a crew that had been lost. This was in the first week in August and before flying operationally as a crew both Peter Garlette, the pilot, and I flew with other crews to gain experience. Our first operational trip as a crew was about the first week in September. From that time on we were on many operations, not always bombing targets in Germany. Our duties included patrols round the British coastline, back-up flights for the air-sea rescue teams and once or twice we were reserve crews for dropping agents into France.
Looking back to these months we spent at Elvington I recall the abysmal Nissen hut site, always muddy and cold in spite of us keeping the stove red hot all day and night. Also it was rat infested and every morning a Land Army girl used to patrol round our site with three fierce ganders who chased the vermin away. Unfortunately they chased us too. We only slept in the huts and the ablutions hut and the Mess was a good ten minutes walk along a railway line and this caused us problems. Should we walk along in pyjamas and greatcoat, dress fully only to disrobe in the shower block and re-dress and go straight in to breakfast? The prospect of being chased by these creatures when in pyjamas and overcoat, given the damage they were said to inflict, made even the carefree reflective. Those geese frightened us more than the Germans.
Away from the Station we led a merry life; locals at Elvington treated us like family and I still marvel at the kindness and tolerance we received from everyone in York. We were spoiled and cosseted everywhere we went. Our noise and foolish, sometimes infantile, pranks were treated with forbearance and we were always pushed to the head of the innumerable queues there were outside cinemas, hairdressers and tea-rooms. It was a strange life we led, enjoying the glorious summer weather, wandering across those broad fields and chatting with the farm workers sowing autumn corn. They incidentally, from regular observation of the fuel tankers round the airfield, could predict with remarkable accuracy our likely target for any given night. Those of us familiar with bees used to help the local Vicar with his colonies. He was a keen beekeeper and endeavoured to supplement the village food supply. On wet days I would spend time combing the bookshops in York. Then as soon as it was dark we could be flying off into conflict. If we were lucky, back in the early hours for breakfast and a brief nap before another day in York. Often we walked to York or some other village and returned by Liberty Bus later in the day. We had a week off duty every seventh week and naturally we all rushed off home or, if you were from abroad, to some club, usually in London. Because of this and being quartered in a dispersal unit, we only ever got to know our immediate neighbours and our own ground crew.
Of the regular Station personnel we knew little except for encounters in the Mess, squabbling for the best armchairs or the morning papers. But one must not forget to mention those wonderful WAAF girls of the kitchen staff who fed us so cheerfully every hour of the day or night. Other wonderful lassies were those in the parachute section; there was to be an occasion when I thanked God for their consummate skill and devotion to duty. Then there were the girls from the transport section who drove us to our aircraft and, on many occasions when we were 'standing- by', would bring us tea and cakes every hour or so. It was not until many years later that I learned that each WAAF gave up a day's pay each month to provide us with these goodies.
The girls from SHQ, the control tower staff, the meteorological office and administration always seemed so cool and professional on duty, but at odd moments one saw a tear stained face. Sometimes when we were discussing operational points or concerns, a girl would rush away and hide herself from view for a time. It took me some time to realise that those who saw us off and awaited our return during the long hours suffered anxieties and stress too.
Our last day at Elvington was cold and icy and there was a low haze hanging over the fields. As we walked from our hut along the familiar railway line to the crew room our boots crunched the thin ice into the mud. It was a damp site and we were often scolded bitterly by our ground crew if we left traces of mud in the aircraft, so we always attempted to clean our boots before clambering aboard. When the usual briefing was over we were transported to Halifax Z Zebra. Scrambling aboard we waited. There was an ominous delay before we trundled down the runway and got airborne. We climbed and I looked for my favourite landmark, Beverley Minster. Its tower was always the last shape discernible in the darkening sky. It was to be forty-five years before I returned to Elvington.
There was the customary flak and searchlights as we approached Texel but after that it was quiet; an ominous sign that the night fighters were out. However, we flew on through occasional cloud and reached the Magdeburg region ahead of schedule. Over the target area we looked for the coloured flares which would mark our target and there were none to be seen. For several minutes we circled round until suddenly a red flare appeared; we lined up on it and proceeded to drop our bombs on to the target, a concentration of secret weapons (later to be called V2s). As we did so a Me 110 appeared on our starboard beam about a mile off. He began to attack us in a classic curve of pursuit. With his 30mm cannon he could hit us from far off, but we continued on our bombing run and as the bomb doors were closing we began taking evasive action. He rapidly closed in and followed us in our corkscrew. Firing again he hit our starboard wing setting it alight, but he had come close enough for our fire to damage him. Both turrets aimed at and hit his starboard wing root. He drifted slightly to port and I gave him two three-second bursts of fire as he closed and flames spurted from his starboard engine. I had shattered his exhausts I think. He broke away smartly, diving to port with his engine aflame. Anyway, were alone in the sky once more and we began to congratulate ourselves when Peter, the pilot, ordered us to prepare to abandon the aircraft. Despite George, the flight engineer, reporting that the starboard engine temperatures were normal there was a fear that the tanks would explode. So we jumped. Tumbling for a few seconds, then in seemingly absolute silence I was gliding very slowly downwards. Above my head was the huge white canopy of my 'chute and below like a beautiful model lay the city of Magdeburg and the river Elbe twisting towards the horizon. Soon I could see the outline of the famous castle and cathedral, then an island, a bridge and some mud banks. As I descended the noise of war resumed. Guns were roaring, tracer shells shot across the sky. The white searchlights began sweeping the sky as the blue master beams signalled them. Now, at what I thought was steeple height, I feared I might land in the river itself. Side-slipping I steered myself into a small field some fifty yards or so from the water and quite near a house landing amidst somebody's washing line and linen. Beyond I saw a yard and the back door of the house which was open. I heard voices so I lay quite still for a while. I saw no-one. I discarded my harness and 'chute by draping it over the washing line with the other sheets. Backing away from the house I discovered I had lost a flying boot in my descent so I threw the other one into a pool of water and ran off in my electric slippers. I cannot remember much after that apart from seemingly walking for a long time. Realising it would soon be day, I searched for a place to hide.
My capture, when it came was almost comical. Quite suddenly somewhere in the darkness to my left I saw flashes then heard rifles being fired seemingly wildly. Not at me, but all over the place. I later learned I had walked into a Home Watch Patrol. I dropped into a ditch full of icy water and tried to sneak along the road. I had gone but a few yards when I almost bumped into a crouching German policeman who, I think, was sheltering from his comrade's rifle fire. He grabbed me and said something in German before shining his torch at me. He joined the others and they led me to the Mayor's house, kicking at the door until he was awakened and came, in his nightshirt, to look at me. Behind him his diminutive wife carrying a most magnificent candelabrum was also in quaint night attire.
Next I was taken to the police station. I didn't know where I was but I saw on the way a signpost with the name Konigsborn. I was treated with a mixture or formal courtesy and kindness. There was only one incidence of ill-treatment when an elderly policeman unfastened his service belt and began to slap my face with it. Immediately the others stopped him and led me down to a basement cell. Some time later while it was still dark a constable opened the cell door and led his wife in to see me. They brought me some soup and a hunk of black bread. In broken English he told me that he and some of the other policemen had been prisoners in Suffolk in the last war. After the soup I fell asleep and dreamed of plucking fowls and tossing the feathers about. Suddenly the feathers began to fall on my face. I woke and discovered that local children on their way to school were dropping pieces of paper on to my face through the iron grating in the cell wall. One young boy spoke to me in good English, even quoting Shakespeare to me to the admiration of his comrades. Further exchanges were curtailed when my policeman chased them off to school. Later in the day another bloodstained airman was led in; it was the bomb-aimer of my crew. In accordance with our training we pretended we did not know each other.
Early the following morning we were collected by Luftwaffe guards and driven to a Luftwaffe station. We soon discovered that all movements of people and goods happened in the hours of darkness. There were about eight of us sitting inside this canvas topped truck; we couldn't see each other and as we tried to give clues as to identity the guards would shout 'Silence, silence' and cock their rifles. We arrived at Kȍthen, a celebrated Luftwaffe base just as day broke. After formal registration in the Adjutant's office, we were put in solitary confinement in the sparkling clean cells of the service lock-up. The feeding was meagre, a slice of black bread and honey at 0630; a bowl of soup at midday and a slice of bread at 1800. This and the fact there was nothing to read or do were the chief hardships. At odd times in the day an officer would visit us or the gaoler would let us out for a brief chat to some of the others. I always remember the man in the next cell to me was a German pilot serving four weeks for low flying offences.
About a week later we were taken in small groups across Germany to Frankfurt am Mainz to the central interrogating centre called Dulagluft. Again life was lonely and boring, confined in cells little bigger than a wardrobe. One could only lie and look at the plain walls or the barred window. The lighting and heating were controlled centrally so were in constant glare of electric lights. The heating fluctuated ceaselessly from very cold to intense heat and one could only dress and undress to keep any sense of comfort. It was while I was stripped naked during a hot session when the guard the guard came to take me for interrogation. Hurriedly dressing myself I was bustled away to a large airy room. There at a desk sat a German officer; around him English books, papers and cigarettes. The walls were covered in English maps and illustrations. When I refused cigarettes, there was a choice of brand, he promised to try and get me a pipe and tobacco. In common with others I was astonished at the personal details he knew about me, my crew and Squadron. We chatted amicably enough for several minutes about different English verbs; what was the difference between to occupy and to reserve a seat? He then wanted to know why I had failed to become a pilot. I hadn't told him this. He was guessing I had trained in England not knowing of course I had been an instructor in Canada before commencing operational flying. By this I was afterwards able to work out the sources of his intelligence. There must have been an excellent filing system containing all references to the RAF personnel in the British press including birthday greetings and such like. This linked with your service number gave them a basic outline which could be filled in by interrogating other prisoners.
Soon after this we were moved to a transit camp in the middle of Frankfurt. Here there was an English army officer and a Sergeant-major in charge. These two were a source of worry to me months later. Suddenly one evening just as it got dark we were loaded into trucks and driven to a nearby railway siding. Here we were loaded into cattle trucks, twenty five to each wagon; by the use of barbed wired screens the guards divided us into two groups, leaving space for themselves in front of the doors. For over a week we travelled across Germany, Poland and into Lithuania. Every five or six hours we stopped, often outside a town, where we would be allowed to stretch our legs under close guard. Two of us would be detailed to collect large buckets of coffee or soup from a military canteen or club. At Frankfurt am Oder I walked about half a mile along the track to collect coffee from the rear of a military canteen. As I stood there I glimpsed through the serving hatch and saw a crowd of German servicemen on their way to the Eastern Front. They eyed me in a strange wistful manner. Another occasion, with the same guard, I stood on a station platform. I was in Germany but the other side of the track the platform was in Poland. On either side of the railway tracks were fields littered with rusting burnt-out tanks, trucks, horse drawn carts and other battle relics. It was here the war had begun.
Some time in March we finally reached our prison camp. It was at a place called Heydekrug in Lithuania. In a way I suppose I had reached my next RAF station. It was Stalag Luft VI and I had a new number - 913.John Tittley
P/O Michael Owen Ogier 77 Sqd. (d.12th Mar 1942)My uncle, Michael Ogier, was with 77 Squadron during its time at RAF Leeming. He was killed on a sortie over Germany on 12 March 1942 but was posted "missing believe killed". I also believe he flew with a John Jordan who told me that my uncle is buried in Yorkshire, presumably near to RAF Leeming. I would love to find out where he is buried so I can visit his grave. His parents and also his brother are no longer with us so I feel it my duty to try and locate his grave.
Editors Note: CWGC records that Michael Ogier has no known grave, he is commemorated on the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede in Surrey along with the other members of his crew: P/O J.Spalding, Sgt E.P.Hanrahan, Sgt J.W.Dale and Sgt J.M.Parker.James Ogier
P/O Duncan Graham 77 SquadronI know very little about my father's experience as a pilot with 77 squadron, and would welcome any scrap of info anyone may be able to provide.Roger Graham
Flt Sgt. John James O'Neil Kennedy 77 Sqd. (d.16th Feb 1944)John was a bomb aimer on Halifax Bomber LW341. The plane was shot down on a mission to Berlin which left RAF Elvington on 15th February 1944. It crashed into the Baltic Sea, and John's body was never found. One member of the crew was buried on the Danish Island of Keppel. John was a member of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and was just 20 when he died. He is commemerated at the Runnymede Memorial on Panel 219.Paul Kennedy
Sgt. Alfred Cuthbertson 77 Sqd (d.4th July 1943)Halifax 2 JB856 of 77 sqd. was guided down by lady R/T operator on 4th July 1943 early in morning 04.15 hrs and landed at RAF Benson. Sgt Alfred Cuthbertson, upper gunner lost his life as well as Sgt. C.McKenzie Goudy rear gunner. The W/op was also seriously injured. They had returned from a raid on Cologne. The aircraft appears to have been finally lost in October of that year. I believe I have notes made at the time by R/T and was flying on 3 engines. She calls for an ambulance and the M.O.
I would like to know who was the Pilot and rest of crew? I hope they survived. Can anyone throw any more light on the this unfortunate landing.Anne Williams
Sgt. Ronald Charles Cottingham Jones DFM. 77 Sqn.Ron Jones was my father and served as a Flight Engineer with 77Sqn from April 1943 to Sept 1943. During this time he flew 28 Ops with Sgt.Pilot Officer Smith and one with FltLt Williams. His DFM was awarded later, on his second Operational Tour with 156Sqn. Part of his citation reads "This NCO received no recognition for his first tour which was carried out on German targets with No. 77 Squadron."Martin Jones
Sgt. Robert Forster 77 Sqd. (d.22nd Jun 1943)I am the great niece of Sergeant Robert Forster. I have recently been asked by my Grandmother to find a memorial or grave for him. I have done so and found that he is remembered on Panel 149 of the Runnymede Memorial.Ashleigh Wood
Sgt. Samuel James Wilson 77 Squadron (d.28th Aug 1943)My uncle served with the 77 squadron from 12/01/43 until his death 28/08/43 his name and rank is Sgt. Samuel James Wilson †mid upper gunner, he was shot down over Nurberg.David Wilson
Sgt. wilfred Whittam 77 Squadron (d.27th Feb 1942)My grandfather was stationed at RAF Leeming. His name was Wilfred Whittam and he was a sergeant in the RAF Volunteer Reserve working as an air gunner/wireless operator on Whitley aircraft. He was killed in action on February 27th 1942 and is buried in Driesum Churchyard in the Netherlands.Sarah Whittam-Howsam
Flt.Sgt. "Herby" Holroyd 77 Sqd.Wilf Matthews
Sgt. Edward Harry "Ted" Matthews B Flt 77 squadronI was a Flight Engineer with 77squadron. 1944 - 1945, flying Halifax 111 and V1s.Ted Matthews
F/O. Ronald John Grogan 77 SquadronThe following crew were members of No 77 Squadron RAF
F/O R J Grogan was also in Stalag Luft III, Sagan Jun 1944 - Mar 1945. I believe Flt Lt Goodman was in the same camp for the same time.
- Pilot Flt Lt F V S Goodman RCAF (42215) - Stan
- Flight Engineer Sgt J Crump - Jack
- Navigator Plt Off T F Cusson - Tommy
- Bomb Aimer Fg Off R J Grogan (51671) - Ron
- Wireless Operator FSgt C S Cork RAAF (Aus 422429)- Cliff
- Air Gunner Sgt G A Hewitt - George
- Air Gunner Sgt A L Hudson - ArtherJohn Grogan
PO Duncan Graham 77 SquadronMy 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 )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
SqdLdr. Alexander J "Hindy" Hannigan 77 Squadron (d.6th Sep 1941)Sqd Ldr A.J. Hannigan attended Castleknock College, Dublin, Ireland from 1929 to 1935 and was an honour student and he was killed at the age of 24. The school is in the process of recording and honouring the 60 past pupils that died in service in WWI and WW2. We are seeking any pictures of Sqd Ldr Harrington or any information his flight crew or if possible a contact for any relatives. We are going to produce a book to record their short lives for future pupils and staff.Alex Murray
F/Sgt. Sydney John Hardy 102 SquadronSydney Hardy served from 1939 - 1949 surviving the war, having flown with 77 squadron and 102 squadron.Colin Hardy
Sgt. William Huntley 77 Sqd. (d.21st Jan 1944)My uncle William Huntley was in the RAF and was based at Elvington in Yorkshire. Details below of the mission and crew of only which one survived. The dead are buried in the Berlin War Cemetery. William Huntley was Killed in action 21st January 1944 aged 19 years. They took off at 20:10 hours in aircraft JD471 KN-A on ops to Magdeburg
- Lyon, Aubrey Kenneth Lawson, Flight Sergeant, (pilot) 1320186 -killed.
- Sergeant Charles Alan Pinder (flight engineer) 1623092 - killed.
- Flight Sergeant Dennis Renton (navigator) 1439513 -killed.
- Sergeant Harold William Williams (b/a) 1336295 -killed.
- Sergeant E W Gumm (wireless operator) -Prisoner of War.
- Sergeant Thomas George Berry (mid-upper gunner) 913231 -killed.
- Sergeant William James Huntley (reargunner) 1890773 -killed.John Huntley
Sergeant Thomas George Berry 77Sqd (d.21st Jan 1944 )flew from Elvington as a mid-upper gunner
Victor R Brown 77 Sqd.Victor Brown served as a pilot with 77 squadron.
W/Cdr D. S. Clark 77 Sqd.Wind Cmdr Clark was C.O. of 77 Sqd. from Sept to Dec 1944
W/Cdr John Robert Andre Embling. 77 Sqd.John Embling was C.O. of 77 Sqd. from April to Dec 42.
Sergeant Charles Alan Pinder 77 Sqd. (d.21st Jan 1944 )Charles Pinder was a flight engineer with 77Sqd he was killed on 21st January 1944 on Ops flying from RAF Elvington..
Flight Sergeant Dennis Renton 77 Sqd. (d.21st Jan 1944)Dennis Renton was a navigator with 77Sqd killed on 21st January 1944 on Ops.
W/Cdr J. A. Roncoroni 77 Sqd.W/Cdr J.A. Roncoroni C.O. 77 Sqd. from Oct 43 to Sept 44 flying from RAF Elvington.
Sergeant Harold William Williams 77Sqd (d.21st Jan 1944 )Harold Williams served with 77Sqd he was killed on 21st January 1944 on Ops, flying from RAF Elvington.
Sgt. Jack Douglas Olding 77 Sqdn. (d.1st May 1943)My uncle, Sergeant a/g Jack Douglas Olding, RAF was killed in action on 1st May, 1943, somewhere over Germany. He is buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein, Westfalen.
I would like to know in which raid he was taking part and in what type of plane he was flying when he died. Any other information would also be much appreciated, such as how old he was at the time of his death. As far as I know, he has no other family left for me to ask.Mark Olding
Flt.Sgt. John Waterston 77 SquadronJohn Waterston was in the RAF and in 1943, held the rank of Flight Sergeant. As a crew member of 77 Squadron based at RAF Elvington, Yorkshire and crewing a Halifax V, serial LL121, code KN-G was shot down Dec 20/21 1943 while on a mission to Frankfurt, by what is believed to be by either JU88 or Bf110 of 8./NJG3 night fighter squadron, piloted by, again not confirmed, Oblt. Paul Zorner, from Hintermellingen, near Frankfurt. Two of the crew died, while the other five including John were held as POW's. John was held at Stalag IVB. He survived the war passing away in 2002.Peter Hill
Victor R. Brown DFC 77 Sqdn.My late father Victo Brown was a pilot from 1938 until 1946, with over 6,902 hours of flying. He was with many squadrons, among them 77 Sqdn at Elvington and Full Sutton and 187 Sqdn at Membury. If anyone knew my father or has information about 77 and 187 Squadrons, I would be grateful to hear from them. I am not sure if he was a F/O or a F/Lt, and I think he may have won the DFM. I am waiting for his records to confirm these details.Vanessa St.John-Brown
F/Lt. Pritchard 77 Sqdn.F/Lt Pritchard flew with 77 Squadron from Elvington during WWII.
P/O. Andrew William Storrar "Joe" Galletly 77 SquadronP/O Andrew Galletly from Mackay, Queensland, Australia, flew with 77 Squadron on Halifaxes from June 1943 until the last operation on 21st January 1943 to Magdebug. He was taken off active flying because of ill health, returned to Australia and was demobbed in August 1945.Christopher Morgan
Sqd.Ldr. Noel William Wright 77 Squadron (d.24th August 1943)Noel William Wright was my father's cousin They were both born and raised on the Darling Downs, Queensland, Australia.
Noel was an only child whose mother passed away after he was born. My father grew up with Noel and with a lot of cousins. Dad recalls how Noel was hopeless at driving a car, never getting used to the clutch and brakes, angaroo hopping down the road!
Another memory of my father's, was when he received a letter from Noel, stating that he had a few close calls while on previous bombing missions, he had a feeling his time was just about up. When Dad finally received this letter, Noel was killed over Berlin 24 August 1943.Ross Mc Mahon
FO Peter Gadsby Bullen DFC 77 SquadronMy 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
Sgt. Dennis Sydney Watson 77 Squadron (d.15th Feb 1945)Sergeant (Air Gunner) Watson was the son of William and Alice Watson of Goole, Yorkshire. He was 20 when he died and is buried in a joint grave 2-60 in the Bogo Churchyard in Denmark.S Flynn
Flt.Sgt. Maurice Clive Eddleston 77 Squadron (d.14th Feb 1945)Flight Sergeant (Wireless Op./Air Gunner) Maurice Eddleston is buried in the Barup Churchyard, in Denmark.S Flynn
FO Arthur Wood 77 Squadron (d.14th February 1945)Flying Officer (Air Bomber) Wood was the son of Wilfred and Lizzie Wood of Heaton Norris, Stockport, Cheshire.
He was 22 when he died and is buried in grave I. 6. 355 in the Brarup Churchyard in Denmark.S Flynn
Flt.Sgt. Norman Lindsay Newell 77 Sqdn. (d.16th February 1944)Flight Sergeant Newell was the Son of Norman Sidney Weirick Newell and Mavis Newell; husband of Margaret Newell, of Mortdale, New South Wales, Australia.
He was 30 when he was killed in a flying Battle and is buried in Row 9. Grave 8 in the Kappel Churchyard in Denmark.S Flynn
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