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No. 97 (Straits Settlements) Squadron Royal Air Force in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- No. 97 (Straits Settlements) Squadron Royal Air Force during the Second World War -


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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

No. 97 (Straits Settlements) Squadron Royal Air Force



   No. 97 was re-formed in September 1935 as a night-bomber squadron at Catfoss. In June 1938 it ceased to be an operational squadron and became part of an air observers' school. In March 1939 it became a No. 4 Group pool squadron moving to Abingdon and the No. 6 (Training) Group. In April 1940 No 97 merged with 166 Squadron and SHQ Abingdon to form No.10 OTU.

In May 1940 it again re-formed at Driffield in No. 4 Group as a Whitley heavy bomber squadron but disbanded again same month. In February 1941 it re-formed at Waddington in No. 5 Group as a heavy-bomber squadron equipped with Avro Manchesters; it moved to Coningsby and began operations against Fortress Europe, converting to Lancasters in 1942. In 1942 and in conjunction with No. 44 Squadron, No. 97 made a historic low-level daylight attack on MAN Diesel engine works at Augsburg, took part in 1,000-bomber raids on Cologne, Essen and Bremen, took part in No. 5 Group's dusk attack on the Schneider locomotive and armament works at Le Creusot and the Group's (and Bomber Command's) first daylight attack on Italy (Milan). In 1943 No. 97 moved to Bourn, joined No. 8 (PFF) Group and became a marker squadron, illuminating the Zeppelin works at Friedrichshafen and an Italian naval base at Spezia for the first shuttle-bombing raid. In April 1944 No. 97 returned to Coningsby and No. 5 Group to help lead the Group against separate targets, flying its final offensive mission in April 1945.

In the Second World War No.97 Squadron flew a total of 4,091 operational sorties and lost 130 aircraft. The following decorations were awarded to members: 21 DSOs, 222 DFCs, 2 bars to DFCs 157 DFMs, 2 bars to DFMs 1 OBE and 1 BEM.
Airfields No. 97 Squadron RAF flew from.

  • RAF Leconfield, Yorkshire. from 3rd to 17th Sep 1939
  • RAF Abingdon, Berkshire. from 17th Sep 1939 to 8th Apr 1940 (became No. 10 OTU)
  • RAF Driffield Yorkshire. reformed 1st May 1940 to 20th May 1940 (disbanded)
  • RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire. reformed 25th Feb 1941 to 10th Mar 1941
  • RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire. from 10th Mar 1941 to 2nd Mar 1942
  • RAF Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire. from 2nd Mar 1942 to 18th Apr 1943
  • RAF Bourn, Cambridgeshire from 18th Apr 1943 to 18th Apr 1944
  • RAF Coningsby from 18th Apr 1944


 

10th May 1941 Aircraft Lost

15th May 1941 Aircraft Lost

26th Jun 1941 Aircraft Lost

6th Jul 1941 Aircraft Lost

7th Aug 1941 Aircraft Lost

12th Aug 1941 Aircraft Lost

16th Aug 1941 Aircraft Lost

13th Sep 1941 Aircraft Lost

14th Sep 1941 97 Squadron Manchester lost

28th Sep 1941 97 Squadron Manchester lost

28th Sep 1941 Aircraft Lost

20th Oct 1941 Aircraft Lost

18th December 1941 Attack on the Scharnhorst

18th Dec 1941 Aircraft Lost

8th Jan 1942 97 Squadron Manchester lost

31st March 1942 Second Attack on the Tirpitz

17th Apr 1942 Daylight Raid

27th April 1942 Third Attack on the Tirpitz

28th April 1942 Fourth Attack on the Tirpitz

23rd Nov 1943 97 Squadron Lancaster lost

28th Jan 1943 97 Squadron Lancaster lost

24th Sep 1943 97 Squadron Lancaster lost

3rd Dec 1943 97 Squadron Lancaster lost

30th Mar 1944 Aircraft Lost

25th Apr 1944 97 Squadron Lancaster lost

5th Jun 1944 Aircraft Lost

6th Jun 1944 Lancaster Lost

12th Sep 1944 97 Squadron Lancaster lost


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



Those known to have served with

No. 97 (Straits Settlements) Squadron Royal Air Force

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Ace J. H. . Sgt.
  • Ace J. H. . Sgt.
  • Aherne J. B. . F/Sgt.
  • Alexander W. E. . Sgt.
  • Allen S J. Sgt (d.27th June 1942)
  • Annett H. C. . F/O
  • Arney H. J. . W/O
  • Arnold A. . F/O
  • Arnold A. . F/O
  • Ashpole G. J. . Sgt.
  • Ashpole G. J. . Sgt.
  • Atkins R. C.C. . F/O
  • Baker H. A.B. . F/L
  • Baker R. C.W. . W/O
  • Baldwin L. S. . F/Sgt.
  • Balsdon D. F. . W/C
  • Barker K. S.H. . F/O
  • Barlow L. . F/Sgt.
  • Bean H. . F/L
  • Bell J. . Sgt.
  • Bell R. R. . F/Sgt.
  • Benbow James. W/O
  • Bendix J. L. . F/O
  • Bird G. O.L. . F/L
  • Bischlager H. . Sgt.
  • Black T. W. . F/O
  • Botsford K. C.J. . F/Sgt.
  • Bray R. T. . Sgt.
  • Bray W. T. . F/Sgt.
  • Bronson C. R. . Sgt.
  • Brown W. A. . P/O
  • Bryan-Smith M. . S/L
  • Bryan-Smith M. . S/L
  • Bryans W. S. . W/O
  • Buchan E. . Sgt.
  • Bucknell G. C. . F/O
  • Bull L. J. . F/Sgt.
  • Burbridge Frank Peter. F/Lt. (d.22nd November 1943)
  • Burgess R. H. . Sgt.
  • Burnell A. W.A. . P/O
  • Burt E. C. . F/L
  • Cannon P. G. . F/Sgt.
  • Carlton A. E. . F/L
  • Carlyle S. . P/O
  • Carter E. J. . W/C
  • Carter R. D. . F/O
  • Carter R. D. . F/O
  • Chalmers D. . F/Sgt.
  • Chambers A.. F/L
  • Chapman J. R. . W/O
  • Chappell H. D. . F/Sgt.
  • Cheatle R. H. . F/Sgt.
  • Clement C. . F/Sgt.
  • Clinch J. J.. Flt.Sgt
  • Clinch J. J.. F/Sgt.
  • Conley R. J. . F/L
  • Coombs A. J.R. . P/O
  • Coster J. S. . F/Sgt.
  • Cottman J. D. . F/O
  • Cowan J. E. . F/Sgt.
  • Cowen W. J. . F/O
  • Coxhead F. E. . Sgt.
  • Crawford J. M. . W/O
  • Cremins T. D. . F/Sgt.
  • Cross J. W. . Sgt.
  • Cumming John. Sgt. (d.30th July 1943)
  • Currie H. . Sgt.
  • Daitz L. B. . F/Sgt.
  • Datta Ramesh Chandra. F/O. (d.9th July 1943)
  • Davies R. G. . F/Sgt.
  • Devine E. J.. Sgt. (d.21st Jan 1944)
  • Dexter A. R. . Sgt.
  • Dickin R. C. . Sgt.
  • Diggle L. . F/Sgt.
  • Drawbridge H. . F/O
  • Dudley R.. F/Sgt. (d.21st Jan 1944)
  • Duffy M. H. . Sgt.
  • Dunae A. . W/O
  • Dunbar John Alexander. F/Sgt. (d.30th July 1943)
  • Dunning G. E. . P/O
  • Dunning G. E. . P/O
  • Durn M. . F/Sgt.
  • Dyke G. C. . F/Sgt.
  • Eastwood J. . F/Sgt.
  • Eaton W. . F/O
  • Edwards H. W.J. . F/L
  • Edwards S. A. . P/O
  • Elkington J. . F/Sgt.
  • Ellsmere R. O. . F/O
  • Eustace F. E. . F/O
  • Evans Des .
  • Evans Des.
  • Evans Des.
  • Evensen J. E.H. . Sgt.
  • Fairbairn J. . F/Sgt.
  • Farish J. . P/O
  • Farmer L. D. . Sgt.
  • Farrell J. McF. . F/Sgt.
  • Fell G. G. . Sgt.
  • Fentiman Douglas Charles. (d.30th July 1943)
  • Fentiman Douglas Charles. Sgt. (d.30th July 1943)
  • Few J. . Sgt.
  • Fletcher J. D. . F/L
  • Fraser D. A. . F/Sgt.
  • Friend A. W.. F/O (d.27th Jun 1942)
  • Frost K. . F/O
  • Gibson J. L. . Sgt.
  • Gibson T. H. . W/O
  • Giddings B. W. . P/O
  • Girling C. J. . P/O
  • Glasby H. . P/O
  • Grant H. . F/Sgt.
  • Grant Leslie Kenneth Alexander. F/O (d.17th December 1943)
  • Hadlington J. D. . F/Sgt.
  • Hall Eric . Cpl.
  • Hammond George Noel. F/O (d.30th July 1943)
  • Hannah W. . F/O
  • Hannigan W. P. . Sgt.
  • Harrison L. L. . Sgt.
  • Harvey D. E.D . P/O
  • Harvey M. C. . F/Sgt.
  • Hawkes F. S. . F/O
  • Hayward E E. Sgt (d.27th June 1942)
  • Heap R. . F/Sgt.
  • Heinish R. . Sgt.
  • Higgs R. M. . S/L
  • Hill G. J. . F/Sgt.
  • Hill H. T. . F/O
  • Hines B. J. . F/L
  • Hobbs E. J. . F/Sgt.
  • Holt F. . Sgt.
  • Howells G. E.W. . F/O
  • Hudson P. . F/Sgt.
  • Hughes L. F. . F/Sgt.
  • Hunt N. F. . Sgt.
  • Hunt W. J. . F/L
  • Hutt K. J. . F/Sgt.
  • Hutton E. C. . Sgt.
  • Imison G. P. . Sgt.
  • James R. A.V. .
  • Jardine W. B. . F/O
  • Jespersen F. V. . F/O
  • Johnson G. S. . F/L
  • Johnson M. A. . Sgt.
  • Johnson M. A. . Sgt.
  • Jones C. A. . W/O
  • Jones L. W. . Sgt.
  • Jones L. C. . F/L
  • Kendall G. H. . P/O
  • Kent H. M. . Sgt.
  • Kerr F. Y.D. . Sgt.
  • Keys N. R. . F/Sgt.
  • Knight J. B. . F/Sgt.
  • Kolar C. C. . Sgt.
  • Lambert A. L. . W/O
  • Leatherland D. . S/L
  • Lennie D. S. . Sgt.
  • Lennox L. A. . F/Sgt.
  • Lopez R. H. . F/O
  • MacAllister R. . F/Sgt.
  • Maclean I. H. . F/O
  • Madge J. G. . W/O
  • Magnus K. B. . Sgt.
  • Manley W. J. . F/Sgt.
  • Manners F. W. . Sgt.
  • Mannion K. . F/Sgt.
  • Marks Douglas James. F/Sgt. (d.30th July 1943)
  • Marrable A. J. . F/Sgt.
  • Marsh P. A.. F/Sgt. (d.21st Jan 1944)
  • Martin F. E. . Sgt.
  • Martin F. . Sgt. (d.21st Jan 1944)
  • Mathews Sidney John. Cpl.
  • Mayhew L. C.G. . F/Sgt.
  • McAllister J. . Sgt.
  • McCleod L. A.J. . S/L
  • McCormack R. . F/Sgt.
  • McCurdy T. N. . F/O
  • McCutcheon W. R. . P/O
  • McDonald Daniel. Sgt. (d.30th July 1943)
  • McGill J. A.D. . F/O
  • McGreggor C. W. . LT
  • McKenzie C. K. . Sgt.
  • Mckenzie F E. Sgt (d.27th June 1942)
  • McLaren P. V. . Sgt.
  • McMillin J. P.. F/O
  • McQuillan M. R. . F/L
  • Mills L. A.J. . F/O
  • Mitchell J. S. . F/Sgt.
  • Molyneux A. J. . F/Sgt.
  • Mooney Dennis .
  • Moore H. J. . W/O
  • Morgan A. A. . P/O
  • Morgan S. B. . Sgt.
  • Moroney D. . Sgt.
  • Muckhart G. . W/O
  • Munro James Francis. F/Lt. (d.22nd November 1943)
  • Munster C. A. . Sgt.
  • Munton G. C. . Sgt.
  • Murray A. G. . P/O
  • Nash Reginald Morris.
  • Negus J. . F/O
  • Newton A. J. . P/O
  • Newton J.. Sgt.
  • Nicoll N. Sgt (d.27th June 1942)
  • Noble W. G. . P/O
  • Norton A. J. . F/O
  • Nutt P. N. . Sgt.
  • Oldfield L. A. . Sgt.
  • Oldham J. W. . F/O
  • Olive J. P. . Sgt.
  • Oliver G. A.O. . F/Sgt.
  • Owen T. R.G. . F/Sgt.
  • Paige J. W. . F/O
  • Palmer C. W. . F/Sgt.
  • Parkes S. M.P. . S/L
  • Parsley W. A.. WO2 (d.21st Jan 1944 )
  • Partos D. G. . W/O
  • Patience W. R. . Sgt.
  • Peace E. H. . F/Sgt.
  • Pedersen K. . Sgt.
  • Penberthey C. P. . Sgt.
  • Pendrill G.E. A. . F/Sgt.
  • Perkins E. J.L. . F/L
  • Peters C. E.T . F/O
  • Petschel V. E. . F/Sgt.
  • Phillips J. J. . Sgt.
  • Pickering G. H.J. . P/O
  • Piper P. M. . Sgt.
  • Porter E. L. . W/C
  • Price C. P.D. . F/L
  • Pyatt R. G. . Sgt.
  • Rainsford A. . F/Sgt.
  • Ray J. . F/L
  • Redwood A. F.G. . Sgt.
  • Reiger H. W. . F/L
  • Reynolds G. E.J. . F/O
  • Rimmer D. F. . Sgt.
  • Roberts F. D. . P/O
  • Roberts F. J.. F/L (d.21st Jan 1944)
  • Rodwell B. H. . P/O
  • Rogerson J. I. . F/L
  • Rowlands A. R. . Sgt.
  • Rumney J. . F/Sgt.
  • Runnacles J. S. . F/L
  • Ryder D. H. . Sgt.
  • Saunders G. M. . Sgt.
  • Seale W. J. . F/Sgt.
  • Sharpe G. S. . W/O
  • Sherman S. G.C. . F/O
  • Shield J. . Sgt.
  • Shrybman H. Flt Sgt (d.27th June 1942)
  • Sinclair J. McD. . Sgt.
  • Sinclair W. R. . F/O
  • Skingley J. . F/L
  • Smalley R. C. . F/L
  • Smith A. C. . Sgt.
  • Smith J. B. . F/L
  • Smith L. H. . W/O
  • Stanley C. . F/Sgt.
  • Stauber N. H. . F/Sgt.
  • Stern M. . P/O
  • Stewart H. . Sgt.
  • Stokes N. G. . P/O
  • Strowger J. . Sgt.
  • Tait H. . Sgt.
  • Taylor O. P.E. . F/L
  • Twomey T. M. . Sgt.
  • Underhill C. R. . F/L
  • Unwin Peter Henry. Sgt. (d.30th July 1943)
  • Unwin Ronald. Sgt. (d.2nd March 1943)
  • VanRaalte H. S. . F/L
  • Vere-Hodge H. M.J. . P/O
  • Walker W. . F/O
  • Watson F. R. . W/O
  • Waugh K. R. . F/L
  • Waugh Kenneth Robert. F/Lt. (d.25th Apr 1944)
  • Webb W. B. . W/O
  • Weir J C. Plt Off (d.27th June 1942)
  • Welham L. C. . F/Sgt.
  • Wells J. D. . F/Sgt.
  • Westgate Robert John. PO. (d.11th July 1942)
  • Weston A. . F/L
  • Weston N. J. . Sgt.
  • Wickens R. C. . F/O
  • Williams D. G. . P/O
  • Williams P. . F/Sgt.
  • Williams V. G. . F/O
  • Williams W. H..
  • Worley L. . Sgt.
  • Worswick John Alan. P/O. (d.2nd Jun 1942)
  • Worthington R. M.C. . Sgt.
  • Worton J. S. . Sgt.
  • Wright G. H. . F/O
  • Wright J. . Sgt.
  • Wright R. A. . F/L
  • Wright R. W. . F/O
  • Young G.. F/Sgt. (d.21st Jan 1944)

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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Douglas Charles Fentiman 97 Squadron (d.30th July 1943)

My uncle, Douglas Charles Fentiman, was in the RAF during WW2. I believe he flew for the 97 Squadron.

He was possibly in a Pathfinder role but I am not sure. He could have flown out of Bourn but again I don't know this.

Would anyone have any information on him or remember him? He had only been married one year when he was killed on the 30th of July 1943.

Barry Fentiman



P/O. John Alan Worswick DFC. 106 Squadron (d.2nd Jun 1942)

My Father Alan Worswick piloted Hampdens, Manchesters and Lancasters in 34 Ops over Germany and France. He was due for leave when on the night of the 14th /15th of April 1942 he force landed Manchester 7317 at Lee the Solent on return from raid on Dortmunde. On the 15th he and his crew were retrieved and flown back from Tangmere to Coningsby by W/C Guy Gibson in Manchester 7485. On the 30th of May Father piloted Lancaster 5848 on the first 1000 Raid to Cologne. On the 1st of June 1942 he piloted Lancaster 5844 on the second 1000 Raid to Essen. Father should not have been flying that night but at the last minute was ordered to take over S/L Lester Stenner's aircraft and crew as for some reason Stenner had declared himself unable to fly. I believe his may have been the the first Lancaster lost from Coningsby, Father was killed just before I was 2 years old.

Pre-war he was a keen racing Motor Cyclist racing in the Manx Grand Prix in 1937 and 1938. They were on the boat in Douglas Harbor in 1939 but as war was imminent it returned to England as the races were cancelled.

E.Worswicke



F/Lt. Kenneth Robert Waugh 97 Squadron (d.25th Apr 1944)

Flight-Lt Kenneth R. Waugh of 97 Squadron was the skipper of Lancaster ND500G (OF-G) which was hit by flak, still with 103 incendiaries on board, near Munich at approximately 1.40 a.m. on April 25th 1944. Kenneth R. Waugh is my only uncle, whom of course I never met.

Kenneth, his 19 year-old Engineer Sergeant G.C. Munton, 24 year-old Navigator Flight-Officer R.C. Wickens, 22 year old Gunner Sergeant H. Stewart, 22 year-old Radio Operator Sgt W.E. Alexander and 37 year-old Gunner Flight-Officer R.D. Carter. Bomb-Aimer Flight-Officer G.H. Tulloch was the only one able to bail out and survive, to be interned in Stalagluft 3 until the end of the war.

In the few records I've found on the web, Ken is identified as an "American" from Virginia, or some sort of colonial as it were, from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Ken was in fact born in Sao Paulo in 1919, the eldest son of the English-born Governor of The Bank of London and South America, Norman Frederick Waugh and his American-born wife Bessie, of Morgantown, West Virginia, hence the confusion. Ken enjoyed a very privileged and exotic childhood as did his 11-months younger brother Richard, in Brazil, and a far less exotic but still privileged education at Blundells Boy's School in Devon as did his younger brother.

When Britain declared it was at war Ken and Richard both volunteered for the RAF to become pilots. Less than perfect vision kept Richard out of a pilot's seat so he had to settle for ground operations, but Ken was deemed fit for pilot training.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find anything about Ken's early RAFVR record and just as unfortunately I have not been able to find out anything about the crew members of ND-500 G beyond their names but I have learned some of the arc of Ken's wartime life. Having joined-up at the outbreak of war with no flying experience at all I assume Ken would have spent his first couple of years in basic military training, officer training and flight training with the full course of flight training being frequently interrupted by bad weather and general wartime interruptions.

In 1942 Ken was assigned to take part in the Arnold Scheme in the US which provided Britain the means to train pilots and crews in the wide-open balmy skies of the US without interference from Luftwaffe harassment. Ken was placed in Class SE-42-C the third inducted class of 1942 in the American South East, assigned to Lakeland Florida in a training course run by the USAAC (later to become the USAAF). As a result of the American management of the program at Lakeland, Ken earned USAAC wings despite being in the RAFVR, but having done so he was retained as a 'check pilot' for ensuing classes of British pilot and aircrew cadets.

Ken also earned the love of a gorgeous local girl, Jean Ridgely. They married in Florida and when Ken was finally ordered back to England in late 1943, Jean followed Ken across the Atlantic in the US Coast Guard cutter Tamaroa and upon arrival in England, joined the WAAF.

Again I've discovered nothing of Ken's activities at this time. I can only assume he was engaged in some conversion training. From his time as an Arnold Scheme cadet and then check-pilot/instructor he must have accumulated 1,000 hours or more of flight time, but given that the Path Finder Force tended to recruit from exemplary combat-experienced personnel, I wonder if Ken had served with some other active squadron before joining or being acquired by 97 Squadron.

When the crew of ND500G was shot down on the Munich raid of April 24/25 1944, Ken's wife Jean had just learned that she was pregnant. Jean was discharged from the WAAF because of her condtion but stayed in Lonodon until after VE Day, whereupon she returned to the US with her infant daughter named Barbara. Shortly thereafter Jean met and married an American, Paul Hardaker.

Like thousands of others Ken didn't earn any distinctions of skill, fortitude or heroism, which rather highlights how heroic those who did earn such distinctions were, and perversely, perhaps, how heroic too were those whose acts and experiences did not single them out, such were the high standards set by all during that war.

Ken's younger brother Richard (my father) once took a ride, against regulations, in the dickey seat of a Wellington on an 'Op' and recounted to me that he'd never been so scared in his life, a change of trousers was apropos, as he put it. Richard survived the war, initially serving in England, then North Africa, Italy, France and Germany.

As frustrated as I am at having found so little about my uncle's wartime career, I am equally frustrated that I have found out even less about the crew of ND-500G. On the other hand, I am grateful that there are others whose lives and contributions have been have been sufficiently well documented and preserved to serve as representatives of those who otherwise appear as footnotes or mere statistics in the extraordinary events of WWII. May they all be remembered.

S Waugh



Sgt E E Hayward 97 Sqd (d.27th June 1942)

While researching the family name I came across an entry for F/O A W Friend of 97 Sqdn which took me to your 97 Sqdn site.

F/O Friend's name and those of his crew are missing from your list of squadron members. The aircraft either crashed or was shot down in Norway as F/O Friend is buried in Bergen cemetary.

The following was culled from 97 Sqdn associations website.

27th June 1942 *Ten aircraft detailed to attack Bremen. None of the aircraft were able to identify target and all bombed on TR, results believed to be good, although 10/10ths cloud. F/O Friend (Rhodesian) and crew failed to return – no news received after take off.

F/O A.W.Friend, Sgt E.E.Hayward, F/S H.Shrybman, Sgts N.Nicoll, S.J.Allen, P/O J.C.Weir, Sgt F.E.McKenzie. Missing from this operation.

David Friend



Flt Sgt H Shrybman 97 Sqd (d.27th June 1942)

While researching the family name I came across an entry for F/O A W Friend of 97 Sqdn which took me to your 97 Sqdn site.

F/O Friend's name and those of his crew are missing from your list of squadron members. The aircraft either crashed or was shot down in Norway as F/O Friend is buried in Bergen cemetary.

The following was culled from 97 Sqdn associations website.

27th June 1942 *Ten aircraft detailed to attack Bremen. None of the aircraft were able to identify target and all bombed on TR, results believed to be good, although 10/10ths cloud. F/O Friend (Rhodesian) and crew failed to return – no news received after take off.

F/O A.W.Friend, Sgt E.E.Hayward, F/S H.Shrybman, Sgts N.Nicoll, S.J.Allen, P/O J.C.Weir, Sgt F.E.McKenzie. Missing from this operation.

David Friend



Sgt N Nicoll 97 Sqd (d.27th June 1942)

While researching the family name I came across an entry for F/O A W Friend of 97 Sqdn which took me to your 97 Sqdn site.

F/O Friend's name and those of his crew are missing from your list of squadron members. The aircraft either crashed or was shot down in Norway as F/O Friend is buried in Bergen cemetary.

The following was culled from 97 Sqdn associations website.

27th June 1942 *Ten aircraft detailed to attack Bremen. None of the aircraft were able to identify target and all bombed on TR, results believed to be good, although 10/10ths cloud. F/O Friend (Rhodesian) and crew failed to return – no news received after take off.

F/O A.W.Friend, Sgt E.E.Hayward, F/S H.Shrybman, Sgts N.Nicoll, S.J.Allen, P/O J.C.Weir, Sgt F.E.McKenzie. Missing from this operation.

David Friend



Sgt S J Allen 97 Sqd (d.27th June 1942)

While researching the family name I came across an entry for F/O A W Friend of 97 Sqdn which took me to your 97 Sqdn site.

F/O Friend's name and those of his crew are missing from your list of squadron members. The aircraft either crashed or was shot down in Norway as F/O Friend is buried in Bergen cemetary.

The following was culled from 97 Sqdn associations website.

27th June 1942 *Ten aircraft detailed to attack Bremen. None of the aircraft were able to identify target and all bombed on TR, results believed to be good, although 10/10ths cloud. F/O Friend (Rhodesian) and crew failed to return – no news received after take off.

F/O A.W.Friend, Sgt E.E.Hayward, F/S H.Shrybman, Sgts N.Nicoll, S.J.Allen, P/O J.C.Weir, Sgt F.E.McKenzie. Missing from this operation.

David Friend



Plt Off J C Weir 97 Sqd (d.27th June 1942)

While researching the family name I came across an entry for F/O A W Friend of 97 Sqdn which took me to your 97 Sqdn site.

F/O Friend's name and those of his crew are missing from your list of squadron members. The aircraft either crashed or was shot down in Norway as F/O Friend is buried in Bergen cemetary.

The following was culled from 97 Sqdn associations website.

27th June 1942 *Ten aircraft detailed to attack Bremen. None of the aircraft were able to identify target and all bombed on TR, results believed to be good, although 10/10ths cloud. F/O Friend (Rhodesian) and crew failed to return – no news received after take off.

F/O A.W.Friend, Sgt E.E.Hayward, F/S H.Shrybman, Sgts N.Nicoll, S.J.Allen, P/O J.C.Weir, Sgt F.E.McKenzie. Missing from this operation.

David Friend



Sgt F E Mckenzie 97 Sqd (d.27th June 1942)

While researching the family name I came across an entry for F/O A W Friend of 97 Sqdn which took me to your 97 Sqdn site.

F/O Friend's name and those of his crew are missing from your list of squadron members. The aircraft either crashed or was shot down in Norway as F/O Friend is buried in Bergen cemetary.

The following was culled from 97 Sqdn associations website.

27th June 1942 *Ten aircraft detailed to attack Bremen. None of the aircraft were able to identify target and all bombed on TR, results believed to be good, although 10/10ths cloud. F/O Friend (Rhodesian) and crew failed to return – no news received after take off.

F/O A.W.Friend, Sgt E.E.Hayward, F/S H.Shrybman, Sgts N.Nicoll, S.J.Allen, P/O J.C.Weir, Sgt F.E.McKenzie. Missing from this operation.

David Friend



F/O A. W. Friend 97 Squadron. (d.27th Jun 1942)

While researching the family name I came across an entry for Flight Officer A W Friend, Service Number R5674H, of 97 Sqdn. The aircraft either crashed or was shot down in Norway as F/O Friend is buried in Bergen cemetary.

The following was culled from 97 Sqdn associations website: "27th June 1942 *Ten aircraft detailed to attack Bremen. None of the aircraft were able to identify target and all bombed on TR, results believed to be good, although 10/10ths cloud. F/O Friend (Rhodesian) and crew failed to return – no news received after take off. F/O A.W.Friend, Sgt E.E.Hayward, F/S H.Shrybman, Sgts N.Nicoll, S.J.Allen, P/O J.C.Weir, Sgt F.E.McKenzie. Missing from this operation."

David Friend



W/O James Benbow DFM. 97 Squadron.

Jim Benbow, with his wife Madge, owned 'Jims Cafe' on Newport Road, Middlesbrough in the 1930s and 40s. He volunteered for RAF service in September 1940 as an air gunner. He joined 97 Squadron and flew with Pilot Ernest Deverill. Together the crew were involvd in many famous bombings raids icluding the 1000 bomber raids over Cologne, Essen and Bremen. >Also the famous armament works at Le Creusot, for which Jim received the DFM.

After a full tour of duty then teaching others in Scotland the crew reformed to fly again with 97 Squadron (now Pathfinders) and now based at Bourn. On the 17th December 1943 after a successful raid over Berlin they returned to find thick fog and unable to land diverted to Graveley. With little fuel they attempted to land and crashed in the fuel store. Jim was the only survivor but with a badly broken leg and severe burns he was placed under the famous plastic surgeon McIndoe at East Grinstead Hospital, where all McIndoe's patients formed 'The Guinea Pig Club'. Jim returned to Middlebrough in 1945 for the birth of his son Peter and to continue the cafe business. He never fully recovered from his injuries and died 11 years later in 1956, at the age of 47.

Gill Benbow



Reginald Morris Nash MID 57 Squadron

My dad, Reginald Nash did not talk very much about his war time experiences but I inherited from my mother, who died recently, my dad's wartime 'stuff' including his flying log.

He qualified as flight engineer with effect from 8th of October 1942 and as flight engineer with effect from 24th of May 1944. He began operational duties on the night of 13th of February 1943 from Scampton with a sortie on Lorient in France. Throughout his time with the 57 squadron during 1943 he flew 29 successful sorties with 1 abort mostly over German cities.

Some of the sorties were recorded as eventfull:

  • 8th July 1943, aircraft attacked over target (Cologne) by junkers 88, mid upper gunner killed, enemy aircraft destroyed by rear gunner.
  • 13th May 1943, Skoda arms works Pilsen, aircraft attacked by 2 Junkers 88s.
  • 3rd Apr 1943 Duisberg, rear gunner unconcious.
  • 12th May 1943 Duisberg, 'heaviest raid of war to date'.

My Dad's pilot on most of the ops was Flt Lt Greig but I note that he flew 3 ops with Flt Lt Astell in Feb 43 who, I believe, was killed on the Dambusters raid.

My dad then flew a limited number of operations during 1944 with 50 squadron and his last sortie of the war was on the 6th of May 1945 'Operation Exodus' to Brussels to transport POW's.

My dad was at 97 Squadron Woodhall Spa from Oct42 to Jan43. Then 57 Squadron Scampton to Aug43; then 1660 conversion unit Swinderby to Aug 1944 and finished the war with 50 squadron based at Skellingthorpe. The aircraft types flown seems to have been almost everything the RAF had in service, Lancaster, Halifax, Sterling, Manchester and Oxford. In total my Dad flew 228hrs at night and 174.25 daytime and he survived without a scratch or being a POW.

He was released from service on the 4th of September 1945. He had met my mother whilst doing his leaders coarse at St Athan and they married in Penarth on the 30th of September 1944. After the War my Dad joined BOAC then BA based at their engine overhaul site in Treforest near Pontypridd, South Wales as a Production Engineer before his retirement in 1975.

He was, as well, for a number of years, President of the Penarth RAFA and I remember one of their guests at an annual dinner was W/Comdr Barder. There are many programmes on the TV these days about WW2 and now that I am custodion of some of my dad's wartime memories and know a lot more than I did I feel a real connection with those times. I am very proud of my dad's courage and achievements and I regret not finding out more of what it must have been like for him and thousands more of his generation when he was alive. Maybe he was embarassed with all the controversey over the tactics used by Bomber Command but I am pleased that at long last their sacrifice has finally been recognised and so would have my Dad.

David. B. Nash



Flt.Sgt J. J. Clinch 97 Squadron

My brother Flt/Sgt J. J. Clinch DFM served in 97 Squadron and was shot down over Kiel, Germany on the 26th June 1941. Also my brother Sergeant Frederick Clinch who served with 90 Squadron RAFVR and was killed on the 23rd December 1944.

Brian Clinch



WO2 W. A. Parsley 97 Squadron (d.21st Jan 1944 )

Air Gunners in Training.

My uncle Billy Parsley, was a air gunner with 97 Squadron RAF. He was killed along with the whole crew of their Lancaster JB299 OF-W, on 21st January 1944, all are buried in the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery.

  • F/L F.J.Roberts DFC /li>
  • Sgt E.J.Devine href="http://www.wartimememories.co.uk/allied/royalairforce/97sqd-raf.html#Parsley">Read his Story
  • F/S G.Young DFM
  • Sgt F.Martin
  • F/S P.A.Marsh RAAF
  • WO2 W.A.Parsley RCAF

I believe the photo is of the air gunners at training. I m not sure when or where it was taken.

John Potts



F/Sgt. J. J. Clinch DFM. 97 Squadron

My brother served at Coningsby, Linconshire with 97 squadron, he was F/sgt J.J.Clinch, D.F.M who flew with F/O F.E.Eustace D.F.C.

Brian Clinch



PO. Robert John "Jackie" Westgate 97th Sqd. Squadron (d.11th July 1942)

My Uncle Jackie, RCAF Pilot Officer Robert John Westgate, tailgunner served with RAF Woodhall Spa and was killed in action July 11, 1942. I have a great deal of information about him from my Mom, his sister. He came from a very small town named East Angus, Quebec, in the Eastern Townships southeast of Montreal. He was one of six children of my grandparents and one of four sons. He also had two sisters, my Mom and her sister Carolyn. For a boy from a small town, signing up for the air force was an adventure, a chance to see the world and help the Allied Forces win the war.

He did all of his training first in Canada and further courses once he arrived in Lincolnshire. He was first stationed at Bourne and then his Squadron moved to RAF Woodhall Spa. He and his buddy, Nicky Nickerson, lived with a Mrs. Dowes on the street behind the centre of town where the memorial is. He used to play tennis on his days off and go to the Kinema theatre as well as the Petwood Hotel.

My Mom knows a lot about his flying experiences as he wrote many letters home to his brother, my Mom and his parents. I am primarily interested in finding out (for my Mom) what other things the boys would have done between ops. Would they have gone on day trips to other towns or did they have to stay close to the base in case they were needed? I would assume they did. The night Jackie was killed, he was not supposed to have been on that plane. He subbed for another crew member who was not able to go that night. Not sure of the exact reasons. Nonetheless, he jumped at the chance as that mission was a daring daylight raid over the port of Danzig, Poland. The idea was to avoid the searchlights from the UBoats below by flying low under the cloud cover and surprise them as they were used to the Lancs flying under the cover of darkness. It was a very dangerous mission and unfortunately, my Uncle's Lanc and another Lanc were caught by the flak and crashed in a forest south of the port. His plane was found two years later and he and his crew were buried in the Malbork Commonwealth Cemetery.

I am interested in making contact with the families of two of the crew members, Englishmen Eslick and Forsyth.

Lynn Berry



F/O. Ramesh Chandra Datta 97 Squadron (d.9th July 1943)

The memorial

The crew

The inauguration of the memorial

On 3 December 2000 I initiated the erection of a memorial to the crew of Lancaster ED 923 OF-V of 97 squadron. The aircraft was shot by LT Erlinghagen and crashed at the village of Bassenge (Belgium). The crew were: F/O R B D Palmer, F/O Ramesh C Datta, Sgts D Cameron, A R Harris, D C H Holdint, C V King and W Stephens. They all died in the crash and rest at the War Cemetery at Heverlee near Leuven.

Lt Erlinghagen was shot down a month later and crashed at Kerniel, Belgium, a few miles from the crash location of his victims a month earlier.

Renι Torsin



Des Evans 97 Sqdn.

I served with 97 Squadron RAF in 1943-45 at Coningsby and in 1945-47 at RAF Luqa, Malta.

Des Evans



Des Evans 97 Sqdn.

I served in 97 Squadron from April 1943 until February 1945, and then went overseas to Luqa in Malta, until demob in February 1947. All my memories are with 97 at Bourn, Cambridgeshire until April 1944 when we moved to Coningsby.

I was a fitter 2E on Lancasters and had the privilege of servicing a Lancaster for one of the RAFs great bomber pilots with a smashing crew - Wing Commander `Ted' Porter who, returning from leave two days early on 16/17th August 1944, took a scratch crew on a minelaying raid on Stettin. Tragically, all were killed.

Des Evans



F/O J. P. McMillin 97 Squadron

Does anyone from 83 remember F/O J.P. McMillin while at Wyton? He came to 97 in May 1943. Does anyone have a photo of crew which includes him?

Des Evans



F/Lt. Frank Peter Burbridge DFC 97 Sqdn. (d.22nd November 1943)

My grandfather flew as a bomb aimer with 97 Squadron (Straits Settlement) during the war. Unfortunately, he was killed in action over Berlin on 22nd/23rd November 1943 flying with Jimmy Munro. The squadron was flying Lancasters out of RAF Bourn at the time. He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

Stuart Burbridge



F/Lt. James Francis Munro DFC 97 Sqdn. (d.22nd November 1943)

F/Lt Munro DFC was killed on 22/23rd November 1943 whilst on a mission over Berlin. He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.




Cpl. Sidney John Mathews BEM 97 Sqdn.

Cpl Mathews was awarded the BEM for his brave rescue of two crew members of a Lancaster that crashed in December 1943. All the remaining crew members died in the crash. A book has been written about the crash by one of the survivors' daughters www.firebynight.co.uk. We are keen to contact the family to share information. We know that he went to South Africa after the war.

Brenda Ward



F/O Leslie Kenneth Alexander "Sandy" Grant 97 Sqdn. (d.17th December 1943)

We are trying to trace the family of Leslie Kennith Alexander Grant (known as Sandy) who was killed in a Lancaster crash in December 1943. A book has been written about that crash (see www.firebynight.co.uk) and we are keen to trace the family to share information.

Brenda Ward



Sgt. Ronald Unwin 97 Sqdn. (d.2nd March 1943)

My great uncle Sgt Ronald Unwin, a Flight Engineer, was in 97 squadron, based at Woodhall Spa during WW2. I know he died over Berlin in 1943, but any other information would be much welcomed.

Update:

The following is from the War Graves Commission: 642206 Sgt (Flt Engr.) Ronald Unwin RAF 97 Sqn. Died 02/03/1943 age 21. He is buried in Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery.

T. Unwin



F/Sgt. Douglas James Marks 97 Sqdn. (d.30th July 1943)

A Lancaster (ED862 OF-P) of 97 Squadron was shot down on 30th July 1943 on a raid to Hamburg. It is thought that an ME110 (IV/NJ61), piloted by Major Lent, was responsible. All the crew were killed in action and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were:
  • F/Sgt D.J. Marks, RAFVR - pilot
  • F/Sgt D.C. Fentiman, RAF - flight engineer
  • F/O G.N. Hammond, RAFVR - navigator
  • F/Sgt J.A. Dunbar, RAFVR - bomb aimer
  • Sgt D. McDonald, RAFVR - wireless operator
  • Sgt J. Cumming, RAFVR - mid-upper gunner
  • Sgt P.H. Unwin, RAFVR - rear gunner




  • Sgt. Douglas Charles Fentiman 97 Sqdn. (d.30th July 1943)

    A Lancaster (ED862 OF-P) of 97 Squadron was shot down on 30th July 1943 on a raid to Hamburg. It is thought that an ME110 (IV/NJ61), piloted by Major Lent, was responsible. All the crew were killed in action and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were:
  • F/Sgt D.J. Marks, RAFVR - pilot
  • F/Sgt D.C. Fentiman, RAF - flight engineer
  • F/O G.N. Hammond, RAFVR - navigator
  • F/Sgt J.A. Dunbar, RAFVR - bomb aimer
  • Sgt D. McDonald, RAFVR - wireless operator
  • Sgt J. Cumming, RAFVR - mid-upper gunner
  • Sgt P.H. Unwin, RAFVR - rear gunner




  • F/O George Noel Hammond 97 Sqdn. (d.30th July 1943)

    A Lancaster (ED862 OF-P) of 97 Squadron was shot down on 30th July 1943 on a raid to Hamburg. It is thought that an ME110 (IV/NJ61), piloted by Major Lent, was responsible. All the crew were killed in action and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were:
  • F/Sgt D.J. Marks, RAFVR - pilot
  • F/Sgt D.C. Fentiman, RAF - flight engineer
  • F/O G.N. Hammond, RAFVR - navigator
  • F/Sgt J.A. Dunbar, RAFVR - bomb aimer
  • Sgt D. McDonald, RAFVR - wireless operator
  • Sgt J. Cumming, RAFVR - mid-upper gunner
  • Sgt P.H. Unwin, RAFVR - rear gunner




  • F/Sgt. John Alexander Dunbar 97 Sqdn. (d.30th July 1943)

    A Lancaster (ED862 OF-P) of 97 Squadron was shot down on 30th July 1943 on a raid to Hamburg. It is thought that an ME110 (IV/NJ61), piloted by Major Lent, was responsible. All the crew were killed in action and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were:
  • F/Sgt D.J. Marks, RAFVR - pilot
  • F/Sgt D.C. Fentiman, RAF - flight engineer
  • F/O G.N. Hammond, RAFVR - navigator
  • F/Sgt J.A. Dunbar, RAFVR - bomb aimer
  • Sgt D. McDonald, RAFVR - wireless operator
  • Sgt J. Cumming, RAFVR - mid-upper gunner
  • Sgt P.H. Unwin, RAFVR - rear gunner




  • Sgt. Daniel McDonald 97 Sqdn. (d.30th July 1943)

    A Lancaster (ED862 OF-P) of 97 Squadron was shot down on 30th July 1943 on a raid to Hamburg. It is thought that an ME110 (IV/NJ61), piloted by Major Lent, was responsible. All the crew were killed in action and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were:
  • F/Sgt D.J. Marks, RAFVR - pilot
  • F/Sgt D.C. Fentiman, RAF - flight engineer
  • F/O G.N. Hammond, RAFVR - navigator
  • F/Sgt J.A. Dunbar, RAFVR - bomb aimer
  • Sgt D. McDonald, RAFVR - wireless operator
  • Sgt J. Cumming, RAFVR - mid-upper gunner
  • Sgt P.H. Unwin, RAFVR - rear gunner




  • Sgt. John Cumming 97 Sqdn. (d.30th July 1943)

    A Lancaster (ED862 OF-P) of 97 Squadron was shot down on 30th July 1943 on a raid to Hamburg. It is thought that an ME110 (IV/NJ61), piloted by Major Lent, was responsible. All the crew were killed in action and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were:
  • F/Sgt D.J. Marks, RAFVR - pilot
  • F/Sgt D.C. Fentiman, RAF - flight engineer
  • F/O G.N. Hammond, RAFVR - navigator
  • F/Sgt J.A. Dunbar, RAFVR - bomb aimer
  • Sgt D. McDonald, RAFVR - wireless operator
  • Sgt J. Cumming, RAFVR - mid-upper gunner
  • Sgt P.H. Unwin, RAFVR - rear gunner




  • Sgt. Peter Henry Unwin 97 Sqdn. (d.30th July 1943)

    A Lancaster (ED862 OF-P) of 97 Squadron was shot down on 30th July 1943 on a raid to Hamburg. It is thought that an ME110 (IV/NJ61), piloted by Major Lent, was responsible. All the crew were killed in action and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were:
  • F/Sgt D.J. Marks, RAFVR - pilot
  • F/Sgt D.C. Fentiman, RAF - flight engineer
  • F/O G.N. Hammond, RAFVR - navigator
  • F/Sgt J.A. Dunbar, RAFVR - bomb aimer
  • Sgt D. McDonald, RAFVR - wireless operator
  • Sgt J. Cumming, RAFVR - mid-upper gunner
  • Sgt P.H. Unwin, RAFVR - rear gunner








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