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No. 18 Operational Training Unit Royal Air Force in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

The Wartime Memories Project

- No. 18 Operational Training Unit Royal Air Force during the Second World War -

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No. 18 Operational Training Unit Royal Air Force

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Those known to have served with

No. 18 Operational Training Unit Royal Air Force

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Boxwell William Desmond. Sqdn. Ldr.

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Sqdn. Ldr. William Desmond "Boxy" Boxwell DFC. 150 Squadron

William Boxwell was born in 1912 and died in 1984. He learned to fly in a Tiger Moth and BA Swallow in 1936/7 at Hooton Park in Cheshire, and in 1938 he joined the Civil Air Guard, and was commissioned as a PO in September 1939. In training he flew a wide variety of types including Hawker Hart and Hind, Gloster Gauntlet, Battle, Demon, Blenheim, Oxford and HP Harrow.

In September 1940 he commenced operations (unit unknown) and between then and April 1941 flew 12 operations on Whitley Vs. He was then transferred to Instructional Duties with 18 and 19 OTUs and between then and early 1943 was mainly at Kinloss with the rank of Squadron Leader.

In March 1943 he transferred to the infamous Manchesters and later Lancasters, taking a drop in rank to do so, but flew no operations on these, transferring in about August 1943 to Wellingtons and being posted with 150 Squadron to North Africa as a Flight Commander at Kairouan. He flew 28 ops between then and May 1944, taking command of the Squadron as a S/L during this period in succession to S/L.

In May 1944 he was attached to 330 Wing (the only RAF unit to come under US command during WW2) and although it is not recorded in his logbook he spoke in the 1960s of having flown as an observer on the infamous Ploesti raid (Operation Tidal Wave) which was so costly for the USAF. A photograph from this period, now lost, described him as Acting Wing Commander. In July 1944 he was awarded the DFC.

In late 1944 he flew two further ops on a Venbtura, and was then transferred to the Middle East where he spent the rest of the war instructing SAAF pilots in 76 OTU. His final posting was as Station Commander of the firefighting unit at Moreton-in-Marsh, and he was demobilised sometime in 1946, thereafter undertaking periodic refresher training on Tiger and Chipmunks up to mid-1953.

Christopher Storey

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