“Up and Under”. Gwyn Martin, Observer – Curry & Saunders crew 1941

Gwyn post-war

Gwyn Martin post-war and the cover of his book “Up and Under ” – described in Gwyn’s own words as ‘A sort of partial autobiography, 1939 – 1945’

I am indebted to David Martin for the permission to present images and extracts from his Father’s book “Up and Under”.

Gwyn Martin was born in Penygraig, Rhondda in 1921 and was still at school when he volunteered for the RAF in September 1939. He flew 50 bombing missions over Europe and was awarded the DFM in 1941 after the raid on Brest. On the day after his 21st birthday, in October 1942, he was shot down in Norway and crashed into a lake. He then spent the next two and a half years in Stalag Luft III in Poland as a prisoner of war.

After his release from the RAF he attended university and in 1948 qualified as a pharmacist. In 1946 he married Jane Marjorie Lloyd from Aberystwyth and they both ran ‘Taylor Lloyd, the chemists’, in Great Darkgate Street, Aberystwyth, until their retirement.

A keen rugby played, Gwyn played for Cardiff RFC, Aberavon and Llanelli, and, while a student, appeared in the Welsh Final Trials of 1946-7. He was Captain of Aberystwyth RFC 1948-51 and President from 1982 onwards. He was a founder member of Aberystwyth RAFA and elected a life member.

For 18 years he was the Honorary Secretary of the Aberystwyth branch of the RNLI and then became their President. A keen and distinguished photographer, he was President of Aberystwyth Camera Club from 1958 onwards. Gwyn’s photographs are extensively represented in the collections of the National Library of Wales and the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. His autobiography, from 1939-1945, Up and Under, was published in 1989.

 

Gwyn Martin arrived at Feltwell on the 10th of April 1941 to join 75(NZ) Squadron RAF. With the extended role of a 2nd Pilot at this early part of the War, Gwyn and the other members of his crew essentially had 2 Pilots. Within the format of these Crew Op History pages, a link is provided at the foot of the Curry crew, that will take you onto the crew’s second Pilot, Tony Saunders.

After completing his first Tour with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, disillusioned and spent, Gwyn resisted the requests for him to stay with the Squadron. After a stint as an instructor he returned to Operations with 150 Squadron and on the 23rd of October 1943, he and his crew were shot down, crash landing in Lake Langavanet, in Norway. He would spend the next 3 years in Stalag Luft III.

David has generously given me permission to use chapters relating to Gwyn’s time with 75(NZ) Squadron within these histories and his copyright of this material should be noted. “Up and Under” can be found on Amazon in both physical and eBook format.

Whilst the addition of the chapter extracts makes the 2 crew histories a significant read, I would encourage you all to take the time to enjoy the extra details of Ops and Gwyn’s personal recollections of his comrades and personalities from Feltwell from that period in 1941.

19410419 First Crew - Curry copy

The Curry crew. From L to R (back row) Albert Windiate, Gwyn Martin, George Curry, Brian Smith, Edward Callender & Stanley Tompsett. Front row, Groundcrew, names unknown. © David Martin.

19410705 Second crew - Saunders

The Saunders crew.
Back row L to R: Raymond Curlewis (2nd Pilot), Tony Saunders (Pilot),  Jack Thompson Front Gunner), Gwyn Martin (Observer)
Front row L to R: Edward Callender (Rear Gunner) & Albert Windiate (Wireless Operator)
© David Martin.

A continuation of Gwyn’s story will be posted at a later date, which will continue from his departure from Feltwell to the day he returned to Norway to once again visit the remains of the Wellington he crashed in, some 50 years before.

To begin Gwyn’s story begin with the Curry crew Operational history page here.
To Jump to the second part of Gwyn’s time with the Squadron, as part of Tony Saunders crew, go here.

2 thoughts on ““Up and Under”. Gwyn Martin, Observer – Curry & Saunders crew 1941

  1. Andrew Polley

    Just to say that my Dad, Deryck Polley always spoke very highly of Gwyn partly whilst on 75 together and also as POW’s. I know they loved playing and beating the Yanks at rugby AND American Football !!! Well, that’s when they were’nt outside the wires!!

    I still hold a copy of Gwyn’s book, signed by Gwyn with a touching and personal message to my Dad, dated April 1990. Fellow Welshmen too!

    Andy Polley

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  2. Nevin Williams

    Recommend ‘Up and Under’. It reads as if you are sitting in a pub and Gwyn is relating some of his stories.

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