Despite my original intention to create a website about Bob and the 2 crews he flew with, it was perhaps inevitable that this would expand to cover all the boys that flew with the Squadron.
As a result of time spent creating the Squadron database, it s now a relatively simple task to, as required, generate an Op history for a specific crew.
One benefit and instantly also a problem is that the Squadron, obviously contained hundreds of individuals. The database is able to show the movement of some individual airmen through a number of crews and as such, I am acutely aware of the problem of trying to find a specific individual within the crews of the Squadron.
Prior to my arrival in this fascinating world, it seems a convention to refer to the Pilots name, to identify the crew – as I have just noted, this is fine if the crew is constant and does not undergo changes. Statistically, crews like this are not the norm.
I am also aware of crews that have remained relatively consistent, but who have had a number of Pilots – this of course, further muddies the water for an individual who comes looking for a relative, aware of one Pilots name, but perhaps not another…….
Obviously, in the absence of any information at all about an individual, please just contact me – if the crew for that airman is up – its easier for everybody if I just direct you to it.
The crews are broken down by year. Irrespective of duration of stay, they will be listed in the year that the Pilot flew his first Op with ‘his’ crew with the Squadron.
To this end, the list exists in two formats – alphabetical and chronologically based on the date of the first operational sortie by the Pilot and his crew. As it was common for a Pilot to undertake a number of Ops with a more experienced crew – these ‘2nd Dickie’ Ops will be included and will therefore exist before the listed date for that particular Pilot and crew.
If, as was tragically the case in far too many instances, the crew were killed, or a fatality was suffered within the crew, the crew will have a ‘†’ as an additional suffix. If a crew were listed as missing, but all survived, the crew will have p.o.w. added. I am sure as I go back and forth through the Op histories extra suffix’s will be invented – as I write this, it occurs to me that evader will be needed, as well as identification of a loss during training or through some other occurrence (I can think of at least 2 of these instances)
Ideally, I will try when and where possible to link a ‘visitor’ in the crew list to their ‘main’ crew – however of course, this assumes the other crew(s) are already listed in this section and that the individual in question had a ‘main’ crew – I am mindful of those more experienced airmen who were Squadron ‘trade’ leaders (as opposed to Flight or Squadron Leaders) – there is also the case of a number of airmen who came to the Squadron specifically as Mid Under Gunners, who crewed up as necessary in aircraft fitted with a ventral turret.
Each crew will have as much information eventually added that exists. In the first instance an Op history will be generated from the database that will list the date, target, Op summary, aircraft, crew and up/ downtime and duration of flight. I am mindful that the inclusion of the raid report for each Op for each crew makes the document a long one, as does the listing of perhaps a completely uniform crew composition, however I think as a record for each crew it is important to fully list it and it perhaps makes it clearer the incredible bravery and dedication these boys showed every night or day they climbed the ladder into their aircraft.
More information will then follow as I discover and or process it. For all the relatives that have so graciously and generously donated information so far I thank you and I know if Bob was still around, he would as well.
A quick jump to each section is below:
Alphabetical list of Crews – here.
Crews starting 1940 – here.
Crews starting 1941 – here.
Crews starting 1942 – here.
Crews starting 1943 – here.
Crews starting 1944 – here.
Crews starting 1945 – here.