2020/04 Newsletter

Research Work

This month, I have carried out research on the following, who served with the squadron:

  • GF Collier (1943)
  • JR MacNeil (1959 to 1960)
  • WN Collins (1941)
  • AR Emery (1918)
  • HA Williams (1941)
  • E Garner (1945)

…. and what a lovely response I got from one grateful recipient “Oh Pete. Thank you so much for this. I can’t tell you how much it means to me and my brother. I am 72 and my brother is 77 so we are getting along in years and to be able to see this about our father is just so wonderful and we are so very grateful for your time. Thank you, thank you, thank you”

If you would like information on a relative who served with the squadron (1916 – 1982), please get in touch and I will do my best to help

Always Remembered

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DJ Milne

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Jim Milne this month. He was a Nav. Plotter on 35 Squadron for nine continuous years and was a great supporter of the Cyprus Years group. He attended every reunion and was a much loved and respected member of the group.

Below are extracts taken from the tributes that have been sent by some of those who knew him:

  • “His humour and open friendship was much appreciated. A lovely man and a good colleague”.
  • “My enduring memory is of Jim’s smile, he never seemed to be without it. So thanks Jim for keeping us all cheerful.”
  • “He would spend time and effort to help. The (sometimes) bluff exterior hid a warm and generous heart!”.
  • New to the Squadron he “Gave me good advice, particularly how to keep pilots in order!”.
  • “He was always the professional with a great sense of humour, an optimist and a doer, a loyal friend and a true gentleman. We will all much miss that smiling face.”
  • “…..is an original Vulcan 35 Squadron Plotter from the first days at Coningsby in 1962, then Cottesmore and finally Akrotiri, nine years of continuous service with the Squadron.”
  • “.. he was an amiable and thoroughly likeable character, as well as being a true professional. I learned much from him……….”
  • “A truly lovely man and professional aviator has gone off task. We will miss him greatly. He never failed to have a cheery word, no matter what the circumstances.”
  • “How brave and positive he was, accepting his lot and making the most of the time he had left, so so brave and thoroughly to be admired”.
  • “We will remember him for his ready wit, raucous laugh and the good humour he brought to every occasion.”
  • “…..he was such a lovely man.”
  • “Such a modest and lovely gentleman.”
  • “Jim was one of the stalwarts of the squadron and always had time, as I remember well, to provide advice to the less experienced amongst us. I too recall that he always seemed to have a smile and will remember him as a true gentleman. He will be greatly missed by us all.
  • “…a perfect gentleman.”
  • “….he was always very charming and friendly. A sad loss to us all.”
  • “Jim was such a loyal supporter of the group and came to every reunion. At last year’s reunion he came to say his goodbye and thanks, said how much he had enjoyed seeing everyone again and what a good reunion it had been. He said “I won’t come to any more, I want you all to remember me as I am now and not the person I will become.” He shook Roger’s hand, gave me a huge hug and said “Goodbye”. We watched him cross the car park to his car and drive away

Jim’s funeral will be held on Monday 11th May at 12.30 and we ask that you stand at that time, together but apart, with his family in your thoughts, to remember our dear friend Jim.

Mo and Roger Frampton

Jim, with the Cyprus Years Group (2019 Reunion)

Article from the Dundee Courier (February 2020)

Perth WWII hero celebrates 99th birthday by receiving highest award from French military

A Second World War hero celebrated his 99th birthday last week by being awarded the highest military award issued by the French government.

Former Flight Lieutenant Ernie Holmes, a resident of the Perth’s Kincarrathie House care home, celebrated his milestone birthday on January 29 by receiving membership as a Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur.

Ernie was a Lancaster bomber pilot and flew many missions over occupied France.

Last week, he received a letter signed by the French Ambassador which confirmed the highest French order of merit for military and civil achievements had been conferred.

Ernie was invited to the Netherlands 15 months ago to unveil a memorial to the crew of his plane where it was shot down in South Holland in May 1943, with the loss of five members of the eight-man crew.

Mr Holmes, who is one of the last surviving Lancaster Bombers, made an emotional trip overseas to meet those who helped keep him safe when his plane was gunned down.

He had been on his way home after a night-time bombing raid in Germany when his aircraft came under attack.

The Lancaster crashed over the Netherlands but Mr Holmes parachuted to safety and was taken in by farmer Fons van der Heijden, a member of the Dutch resistance.

Just days before the region was liberated, Fons, who had harboured many servicemen and with whom Ernie shared a birthday, was taken out of church by Nazis and shot.

Speaking in 2018, Mr Holmes said: “These were good people who risked everything, to keep me safe. There is no greater love, than he who will give himself for another.”

Ernie’s son David said: “He received a letter signed by French Ambassador Catherine Colonna which recognises Ernie’s military engagement and steadfast involvement in the Liberation of France during the Second World War.”

Postscript: Ernie served with No. 35 Squadron from September 1943 to May 1944.
– More details on the loss of his aircraft –

April “On This Day” Series

– Personnel and aircraft losses relating to each day –

ON THIS DAY (01/04)

On 1st April 1938, No. 35 Squadron received its first Fairey Battle (K7695), a dual control aircraft. The Fairey Battle MKI was a single-engine light bomber, powered by Merlin I, II or III engines, which was used by the squadron for training purposes from April 1938 to April 1940

Fairey Battle Profile A

Fairey Battle Profile © Malcolm Barrass

ON THIS DAY (05/04)

On 5th April 1917, the squadron moved to its first front-line aerodrome at Savy, where it started to operate in its role as a Corps squadron, providing medium and short distance aerial reconnaissance for the Cavalry Corps.

The role included:

  • Location of Hostile Batteries
  • Observation of Artillery Fire
  • Contact Patrol Work
  • Close Reconnaissance and Photography
  • Offensive action against vulnerable points in the Army reconnaissance area

Savy Aerodrome

ON THIS DAY (20/04)

On 20th April 1938, the squadron moved from Worthy Down to RAF Cottesmore, where it remained until 26th August 1939 (when it moved to RAF Cranfield)

ON THIS DAY (27/04)

On 27th April 1942, eleven aircraft and crews, lead by Wing Commander J.H. Marks took off from Kinloss at approx. 20.20 hours to make a low level attack on the Battleship ‘Tirpitz’. The crews found difficulty in sighting the target owing to an effective smoke screen being laid, but the outcrop of rock which was known to be sheltering the “Tirpitz” was definitely seen by several of the crews. Two of the aircraft (Halifax W1020 and Halifax W1048) failed to return.

Tirpitz 27.04.1942 [Quarterly Review]

Smoke Screen over the Tirpitz (27th April 1942)

ON THIS DAY (28/04)

On 28th April 1954, the squadron started to re-equip with the Canberra B2, which it utilised for training and operational purposes until it was disbanded in September 1961

A 35 Squadron Canberra over Malta [Courtesy of Marham Aviation Heritage Centre]

Squadron Memories

Social distancing and self isolation is providing us all with time to root through our boxed-up photographs, documents and ephemera …. so if you are spending some time reminiscing and you come across any 35 Squadron related material which you would be happy to share, please get in touch.

This month I heard from the following:

  • Ron Gilchrist, who said “I served on the Squadron from 1978 to 1980. I was the Sgt Pers Admin working alongside the late Wing Commander Roger Sweatman, and then the late Wing Commander Ian Junor. The Adjutant in that time was Flt Lt Geoff Lidbetter. On my posting to Pitreavie Castle to become PA to Air Vice Marshal Bairsto, Wg Cdr Junor honoured me with a 7th seat trip on a Lone Ranger to Goose and Offutt (8th to 21st February 1980). A trip of dreams. The crew, who were superb to me were, Scott-Skinner, Pat Chapman, Geoff Lidbetter and Al Collins. (Al Copplestone was Crew Chief)”

Contact Us

The site can only be built with help from people like yourself who have an interest in the squadron

If you have any squadron related photographs or documents that could be included in the archive and/or published on the website, or if you have any corrections, comments or information, we would love to hear from you

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