This month, I have carried out research on the following, all of whom served with the squadron:
- RM Mather (1943 [POW])
- HC Pexton (1943 [Killed])
- JL Lee (1943 [Killed])
- BG Southwell (1959 to 1961)
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
Remembering a Lancaster Flight
I was contacted by Norman Allum (1924 Squadron A.T.C. 1948 – 1952) who explained that he recently came across his old Air Training Corps log book which showed that whilst on an annual camp at R.A.F. Mildenhall in 1949 he was lucky enough to be a passenger on a 7 1/2 hour flight in a Lancaster.
Norman did not record the aircraft serial number or the crew names at the time, but a look through the squadron’s Record Book shows that the crew were on a Bullseye exercise. (Unfortunately, the serial number was not recorded in the Record Book either)
Over 70 years on, he remembers little about the actual trip but says:
“I vaguely recall being kitted out with flying gear. As a night flight, oxygen masks were required to be worn from take off to landing. I remember the strange smell of the mask which seemed to stay with me for the entire flight. Seated next to the wireless operator there was very little to see. I do believe I may have even slept most of the time! We were provided with sandwiches and a flask of tea or coffee for the trip and the biggest question on my mind was ‘How could I eat or drink with this mask on?’ Observing the wireless operator, he just took the mask off and proceeded to eat and drink without any problem. As for me, I was too scared to even remove the mask. I broke off pieces of the sandwich and poked them in to my mouth from under the mask. I do not remember drinking anything for the entire trip! I am proud to have been just a very small part in the history of No. 35 Squadron, on that night of the 9th August 1949”
July “On This Day” Series
On 15th July 1937, the squadron took delivery of its first Vickers Wellesley which it trialled and used for training purposes until April 1938
On 23rd July 1956, Queen Elizabeth visited RAF Marham, where the squadron was stationed
On 24th July 1956, the squadron moved from RAF Marham to RAF Upwood, where it operated as a light bomber squadron, equipped with the Canberra B.2
On 25th July 1943 a 1,000lb GP bomb exploded during the fusing operation in a Fuzing Point Shed at RAF Graveley.
The RAF Graveley Operations Record Book shows that seven station personnel were killed, A McAllan, RM Williams, JW McKenzie, W Mitchell, RW Castell, ES Mulcahy and LA Saunders.
The bomb dump was declared unsafe, with five 1,000lb fuzed bombs still lying in the area.
On 26th July 1943, armament staff from the Air Ministry, together with armament officers from HQ No. 8 (Path Finder Force) Group and RAF Station Wyton, visited the bomb dump and rendered the fuzed bombs safe.
On 26th July 1932, the squadron started to re-equip with the Fairey Gordon, a single-engine general purpose / light bomber which it utilised for training and operational use until October 1937
RAF Scampton Commemorative Window
Just 14 DAYS LEFT to ensure you are in the draw of this ‘SPECIAL AVIATION RAFFLE’ to be drawn on 14th August by Wing Commander (rtd) Bill Ramsey – co-pilot of the last ever Vulcan flight…. In aid of RAF Scampton Commemorative Window – an aviation heritage project. 75 prizes including many aviation original collectables. Project supported by Vulcan to the Sky Trust and other agencies.
….. and finally
It is my birthday today, and I thought you might like to see the cake that my partner made for me (with some assistance with the badge)
This month, I was contacted by the following people:
Diane Summers: My father was a navigator on 35 Squadron at RAF Upwood. Flight Lieutenant Brian George Southwell. We lived on Valient Square. We were there 1958-1961 approx. He served 20 years mostly Canberra’s and retired end 1969 at RAF Wyton. He is 88 with some amazing stories. I happily listen and loved my childhood with the RAF. He is currently at the beginning of his dementia journey but still has great recollections of his time served.
David Cook: My father proudly served in 35 squadron during 1939 – 45 in the ground crew, Gordon ‘Taffy’ Cook. Graveley and Warboys were place names he mentioned. I have some photos somewhere and he made a Lancaster model from a peace of windscreen. There wasn’t much he didn’t know about the Rolls Royce Merlin engine.
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