Son of James Falconer MBE and Gertrude Marion Falconer (nee Buchan); husband of Freda Falconer, of St. Marylebone, London.
Keith is listed on the 1911 UK census, aged three and living with parents at Northbrook, Micheldever Station, Hants
Keith gained his Great Britain Royal Aero Club Aviators Certificate on 3 November 1938 at Redhill Flying Club. He passed flying a PH Moth - Gypsy 1-85h.p.
His address at that time is listed as 2 Crescent Wood Road, Sydenham SE26. His profession is listed as market salesman.
Keith was 214 Squadron's Navigational Leader (1940).
He flew with Squadron Leader Smythe and was friendly with Flt/Lt Jack Wetherley.
Quote from Squadron historian, recorded on William Esplen's record:
"Keith Falconer had actually finished his tour and had no need to fly; but agreed on this one trip with his new CO. Keith was married to a "glamorous" film star and like Bill was a very popular figure. The outgoing CO (W/C Jordan) was greatly upset by the loss as Keith was always his own choice for navigator. (W/C Jordan flew regularly) and he had arranged for Keith to join him as an instructor at the OTU at Bramcote."
Anne Blake daughter of Keith Falconer writes:
"Our family has a great history with the RAF. My father, Keith, and both his brothers were members; Donald , (Donald Buchan Falconer) a much decorated Wing Commander 87052, of 156 Squadron, RAFVR, was killed on a bombing raid on 30 December 1944 and is buried in Rheinberg War Cemetry. He was awarded both the DFC and AFC . When his death was recorded it was noted that his parents were in Southern Rhodesia.
The third brother, Alistair, was younger and was not commissioned until the end of the war so he survived. My grandmother (Falconer) told me all three won the sword of honour as officer cadets. I then joined the WRAF as a pilot officer and served four years before leaving to get married. Finally my granddaughter Zoe won an RAF scholarship to train as a nurse with the PMRAFNS , so you can see where our loyalties lie . I also won the sash of honour at RAF Hawkinge."
Rob Falconer grandson of Keith Falconer writes:
"Keith was married to actress and author Freda Falconer (who previously worked as Freda Morello before marriage).
As well as being very well known when she was in the BBC Radio Rep, and particularly when she was playing Dick Barton's girlfriend (very similar to being a Doctor Who assistant I understand), she also made two or three movies.
Perhaps her best work remains the play I Shan't Be Home To Dinner, which she wrote and starred in, directly autobiographical based on her own experiences as a Bomber Command wife married to my grandfather. The play toured successfully on stage before getting the showpiece BBC Saturday Night Theatre slot on BBC Radio.
To my knowledge it's unique as the only actually produced work I'm aware of written by a woman and giving a female perspective of the WWII Bomber Command operations and experience, and also one of the remarkably few Saturday Night Theatre broadcasts to be written by a woman.
Not surprisingly Freda was intensely proud of Keith and never remarried."
Keith Falconer married Serefina Alfreda Felicita Morello (born Calcutta India on 5 November 1907) in March 1932 in Bournemouth.She died on 24 Decemebr 1994 in Bournemouth, recorded as Alfreda Falconer. She was a famous actress of the 1940's and 1950's.
On the India Select Births and baptisms 1786 to 1947 records she is listed as Siropina Alfreda Felicitor Morello.
Source : Sheila Scott Byrne (daughter of Wg/Cdr Peter Doig Scott) and CWGC and Christopher Jary, Author - Portrait Of A Bomber Pilot and Anne Blake, daughter and Rob Falconer, grandson and London Gazette and IMDB website and 214 Squadron Historian
Date record last updated : 7 December 2018
FARLEY, H F
Sgt H F Farley, 954746
On 18 October 1941 he was posted to 214 Squadron (as per ORB for 230TU Pershore)
Source : Colin Burningham
Date record last updated : 14 September 2008
FARRINGTON, S T
Flt/Lt Sidney T Farrington DFC, 68768, Pilot, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Fortress Ops Flown = 19
(actually 'operational take-offs' Does not disregard aborted ops, early returns etc)
Steve Merrill writes:
"Sid was one of my Primary school teachers in the 1970's. He was also a close friend of my mother (also a teacher). When I was at school Sid gave me his copies of Pilot's Notes for Engines and propeller hubs I think for Wellington aircraft because I was interested in collecting militaria at the time. He also showed me a medal which I now believe was a DFC."
Sidney also served with 49 Squadron, joining in April 1942, when he flew Flew 5 Manchester and 1 Lancaster operation in May/June 1942. He left in August 1942.
Source : Ian Hunt and London Gazette October 1945 and Steve Merrill and 49 Squadron Association and Ernst-Jan Jonkers (researcher)
Date record last updated : 6 October 2019
FAULKNER, F B
Flt/Lt Frank Bentley 'Piwi' Faulkner AFM 39-45 Star, 127445, Navigator, Royal Air Force, Nationality : British
Born 10 March 1925
Born in Bloxam, Oxfordshire
Buried in Bloxam, Oxfordshire
Son of Albert and Kate
Died 4 October 1998 aged 73
Posted to 214 Squadron on 3/08/1950 at RAF Upwood
Served with 214 Squadron 1950 to 1951
Flew in the following aircraft (29/08/1950 to 18/06/1951) :
RE 301 (cw)
RF 570 (nw)
RE 360 (fw)
RE 400 (mg-e)
RF 340 (mg-d)
RA 709 (aw)
RE296 (bw) showing V victor April 1950.
RE 324 (ew)
RE 348 (hw)
RA 709 (m)
RE 320 (s)
Flew with Fg/Off Cartlidge, Sqn/Ldr Brain and Fg/Off Tomlin.
Was a rear gunner with 12 Squadron, 35 missions. Retrained as a Bomb Aimer on Stirlings.
Max Faulkner has provided a picture which is shown in Photo Album 4 and is believed to be 214 Squadron between 1950/51. Flt/Lt Frank Bentley Faulkner is 9 from the left in the front row.
Max Faulkner writes :
I have been reading though some of my Dads old RAF logbooks, and found out that he served with 214 Squadron during 1950 to 1951. He mentions that he did not see eye to eye with the OC Kip Kippenberger, and that in his words 'put up a terrific black' which resulted in a near court martial. I am interested to find out what that means, so if any one knows I'll be only to pleased to find out.
Source : Max Faulkner (son of Flt/Lt Frank Bentley Faulkner)
4th son of Rev Walter P G Field and Constance (nee Bell).
John Aidan Field served with 214 Squadron from 22 June 1941 to 12 November 1941 on operations out of Strdaishall. He did many missions in Wellingtons as the pilot.
John was promoted to Flight Lieutenant, recorded in the London Gazette dated 23 January 1940.
He was awarded his AFC prior to service with 214 Squadron. This was recorded in the London Gazette dated 1 April 1941.
Next his promotion to Wing Commander with effect from 14 May 1943 , was recorded in the London Gazette dated 10 June 1947.
Finally we have found his promotion to Squadron Leader with effect from 1 November 1947 recorded in the London Gazette dated 6 November 1948.
Son of Philip Rowland Filleul and Eileen Steuart Luxmoore Filleul; husband of Yvonne Palmer Filleul.
Flt/Lt Filleul was a senior veteran of the squadron having completed a tour on Wellingtons during 1940/41 when the Squadron was in 3 Group. Then, as is often the case with highly skilled pilots, he was singled out to become an instructor for a period of time. One of his crew mates while on Ops at Stradishall on several occasions, was rear gunner Sgt Peter Doig Scott. Sgt Scott records in his log that one of these Ops was the marshaling yards at Hamm where they scored direct hits dropping 9 250lb bombs, 1 500lb and 60 incendiary bombs on 5th August 1940 . A few days later on 11 August 1940 they bombed the oil refinery at Castrop - Rauxl and dropped 250lbs razzel at Fredeburg. Of the 59 planes on this raid only one was lost but nearly a second, as on the return flight this day they had to force land at Leconfield for unknown reasons and they were not able to return to base until the following day.
Having completed his full tour, he had basically served his country and survived the war, but he chose to return for a second tour with 214 flying B-17s in 1944/45. Having flown the twin engine Wimpey, it can be certain he was eager to get behind the controls of the new and much superior 4 engined Flying Fortress. On the night of the 12th/13th September 1944, Fortress III, HB767, BU.A (see note below) took off at 1900hrs from Oulton. At some point during the evenings operation, target unknown, Flt/Lt Filleul's aircraft was hit by flak puncturing the fuel tank. It is assumed they then headed out back across the channel for home, the crew in desperation apparently tried extending the flying time by throwing out all the heavy equipment but to no avail. They didn't make it far and the B17 'ditched ' in the Channel just off Marck near Calais at 0100 hrs on Friday 13th September 1944. "Graham, Flt/Lt Filleul's son notes his mother is still very superstitious about this date for good reason".
NOTE: It was reported by Ian Hunt - Fortress Researcher, that Flt/Lt Filleul's Fortress which crashed 12-13/09/1944 and is listed as being a/c HB702 may be incorrect. It's listed as such on Page 421of W.R. Chorley's book "Bomber Command Losses 1944", but Ian believes the ORB says it was HB767 (BU-A) NOTE: HB767 is the correct serial for A, now confirmed twice re: Plt/Off Bill Foskett's log book.
Source : CWGC and Ian Hunt and Sgt Peter Doig Scott and Graham Filleul (son) and Antony Crouch and John Cripps and Bill Foskett
Date record last updated : 10 July 2011
FINCH, R J
FS Ronald John Finch, 931408, Pilot, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom, KIA 4 June 1942, Aged 22
Married to Julie Carr 1944. Mrs Julie Carr was with the WAAF on the officer's mess staff at Stradishall.
WO Flack's grandson Jonathan Flack, has his wings and is a graduate of RAF Cranwell.
John E Flack was a long serving Air Gunner with 214 and had two very lucky escapes whilst at Chedburgh.
On 17th February 1943, whilst returning from minelaying, he and his crew including a Sgt Rundle, abandoned their aircraft R9163 when very low on fuel and in poor weather. All survived except the pilot (RNZAF) who tragically was hit by a propeller, his body was found in woodland near Marks village in Hampshire and buried in Brookland Cemetary.
9th March 1943. F/Sgt Delbert (Dinty) Moore RCAF was detailed to take a spare crew (his own having been shot down whilst he was hospitalised) on a trip to Munich in Stirling R9358. After a couple of aircraft had left with no problems, a new pilot on a night navigation exercise swung on take off , collapsed the undercarriage of his Stirling and so blocked the main runway. (No clue as to why he was not held until the operational boys had all got away). It was decided to use one of the shorter runways (SSE/NNW) and Dinty duly prepared to leave whilst not very happy as they had experienced their own undercarriage problems whilst on air test.
The laden Stirling lumbered into the air but, with the u/c only partially retracted, clipped some trees, took the roof off a newly built house and finally ploughed in near Chevington about a mile away. Miraculously the bomb load did not explode and the crew scrambled out of the burning aircraft. A head count revealed one missing, John Flack and, without hesitation, Dinty and Sgt Hamish Wilson, their New Zealand rear gunner, went back into the aircraft to find John trapped and upside down in his straps. They got him out suffering severe burns in the process later to be awarded the GM for their gallantry. At a 214 re-union do Dinty was re united with his WAAF nurse and ambulance driver.
John Flack later flew as a gunner in George Mackies crew on B17's from Oulton ending as WO J E Flack DFC.
Is listed on Battle Orders for 22 August 1944.
Is also listed on returning operational aircrew on 31 August 1944.
There is more information on the crew record for Stirling ??Dixon.
Source : George Mackie and Jonathon Flack (grandson of John Flack) and John Jewsbury (son of R F Jewsbury)
Date record last updated : 7 July 2009
FS Tom Flanagan, 651415, Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, Royal Air Force, Nationality : United Kingdom, KIA 2 April 1942, Aged 23
Norman with Lincoln crew. Norman is 2nd from the left in the back row
Norman William Flight
Norman served with 214 Squadron from 1950 to 1954. He was based at Upwood flying Lincoln's. Norman spent his whole working life in the RAF and his time with 214 was just a small but important chunk (that's when he married his wife). Norman passed away in 1997.
Son of Thomas George and Barbara Florence, of Fitzroy, New Plymouth, New Zealand.
Ronald was awarded the DFM. This is his London Gazette entry :
'814 SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 16 FEBRUARY. 1943 (16/02/1943)
Distinguished Flying Medal N.Z.41577 Sergeant Ronald FLORENCE, Royal New Zealand Air Force, No. 214 Squadron.
This airman, who has participated in many sorties, has displayed great skill both, as air bomber and front gunner. On one occasion his accurate shooting extinguished many- searchlights which
menaced his aircraft whilst- flying at low- level. One night in December, 1942, during an operational sortie, he effectively silenced a gun of an armed ship-with well aimed bursts. One night in January, 1943,-during an attack on Lorient, he displayed great determination in attacking searchlight positions. He has proved himself to be a valuable member of aircraft crew.'
Ronald was killed in action while a member of the 617 Squadron.
Plt/Off is also in a large picture in Album 4 titled Squadron photo taken in 1942. He is in the top row 6th from the right.
Imprisoned at POW camp Heydekrug (Silute), Lithuania
Imprisoned at POW camp Lamsdorf (Lambinowice), Germany - until 1943 when it became Stalag 344
Imprisoned at POW camp Thorn (Torun), Poland - dates unknown
Born in Gt.Yarmouth where the family had a small beach chalet in East Mersey, Constable country. Lived most of his life in Hampstead. As a youngster, spent time in the sea scouts on board the "England" every weekend which was an old ferry boat that was permanently tied to one of the two bridges over the Thames at Kew. Currently living in Seaton in Cumbria close to the shore that overlooks the Solway Firth and Scotland
SERVICE CHRONOLOGY :
Air Observer Training Programme for 1323050 leading aircraftman WGM Foskett at Pickton and Port Albert Ontario Canada.
- Picton 31 Bombing & Gunnery, Qualified (1st) 10 January 1943
- Port Albert Navigation, Qualified (1st) 19 February 1943
- Commissioned March 1943
England, AFU Course Completed May 1943
Harwell, 15 OTU Course Wellingtons (For India posting, later cancelled)
Course 9 August 1943
Stirling Convertion Course 19 October 1943
H2s Special Nav. Course Mid November 1943
Cadet W Foskett
I did my ITW in Newquay and was stationed in one of the big guest houses on top of the cliff. That was in the first 3 or 4 months of 1942. (No.11 flight "C" squadron) It was all "bags of swank & B.S., Stand by your beds Officer on parade" stuff. I loved it so much that I helped our flight to win the Drill Cup & the PS Cup. If I remember right the latter was rifle drill without any verbal orders just the whistle now and again. In later years the Yanks did it almost like a music hall act. Anyway we were the first and possibly the only flight to bring off the double.
As far as India was concerned, we were fully trained and operational on Wellingtons at 15 OTU Harwell. Our posting was to India and at that time we were with Squadron Ldr, Packe AFC as our pilot (he trained in Canada, and stayed on as an instructor which earned him his gong.) After receiving tropical innoculations Plt/Off Foskett was informed that he would not be going to the Middle East. See Tall Tales for full Story.
Our crew did our conversion course from Whimpies (Wellingtons) to Stirlings at Straddishal in the back end of 1943. In fact my first two ops were in them; one to the Fresians with 6 1500 lbs mines and the second to Biarritz with 2 1500 lbs mines.The difference in the load was due to the distance; a 3 hour trip in the first instance against an 8 hour one on the second. In the Stirling, my position was in the second pilots seat then after take off in the mid upper turret and approaching target laying flat in the nose for bomb/mine release then back to the turret; and finally back in the seat for landing. The crew's first operation was on 19 November 1943 Piloted by FS Gilbert, the second operation followed on the 25th piloted by S/Ldr Jeffries. The crew makeup at this time was Flying Officer Bill Foskett (B/A), Flight Sergent Ted Bonner(WOP), Flight Sergent Fred Barber (ENG), Flight Sergent Jack Podger (NAV).
After that we were now fully trained, and waiting for our own skipper to complete his final trip as second pilot before we were integrated as a fully operational crew. Around this time our skipper literally disappeared. It was all very hush hush. Allegedly LMF. (See ref in Murray Pedens (RCAF) A thousand shall fall book; page 429, paragraph beginning 'Another chap'.)
Although the Crew were now operationally trained - having lost our Skipper, we had to re-train with a new Skipper who was Flying Officer John Corke.
Fg/Off John Corke at the controls of Fortress A for Able
In January 1944 we converted to Fortresses and were billeted at Blickling Hall - Oulton - Norfolk, together with the American Air Force who were flying daytime operations. In addition to our ex Stirling crew when we converted to Fortresses, there was Len Roose, Ray Delisle, WO Hepton, Sgt Stelling, Sgt Gregory, and others.
In the Fortress, we carried no bombs, only a full load of jamming and electronic equipment which we took to the target and of course had to bring it back. These operations required us to be between the pathfinders and the mainstream, and to be operating before, during and after the timed course of the raid. This of course meant that the aircraft was dangerously over or near the target for a great length of time. Sometimes a boffin was with us but I have no record of the different toys we had to play with. I vaguely remember Gee H2S ABC but I doubt if I could recognise them now. Note that the US Air Force flew Fortresses with a 10 man crew, as did others, but they were carrying bombs etc. I don't think that there was a norm for us involved in the countermeasures role. We were doing all sorts of other things. Jamming & scanning equipment was in its infancy, and sometimes, we were accompanied by the boffin involved. To say exactly what everyone was doing is beyond me, but the point I make is that it would be difficult to pin down the crew at any given time, as the actual number varied. The only permanancy would be the regular mainstay crew members.
Our third Op (first with Johnnie Corke), was on 24/25th April 1944 Karlsruhe. Note the amusing intel report that was issued following this operation on the 24th (The de-briefing staff obviously found the incident hilarious, but I suspect Bill and the boys didn't share the humour and made straight for the bar for a few stiff ones. All would have been well aware how lucky they were and that very - very few ever walk away from an INVERTED SPIN).
Bill not surprisingly comments, "I am still experiencing problems over this one".
Our sixth Op was on Gelsenkirchen on the night that we learned on our safe return that Murray Peden and Cassan had been lost. It later turned out that Peden had crash landed at Woodbridge, and again there is a special chapter on this in Peden's book. "It makes grim reading". Just as a point of interest, on the 11th September 1944, we were on an Op to Darmstadt in our Fortress A (Able), not knowing then that it was our last trip using that aircraft. It was lost the next day on a raid on Frankfurt, piloted by a Flt/Lt Fillieul. (This loss would have been taken very seriously by all the crews as Flt/Lt Fillieul was a two tour veteran of the squadron).
On the 9th/10th November 1944, which was about my 27th and I was reaching the end of my tour, we carried out a spoof window attack on Saarbruken, and for this we got a pat on the back from the AOC.
The five mainstay members of Corkes crew are seen in these next two pictures. Other ad hoc operators including sometimes a boffin would join us for the odd operation.
In the wedding picture above from left to right are :
FS Ted Bonner WOP
FS Fred Barber Engineer
FS Len Roose Air Gunner & Bridegroom
Plt/Off Bill Foskett B/A S/D
FS Jack Podger Navigator
After numerous incidental experiences, we flew our last Op on the 6th December 1944 after completing 32 Sorties. The certification that the tour of duty had been completed is signed by B.D. Davies, Sqn/Ldr A Flight and D.D. Rogers Wg/Cdr O/C 214 Squadron.
The crew above was humorously known as Corkescrew after the pilot Fg/Off Corke. In the front line from left to right are: FS Fred Barber, FS Len Roose (holding their lucky horse shoe; which Plt/Off Foskett still has) and FS Jack Podger. At the back are Plt/Off Bill Foskett, FS Ted Bonner, FS John Stelling, unknown and at the very back FS Ray Delisle.
NOTE: Site researcher Ian Hunt reports that according to the Orbs the crew generally consisted of Corke, Podger, Bonner, Foskett, Roose, Hepton, Barber, Delisle, Gregory and Stelling (with, on another occasion, Boanas and Hoffman instead of two of these), but could not determine crew positions all their crew positions. However, often, in the ORB, crews seem to be listed in the order of: Pilot, Navigator, W/Op, Air Bomber, 2 gunners (M/U and RG?), F/Eng, 2 more gunners (waist gunners?) and Spec Op.
Bill recalls that FS Fred Barber was an extremely efficient man who knew his job inside out, and expected everyone on the ground crew to be likewise. They certainly " popped to" when he was about, he was really meticulous. One incident regarding Fred he remembers, occurred on a flight test prior to the Gelsenkirchen Op on 21st June 1944. As we got off the bus the ground crew were hovering, and one of them was heard to say " watch it lads; here comes Ali Barber and the 40 clangers" I've not heard from him since we finished our tour, but the last thing he mentioned to me was that he was going to set up an estate agency in south London.
Plt/Off Bill Foskett far left Fg/Off John Corke far right
1944 FORTRESS BU-A (ABLE) HB767 SEE NOTE BELOW RE: PICTURE
EXCERPTS FROM LOG OF PILOT OFFICER BILL FOSKETT
The summary in Plt/Off Foskett's log book states that he did 32 Sorties equalling 27 Operations. It is important to note, and not well known, but ops and sorties were two different things. As progress was made in the ground fighting in Europe; the RAF began to specify that certain ops only qualified for a half op. (No doubt this was a way of stretching tours)
Pilot Officer William G. M. Foskett RAF retd.
Note Bill's excellent idea of framing his service medals and badges, not to mention it is very professionally and tastefully done. In this format it makes a wonderfull family heirloom that will be treasured and can be passed down through the generations. I hope others will follow Bill's lead. Too often these priceless family treasures end up in the hands of collectors who prize them only for their monetary value and they are never seen again by the public.
ALL PHOTOS AND DOCUMENTS COPYRIGHT Plt/Off William G. M. Foskett
NOTE: The original of the Fortress picture above is held by Plt/Off Bill Foskett. Researcher, Ian Hunt reports that an identical photo has already appeared in at least one book, stating it's SR384 (which was also coded BU-A) in which Fg/Off Hockley was lost on 24 May 1944.
Sadly Bill passed away at 01:15hrs on the 21st December 2011 after a long fight with cancer.
Source : Pilot Officer William Foskett and Stuart Shields (Bill's brother-in-law) and Ian Hunt
Flt/Lt Fowler flew in many planes. These were lots of different Short Stirling 3. Not sure of serial numbers, but in his logbook letters include: C, E,G, K, M, N, O, P, Q, S, U, W, V, Y, Z. The most frequent was P, especially while attached to 161 from 214.
His crew met at 11 OTU Oakley (then 11 OTU moved to Westcott) (Photo from 11 OTU attached which includes 5 of the crew). There April to June 1943.
Joined 214 Squadron at Chedburgh July 1943, with first combat mission (gardening) July 25th. September 1943 whole crew attached to 161 Squadron (Tempsford) supplying French Resistance. Stayed with 161 until Jan 1944. Feb/March 1944, crew was dispersed to various training airfields. Alexander Fowler went to 1657 to train on H2S radar system, then from April 1944 to November 1944 was at 1651 Conversion Unit Wratting Common as H2S instructor.
December 1944 trained as mosquito navigator with Reginald Baker (also RNZAF. Most hours on spitfires). Jan 1945 Baker took over command of 487 Squadron, and Fowler went with him as his navigator. On 5th combat operation with 487 their mosquito was shot down by railway flak and both men killed, during Operation Clarion.
Flt/Lt Fowler was killed in action on 22 February 1945 while flying with 487 Squadron.
Specific combat Operations of the crew while at 214:
July 25 1943 Gardening. Frisian Islands.
July 28 1843 Gardening. Frisian Islands.
July 29 1943 Hamburg.
Aug 2 1943 Hamburg.
Aug 16 1943 Turin.
Aug 30 1943 Munchen-Gladbach
Aug 31 1943 Berlin
Sept 5 1943 Mannheim (attacked by ME110 night fighter, drove it off with starboard engine on fire, claimed as "probably destroyed")
Sept 8 1943 Boulougne
(All other operations while with 214 were on attachment to 161. They were all low level supply drops.)
Source : Jonathan Markley (nephew of Flt/Lt Alexander John Fowler) and CWGC
Date record last updated : 24 November 2017
FOWLER, G S M
FS George Swan Murray Fowler, 442340, Royal Australian Air Force, Nationality : Australian, KIA 9 February 1945, Aged 19
On 11 July 1942 he was promoted to Pilot Officer an as per 11 January 1943 to Flight Officer.
Leslie became an navigator with the Royal Air Force and was first attached to 199 Squadron where he was the navigator on Fg/Off Shorttle's crew. Fg/Off. Shorttle and Flt/Lt. Fowler completed a tour with 199 Squadron earlier in the war. Both men were part of one of the first crews to operate with 199 after the Squadron had reformed in November 1942 at Blyton.
Between 31 December 1942 and the middle of June 1943, Sgt. Shorttle and Fg/Off. Fowler flew 23 operations with 199 from Blyton and Ingham in Vickers Wellington bombers. During this time, they completed eighteen bombing operations (six to Lorient, three to Essen, two to Duisburg, two to Bochum and one each to Cologne, Wilhelmshaven, Kiel, Dortmund and Dusseldorf) and five sea mining operations.
Fowler was to continue his tour with 199 after the Squadron had moved to 3 Group and converted to Short Stirling bombers at Lakenheath between June and July 1943. He flew on another four operations between October 1943 and February 1944 consisting of a bombing operation to Kassel, a sea mining operation and two Special Missions.
On 10 September 1943, now an acting Flight Lieutenant, Leslie was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross "for gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations."
On 11 July 1944 Leslie was promoted to full Flight Lieutenant.
Both men were transferred to 214 Squadron.
Flt/Lt Leslie Fowler and FS Jennings were the only ones to survive the crash on 24 February 1945 . Fowler was wounded and taken to hospital IN ZUIDLAREN, HOLLAND by the Germans. He died on 15 March 1945 and was buried in Zuidlaren General Cemetery. Jennings spent the rest of the war in PoW camps.
Brian Bouchard writes :
'His father ran a newsagents and stationers at 117 Central Road, Worcester Park, Surrey - the family name remains on the facia although the business is now conducted by Burkitt Stationery.'
Author John Reid wrtes: "I have traced details of F/O Shorttle among in the 199 Squadron records and can confirm that Leslie Gordon Fowler was his Navigator when they were flying Wellingtons as early as January 1943."
Source : CWGC and "Footprints on the sands of time" by Clutton-Brock and Dawn Holloway (relative) and Brian Bouchard (Epsom and Ewell Book of Remembrance) and Ernst-Jan Jonkers (researcher) and John Reid (author)
Steve Palmer writes :
I am sending you a photograph of the Atkinson crew of Stirling EF-445 BU-J lost in the North Sea on 23rd November 1943, plus some others that are relevant. They originated from the Flight Engineer on the crew, then Sgt Des Hughes. He, along with Friend and Wilson are pictured on the boundary of RAF Waterbeach (see crew for photograph) when they formed part of the Chopping crew on 514 Squadron, where they went on to add membership of the Caterpillar Club to their Goldfish. Nevertheless all three survived their tour, Friend and Wilson being awarded the DFM and Hughes the DFC, having been commissioned in May 1944.
Source : Chorley and Steve Palmer and London Gazette
Date record last updated : 26 October 2018
Fg/Off Harold 'Jack' Frost DFM MiD, Non Com 1475544 Com 169864, Top Turret Gunner, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom, KIA 17 March 1945, Aged 24, Date taken POW 15 March 1945, POW number Unknown
Named on the following Memorial : Huchenfeld Church, South West Germany
Named on the following Memorial : Llanbedr Church, North Wales
Named on the following Memorial : RAFA Ely Cambs Branch Memorial Rose Garden
The RAFA Ely Cambs Branch Memorial Rose Garden is situated at what used to be the RAF Hospital, which is now the NHS Princess of Wales Hospital. Tom Tate attended the dedication ceremony which was held in 1999.
After baling out of the aircraft he was kept in Buhl prison before being transferred by foot into Luftwaffe custody on 17 March 1945. Upon reaching Huchenfeld he was locked into the boiler room of the Neuen Schule (New School) along with 6 others of his crew. A crowd of civilians demanded access to the 7 men, demanding revenge , and dragged them outside. 3 escaped to be recaptured.
Frost and four others were taken to the cemetery and shot.
His wife Marjorie Frost attended a service of reconciliation at Huchenfeld in 1992.
The graves at Huchenfield Germany. Flt/Lt Sidney C Matthews DFC., Fg/Off James Vinall, Fg/Off Harold Frost, Fg/Off Gordon Hall, FS Edward Percival
The French soldiers who had been the first of General Patten's army to enter the area had Inscribed each cross with simple but telling words: 'British airman, assassinated by the SA, 17/18 March 1945.'
Mentioned in Despatches recorded in the London Gazette Issue 37598 published on the 4 June 1946. Page 63 of 68.
Buried in St Faith's Crematorium, Horsham St faith
He joined the RAF at the Lords cricket ground recruiting centre in 1941 and from the outset he wanted to be a navigator and not a pilot.
During a 35 year career he flew in 42 different types of aircraft with 243 different pilots.
After basic training and navigation school he moved on to an Operational Training Unit (OTU) where he later joined his crew.
In March 1943 he was posted, with his crew, to an operational bomber squadron, No.214, at Chedburgh, Suffolk to fly the Short Stirling four engined heavy bomber. His first operation was to Kiel on April 4th. And his last to Berlin on Aug 31st.
A total of 25 operational flights were flown, completing his "tour".
He was 21 years old and was posted to No. 3 Group HQ at Exning near Newmarket to carry out analysis of operational navigation logs and charts.
In November he learnt that a new Group was being formed in Bomber Command. This was 100 Group with it's HQ at Bylaugh Hall, near Dereham, Norfolk.
The Group's task was to bring together various squadrons and other specialist units that were to fight a very secret war of electronic and radio countermeasures to attempt to reduce the losses of the mainstream heavy bombers and crews.
In December he heard that his old squadron,No. 214, was to be reformed in 100 Group to fly the B17 Flying Fortress on radio countermeasures duties.
He also heard that they would require a navigation leader in the rank of Flight Lieutenant and wanting to get back to operational flying he applied to return to his old squadron.
His request was accepted and in the early months of 1944 he moved to Sculthorpe, Norfolk where the squadron was to receive Fortresses for familiarisation training. By April they began to fly a few ops and in May a move was made to Oulton near Blickling.
Here operations commenced on May 16th. From this period to September Jack flew as navigation leader on many important raids in support of the main RAF bomber raids against targets over Germany and occupied Europe. Having now completed his second operational "tour" he was sent, in late 1944, to fly as navigator in Transport Command aircraft, operating from India on supply dropping over Burma. Although the war against Japan came to an end in August 1945 there was still much work to do and Jack did not return home until 1947.
In the postwar period he instructed at a Navigation School then went to the Central Navigation and Control School (CNCS) at Shawbury from July 1950 to April 1951
This was followed by a period at Boscombe Down where he was involved in trials and development work on new navigation and bombing equipment.
In November 1953 he was seconded to the USAF for development work at the Wright Air Development Center at Dayton, Ohio.
Here he flew in a variety of aircraft, B25, B26, B29, B36, B47 and B52 as well as the T33 and T29.
In June 1956 he returned to England with his wife, sons and a Chevrolet.
Following his return he attended a five month course at the RAF Flying College at Manby, Lincs.
His next job meant promotion to Wing Commander as O/C of the Vulcan Operations Wing at RAF Waddington.
Next was a desk job as an operational planner at Bomber Command HQ, then to SHAPE in the Nuclear Activities Branch.
In 1965 he was a Deputy Director of Manning at the Air Ministry.
Promotion to Group Captain brought command of RAF Scampton with three Vulcan Blue Steel Squadrons.
In 1969 Jack became AOC of the Central Reconnaissance Establishment at Brampton, Hunts. (now Cambs.) with it's airfield at Wyton.
1970 saw him appointed as Secretary to the Military Committee at NATO HQ in Brussels
His final appointment before retirement in 1976 was as Assistant Air Secretary.
AVM Jack Furner who lived in Cromer, Norfolk, died on January 1st., aged 85.
Source : John Jewsbury (son of R F Jewsbury) and Nightjar Newsletter Spring 2007
Son of Robert and Elizabeth Furze of Essex, husband of Marna Ray Stevens
Mac was born in 1928 to farmer Robert Furze and his wife Elizabeth, in Manuden, Essex.
While at boarding school, he hoped to join the Royal Navy, but by the time he was in his final year at the Naval College at Panbourne, his enthusiasm turned to flying.
He started off as a pilot officer with a four-engine Lancaster bomber, and soon went on to become part of the reserve team for the New Zealand Air Race in June 1953.
At the last minute, Mac got his chance to take part in the race and, together with his navigator, flew 12,300 miles (19,794 km) in 24 hours and 34 minutes. Despite coming in third place, Mac claimed to be "the first man to hold his water from London to Christchurch, New Zealand". Please click on the following link about the race :
He was a Valiant pilot from 1956/61. Mac married Marna Ray Stevens in May 1955 and the couple ran an antiques shop after Mac retired from the RAF. In his later years, Mac was known for his role as churchwarden at St Andrew's Church in the village, while the antiques shop he ran with wife Marna featured in popular BBC drama Lovejoy.
His brother Rupert, who lives in Nairn in the Scottish Highlands, said: "My brother loved Much Hadham very much, he was quite heartbroken when he had to move. He was responsible for the fabric of the church for a long time, and it was a big part of his life." Marna died in September 1995. Mac finally moved to a care home in Sawbridgeworth. He died on 4 December 2011, aged 83.
Mac leaves daughter Amanda, who lives in Australia and granddaughter Rebecca.