Air Vice-Marshall Eric H Macey OBE, Royal Air Force (Retired), Vice-President, No 214 (FMS) Squadron Association.
Served on the Squadron (then equipped with the Valiant) from Feb 59 to Dec 61, initially as co-pilot to the then Wg Cdr Michael Beetham (the late the Association President) and later to Wg Cdr (retired Gp Capt) Peter Hill, his successor as Squadron Commander. He also flew with (the then) Sqn Ldrs John Wynne and 'Mac' Furze.
Eric Macey writes :
I joined No. 214 Sqn in early 1959 and flew my first 6 trips as a co-pilot with John, whose previous co-pilot (Dave Wright) had just left John's crew to complete his own captain's course at Gaydon. My 7th and last flight with John was on 15 May 1959.
Source : AVM Eric H Macey
Date record last updated : 7 December 2017
MACFADDEN, R D B
Wg/Cdr Richard Denis Barry MacFadden DFC, 37476, Pilot, Royal Air Force, Nationality : United Kingdom, KIA 14 February 1942
He was a bomb aimer / assistant navigator on Stirlings and Fortresses during WW2.
Donald enlisted on 3 June 1941.
In June 1942 he trained in Queenstown RSA at 47 Air School which is now a training school for airline pilots. He trained and qualified as a navigator. He then went to Bombing and Gunnery School at Port Alfred RSA.
March 1943 29 Operational Training Unit - Wellingtons
June 1943 Donald joined 214 Squadron flying Stirlings.
5 July 1943 First raid flying Stirlings. The pilot was Flg Off Jock Henderson. Donald flew 14 operations with Jock.
22 November 1943 on a raid to Berlin the aircraft was hit by a box barrage and werebadley damaged. The pilot suffered ear damage and was removed from operational flying. The crew had to "stand down" while waiting for a replacement pilot. Donald volunteered to fly with other crews who were short of crew members.
Donald then flew six operational flights with Plt/Off Gilbert, WO Archibald and FS Hill.
April 1944 the Squadron converted to Fortresses.
July 1944 As part of WO Archibald's crew he flew on a daylight raid to St Leu 'Desserent when the gunners shot down FW190.
July 1944 Donald went on his first raid with new pilot Flg Off Ken Bettles. Donald did eleven operations with Bettles.
Donald's last operation was in November 1944 when they were to patrol off the Dutch coast, possibly to support the drop at Arnhem.
Fg/Off Ken Bettles was pilot.
Fg Off Ken Bettles told Donald that he had been highly recommended for a DFC. Unfortunately he never received one.
Donald finished his tour of operations on 16 November 1944.
Donald completed 31 operations. He had 3 early returns due to damage, although they had flown well into enemy territory. He also completed 2 air sea rescues on Wellingtons.
November 1944 9(0) AFU.
June 1945 3(0) AFU Instructor - Log Analysis.
August 1945 1(0) AFU Instructor - Log Analysis.
September 1945 he was posted to Head Quarters as Command Maps Officer - Flying Training Command.
Date of Release 17 June 1946.
Donald is well (May 2008) and at 91 still visits Tom, his son, in Cape Town every year for 3 months.
Sadly Donald passed away 7 May 2011.
Source : Donald MacGilchrist and Tom MacGilchrist (son)
Date record last updated : 5 January 2014
MACKENZIE, J I
Fg/Off John Irven MacKenzie DFC, J/9770, Navigator, Royal Canadian Air Force, Nationality : Canadian, KIA 3 February 1943, Aged 26
In June 1941, enlisted, age 20 years, as a pilot/observer candidate in the Royal Canadian Air Force. After flying training in Fleet, Yale and Harvard aircraft, he was awarded pilot's Wings in April, 1942. The next six months were spent flying Fairey Battles and Avro Ansons at a Bombing and Gunnery School in Western Canada.
In December, 1942, he was posted to England and flew Oxford and Wellington I's and III's and in June, 1943, he converted to Stirlings at Waterbeach.
At No 26 Operational Training Unit in 1943 Bob crewed up with Bomb Aimer Bill Wilkinson, FO Alan Deadman, W/Op Gordon Lowe, Mid Upper Gunner Bruce Taggart and Tail Gunner Doug Houghton. In July 1943 Flt Eng Stan Newton joined the crew and they all joined 214 Squadron at RAF Chedburgh the end of the month.
This is a speech given by Flt/Lt Robert E Mackett DFC to the Crescent Boys School, 6 November 2007 :
Good morning Ladies, Gentlemen and younger Gentlemen
It is an honour to share this special occasion with you and for the opportunity to give you some reflections of my involvement with momentous times
They were momentous times because Mr Hitler had led his German nation across Europe by bombing Warsaw in Poland, Rotterdam in Holland, Antwerp in Belgium, London and Coventry in the British Isles
And had then occupied most all of Europe from Norway in the north, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, France in the south, Austria, Poland and Czseko Slovakia in the east and most all of North Africa.
It was a bleak outlook for the English speaking world
I joined the royal Canadian air force hoping to fly - in those days so very few people had ever flown in an airplane and there was a certain magic about flying
I felt fortunate to be accepted as a candidate for training as pilot or navigator - I wanted to be a pilot and need not have worried for I learned that the brightest were made navigators
My initial flying training was on a small biplane known as the Fleet Finch at St. Catherine's Ontario then on to the Harvard single engine aircraft at Danville , Ontario
Late 1942 I went across the Atlantic on board the original Queen Elizabeth ship - with 18,000 airmen and soldiers on that one ship - it took only 3 ½ days going flat out without any naval escort from Halifax N. S. To Glasgow Scotland.
I was immediately attached to Royal Air Force bomber command and had some additional training in England
I then converted to the 4 engine Stirling bomber which was larger than the famous Lancaster - with a 100 foot wingspan - cruised at 280 km an hour - at 5500 metres with an all up weight of 70,000 lbs. Could carry up to 26 500 lb bombs - with a crew of seven
As a 22 year old I was pilot and captain of aircraft I acquired a crew of 6 other airmen - a navigator, bomb aimer, wireless operator, flight engineer, and two air gunners.
We were a commonwealth crew of 2 Canadians, 4 English, and one Australian
We were posted to 214 Sqdn in Suffolk England where there were about 24 crews and aircraft and we started sorties to German targets such as Hamburg, Manheim, Remscheid, Hanover, and dropping sea mines in such places as the German naval base at Kiel near Hamburg and as far south as the Spanish / French border (now known as St Jean de Luz) on the bay of Biscay.
Numbers of these operations took 8 hours flying all at night and often in stormy weather.
I might add that I had no co-pilot.
Losses in those days were very heavy and the squadron might lose up to 3 - 4 aircraft with crews on each raid.
On one operation crossing the Dutch coast we encountered heavy flak on our way to Hanover -
Over the target the flak was extremely heavy and very accurate and combined with searchlights was somewhat nerve wracking - in fact very scary - we were able to drop our heavy load of incendiary bombs on time, but we continued to be chased by the blue master beams of searchlights.
It took heavy evasive action to avoid these and the gunners kept up a running patter of these groping searchlights.
We had to dive down to 2500 metres to shake them off , meanwhile flak tore a hole in the windscreen and with the glass and wind I was temporarily blinded.
At first I thought it was blood, but it was the wind making my eyes water.
We dropped down to 2500 meters before escaping and when crossing the Zuider Zee - the rear gunner reported still seeing the fires some 150 kms to the rear.
It was outstanding crew cooperation.
During our tour of heavy targets we were designated to operate under the command of the SOE (special operations executive) and the SIS (secret intelligence service)
Many months before "D" day we were assigned to join another squadron doing secret operations flying to small fields or a secluded woods in the heart of France and Belgium parachuting 12 - 16 containers each 300 lbs. Of arms, ammo, plastic dynamite, wireless equipment, bicycles, parts and food to the French and Belgian resistance fighters
All of this was to hamper the occupying Germans troops and the feared Gestapo
The resistance group (called a reception committee) was made up of 8 - 12 men on the ground who would secure the goods, haul it away in horse and wagons and sometimes stolen German trucks.
These operations took place only during the moon period, so that we flew at night 50 - 500 feet off the ground - having to map read to find a small group of patriots who were waiting for us to deliver these most important loads.
On the field they held 3 red flashlights and flashed one white light with a coded letter to identify themselves
It took very precise and careful navigation to find a specific small location deep inside France and Belgium
They were not always easy to find for they were concealing themselves from the searching German troops and Gestapo who were occupying their country.
These men and women took incredible risks for if caught they would be tortured and ultimately shot.
On locating the reception committee I would have to get the aircraft up to 450 - 500 feet and speed down to 125 mph to give the chutes time to open - once dropped these folk would gather up these heavy containers and haul them off to hide them - risky business.
Usually in 24 - 48 hours we would get confirmation by secret wireless that the goods had been received and disposed of.
In addition to our operations from this RAF station - there were small single engine Lysander aircraft one pilot flying to France and landing with one or two secret agents and picking up one or two for return to England. Incredible flying skill!!
One incident comes to mind when early January 1944 saw us on our way for a drop in northern France
It was a clear night with some ground haze and on locating the "reception committee" we circled for a normal run in
It was only when we saw the furrows in the field that we discovered the people on the ground were posted on the side of a hill and we were flying head on into the hill. My bomb aimer shouted a warning to me and I climbed to 500 feet and the load was dropped.
However the last couple of containers hit power lines that short circuited and set up some unexpected pyrotechnics along the wires for some distance both ways
Returning across France toward the channel our route took us between the small town of Frevent on the north and a woods two miles south of the town.
At a height of 500 feet a searchlight came up from the woods on the port side along with a barrage of flak. The flak was like red hot tennis balls that were passing between the port inner engine and the cockpit - I dove the aircraft down to where we could clearly see the fence posts. Both the mid-upper and rear gunners immediately opened fire on the searchlight and it went out.
The rear gunner then reported that his turret was on fire, but quickly discovered it was the reflection on the turret perspex of 4 red hot barrels of his browning machine guns
Each gun was firing 1150 rounds per minute!!!
We learned from underground reports within 48 hours that inspite of the high tension fireworks, the resistance group had received the shipment intact.
During the war this special duties squadron alone lost 70 aircraft with most of crews killed
Let me take you out on the airfield the evening of Sept 3 1943 when a young airman 22 years old (the rear gunner) along with 6 other crew members climbed aboard the RAF Stirling bomber on his way to the heart of Germany
"Berlin" the most heavily defended site in German
I had gone out to the aircraft to see them of
The following morning a notice was posted on the flight board that this crew "failed to return - missing in action"
I never knew until about 5 years ago (almost 60 years later) that this aircraft over Berlin, had been hit by flak, caught fire, and going down in flames the pilot ordered the crew to bail ou
The rear gunner reaching for his parachute found it on fire and useless and at the urging of another crew member, put his arms around him and the two jumped together
When the chute snapped open, the rear gunner fell free his body was found a few days later in a woods.
Who is this fellow?
A 22 year old airman from Manley a suburb of Sydney Australia
He had volunteered that night to fill the place of a sick airman
He was the rear gunner in my crew and had flown with me for 7 months
In those days and in those conditions 7 months was a life time
As a 22 year old myself - I found it difficult to console by letter, his mother in great anguish , some 12,000 miles away, without anyone having any knowledge of her son's circumstance at that time.
Today he lies buried in a British military cemetery on the outskirts of Berlin.
And so today I think of my friend Doug and so many others of my squadron who "failed to return - missing in action"
Why did he go?
Why did they go?
Why did we go?
For then it was the right thing to do - it was a responsibility
These are some of the very young men who fought and 18,000 Canadian airmen alone died to give you the "charter of rights"
They have thrown to you the torch to carry a most important ingredient "responsibility"
Please rise with me
They shall not grow old
As we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them
Nor the days condemn
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them!! We will remember them
Flt Lt R E Mackett DFC
Royal Canadian Air Force
From the ORB it is recorded that Plt/Off R E Mackett flew 15 ops on Stirlings between 2 September 1943 and 15 November 1943. These consisted of 3 "Gardening" (minelaying), 4 were "normal raids" and the other 8 were noted as "Special ops". These were ones flown during a period of a couple of months towards the end of 1943 from tempsford, the "Special Duties" airfield in Bedfordshire, when 214 joined in a series of sorties dropping supplies to the French Resistance.
Robert died on 22 February 2012.
Robert Mackett and Ian Hunt and and Vic Pheasant 214 Squadron Association
Date record last updated : 21 February 2016
Flt/Lt George 'Mac' Mackie DFC, 995866 and 169724, Pilot, Royal Air Force, Nationality : British
George flew over 40 operational raids. Includes flying 18 Fortress flights as the pilot between April 1944 to May 1945 (actual operational take-offs. Does not disregard aborted ops, early returns etc.)
Mackie and his crew is listed on Squadron Battle Orders for 22 August 1944.
Mackie and his crew are also listed as returning operational aircrew on 31 August 1944.
George flew numerous planes, including Wellingtons, Stirlings 1, 111 and V, Fortress B17F and G
George served with the following units:
15 Squadron, Wyton June 1941 to February 1942
1651 HCU, Waterbeach to October 1943
214 Squadron, Chedburgh, Downham Market, Sculthorpe and Oulton to September 1944
1332 HCU, Nutts Corner to February 1945
46 Squadron, Lyneham to March 1946
George Mackie and Colin Wells (son of Fg/Off William Wells) and Ian Hunt
Date record last updated : 7 December 2018
MACKINTOSH, A D
Sgt A D Mackintosh, Wireless Operator, Royal Air Force, Nationality : United Kingdom, Date taken POW 14 March 1945, POW number Unknown
Captain Mair was attached to 214 Squadron from the Royal Artillery.
Source : CWGC and Hans J. Kobes, Vriezenveen (NL) and Jan Nieuwenhuis (World War II Allied Aircraft Crashes in The Netherlands and North Sea)
Date record last updated : 24 May 2019
Sydney Malach, J45149, Air Bomber
Sydney Malach, was in 214 Squadron at Oulton, between June, 1944 and August 1945. He survived the war but passed away at the early age of 44. He had four daughters who would love some information on his service. Sydney played on the football team and he was an air bomber who flew in a Fortress aircraft. Does anyone remember him?
Source : Gaye Cash (daughter)
Date record last updated : 14 June 2009
Flt/Lt Ian Mallen, 4232644, Air Electronics Officer, Royal Air Force, Nationality : United Kingdom
Born 26 April 1943
Born in Dudley, England
Son of Joshua and Nancy Mallen
Ian flew in the following aircraft during his RAF career:
Vulcan with 12 Squadron at Cottesmore
Shackleton 3.3 with 42 Squadron at St Mawgan
Shackleton 2.3 at Ballykelly and Honington
Victor K1 & K2 at Marham with 214 Squadron and 55 Squadron.
2010 : Ian has recently retired from BMI (British Midland), along with one of their Captains, John (Dan) Gurney. Ian was his AEO on the last flight he made in the RAF.
Source : Ian Mallen and Caroline Mallen (Daughter of Flt/Lt Ian Mallen)
Date record last updated : 22 October 2021
MALLETT, D E
Flt/Lt David Edwin Mallett, 4233195, Pilot, KIA 6 January 1977
Brian Bines wrote:
"Is there any record of David Mallett serving as a Victor Tanker pilot with 214 Sqd. circa 1960/70's . I lost touch with David in the 1970's and recently got in touch with a mutual friend from our ATC days, he told me following his RAF service David had been killed with the Rhodesian Air Force - from the web 4382 F/L David Edwin Mallett KIFA on 6 January 1977 as pilot of Dakota R7034 of No. 3 Sqd. at Buffalo Range area in a flying accident. He was cremated at Warren Hills Cemetery Salisbury."
Flt/Lt Mallett is mentioned in " A pride of Eagles" by Beryl Salt and he evidently was part of Parachute Training School and is recorded as flying Dakota 7034 on Sept 28th 1976.
D E MALLETT is listed in the AIR FORCE LIST 1977 as a Flt Lt (P) in the RAF Reserve of Officers.
Source : Brian Bines and Tom Robson
Date record last updated : 17 April 2010
Plt/Off Daniel Malofie, J/8596, Air Observer, Royal Canadian Air Force, Nationality : Canadian, KIA 3 July 1942, Aged 31
Source : Chorley and "Footprints on the sands of time" by Oliver Clutton-Brock
Date record last updated : 20 November 2020
MANNERS, N W
Fg/Off N W Manners
Flt/Lt Manners crew as recorded on their first 5 ops entries listed in the ORB seem to give the crew as:-
Flt/Lt J W Lucas
Flt/Lt W H Taylor
F/O N W Manners
F/Sgt R Jeffcock
W/O S C Hopkins
Sgt W C Heley (spelt Healey in the first entry but Heley in the next four)
F/Sgt J Parkinson
Sgt C W Pearson
Sgt J Burchell
This crew seems to be listed consistently in this order in the ORB, although it doesn't give their individual crew functions. HOWEVER, the tenth crew member (possibly the jamming equipment Special Operator?) changed a bit over the first 5 ops.
- Firstly it was Sgt J S Reid (1st op);
- then F/O W E Gronau RCAF (2nd op);
- then Sgt C Kerr (next 3 ops). It may be that this was how the crew settled down to be (ie with Kerr).
Source & Research : Ian Hunt
Sgt Kenneth Manson, 40654, Royal New Zealand Air Force, KIA 8 April 1941, Aged 20
Martin Blackmore writes :
'Sgt K Manson is listed as part of crew on R1380.
Ken Manson was my deceased Uncle, my Mother's (also deceased) Brother. I recall my Mother, who was adopted, believing that Ken and his two brother's were her cousins until aged 21, she was told they were in fact her brothers.
Ken enlisted in the RNZAF, visited my Mother in Wellington, New Zealand just prior to going overseas, turned and saluted her at the entrance of her shop, and she never saw him again.......she had known he was her brother for only a couple of months!
I have Ken's service medal, I have no idea what it is, have no idea what year he left NZ or the day he went missing and are attempting to fill in some gaps.'
Before and after World War 2 he was a famous racehorse trainer and had several famous winners. 1932 Epsom St Leger - Firdauss-Jockey was Freddy Fox - Owner was 6th Earl of Rosebery
1950 Epsom St Leger - Scratch - Jockey was Rae Johnstone - Owner was Marcel Boussac
1934 Epsom Derby - Windsor Lad - Jockey was Charlie Smirke - Owner was Maharaja of Rajpipla
1952 Epsom Derby - Tulyar - Jockey was Charlie Smirke - Owner was HH Aga Khan 3rd
Fg/Off Marcus Marsh wrote his autobiography called Racing with the Gods - Pelham Books - 1968, complete with a total of 19 black and white illustrations.It is a fascinating account of his life as a Racehorse Trainer,his life in the Casino's of the Riviera,his owners the Maharaja of Rajipla,The Aga Khan and Prince Aly. It reveals the secrets of the big race riders,and his time spent in a German Prison Camp during the War.
It appears from the records that he spent two spells in Spangeberg by Kassel and Dulag Luft.
Source : Wim de Meester of The Netherlands and Chorley and "Footprints on the sands of time" by Oliver Clutton-Brock and John Baines (Son of WO Harold Baines)
Date record last updated : 6 October 2019
Sgt Lionel Martin, 1294190, Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom, KIA 24 May 1943, Aged 21
Son of George and Elizabeth Martin, of Stowmarket, Suffolk.
On the 23 May 1943 at 23.15, Stirling MZ261 coded BU-T lifted off from Chedburgh, in Suffolk on the nights operations. The target for the night was a bombing raid on Dortmond which included several other 214 Squadron aircraft. This was destined to be their last flight. It is unknown exactly what happened, possibly flack or a nightfighter, but Stirling MZ261 crashed at Unna about 15km ENE of Dortmund. Initially the crew were buried here but they were later taken re-interred in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery.
Can any one provide information on the other people in the picture and where/when it was taken?
Source : Martin Alford, nephew of Donald Alford & CWGC & Claire Old (Great niece of Lionel Martin)
Date record last updated : 10 November 2017
MARTIN, R G
Sgt Reginald George Martin, 1171555, Flight Engineer, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom, KIA 27 March 1943
Source : "Footprints on the sands of time" by Oliver Clutton-Brock and David Champion (researcher)
Date record last updated : 23 February 2018
MATHEWS, S J
Passport photo of Sidney Mathews taken in 1949.
Sidney John 'Sid' Mathews BEM, 125001, Ground Crew, Nationality : United Kingdom
Born 10 May 1920
Born in 91 East St, Walworth Rd, Southwark, London, UK
Sidney enlisted on 27 May 1940. His civilian occupation was as a sheet metal worker.
Sidney was with 214 Squadron in the war in the periods of 07 February 1941 to May 1943. He was then transferred to 97 Squadron.
His son Leon writes "My Father used to talk to me about the all of the Wimpy (Wellington) and Lancasters that he worked on and serviced in the war. He used to tell me many stories about the planes and the men that he was with in that time. Unfortunately like many children of my time we did not utilise a Dictaphone or diligently write down what was said by our fathers but only listened, to which many stories were subsequently forgotten."
He was awarded the BEM on 14 March 1944, for "prompt and courageous action saving the life of a wireless operator and rendering valuable assistance in most harrassing and difficult circumstances".
Sidney was released from the Airforce on 28 May 1946.
Sidney died on the 17th February 2005, aged 84. His ashes were dispersed in the wind below Sir Lowry's Pass on a beautiful part of the Helderberg Mountains near Gordons Bay in Cape Town where his home was.
Source : Leon Mathews (son)
Date record last updated : 1 January 2010
AC1 Arthur Matthews, 534864, Royal Air Force, KIA 6 November 1939, Aged 23
Son of Jewell and Lydia Jane Matthews, of Yanco, New South Wales, Australia.
Fred grew up in Yanco New South Wales Australia and Stephen recalls that Fred trained at Narrandera on Tiger Moths.
Stephen would like to hear from anyone who may have known his uncle. Please contact him through this website.
Source : Stephen Matthews (nephew) and CWGC and Nightjar Newsletter Summer / Autumn 2003 and J. Michael Townsend, Chairman of the RAFA French Riviera Branch and Australian War Memorial
Date record last updated : 26 March 2021
MATTHEWS, S C
Flt/Lt Sidney Clayden Matthews DFC MiD, Non Com 1375209 Com 142217, Rear Gunner, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom, KIA 17 March 1945, Aged 25, Date taken POW 15 March 1945, POW number Unknown
Named on the following Memorial : Huchenfeld Church, SW Germany
Named on the following Memorial : Llanbedr Church, North Wales
Named on the following Memorial : No. 100 Group Bomber Command Roll of Honour in the RAF Window in Ely Cathedral.
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.
He lived at 26 Crawford Avenue Wembley before his marriage.
Sidney was a former pupil of Wembley Hill School and assisted his father in business at Harlesden until 1940 when he joined the RAF. A Boy Scout and avid swimmer, he held several medals and certificates for swimming.
He was made a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) from 6 February 1943, recorded in the London Gazette on 27 April 1943.
He was then promoted to Flying Officer on probation from 6 August 1943, recorded in the London Gazette on 27 August 1943.
Married on 10 October 1943, at St Lawrence Church, Whitchurch Lane, Canons Park, Edgware, Middlesex, he was the husband of Mrs Iris Minnie Blanche Matthews (Farr) residing at 12 Cornbury Road, Edgware, Canons Park UK.
He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 5 September 1944, which was recorded in the London Gazette on 15 September 1944. He was serving with 9 Squadron at that time.
By the time he won his DFC at the young age of 23, he had already flown an incredible 57 Operations, which included several over the heaviest defended target in the heart of Germany, Berlin. Among others were attacks on two of Germanys greatest battleships, the Scharnhorst and the Geneisenau at Brest.
(Note the Scharnhorst was sunk on 26 December 1943 in the Polar Sea in battle with British naval forces. Of the more than 2,000 men aboard only 36 survived. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwtwo/scharnhorst_01.shtml for the full story)
All of this was while serving with 9 Squadron.
Sidney with unknown crew
During the later part of World War 2 he was an Air Gunner in a B17 Flying Fortress HB779 BU-K as part of 214 Squadron based at RAF Oulton, nr Aylesham, Norfolk.
On 6 February 1945 he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant. This was recorded in the London Gazette on 2 March 1945.
He had it all, honour, rank, one of the highest awards an airman can receive, and a wife waiting at home. Truly a son any parent would be fiercely proud of.
Given the number of operations and that many were essentially suicide missions from which most never returned, it is inconceivable how Flt/Lt Matthews could have survived as long as he did. It makes one wonder why the hand of fate kept him safe despite insurmountable odds, only to steal his life in "the last months of the war" in such a cruel and senseless manner.
On 16 March 1945 his wife, Iris, received a telegram saying he was reported missing as a result of air operations on the night of 14/15 March 1945. He was known to have abandoned the aircraft overland but his whereabouts were unknown.
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. Matthews and four others were taken to the cemetery and shot.
On 25 March 1945, Iris received a letter from the pilot of the plane (Johnny Wynne) from the Officers Mess, RAF Station, Oulton, nr Norwich, Norfolk, explaining what had happened on that night.
On 26 March 1945 a letter was received from the Air Ministry confirming him missing as result of air operations.
On 7 January 1946 a letter was received from the Air Ministry confirming the discovery of five graves at Huchenfeld, Pforzheim, Germany and requesting help with identification of the bodies by laundry marks on their clothing. Iris wrote back to confirm these details on 8 January 1946.
On 18 January 1946 the Air Ministry wrote to express their great regret at the loss of his life whilst in enemy hands.
On 24 January 1946 the Air Ministry wrote to confirm that laundry marks below a collar band of a shirt worn by an officer in grave number three had matched the laundry markings that Iris had provided. They also confirmed that Mrs Frost, another of the widows had also been able to confirm laundry markings.
On 17 February 1946 another letter was received from Johnny Wynne now stationed at RAF Digby, Lincoln.
Mentioned in Despatches recorded in the London Gazette Issue 37598 published on the 4 June 1946. Page 63 of 68.
In July 1946 there were several newspaper articles clarifying what had happened.
On 20 September 1946 Iris was requested to go to Buckingham Palace on 29 October 1946 to collect Sidney's Distinguished Flying Cross. She went with Sidney's mother Maud Louise Matthews and her own father William Baden Farr.
On 30 September 1946 the Air Ministry wrote with the results of the trial, heard at Essen between 14 August 1946 and 3 September 1946. 22 accused were tried, of which 5 were acquitted, 3 were sentenced to death by hanging, 1 to life imprisonment and the rest had sentences varying from two to fifteen years. There were 5 more to be apprehended and brought to trial.
Iris was sent a photograph of the five graves at Huchenfeld. After the war the bodies were exhumed and buried at the Durnbach War Cemetery in Southern Germany.
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.'
On 25 November 1992 an article appeared in the Daily Mirror telling this story because the people of Huchenfeld wished to bury its Nazi ghost. Mrs Frost (now Mrs Taylor) attended the unveiling of a plaque in the village, in memory of the five who were killed. After seeing Sidney's name on the plaque John Edwards contacted the Daily Mirror. The reporter sent copies of photographs taken at the unveiling, Mrs Taylor's address and the proofs of the original story that he had filed, including an interview with the pilot Johnny Wynne who is still alive and living in Wales.
Mrs Taylor (Frost) was sent a copy of the letter sent to the Daily Mirror by John Edwards and she rang as soon as she received it on 4 March 1993. Copies of the letters from the pilot, Johnny Wynne were sent to her on 9 March 1993.
On 24 May 1998 John and Carol Edwards visited Durnbach War cemetery and took photos of the gravestones of all 5 crew members of HB779 BU-K who were buried there.
On 25 May 1998 John and Carol Edwards visited Huchenfeld Village where Sidney and the other four crew members were murdered. They visited the local church where the plaque is hung and also visited the grave of the Mayor of Huchenfeld who they understood had instigated the killings.
On 21 August 2009 John & Carol Edwards visited Ely Cathedral to see Sydney's name in the memorial book for 100 Bomber Group. Unfortunately his record was incorrect as the book states that he died in 1944 when it was actually 1945.
Flying Officer Keith Martin McCall underwent initial training in Canada, along with his brother Cyril (Cam), and final training with no.12 OTW at Chipping Warden and its satellite Edgehill, ending up at no 1657 HCW Shepherds Grove, Suffolk.
On arrival in Britain the brothers were posted to different Squadrons and Cyril was killed on his first bombing operation, shortly before Keith's first op.
His pilot on Wellingtons and Stirlings was Flt/Lt Ken Wyver and he transferred with him in early September 1944 to 214 Squadron. His first op was with another pilot - S/Ldr Miller - on 6 Oct. 1944 and the remainder of his 28 ops were with Ken Wyver, ending on 21 Feb. 1945.
Most of his crew attended his wedding at St Mary's Preston Park, Brighton in April 1945 to Margaret Jones.
After being discharged from the RAAF in 1946 he took a degree at Wadham College Oxford and joined the RAF as an English instructor, being seconded to his third airforce the Royal Pakistan Airforce (RPAF) in March 1951 in the same capacity. He served three years before moving to civilian life as a teacher, in Pakistan and later in the Seychelles and Tanzania.
Source : John McCall (son of Keith McCall) and Sqn/Ldr John McLelland (Rtd) (Son of Fg/Off McLelland) and 214 Squadron ORB
Date record last updated : 17 April 2020
Plt/Off Arthur McCarthy, 411222, Air Gunner, Royal New Zealand Air Force, KIA 5 September 1942, Aged 23
Was one of only 2 survivors when HB815 crashed on 4 March 1945.
Please see the following link to the BBC website WORLD WAR 2 - PEOPLE'S WAR, which tells the story of the crash of HB815 and the fate of it's crew members whilst returning to their airbase at Oulton when they were apparently shot down by a German fighter whilst preparing to land.
On 2/3 August, 1943, this airman was pilot of an aircraft returning from an attack on Hamburg. His aircraft was hit by electrical storms and severe icing and became uncontrollable. At approximately 0200 hours he gave orders to abandon the aircraft off Wilhemshaven. He alighted in the sea near to his navigator, Sgt A B Grainger, who was a poor swimmer and had been wounded. Despite his own wounds, which rendered his legs almost useless, Warrant Officer McGarvey (who was a Sergeant at the time) swam towards the navigator, who was blowing his whistle. Searchlights were being played on them and they tried to swim to the nearest shore position, Warrant Officer MoGarvey towing the navigator who, after a time, could barely help himself along and relapsed into periods of unconsciousness. When dawn broke they set course for a light vessel which could be seen in the distance. The tide was, however, carrying them- away from the vessel. The navigator was only just conscious and Warrant Officer McGarvey, discarding his " Mae West," swam to the light vessel to obtain assistance. At 10.30 hours the navigator was rescued in an unconscious condition but recovered after artificial respiration had been applied. Warrant Officer McGarvey had assisted him for 8½ hours, eventually saving his life in most difficult and dangerous circumstances. He won the George medal for this incredible feat. Both survived as Prisoners of War. Five other members of the crew were drowned.
(London Gazette - 14 August 1945)
He is thought to have died in 1973.
Source : London Gazette 14 August 1945 and "Footprints on the sands of time" by Oliver Clutton-Brock
Date record last updated : 11 February 2008
Fg/Off Doug McGarvie, Air Gunner, Royal Air Force, Nationality : British
Source : Graeme Walsh (Friend of Fg/Off John Lyall)
Date record last updated : 31 August 2018
Sgt Walter McGill kneeling second left. Does anyone recognise the other personnel in the photograph?
Sgt Walter McGill crouching left with Officer. Does anyone recognise the other personnel in the photograph?
Sgt Walter McGill second from left. Does anyone recognise the other personnel in the photograph?
Sgt Walter McGill fourth from left. Does anyone recognise the other personnel in the photograph?
Sgt Walter McGill, Air Gunner
Russell Ives writes :
My step-father was Sgt Walter McGill, Air Gunner, He did his first tour with 214 Sqn on Stirlings and his second tour with 622 Squadron on Lancasters at Mildenhall.
The above photos were taken at RAF Chedburgh I think and are of 214 Sqn personnel. If anyone recognises Sgt Walter McGill can you please get in touch with me.
Source : Russell Ives (step son of Sgt Walter McGill)
Date record last updated : 22 June 2018
MCGINN, B J
Sqn/Ldr B J McGinn, Pilot, Royal Air Force, Nationality : United Kingdom
Survived crash on 30 November 1940 but was injured.
The pilot, Sqn/Ldr B J McGinn, a highly experienced pilot with more than 4200 hours to his credit, was from 70 Squadron based in Egypt and was one of the pilots of this squadron who went to Britain to collect the first Wellingtons with which the squadron was re-equipping. He had flown one operation with 214 Squadron on the 14th, a raid to Schiphol airfield.
George McKeand joined 214 Squadron in January 1941 as a young sergeant pilot.
From London Gazette Issue 35247 published 15 August 1941 he was promoted to Flight Sergeant.
Like several 214 Squadron pilots, he was then rested at 21 OTU Moreton-in-Marsh.
From London Gazette Issue 36148 published 24 August 1943
On 27 July 1943 he was promoted to Squadron Leader.
He returned to operations in 1944, flying Mosquitos with 692 Squadron of the Light Night Striking Force in 8 Group.
From London Gazette Issue 36560 published 9 June 1944
"One night in May, 1944, several crews of Mosquito aircraft were detailed for a difficult and dangerous mine-laying mission. The operation called for the highest standard of skill and accuracy. In the face of intense anti-aircraft fire, balloon defences and .considerable searchlight activity the attack was pressed home with great precision from low level. That complete success was achieved in spite of such hazards is a high tribute to the calm courage and iron determination shown by the following officers who participated in various capacities as leaders and members of aircraft crew."
He was awarded the DFC.
He was the first pilot to drop a 4,000 pound cookie from a Mosquito.
In all he flew 81 bombing operations
From London Gazette, Issue 36873 published 29 December 1944:
"Acting Squadron Leader George MCKEAND, D.F.C.
(101511), R.A.F.V.R., 692 Sqn. Awarded DSO.
This officer has completed a very large number of sorties, involving attacks on a wide range of heavily defended targets in Germany. 'He has displayed conspicuous gallantry and determination in pressing home his attacks and has set an example of a high order. His achievements have been worthy of the highest praise."
From London Gazette Issue 37895 published 28 February 1947.
He was commisioned to Pilot Officer from 18 December 1946.
From London Gazette Issue 38861 published 14 March 1950.
He received promotion to Flying Officer from 1 April 1947.
From London Gazette Issue 39135 published 26 January 1951.
he resigned his commission on 26 September 1950.
He survived the war and lived in Edinburgh.
Died 22 April 1996 aged 79
Source : Christopher Jary, Author - Portrait Of A Bomber Pilot and London Gazette (various issues) and Joy Dunn (relative of Sqn/Ldr McKeand) and 214 Squadron ORB
Date record last updated : 19 February 2021
MCKEE, T V
Fg/Off Terrance Valleau McKee, J/37716, Air Bomber, Royal Canadian Air Force, Nationality : Canadian, KIA 17 January 1945, Aged 24
Son of Patrick and Catherine McLaughlin; husband of Phyllis McLaughlin (Gillan). Husband of Phyllis Mona McLaughlin (née Potts - later Mathews).
Originally came from Ireland then emigrated to New Zealand.
Worked as a farmer for W.A. Gault at Opotiki prior to service.
Enlisted on the 6 May 1942 at Hobsonville.
Embarked for Canada on the 12 February 1943.
Awarded his air gunner badge and promoted to sergeant on the 10 March 1944.
Embarked for England on the 4 April 1944.
Further training with No. 11 Operational Training Unit flying on Wellingtons then to No. 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit on the 3 August 1944 on Stirlings.
Joined 214 squadron on the 20 September 1944.
A total of 160 flying hours logged. On his 3rd operational sortie.
The brother of Phyllis Mona McLaughlin (née Potts - later Mathews), Plt/Off Donald Norman Potts NZ/412267 RNZAF was listed as missing believed killed flying as second pilot on 75 Squadron Wellington III X3557 during a raid on Wilhelmshaven on the 08/09 July 1942.
Fg/Off McLelland is recorded as a regular crew member with Flt/Lt Wyver and Fg/Off Keith McCall.
Wounded 14 February 1945.
John McLelland writes :
My father TA (Alec) McLelland was a special ops officer with the squadron and flew 29 sorties over the period 1944/45. During the last sortie my father was injured and the aircraft badly damaged. As a result the crew was not required to complete the last sortie and were recorded as having completed a tour of duty.
Source : John McCall (son of Keith McCall) and Sqn/Ldr John McLelland (Rtd) (Son of Fg/Off McLelland) and 214 Squadron ORB
Robert Stocker writes:
"My best mate in 214 was a guy called Ron Meldrum, but I've had no joy in trying to locate him. We often went to the band-room (the other side of the perimeter track, out of ear-shot,) and play about on his 4-track tape recorder. (Of course, we were MUCH younger then!)
My great sadness is losing contact with Ron.We spent many a happy hour in a King's Lynn pub called The Golden Ball, affectionately known as (if you will excuse the R.A.F. vernacular) The Rusty Knacker. Memories, memories. "
Source : Robert Stocker
Date record last updated : 7 August 2010
MELROSE, J D F
Jack Melrose is 2nd from the left in the front row
Sgt John D F 'Jack' Melrose, Royal Air Force, Nationality : United Kingdom, Date taken POW 13 October 1942, POW number 842
Son of George and Eva Melton, of Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire.
Graham Melton writes :
I have copies of: the original 'MIA' telegram, presumably sent to my grandparents, which contains precise addresses for all next-of-kin; letters from the Air Ministry to my grandfather informing him of my uncle's burial in Belgium and then in 1945 of the number of the grave; and two letters from my uncle to my grandparents in 1942, one written six days before his death which poignantly begins "Here's a line to show we're still alive & kicking." The letter continues: "Hope you're all OK too. Since we got back, we've been well occupied - "on" 3 nights but "scrubbed" 2 nights at the last minute".
Source : Robert Sharp (son) and CWGC and Nightjar Newsletter Spring 2004 and Chorley and Graham Melton (Nephew of Sgt George Bullimore Melton)
Date record last updated : 7 June 2019
MELVILLE, D A
Sgt Douglas Archer Melville, 913638, Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom, KIA 20 June 1942
Alan Mercer has contributed some reminiscences and a photo of Sgts White and Langhorn with 'their' B-17 in a book about 100 Group which came out about a year ago: "Even When The Sparrows Are Walking" by Laurie Brettingham.
Alan quotes " I was the Navigator with Gee fixes and a picture of the coastline on my H2S radar screen" (21 February 2009"). Alan still meets "Chalky" White regularly.
I was posted to an Operational Training Unit. My purpose in the RAF was coming into sharp focus. It was in November 1944 that another bomber crew was starting to be formed as we came together at No 11 Operational Training Unit, at Westcott & Oakley, Bucks.
We were F/O Ken Kemmett, Pilot, Sgt Alan Mercer, Navigator, F/O "Lofty Baumfield (NZ), B/A, F/Sgt Steve Spregg, W/OP, Sgt "Duke" Maddox (NZ), R/AG and Sgt "Curly" Herlihy (NZ), MU/AG. Ken was about 23 years old an ex instructor, Steve starting his second tour of ops was about 30, the rest of us were around 20 years old.
I had managed to get home for Christmas and Boxing Day plus a couple of other weekends, achieved by either getting a taxi, if available, from the airfield to the main A40 road into London and hitch hiking, or if there was no taxi then I took a walk across two or three fields to the A40.
Some fourteen weeks later and some 87 hours flying in Wellingtons and a great deal more ground training found ourselves a "qualified" bomber crew. We had experiences of being diverted to other airfields, landing at Newmarket racecourse (gate crashing an Army dance dressed in our flying clothing and boots), sleeping overnight in deserted Nissen huts.
On one flight, we had to call for assistance from Darky (night time emergency radio network) because our navigation aids had packed up, and we were too close to Rugby radio masts about 1200 ft high, with a cloud base lower than that. We were guided into Polebrook, a USAAF airbase, given supper in a "film set" dining hall, sleeping in hospital beds as there were no other empty beds. Flying at night when the weather was good meant that at the end of the flight near to base we could look out for the airfield identity beacon flashing its code in the darkness.
I have memories of walking miles in snow to go to local pubs, coming back to a Nissen hut with a white hot stove in the middle, ideal for toast after some beers or trying to open a soldered tin containing cake sent to the Kiwis in our crew.
This was a satisfying period of training (and other life) marred only by the news that my friend Eric Thurston had been killed in a mid air collision at another OTU in Scotland.
At the end of the course our Pilot told us that we had been posted to a special duties squadron in Norfolk. We arrived at RAF Oulton near Aylsham. I think we were picked up from Norwich railway station and driven to Oulton. Just outside the airfield were the scattered remains of a crashed B-17 Flying Fortress, shot down by a German intruder a night or two previously, not the best of welcomes! I learned some years later that 8 of the crew were killed in that crash and I met one of the survivors, an AG at a reunion in 1994.
We flew in Fortresses
Before joining the Squadron, we had to spend four weeks at No 1699 Heavy Conversion Unit, also at RAF Oulton, gaining two more AGs, Freddie Langhorn and "Chalky" White, 18 year old Sergeants, plus Sgt "Smithy" Smith, Flight Engineer and P/O "Olly" Green, Special Radar Operator in our crew. One of the staff pilots at the Conversion Unit was Murray Peden who checked our crew. He wrote a very good book later called "A Thousand Must Fall". I have it on my bookshelf.
It was the beginning of April 1945 before we joined 214 Squadron. A week was spent pottering about, then our first operation to Schleisweg Holstein on a spoof raid, dropping window, and jamming German RDF etc. We learned a few days later, in an intelligence report, that a squadron of German night fighters had taken off to come after our few Fortresses (looking like a large number of bombers on the German Radar screens). That meant one lot of night fighters less going after the main force which was our raison d'être. What an experience that first op was!
The B/A and myself attended a separate navigation briefing almost like a classroom exercise or exam. With our routes mapped out etc. we went for the traditional aircrew supper, fried egg, bacon and chips, not the best pre flight meal but eggs were a luxury in wartime. Afterwards we went to the Sergeant's Mess where I brought out two half pints of beer as a mock bravado gesture of insurance against our not coming back. An hour later we were drawing our parachutes, Mae West's etc, riding in a truck to dispersal, having a pee on the back wheel, finally getting airborne around sunset. Another hour later we were over Germany (not much left of the opposition as the invasion was going well but still plenty of night fighters left).
My navigation equipment was working perfectly, a bit of jamming on the Gee set but still clear pulses to give me position fixes. The gunners reported vapour trails, we were flying at 22,000 ft, puzzling because our squadron aircraft were flying at staggered intervals about 20 miles behind each other. Obvious conclusion? Then some searchlights came near to us, so our skipper started to weave, well I reckon that we actually corkscrewed for half an hour. I was airsick for the first (and only) time in my life, fried egg and chips etc beer, and butterflies transferred rapidly from my stomach to one of the spare charts rather neatly and with my oxygen mask back on, I was then able to carry on. Six of the other crew were also sick, but at least we were still alive.
On one op, cruising fairly calmly at 22,000 ft there was a burst of gunfire from the Mid Upper. The Pilot's reaction was to stand the plane on its nose and lose a few thousand feet straight away. The M/U then apologised! He claimed to have caught his parachute harness on the triggers, which did not have trigger guards. We all reckoned that he had fallen asleep, waking up with a jerk, thus catching his harness that way.
On the 22nd April 1945, our crew was scheduled as standby crew, this meant extra work for me as Navigator as I had to prepare three flight plans in case we had to take the place of any of the other crews. Again it was Supper, the flying gear, etc. and then out to dispersal to wait and see if we were required or not. All the aircraft took off all right so we were able to go back to whatever we wanted to do! I had three useless flight plans, left to tear up in little pieces!!!
The Flying Fortress was chosen for Radar Counter Measures for a number of reasons: it could fly high and it had a spacious compartment for the W/Op and Special Operator together with their radar receivers and transmitters. The internal bomb bays were an ideal shape and size for the pillar-box sized transmitters we carried for jamming purposes. (Stirlings previously used had a difficult job to get much above 15,000 ft). The Rear Gunner had a very tight squeeze towards the rear with only a saddle type seat to sit on for the total time airborne. Further forward, the Mid Upper Gunner had a reasonable position and of course the Pilot and Engineer enjoyed armchair comfort (?). The B/A and myself had our little office in the nose, a chart table 3 ft by 2 ft, with the Gee set to the left, Air position Indicator (Heath Robinson box of gears and cogs, but it worked), and H2S (radar picture of the ground, fine but Germans could home onto it) on the right hand side of the table. The B/A worked on some Radar gear when we reached the target area so we had no need to look out, our windows were curtained, and we declined the Pilots' suggestion to look out, as we were too cosy inside to bother about the war outside.
The B/A and I had to stand behind the Pilot and Engineer for take offs and landings and one night returning from an op, I saw the red exhaust flames of a plane crossing in front of us from left to right, slightly above us about twenty feet away. "Not one of ours" said the skipper sticking the nose down to touch the runway quicker. This was the only time I had seen the enemy and only 2 seconds separated us from being in his gun sight.
On one of our air tests, I had a look back from the astro-dome at the Pilot, Engineer, and behind them, the Mid Upper Gunner who, naturally, had a very good view all around, Curly depressed his guns and fired at me, well perhaps 12 inches above the astro-dome, I couldn't help ducking! Another time on an air test, he test fired his guns, then against the rules, he centralised his guns rearward before clearing a live round from the breech block, the live round cooking in the hot gun went off hitting our own tail about 12 inches above the Rear A/G's head. The Pilot wasn't told until after landing and wasn't amused at the news; he had felt that the controls had become stiff during landing.
Sometimes I would join the two waist gunners for takeoff and try to keep my head out of the window but as speed increased I had to give way, and get my head back in.
On another occasion, whilst sitting around on the grass at the dispersal point, dressed in our flying clothing, waiting for takeoff time, another Fortress's waist gun started firing. It appeared that the Waist Gunner had left his gun strap on the gun trigger so that the vibration of the engines starting up swung the gun around and pulled the strap tight on the trigger. The episode was good for a laugh just before takeoff.
Some of the lighter parts of living on the airfield were very good. There was a large lake in the grounds of nearby Blacking Hall, ideal for dinghy drill practice, especially as the Spring weather was getting better. We found that swimming around the lake towing the dinghy made better speed than paddling the thing in the approved manner. Afterwards, we used the showers in the officer's quarters, which were in the grounds, to wash the pondweed off ourselves.
Our NZ B/A had a visit from his brother Ben in the NZ navy; we found Sgt's uniform for Lofty and his brother so that we could all eat together in the Sgt's Mess.
I had a go at flying the Fortress. I'd had the controls of a Tiger Moth, Anson, and Wimpey before. I was doing reasonably well despite wisecracks from the Rear A/G, but losing patience with him, I started kicking the rudder bar to and fro which must have knocked his head in a similar to and fro inside the small headroom. I wasn't allowed to continue the treatment for long, as the Skipper took control back again.
We had a fire during an air test once, well a lot of smoke anyway. One of the electric motors in the bomb bay started giving off a lot of smoke, so a couple of us went to town with the fire extinguishers and put out the smoke by the time we landed. On these air tests we were supposed to take our parachutes with us and usually we did so as a matter of course. It was amusing to see the two crew members who did not bother to take their 'chutes had the whitest of faces while the rest of us could see the joke.
At our working altitudes of 20,000 ft we obviously were on oxygen. The oxygen mask after a couple of hours began to chafe our faces and it was quite a relief to take it off for a few seconds in order to have a quick swig of coffee from the flask or a bite of a sandwich neatly wrapped in newspaper. There was always a drop of condensation falling from the mask and this dropped to form a blob of ice on the chart until we returned to a lower altitude and thawed out, then the chart became rather soggy in places. We had electrically heated flying suits and what with plugging that in, plus the oxygen, plus the intercom, and our seat belts, I was well trained for the car seat belt laws of later years.
Life on the Squadron was easy. If flying the night before, we didn't book in until about mid-day at our sections, otherwise we signed on around 9 am, had a chat, looked at notices, maybe went to an odd lecture. A few minutes away from the Nav section were the camp gates, which were always open, and a village PO/General shop/tea room provided a meeting point as an alternative to the NAAFI wagon. If a few days had elapsed since an op or exercise, then the Navs had to see the Nav Leader who had marked our charts and duly praised or criticised our performance.
We, the NCOs shared a Nissen hut with the NCOs of two other crews, one crew had come with us from OTU, the other crew failed to return one night. When we woke up in the morning, there were five or six empty beds, later in the day their belongings had been cleared out.
My late arrival on an operational Squadron, flying only 3 operations was a very good reason for surviving the war, some 8 Fortresses were lost from 214 Squadron in the last three months of the war (some 60 lives lost). Let us not forget that some 55,000 other lads in Bomber Command also failed to make it, whilst some 70,000 came through more or less OK.
By this time our Pilot had got his second ring (Flt/Lt), Steve got his commission after W/O, and we senior Sgts became F/Sgts, the Skipper did nag me to apply for a commission the same as Steve, but I felt that my W/O would be due soon and it wasn't worth while becoming an officer for the "short time" before I was demobbed. A W/O Navigator was paid more than a P/O and about the same as a F/O.
V.E. Day came. We celebrated on the airfield. An ox or sheep was roasted on a spit. We had some beer, I think! I don't remember much of that evening. The next day, we elected for a quiet evening at the pictures, our usual mode of transport was by bike, and if our issued bike had been taken we took the nearest one or doubled up on one bike. Returning to camp, sitting on the handlebars of Chalkys bike, we met 2 WAAFs riding bikes, and we became "tangled". I ended up in hospital with concussion! Nevertheless, I returned to flying in 4 weeks.
After the war ended we had a lot of surplus ammunition to dispose of by taking a flight over the North Sea, opening bomb doors and dropping it. There was a catwalk through the bomb bay for us to walk from front to rear and it felt strange to stand on an 18" gangway with the sea a hundred feet below us. Coming back from this little task we found a Lancaster had formated beside us, after exchanging the usual victory signals, the Lancaster shut off one engine and then started pulling away from us despite our Pilot trying to push our throttles as hard as he could. The Lancaster continued on three engines to leave us well behind. We took part in a couple of exercises in July called Post Mortem, to test the effectiveness of the German Radar, flying up and down the North Sea and in and out of Denmark. One of those flights was 7 1/2 hours, the longest time I had been airborne in the RAF (but nothing to compare with the Catalina in Coastal Command).
The Squadron split up, we all went on leave.
NOTE: The final operation was also Bomber Command's last op of WWII, which was the subject of a recent book: "The Final Fling" by William J Rees.
Sadly Alan passed away on Saturday 6th June 2009.
Source : Alan Mercer and Karen Callister (daughter) and Ian Hunt and Jennifer Baumfield
Date record last updated : 8 June 2009
MERCER, C H R
FS Cecil Harry Reuben Mercer, 968118, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, KIA 8 April 1941, Aged 26
Cyril served with 214 during WWII, as a Squadron Leader, from October 1941, leaving for 156 Squadron around May 1942. He later went on to become a Wing Commander.
He sadly died in the early hours of 27 January 2011 at the age of 95.
The following personal message was found in the Sidmouth Herald 24, online:
"Miles Cyril George (wing commander retired). Elsa and family wish to thank everyone who attended Cyril's funeral, sent cards and donations, also to Radway Lodge, Dr Morris and the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital for their care and attention. Steve at Potburys for the arrangements, the Reverend Angie Gammon for a beautiful service and Abbeyfield Court for all their help and support."
Cyril helped the authors of "Royal Air Force Stradishall" 1938-1970.
Source : Chorley and Peter Barrow (grandson of Cyril Miles) and Ian Hunt
Date record last updated : 28 March 2015
MILLER, C K
Sgt Charles Kenneth Miller, 1497411, Pilot, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Nationality : United Kingdom. KIA 24 June 1943, Aged 21
Plt/Off Ernest Vernon Miller was awarded the DFC in 1943 and is recorded in the Supplement to the London Gazzette dated 15 June 1943 while he was with 214 Squadron. Click on this link to see the entry.
He was the pilot for 20 Fortress flights between April 1944 to May 1945 (actual operational take-offs. Does not disregard aborted ops, early returns etc.).
Source : Ian Hunt and London Gazette and Alex Lancashire (son of WO Albert Bishop Lancashire)
Date record last updated : 5 December 2021
MILLER, L R
Leslie R Miller
1947/48 Leslie was with 214 at RAF Upwood.
Source : Leslie Miller
Date record last updated : 3 October 2010
MILLER, S A
Sgt Stuart Alexander Miller, 634701, Flight Engineer, Royal Air Force, Nationality : United Kingdom, KIA 13 October 1942, Aged 30
Enlisted 1 October 1928 as Torpedo Fitter at RAF Gosport
(Logbooks missing for 1928 to 1936)
James Constant Mills served with 214 Squadron between 1937 to 1939, being transferred to another squadron just prior to the start of hostilities of World War 2. Ashley Woods (grandson) has copies of his logbook for the time he served with 214 Squadron.
First Operational Tour completed whilst posted to General Duties Branch in 1940
Second Operational Tour completed with 115 Squadron based at RAF Marham in 1941 (Jan-Jul)
Awarded DFC (Shot down ME110)
Citation for DFC awarded :
"Pilot Officer James MILLS (43016), No. 115 Squadron. In February, 1941, this officer was the rear gunner of an aircraft engaged in a bombing operation over enemy occupied territory. Whilst over the aerodrome at Morlaix, a Messerschmitt was encountered and Pilot Officer Mills' skilfully directed his pilot into an attacking position and then, with great coolness and skill, shot down the enemy aircraft. Since September 1939 this officer has participated in numerous operations and has displayed determination and gallantry on all occasions."
Gained membership during 115 Squadron service to both the Goldfish Club (Overnight accommodation in dinghy in the North Sea) & Caterpillar Club (Bailed out over Cromer, Norfolk)
Chief Instructor at No10 A.G.S. at RAF St Athan in 1943
Lectured at USAAF Air Gunnery Schools in USA in 1944
Posted to Air Ministry 1948
Posted as RAF Liaison Officer to Woomera Missile Range, Australia 1952-54
Posted as RAF Liaison Officer to White Sands Missile Range, USA, for the NIKE missile program 1954
Retired after 32 years in the RAF on 1st November 1960 (2,950 flying hours).
Sadly he died on 11 September 1981 aged 72.
Source : Ashley Woods (grandson) and www.rafcommands.com and www.key.aero and London Gazette
Date record last updated : 16 April 2021
MILLS, J T
Fg/Off John Tudor 'Johnny' Mills, Non Com 1851156 Com 197967, Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom
He flew with 214 Squadron from RAF OULTON in 1944-45. He always flew, apart from 1 or 2 odd occasions, with the same crew - Pilot Sqn/Ldr Van Den Bok, and two Canadians - Smithy and Al Schaeffer. His rank in this crew was Flight Sergeant.
His number of operations flown with 214 was 18 (19 take-offs).
Roger notes that his father also flew,but not on "Operations",with:
Flt/Lt Bayliss on 30 November 1944 in Fortress "S", Oulton to Manston.
Plt/Off or Fg/Off Mark on 10 February 1945 in Fortress "U" ,Oulton to Juvincourt,France.
Wing Commander Bowes DFC on 6 June 1945 in Fortress "W",Oulton to Earls Colne & return.
His very last Fortress trip with 214 was with Flt/Lt Wynne DFC on 23 June 1945 in Fortress "P", Oulton to Riccall,to join 1332 HCU.
After the war he moved to Transport Command, flying as an Fg/Off in Liberators and then Avro Yorks, operating from Waterbeach and Stradishall with Nos 220 and 51 Squadrons. When he operated from Waterbeach he brought back troops from India. His aircraft, York MW 208, crashed at Dum Dum, killing several on board, including a senior Group Captain G H Foss, OBE, S/Ldr The Rev A J Hepburn, and S/Ldr The Rev I W M Taylor.
He then called it a day although he spent the rest of his life wishing he had stayed in the RAF. He retired from Strike Command, High Wycombe as Second -In-Command of Civilian Radio Operators,after many years service at RAF Fylingdales, RAF Bampton,& RAF Pitreavie.
Sadly he died unexpectedly in 1987, the day before he was due to go up to London to meet Al Schaeffer, who had just flown over from Canada.
The site administrators have copies of his Log book showing flights with Sqn Ldr Van Den Bok
Source : Roger V Mills (son) and John Tudor Mills Log Book
Date record last updated : 1 June 2013
MILLS, N E
Sgt Norman Evans Mills, 1113963, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom, KIA 7 August 1941
Fg/Off Milne was one of several crew from Fortress BU-B to bail out and be taken prisoner of war, he was repatriated during 1945. It is believed Fg/Off Milne was responsible for the electronic jamming equipment aboard the aircraft. (No further details are known.)
Further information received from Mr Joop Thuring a war researcher from the Netherlands as follows :
Fortress, SR 382, 22 June 1944, F/Sgt W. Milne escaped but was captured on 11 July 1944.Crash-site Bergharen, NL. Flying Officer W Milne was assisted by Dutch patriots but when placed on the escape line towards Belgium nothing was heard since. No information about the fate of other crew members. I have spoken recently with a Dutch patriot who has given assistance to him after he was able to escape by parachute and before he had been made POW most likely in or near the town of Antwerp (BE).
He was captured several weeks after the aircraft came down on 11 July 1944.
Source : John Cripps (nephew of Sgt Sydney Bryant) and Joop Thuring and "Footprints on the sands of time" by Oliver Clutton-Brock
Date record last updated : 20 November 2020
MILTON, A F H
Fg/Off A F H Milton
Was an occasional replacement for crew members of HB774 BU-G
Source : David Wright (son of Flt/Lt George Wright)
Date record last updated : 4 August 2009
MILTON, P G
Sgt Peter Gray Milton, 997221, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom, KIA 28 January 1942
Son of Vincent Charles Mooney (died 15 December 1947 age 68) and the late Ellen 'Nellie' Mooney (née Ferry - died 3 December 1926 age 45). Husband of Christine Mooney of Windsor Ontario, Canada. Father of Betty Ellen and Michael Richard.
Worked as a fruit farmer and also for the Chrysler Corporation of Canada prior to service.
Enlisted on the 29 July 1943 at Edmonton.
Brother of Angela Maria Barnes (née Mooney - died 21 July 2001 age 91).
After volunteering for service Robert was sent for training to the Signals Schools in Blackpool and Yatesbury. After 6 months wait he was then posted to the Gunnery School in South Wales.
He was then posted to Egypt for 12 months in 1942.
Further postings were at :
9 AFU in North Wales
North Luffenham (OTU)
He then joined 214 Squadron at Chedburgh. Robert was on the crew of Flight Sergeant Harry Hall flying mining trips to the Frisian Islands and the Gironde River in the South of France. This was followed with main laid targets at Hamburg, Essen & Nuremburg.
On the Nuremburg mission they lost 2 engines and ditched into Pevensey Bay after running out of fuel.
After he was rescued Robert was taken to Naval Sick Quarters in Lewes, where he stayed for 2 weeks. 2 crew members died and the rest of the crew went back to the Squadron.
His letter of thanks to the Air Sea Rescue Launch captain for being saved from the crash is in the small museum at Brenzett, near New Romney in Kent, along with parts of the Stirling.
When he later returned to the Squadron he flew with Flight Lieutenant Bray.
On a mission to Mannheim they were badly shot up on the bombing run and had to make an emergency landing at West Malling in Kent. It was later discovered that they had landed with ¾ of the bombs still on board. Air Traffic Control at West Malling said that if they had realised they would have ordered them to set the plane on course for the sea and the crew would have had to bail out over land.
Further missions were made to Berlin.
214 Squadron formed into the 100 Group in 1943 for special operations to be carried out. Robert flew with George Mackie DFC. He finished his tour on B17's in September 1944.
He then became a Briefing Officer with Transport Command.
Mentioned in the Flying Log Book of Sgt Fulton James Logan
Joined 214 from 513 Sqn 21 November 1943
Promoted to WO Date?
First Op (Stirling) 04 December 1943
Promoted to Plt/Off 23 May 1944
Promoted to Acting Fg/Off 04 July 1944
Promoted to Fg/Off Date?
Promoted to Flt/Lt Date?
Last Op 31 December 1944
Posted to 21 OTU 18 January 1945
The crew of R9326 were filmed as part of a Pathe News Gazette wartime film called 'Take it on the Chin' about the bombings raids over Germany, which they took part in. This can be viewed by visiting : http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=22954
Source : Ian Tonkin and Nightjar Newsletter Summer / Autumn 2004 and "Footprints on the sands of time" by Oliver Clutton-Brock
Mo clocked up an amazing 58 sorties serving in nos 9, 106 and 214 Squadrons all as tail gunner.
Clive Smith writes :
He also flew his last tour with 214 Squadron as a B-17 Gunner between October 1944 and January 1945 with Flt Lt Ken Wyver's crew.
He flew 28 SD Patrol Ops with the crew. Can you tell me what 'SD' stood for?
Moseley came together with some of the crew (Including Wyver) at 12 OTU Chipping Warden flying together on 16/6/44, before transferring to 1657 CU Shepherds Grove and then 1699 CU at Oulton.
Source : Sqn/Ldr John McLelland (Rtd) (Son of Fg/Off McLelland) and Clive Smith and 214 Squadron ORB
Date record last updated : 17 April 2020
MOUNSEY, H G P
Plt/Off Harold George Pete Mounsey, 148050, Air Bomber, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom, KIA 1 September 1943, Aged 33
Son of Oswold Robart Mounsey and Margaret Caroline Mounsey; husband of Margaret Anne Mounsey.
Adrian Lee believes that he was from a family living in Argentina, South America, but as his roots were in England and he held a British passport, he joined up. Adrian understands that he was from a wealthy family and his father was also connected with the RAF
Source : Adrian Lee (son of Frank Lee) and Chorley and CWGC
Date record last updated : 27 November 2009
MOUNT, R V
Sgt Reginald Victor Mount, 904439, Pilot / Qualified Flying Instructor, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, KIA 29 July 1941
Distinguished Flying Cross - No.214 Squadron - Award effective 7 May 1943 as per London Gazette dated 13 May 1943 and AFRO 1035/43 dated 4 June 1943. Born in Regina, 1918; home in Saskatchewan; member of Militia (Weyburn Regiment), 1934 to 1937 and of RCMP (1937-1940); enlisted in Ottawa 11 May 1940. Trained at No.1 ITS (graduated 21 June 1940, No.1 EFTS (graduated 16 August 1940), No.1 SFTS (ceased training 7 October 1940), No.1 BGS (graduated 17 February 1941), No.1 AOS (graduated 3 January 1941) and No.1 CNS (graduated 20 March 1941). Commissioned 1941. Medal presented at Buckingham Palace 7 December 1943.
Flight Lieutenant Mulhall has been navigation officer in his squadron for eleven months, during three months of which he has also performed the duties of bombing leader. Despite his duties as squadron navigation officer, Flight Lieutenant Mulhall has taken part in a large number of operational sorties. Twice on recent occasions he has returned with excellent photographs of the aiming point. The high standard of navigation attained in the squadron is largely owing to the untiring efforts of this officer, while his personal example has been a source of inspiration to his fellow navigators.
NOTE: Public Record Office Air 2/8950 has recommendation drafted 21 March 1943 when he had flown 32 sorties (173 hours 35 minutes). Sortie list and text add to the record:
23 Aug 41 Le Havre
25 Aug 41 Karlsruhe
28 Aug 41 Duisburg
31 Aug 41 Cologne
07 Sept 41 Kiel
12 Sept 41 Frankfurt
28 Sept 41 Genoa
14 Oct 41 Nuremberg
20 Oct 41 Bremen
24 Oct 41 Brest
01 Nov 41 Brest
07 Nov 41 Berlin
23 Nov 41 Brest
25 Nov 41 Essen
11 Dec 41 Cologne
15 Dec 41 Brest
10 Feb 42 Brest
12 Feb 42 Sweep for cruisers, North Sea
08 Mar 42 Essen
09 Mar 42 Essen
10 Mar 42 Essen
23 Mar 42 GARDENING
25 Mar 42 Essen
28 Mar 42 Lubeck
02 Apr 42 Poissy
17 May 42 Vichy (Nickel raid)
04 Sep 42 Bremen
13 Sep 42 Bremen
17 Dec 42 GARDENING
13 Feb 43 Lorient
01 Mar 43 Berlin
08 Mar 43 Nuremberg
Flight Lieutenant Mulhall has been Navigation Officer in this squadron for over eleven months, during three months of which he has also performed the duties of Bombing Leader. He has carried out 32 operational sorties (involving 173 hours 35 minutes) and is an excellent practical navigator. His work in this squadron has been of a high order, and it has been largely due to his untiring efforts that the standard of navigation has reached such a high level, particularly in astro work. Despite the fact that his work as a Squadron Navigation Officer has entailed his being on duty for long periods, he has continued to operate.
Twice in his recent sorties he has been responsible for obtaining excellent photographs. These were obtained in Bremen on two different occasions and were both close to the aiming point. Flight Lieutenant Mulhall's personal example has been an inspiration to the navigators of this squadron.
MULHALL, W P
Sgt William Peter Mulhall, Flight Engineer, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom, Date taken POW 7 March 1945, POW number Unknown
Born Belfast, Wop/Ag serving with 214 Squadron at Stradishall, 22 July 1940 until 23 Jan 1941 (22/07/1941 to 23/01/1941). He later served with 42 air school Port Elizabeth S.A, 71 Air School, 5 Air School, South African Air Force station at Allahabad, then RAF S (Special) FORCE chindits burma. From records released recently, marked top secret, he served at White City burma but it is not certain what his role may have been. He was later admitted to Comilla hospital then transferred to 18 british general hospital. Following discharge from the hospital he then joined 52 Squadron at dum dum. He was demobbed in Jan 1945 while at 226 Maint Unit, Mallusk.
NOTE: A(On 1 July 1944, C and D Flights of 353 Squadron at Dum Dum, Calcutta were re-designated 52 Squadron and equipped with Dakotas for general transport duties in India.) B(White City is a landing ground located near Indaw Burma. See http://www.hglambert.co.uk/Burma.htm for further info on White City.)
Sgt Murphy remained in the Middle East following the war and served in the palestine police. He then emigrated to Australia when his son Mike was about 5 or 6, where he enlisted in the RAAF. serving a tour of duty in Vietnam. (Robert obviously had a love for the far east or something that pulled him there considering he stayed there after the war and years later went back to the same area to serve in a different war. Sgt Robert George Murphy passed away in 1990.
His son Mike currently holds all of his medals, silk escape scarf burma, an original chindit cloth badge, plus a book about the chindits, dated india 1944.
Source : Mike Murphy, Harrogate, North Yorkshire. Policing and the RAF is in the Murphy blood, Mike himself spent his life in the RAF and Policing as did his father. Mike is rtd RAF REGT, 27 laa sqn, 1966 1971, Royal Military Police 1971 1989, retiring from HMP after 10 yrs service.
A photo of Sgt Murphy taken with his sister exists and it is hoped to add this to the site soon.
Plt/Off Frank Murray, Pilot, Royal Australian Air Force, Nationality : Australian
During a mission on 20/21 December 1942 after being attacked by an enemy fighter, his left ankle was shattered. Even so he managed to hobble to the rear turret and got the injured gunner out. Then he attended to the wireless operator, stopping his bleeding and treating his wounds. It was only when the navigator noticed pools of blood on the floor that the crew discovered that Murray was wounded himself and had collapsed from loss of blood.
Source : 214 Squadron ORB and http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2-1RAF-c13.html.
Date record last updated : 29 December 2008
MURRAY, J W
Plt/Off James Walter Murray, 104453, Pilot, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, KIA 11 April 1942