Son of Harold Edward and Elizabeth Palmer, of Walton, Stafford.
Sergeant Tristram Edward Leonard Palmer was from Walton, Stafford. Before he joined the RAF, he was a Bronze Medal winner with the Royal Academy of Music. He joined the RAF and trained at RAF Pershore with 23 O.T.U.
Source : www.rafcommands.com/forum and National Archives AIR 81/4416
Date record last updated : 8 January 2021
FS J Parkinson
F/Sgt Parkinson's 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 Geoffrey Parnell, 1579972, Mid Upper Gunner, Nationality : United Kingdom, Date taken POW 22 September 1943, POW number 502
Geoffrey died on 2 December 2010 in Oxfordshire, aged 86, 3 weeks short of his 87th birthday.
Sue Lines, his goddaughter writes :
" When I visited him a couple of months before his death he told me that he had been told about the Squadron website and as he didn't have access to the Internet, he asked me to look at it for him. I was able to print out a good part of it which I made into a booklet for him for him to read through. He was over the moon to receive it and it gave him a lot of pleasure at the end of his life."
Source : Nightjar newsletter Autumn 2004 and Shirley Whitlock and Ian Hunt and "Footprints on the sands of time" by Oliver Clutton-Brock and John Fowler and Sue Lines (goddaughter of Geoffrey".
Date record last updated : 30 April 2011
PARSONS, H M
Sgt Harry Michael Parsons, 1332551, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom, Aged 25
Harold Johnstone Paterson (HJP) was born in Annan, Dumfries & Galloway in 1916, son of Archibald M. Paterson, boilermaker and Georgina Johnstone, dressmaker. In 1922, the family moved to Greenock, Renfrewshire where HJP was educated at the town's High School then Glasgow University. After University, he became Manager of the family's dyeing and dry cleaning shop, spending his spare time learning to fly. On 14th April, 1939, he joined the RAF VR on a 5 year engagement, training at Prestwick Aerodrome from where he made his first solo flight in a Tiger bi-plane during the summer of 1939.
Harold Paterson was on 19 Course at No 10 FTS Tern Hill with Jack Wetherly and Humphrey Smiles. Posted like them to 214 Squadron, Paterson was awarded an immediate DFC for a low-level attack on Scharnhorst in Brest harbour on 2/3 March 1941. The incident was widely reported in the press.
From the London Gazette Issue 35116 published on the 25 March 1941. Page 6 of 44 :
DFC awarded to Pilot Officer Harold PATERSON (83712), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 214 Squadron.
"One night in March, 1941, this officer was detailed to attack a cruiser of the Hipper class at Brest. While reconnoitring at about 7,000 feet, a flare dropped by another aircraft, illuminated the target, whereupon Pilot Officer Paterson decided to attack. Diving to 1,000 feet, in the face" of heavy opposition from ground defences, he released several very heavy bombs. During the flight, searchlights were machine-gunned and, whilst over the sea, an E-boat was also machine-gunned from a height of only 50 feet. Although his aircraft was severely damaged and difficult to handle, Pilot Officer Paterson succeeded in returning to this country and in landing his aircraft safely. This officer has completed 20 operational flights and has at all times displayed courage, determination and devotion to duty of a high order."
Ron Birch's Band
Both the above photos were taken in Stalag Luft 3. Please note that Harold is marked by an arrow.
HJP's service record is as follows:
1939 Apr 14 Enlisted as U/T Pilot. RAF VR.
1939 Apr 15 Promoted to Sergeant.
1939 Sept 1 From RAF VR to Glasgow TC. Mobilised.
1939 Oct 3 From Glasgow TC to No. 1. ITS Cambridge.
1939 Nov 2 From 1. ITW to HQRC Pool.
1940 Apr 10 From Res Comm to No 10 FTS.
1940 July 26 Discharge from 10 FTS on appointment to a temporary commission.
1940 July 27 Granted commission as Pilot Officer on probation for duration of hostilities.
1940 Sept 16 Qualified as Pilot.
1940 Oct 4 Joined 214 Squadron for flying duties.
1940 Nov 23 Blind App. Sch.
1941 Jul 27 Confirmed as Flt/Off.
1941 Mar 25 Rewarded with DFC.
1941 Mar 31 No 3 Grp Trg Flight for Flying Duties.
1941 Apr 20 Missing (FB) Casualty.
1941 Apr 21 Reported as POW.
1942 Jul 27 Promoted to Flight Lieut.
1945 May 8 Reported as previously POW but now safe in UK.
1945 Oct 27 Last day of service.
1945 Dec 11 Received DFC at Buckingham Palace, London.
1959 Jul 1 Commission relinquished. Retained rank of Flt/Lt.
HJP's War Log, a journal containing pages for both writing and displaying photographs, had originally belonged to a Canadian by the name of W. G. Snow. It contains numerous photographs, memorabilia, hand written entries, hand-drawn and coloured maps and flags of a selection of countries, cartoons, drawings and mileage details from the Long March which took place January - May 1945. There is also beautifully hand drawn and coloured map of Europe detailing HJP's journey from Tobruk to Stalag Luft III in 1941 and from Stalag Luft III to Borghurst in 1945. Using this information, plus his service record and research from the Internet and library books, the following story tells of my father's years between 1939 and 1949.
When war against Germany was declared in September, 1939, 732714 Sgt Pilot H. J. Paterson was moved to RAF Desford in England. During the winter of 1939-40, he was flying Blenheim bombers out of RAF Cosford. During 2/3 March 1941, while flying a Wellington bomber with 214 Bomber Squadron, HJP, Jack Wetherly and Humphrey Smiles took part in a low-level attack on the German battle cruiser Scharnhorst in Brest harbour. Following this, while home on leave later that month and having been informed of his award of a DFC by telegram, the local newspaper, the 'Greenock Telegraph' printed the following account of the sortie:
It is officially confirmed today that the Distinguished Flying Cross has been awarded to Pilot Officer Harold Paterson of 5 Fox Street, Greenock...P/O Paterson was instructed to attack a Nazi cruiser lying at Brest. Paterson reached his target and cruised around reconnoitring at about 7,000 feet. When an obliging sister aircraft dropped a flare which spotlighted the vessel, Paterson dropped to 1,000 feet for his attack despite heavy fire all around him. He dropped several very heavy bombs and machine gunned the searchlights. Over the sea, he planted the remains of his ammunition into an E-boat and then flew his aircraft safely home although it was severely damaged and difficult to keep under control. Owing to the damage to the plane, a forced landing had to be made. It was soon in the air again and flown back to its base.
The following month, while in Egypt, his plane was shot down and he spent the remainder of the war as a POW. In his War Log, his hand written account it states:
21st April, 1945
Four years ago yesterday I was shot down to the southeast of Tobruk. The ME109 which accounted for us had moved in only the night before with his squadron from Pantillaria, the first 109 squadron in North Africa. We accidentally flew over the fighter landing ground at eight hundred feet as the machines were having their morning run up and so it was all too easy. The rear gunner was killed by cannon fire early in the engagement and the rudder controls were shot away at the same time. I then found, to my own satisfaction that a Wimpy 1A could do steep turns without any rudder being used.
After crash landing we were quickly picked up by German soldiers, put on a lorry and taken off to be interrogated by the usual ex-American German, then to the 109 landing ground where we were told about being the squadron's first victory in Nord Afrika. Here we asked for food and water. The food was refused and a bottle of water was given to be shared among four of us.
The wireless operator, who had a bullet in his back, was paralysed from the hips down and we left him in the care of the Germans. He was taken to Naples and eventually repatriated. We were taken by lorry to Derna and stayed the night, then flown to Tripoli where we again stayed overnight, flown to Catania where we had our first decent meal given to us by the Italian officers in their Mess. Here we were instructed into the art of eating macaroni. *
From Catania we flew to Reggio, Rome and Munich. In Munich we had our first taste of garlic sausage and none of us managed more than a mouthful. Then to Frankfurt on Main by train - first class. Arrived at Dulag about the 26th April. Left Dulag Luft for Barth (Stalag Luft I) on May 9th and arrived May 10th - third class this time and very overcrowded.
At Barth, formed a room with Tommy Guest & Geoff Cornish in West Block. The block was closed in June after C tunnel breaking and I moved in with Middleton, Tyrie and Ritchie into Centre Block where we stayed until April 10th 1942 when we left for Sagan. Arrived Sagan April 11th and formed a room with Middleton, Tyrie, Page, Lythgoe and Stapleton.
*Macaroni was probably what we now call spaghetti.
Dulag Luft. 26 April 1941 to 9 May 1941
Stalag Luft II. 16 May 1941 to 10 April 1942 (Author's note: should read Stalag Luft I)
Stalag Luft III. 10 April 1942 to January 1945
On 23rd April, 1941, HJP's parents received an Air Ministry Telegram informing them that their son had been 'reported missing as the result of air operations on 20th April 1941'.
On 7th May, 1941, HJP's father received further information, this time, on delicate, wafer-thin tissue paper, from the Comité International De La Croix-Rouge or International Red Cross, in Geneva, with the curt message that Harold Paterson, Prisoner Nr. 82712 in Dulag Luft 'wants you to know he is alive and well'.
During his internment as a POW, like most of the 'chaps', he made the best of a bad job. Being permitted to use a camera in POW camp, he both left a legacy of pictures plus copies of other POWs pictures which are now displayed in his journal written both during captivity and once home in the UK. He took part in amateur dramatics and continued his interest in music, learning to play the double bass which he played in both the POW swing band and classical orchestra.
During these years of war, several escape tunnels were built in Stalag Luft III, including those code-named Tom, Dick and Harry which featured in the film "The Great Escape". In camp, prisoners wore their service uniform but once out of the camp and as escapees, their appearance had to be transformed to blend in with the locals. To achieve this, along with other talented individuals in the camp working under Tommy Guest, HJP's knowledge of dyes, cloth and clothing was put to good use in transforming any materials the men could get hold of, converting and restyling them into what could pass as normal wear for German or Polish civilians, both male and female. In an all-male camp, with POWs in a blue-grey uniform, this was not an easy task. The answer came in the form of amateur theatricals, with the prisoners hand-building 'Sagan Luft III Theatre' in the camp during 1942 from whatever they could lay their hands on, including the 'wood from Canadian Red Cross crates which were fashioned into 350 seats'. [Wirebound World p 12] The POWs made props and costumes and were, surprisingly, permitted to borrow clothing from a local German theatre for a wide variety of plays, concerts and musicals.
German Officers and 'goons' (guards) were often bribed by the POWs by offering them Red Cross cigarettes or chocolate in exchange for materials and clothes which were used in the theatre then sometimes restyled for later use by escapees. The guards were occasionally invited to watch the entertainment, not for a minute suspecting their donations to that night's production might later serve a very different purpose. Escape clothes often incorporated maps and compasses e.g. detailed maps drawn on silk handkerchiefs, an RAF uniform button, when turned the correct way, unwound to reveal a tiny compass. Along with others playing key parts, he remained a POW, continuing his undercover specialist tasks when called on.
On page 27 of HJP's War Log, dated May 1945, there is a portrait of him, drawn in pencil by David Torrens done while sitting in a field outside Lubeck waiting for the war to end. David Torrens was the RAF officer responsible for registering each escaper as they arrived at Block 104, Stalag Luft III, from where the Great Escape took place in March, 1944.
Once back at RAF Cosford in England, HJP was given 'indefinite leave' in June 1945 and had his last day of service in October that year. In December, he attended an Investiture at Buckingham Palace, London when, after a four year wait, he received his Distinguished Flying Cross from the hands of King George VI, watched by his proud mother and fiancée.
After leaving the RAF and returning to civilian life, HJP took over the ownership of the family's dry cleaning shop, "Rapidex", in Greenock. In 1946, he married Agnes 'Nancy' Thomson and their daughter was born later that year. HJP kept his links with the RAF by joining the local Greenock branch of the RAF Association where in 1947 he was the first chairman of the Club and the second chairman of the Branch. He continued his interest in amateur dramatics, both producing and acting and was a founder member of the Greenock Arts Guild. His interest in music also continued and he not only played double bass in a local dance band but also entered competitions. He won 'best bassist' in the Firth of Clyde Dance Band Championship in both 1947 and 48.
After three very happy but hard-working years, on 22nd February 1949, HJP's life was cut tragically short as the result of an accident at his premises in town. Having visited his shop late one evening to check a faulty piece of dry cleaning equipment, his body was found next morning by his brother. The Post Mortem showed he had been asphyxiated dry cleaning fluids leaking from the faulty machine. He was 33 years of age.
Fltl/Lt Harold J. Paterson DFC was survived by Nancy, his wife of just three years and daughter Kareth, aged two. His son, Harold John Paterson was born in October, 1949, eight months after his father's death.
Since writing the above, I have discovered a few details about some of the officers with whom he shared rooms in Stalag Luft I and of whom I have photographs.
Tommy Guest set up a tailoring department to work on transforming clothing for the Great Escape.
Geoff Cornish was an Australian whose story is still used in Australian schools to teach today's children about WWII.
James Tyrie was one of tunnellers in the Great Escape. He and Gordon Ritchie, a librarian in Stalag Luft III, belonged to 25 Squadron. In civilian life they worked for Aviva, the insurance firm in Dundee.
Ronald Steel writes :
My late father Flt/Lt John Miller Steel was a P.o.W in Stalag Luft 111 from October 1942 until January 1945.
Whilst researching his wartime service I received from my mother many of his letters (Kriegsgefangenenpost) and postcards (Postkarte).
In one such letter he writes '...the other Scotsman in the room is from Greenock (Harold Paterson). He's known as Thick Jock and I'm known as Thin Jock.'
As a child I remember him telling me how Mr Paterson tragically lost his life after all he had gone through. I know that father attended his funeral.
Source : Kareth Paterson (daughter) and H. J. Paterson's hand written POW journal and Ronald Steel (his father was a POW with Harold Paterson) and Ben Van Drogenbroek (Stalag Luft 3 Archives of Holland) and London Gazette
Date record last updated : 18 February 2022
PATERSON, J K
Fg/Off James Kinnell Paterson, 127471, Navigator, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom, KIA 4 July 1943, Aged 27
Son of John Blair Paterson and Lucy Haxton Paterson, of Kirkcaldy, Fife.
Ton and Joke Verhulst from Aagtekerke, Zeeland, The Netherlands have adopted this grave. Please see the certificate above.
Ton and Joke write :
We are looking for further information about James. Like his birth date, was he married and are there any relatives of him? All this to get a picture of the person represented by the tombstone in the cemetery.
If you can help, please email the administrators of the site. Thank you.
Source : Chorley and CWGC and Ton and Joke Verhulst from Aagtekerke, Zeeland, The Netherlands
Date record last updated : 11 February 2022
Sgt Cyril Paton, 904673, Front Gunner, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom, KIA 9 May 1941, Aged 22
Son of Edwin Robert William and Lilian Grace Mabel Pears, of Warley, Worcestershire.
On 1 November 1940 Plt/Off Pears, filling in for Sgt Cattle, and Sgt Brown, together (both pilots) were enroute to operations over Berlin but due to high fuel consumption of the Wellington they changed their target to Osnabruck. Sgt Peter D Scott was one of the air gunners on this flight, other crew unknown.
Source : Ian Hunt and W R Chorley's book 'RAF Bomber Command Losses 1939-1940' and CWGC and Nightjar Newsletter Spring 2006 and Log of Peter Doig Scott and Sheila Scott Byrne (daughter of Wg/Cdr Peter Doig Scott) and Richard Williams (co author of Sway War Memorial 1914-1945)
David Murray Peden DFC QC LLB was born in Winnipeg, but was raised in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, the middle of five children of a Scottish railroad clerk and his English wife. On 20 October 1941, Peden enlisted in the RCAF at Winnipeg. After receiving air crew instruction at various training schools in Canada, he graduated, as a pilot, from No. 10 Service Flying Training School at Dauphin, Manitoba.
Although he wanted to be a fighter pilot, he was posted as a bomber pilot to No. 214 Squadron, Bomber Command. For Bomber Command air crew there was a low probability of surviving and returning safely from their missions over enemy held Europe. Over 60% of the aircrew who began a tour of 30 sorties, would lose their lives.
During a particular hair raising raid on Gelsenkirchen in June 1944, his plane was shot up and two crewmen were wounded. For his skill and bravery he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). Unlike many of his colleagues in Bomber Command, Peden survived 30 dangerous and deadly missions over enemy occupied territory in attacks against heavily defended targets such as Berlin, Hamburg and Frankfurt. Part of the reason for his survival, in addition to his piloting skill is that he was transferred from the limited characteristics of the Stirling bomber to the safer and better performing B-17 Flying Fortresses.
After the war, Peden went to law school, where he graduated as a gold medalist. While in law school he met and married his wife Jean and began work as a Crown Attorney. His 1983 book Hearken to the Evidence is a humorous account of his years with the Crown. Later he joined a downtown law firm. He is a former Assistant Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs and Deputy Minister of Public Utilities. He is an expert in securities law and for 20 years before his retirement in 1988 was Chairman of the Manitoba Securities Commission.
Throughout his career, he found time to write three books, two of them on military history, namely Fall of an Arrow and A Thousand shall Fall.
From left to right Sgt Alfred Stanley, Murray Peden, the tall chap is J B Waters, Sgt "Sid" Cutter, Sgt Ronald "Ron" Leslie Smith and Sgt Albert Alexander Williston.
Smith, Cutler and Willison were taken POW whilst finally serving with 514 Squadron.
On 24 July 1943 at 12 O.T.U. (Chipping Warden) we flew our first operation, a "Nickel" (leaflet-dropping) trip, flying in Wellington X Xray to the French town of Montargis.
Transferred to 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit at Stradishall, converting to Stirling aircraft on 5 August 1943.
Posted to 214 (FMS) Squadron RAF Bomber Command, then at Chedburgh, on 21 September 1943.
Posted on attachment to 161 Squadron at Tempsford on 9 November 1943.
Re-joined 214 Squadron at Downham Market on 13 December 1943.
Taken about 1980 while Murray was visting Sir Arthur Harris, his old Commander in Chief, at his home
Taken about 40 years after the war, at Portage la Prairie, an air base 55 miles west of Winnipeg. Murray had gone out there at the request of the C.O., Colonel Gordon Brennand, to address a Flight of student helicopter pilots. To fly Murray home, Colonel Brennand (on the left in the picture) had picked an aptly numbered helicopter for him. Murray is standing in the middle of the threesome, Col. Jim Hunter (who flew him home) on the right.
This was taken in the 1980's, in Winnipeg. Left to Right the three airmen are, Group Captain J.B. Tait (of Tirpitz fame) Murray Peden, and Bill Reid V.C.
Murray has written a book "A Thousand Shall Fall; the true story of a Canadian Bomber Pilot in World War 2".
On 27 June 1945, Murray Peden was posted to RCAF Station at Linton-on-Ouse on the first stage of his journey home.
The night before he had one final session at the Anchor and he and his crew parted company with long handshakes, misty eyes and stating that if he had to start over again and was given the whole roster of Bomber Command aircrew to choose from he would not trade one man in his crew.
He arrived home in Winnipeg Canada on 3 August 1945.
Source : Michael Phillips (son of Jack Phillips) and Nightjar Newsletter Spring 2003 and Murray Peden and Roger Guernon (514 Squadron) and Canadian Veterans Hall of Valour and Royal Canadian Air Force Association and Francois Dutil 438 Squadron RCAF
Date record last updated : 14 January 2022
PEEL, J D
Plt/Off Jack Dempsey Peel, 115123, Pilot, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom, KIA 24 July 1942
Source : CWGC and Jock Whitehouse and Traces of WW2 website
Date record last updated : 8 August 2011
Was a regular crew member with Gp/Capt John Aidan Field
Source : Richard Field (son of Gp/Capt John Aidan Field)
Date record last updated : 24 May 2019
PENHALL, B A
John McLelland writes : This photo must have been taken reasonably early in his tour as you can see he was a FLTSGT at the time.
The photo shows him in the nose of a B17 but also notice that he is not wearing a flying suit nor helmet.
Maybe it was a pre-flight check or just a photo opportunity.
WO Brian A Penhall, 429827, Bomb Aimer, Royal Australian Air Force, Nationality : Australian
After bailing out of R9194, Sgt Penna evaded capture by the Germans and with the help of the Resistance, he made his way home via the Pyrenees and Gibraltar.
Herve Savary advises us that it was Mr Gilbert Biguet from Warlus near Arras who allowed Cyril who stay for one week in his house before escaping and that Cyril visited him after the war with his two sons David and Graham.
His feet and hand became badly frostbitten crossing the Pyrenees. For his gallant evasion and return to the UK, he was awarded the DFM.
He wrote a book about this escape called .'Escape and Evasion' published by United Writers Publications Ltd (Penzance) in 1987. ISBN 1 65200 008 2. See gift shop for more details.
Capitaine Hervé Savary found in the records of the Chauny gendarmerie that a farmer from Viry Noureuil (a little village 2 km near the Stirling crash site) found a parachute on 6th December 1942 and took it to the gendarmerie station at Chauny. The farmer found this parachute under a pile of sugar beets as mentioned in Sgt Penna's evasion story. Capitaine Herve Savary is still trying to find the ten year old french girl accompanied by her father near Chauny that Sgt Penna's evasion story also refers to.
Cyril Penna, his wife Betty and French researcher Hervé Savary. Taken in 2010.
In May 2013 Herve Savary (a French gendarmerie officer (major)) organized a R9194 Short Stirling crash remembrance ceremony in Aisne department (North France). The aircarft was shot down on 29 November 1942.
Cyril Penna, the last english veteran (who escaped and came back to the UK) and Arthur Gatland, son of New Zealand pilot Frank Gatland (who was captured by the Germans 10 days after the crash) attended the ceremony. It was an emotional ceremony at Couvron et Aumencourt cemetery where 3 of R9194's crew are buried. Then the memorial near the crash area at Viry Noureuil was unveiled. A lot of people attended, including crash witnesses, Resistance members and families. Herve also presented the R9194 history in Picardie Resistance and Deportation Museum at Fargnier in front of approximately 150 spectators. Later that week Herve drove Cyril Penna to several escape places near Chauny. He was shown the field where the aircraft crashed and two farms where he was hidden. They then travelled near Arras in Pad de Calais. In Warlus village, Cyril met his French friend Gilbert Biguet who hid Cyril in with his parents for two weeks before they entrusted him to the French Resistance network.
From Left to Right Herve Savary, Cyril Penna and Arthur Gatland, son of New Zealand pilot Frank Gatland. May 2013
Sadly Cyril died on Wednesday 2 July 2014 aged 92. His funeral was held at Exeter Cemetry on 22 July 2014.
Cyril Penna is recorded as Pinner in Chorley.
Source : Capitaine Hervé Savary (French Gendarmerie Officer) and Nightjar Newsletter and Chorley
Date record last updated : 28 April 2023
PENNY, C W
Sgt Cyril Walter Penny, 925051, Navigator, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom, KIA 11 April 1942, Aged 22
Named on the following Memorial : Huchenfeld Church, SW Germany
Named on the following Memorial : Llanbedr Church, North Wales
Named on the following Memorial : Newcastle-upon-Tyne Lamson Paragon
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.
Percival and four others were taken to the cemetery and shot.
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
Source : CWGC and "Footprints on the sands of time" by Oliver Clutton-Brock and John & Carol Edwards (family connection to Flt/Lt Sidney C Matthews) and Reg Kemp (nephew of Harold Frost) and Alison Bilham (neice of Edward Percival) and Simon Glancey and London Gazette
FS Cecil John 'Pete' Peters DFM, 1893908, Special Operator, Royal Air Force, Nationality : British
Born 27 April 1925
Born in Kennington nr. Ashford, Kent
Son of John Charles (Jack) Peters & Alice Winifred nee Ditch
Jonathan Peters writes :
He flew in several Fortresses.
Numerous pilots detailed in Flying Log chiefly Flt/Lt Hill and Flt/Lt Haynes.
John Peters watched the Battle of Britain taking place in the Kent skies above his head as a 15 year old lad. After a stint in the local ATC he joined the RAF at 18 in 1943 and trained as a Wireless Operator and then Special Operator, joining the Squadron exactly at the point it had moved to Oulton and transferred to Fortresses in May 1944. Thus his 'new' role in RCM was in fact the squadron's new raison d'etre.
He was, of course, extremely proud of his service and his DFM (not least because they were so much rarer than DFCs, he always told me!)
He completed 44 operational sorties altogether (inc. 2 abortives & 1 recall), volunteering for a 2nd tour on completion of the first. His last op was just 2 days before his 20th birthday, and he didn't tell his mother he had been operational aircrew until after the war to save her anguish!
He went on to train as a contoller which involved guiding the first RAF jet fighter...the Meteor. Left the RAF in 1947 to follow a lifelong career in Civil Aviation, eventually logging over a million airmiles!
He died on 22 October 2007 aged 82.
We were very proud, as I know he would have been, that his funeral was conducted at the RAF Memorial Chapel, Biggin Hill in 2007.
Source : Jonathan Peters (son)
Date record last updated : 17 May 2019
Fg/Off Nicholas Peters (left) with his nephew Hugh (Hugo) Peters
(photograph provided by Greg Peters)
Fg/Off Nicholas Peters, J/45525, Special Operator, Royal Canadian Air Force, Nationality : Canadian, KIA 7 March 1945, Aged 30
Son of Isaac F. Peters and of Elizabeth Peters (nee Reidiger); husband of Emma Marguerite Peters (nee Tustian), of Kagawong, Ontario, Canada.
He grew up in the Ukraine during WWI and the Russian Revolution.
Peters, who lived for some years at Grande Pointe, Manitoba, Canada, had emigrated from Russia in 1925 as a boy of 10 and had seen firsthand the horrors of revolution and war in his native country.
Stalag XB, Sandbostel, was liberated on 29 April 1945. Sgt Phelan was released on 1 May 1945 and was transporteed away in an ambulance on 2 May 1945. He was transferred to RAF Cosford Hospital on return to the UK.
Sgt Phelan was from Sheffield, Yorkshire.
Source : "Footprints on the sands of time" by Oliver Clutton-Brock and Tery Phelan (son) and David Champion (researcher)
William was born in 1917. he was a chauffeur before enlisting in the RAF in 1935. He started on operational flights with 214 Squadron from December 1939. After two very dangerous flights in 1940 William was awarded the DFM for displaying great coolness when under fire.
He is still alive and in reasonably good health in December 2009. He lives in Kings Lynn in Norfolk.
"In recent years, my Grandfather has begun talking about some of his experiences whilst serving in the RAF. These stories are always quite amusing, and it is obvious that he enjoyed life in the RAF. However, in most of his stories he doesn't talk about his combat experiences. The one exception is his (still amusing) description of a return flight from an operation over Italy in a Stirling bomber in which they were throwing anything and everything out of the aircraft in an attempt to reduce the weight of the stricken aircraft. "
"My grandfather has always insisted he was in Lancasters for the last years of the war . He was in the RAF from 1937 to 1947. Near the end of the war he was sent to India where he stayed until 1947. My grandfather was temporarily promoted to Fl. Lt. towards the end of the war in Europe. He is now approaching his 93rd birthday this summer (2010)".
Sadly FS William Phillips passed away on 10 January 2012, aged 94.
Dave Phillips (son of William Phillips writes :
I am hoping you can shed some light on the career of my late father, William Phillips, who served with 214 Squadron during World War II. Unfortunately he never discussed his wartime experiences until shortly before his death, and then only when he felt like it -- and never with any real information about his engagements. All that I do know for sure is that:
1. He joined the RAF in 1935;
2. He was based at RAF Feltwell with 214 Squadron when war broke out;
3. He was awarded the DFM;
4. He was promoted to Flt-Sgt and Flt-Lt;
5. Towards the end of the war he ended up in India;
6. He was finally demobbed about 1947.
The photographs we have of him in the RAF, and the newspaper clipping of his presentation with the DFM at Buckingham Palace, are already on your Personnel page. What puzzles me is that he always told us (his four children) that he was based at RAF Marham during the war. That clearly wasn't true. Why he told us that, I do not know. Was it a throwback to the secrecy of the war years? Even his widow, my mother Dulcie (now 95), believed he was stationed at Marham! He has also told me that on occasions he was based in Leicestershire, as well as RAF Lossiemouth and somewhere near Higham Ferrers, Northants (presumably RAF Chelveston?). He also went to RAF Cranwell for his officer training. 214 Squadron obviously were not based at the above. Could it because he was an gunnery officer and was moved around to train others? Did he in fact stay in 214 Squadron throughout his RAF career or was he moved to another squadron? SO many questions and, of course, Dad is sadly unable to answer them. He died over five years ago. He would have been 100 years old last month. But even if he had still been alive,I bet he would have managed to have avoided giving a straight answer to any questions about the war! So,any information from anyone about his RAF career would be invaluable.
Can anyone help with these questions?
Source : Ricky Troughton (grandson) and Gary Troughton (grandson) and David Phillips (son)
On 18 October 1941 FS Pickthorne was posted to 214 Squadron from 23OTU.
He was flying as part of a crew in 214 Squadron from 18 October 1941 (as per ORB for 230TU Pershore) till January 1942.
On 19 January 1942 he was posted 99 Squadron.
On 23 February 1942 he was posted to Portreath from Waterbeach.
On 26 February 1942 he was posted from Portreath direct to Malta, en-rote to to ME fro 99 Squadron in India, being seconded to 215 Squadron, on arrival, until rejoining 99 Squadron in Oct 1942 until at least 1943.
Source : Colin Burningham and W.R.Chorley
Date record last updated : 4 October 2009
PICKWORTH, G W
Sgt Godfrey William Pickworth, 1153786, Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, KIA 17 August 1942, Aged 22
He is buried at City Park Cemetery, Nairobi, Kenya. Grave Section 13 Grave 53.
Named on the following Memorials :
Rolls of Honour, Church of St Clement Danes, London
Born Sidmouth Devon, Stationed at RAF Eastleigh. Killed on a bombing low level against the Mau Mau. There was a sympathetic explosion of bomb load. A piece of shrapnell came up and hit the aircraft killing Sgt Pinn.
Source : Jock Whitehouse and Armed Forces Memorial
Sgt C Pinner, Date taken POW 28 November 1942, POW number Unknown
We have been advised by Lyn Willis that sadly FS Cyril Piper passed away on 22 December 2020 aged 95.
Cyril (Pip) Piper was born in Epsom, in April 1925. He qualified as 3031077 Piper C.A. - Air Gunner on 28 April 1944 at Unit No 8 A.G.S. Evanton, with 20hrs 35mins flying time in an Anson.
At No 12 O.T.U. Edgehill, he continued his training on Wellingtons, then on to No 12 O.T.U. Chipping Warden, Stradishall, Shephards Grove and Oulton.
His first operational flight was as Mid Upper Gunner in a Fortress with 214 Squadron to Hamm, on 2nd December 1944. His second operation, 2 days later, is recorded as Ruhr Area (Window). No2 engine U/S. Pranged at Base.
February 1945 saw him on 7 raids over Germany, 15 more in March and April, all bar one of these flights were led by Flt/Lt Austin. Mid-April saw a change of crew, and most of his subsequent flights were with Flt/Lt Wynne as pilot. He saw two more operational flights, his last on 2nd May to Kiel.
After the war, Pip had a long and varied life working mainly as a popular Postman in Epsom Town Centre. FS Piper was married in 1946, and sadly lost his wife Joan in 2002. He remarried in 2005, and Norma pre-deceased him in 2011.
Pip was a keen cricketer and footballer, an avid reader, and had a great interest in the RAF, and horses, having been brought up steeped in the racing industry living only a few hundred yards from Epsom Racecourse (his father was a jockey, and his uncle a Derby-winning jockey).
He passed away peacefully at his home and he will be sorely missed by his family and friends.
Source : Leslie Bostock and Lyn Willis (niece of FS Piper)
Date record last updated : 15 January 2021
PITCHFORD, J E M
FS John E M Pitchford, 746311, Air Bomber, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom, Date taken POW 25 August 1944, POW number 754
Chorley reports that his service number suggests he joined as a trainee volunteer reserve pilot in the Spring of 1937 However he does not list the service number.
John died on Friday 19th November 2010 in St Thomas Hospital.
From RAF Commands.com :
"Pitchford liberation report WO344/254/1
John Martin PITCHFORD
Enrolled with RAFVR on 5 April 1939. He was a student Engineer from Belvedere Kent
Captured West of Darmstadt on 28 August 1944.
POW camps :
Luft 7 from 13 September 1944 to 17 January 1945
SL IIIa Lukenwalde from 7 February 1945 to 5 May 1945
Report 12 May 1945"
Source : George Mackie and "Footprints on the sands of time" by Oliver Clutton-Brock and Harvey Pitchford (son) and Chorley and RAFCommands.com
Date record last updated : 16 April 2021
PITT, S G
Sid looking out of the port waist position
Sid at his gun
Sid at his gun
Sid standing in front of the tail gun
Sgt S G 'Sid' Pitt, 116424, Waist Gunner, Royal Air Force
Son of the Revd. Charles Pockney and Bertha S. Pockney; husband of Margaret Pockney, of Edwalton, Nottinghamshire.
Sometimes Pockney was replaced by the most senior gunner on the squadron, Flight Lieutenant Culley.
Before the war Duncan Pockney had worked in Fleet Street. Older than most aircrew, he joined 214 Squadron in November 1940. He flew as rear gunner in Pilot Officer Jack Wetherly's crew. When Jack Wetherly completed his tour in March 1941 the crew was taken over by Pilot Officer John Topliss.
When Topliss and his crew were lost on Hamburg on 11 May 1941 flying Wellington R1462, Pockney was not with them (reason unknown).
His luck did not hold out for much longer, as was killed on 19 August 1941, flying with 218 Squadron from Marham. His aircraft came down in the Zuider Zee. His body was recovered.
Source : Christopher Jary, Author - Portrait Of A Bomber Pilot & CWGC
As a sergeant, John Potter flew as navigator to Flying Officer John Leighton Beck and Pilot Officer Maurice Hartford in 214 Squadron in the second half of 1940. In early 1941 he accompanied Hartford to Malta and the Middle East and flew another tour with 148 Squadron. The London Gazette of 30 October 1942 lists the award of a DFC to Warrant Officer Potter of 23 Squadron in recognition of his bomber operations in Europe and the Middle East and of his intruder sorties with 23 Squadron.
Source : Christopher Jary (author of "Portrait of a bomber pilot") and London Gazette
3196 SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 21 JULY,1942
Award of the Distinguished Flying Medal
"Throughout the operation, these airmen displayed unflinching courage, great fortitude and splendid team work in foiling the attacks of 5 enemy fighters, 3 of which were shot down. Their conduct upheld the highest traditions of the Royal Air Force."
Source : 214 Squadron ORB and London Gazette and National Archives Air Records AIR/50/233/13
Date record last updated : 8 January 2021
PUGH, J V B
John Victor Bruce Pugh, Navigator, Royal Canadian Air Force
Nigel Pugh wrote:
"My father, John Victor Bruce Pugh, served with the squadron extensively during the 1940's as a navigator mainly on Stirlings, and subsequently on Boeing B17 Fortresses at a later date.
(Unfortunately I do not have a record of the flying in fortresses due to losses of logbooks at the time, and would be interested in any information relating to my dad regarding this period).
I am in possession of his first flying logbook, which covers his time at Air Observer's navigation course from April to September 1942, at Chatham, New Brunswick Canada, No 1 AFU Wigtown, Scotland, No 12 OTU, 1657 CU.
John was then posted to 214 Squadron on 23 May 1943, where he flew numerous opeartions with FS Sellar as the pilot.
After this he was posted to 4 group, BDU at Newmarket and 75 Squadron. He was then posted to 1653 at Chedburgh and then to 195 Squadron.
I am in the process of assembling my Fathers biography of his years in the RAF starting with his training in Canada, and then his subsequent posting to 214 Squadron (after some further training in the UK). He progressed with the squadron, based mainly at Stradishall with some time spent at Chedburgh.
He was eventually posted to 75 Squadron where he undertook "Special Duties" at Mepal in Cambridgeshire.
Sadly, at some point in history his logbook was mislaid, and he therfore began a replacement at Mepal (this I do not have), but I beleive he was eventually returned to 214 at Stradishall before being demobbed in 1947 following cessation of hostilities."
If anyone has any further information please contact Nigel through the website administrators.
Source : Nigel Pugh (son)
Date record last updated : 1 March 2010
PUNNETT, E L
Sgt Edward Lionel Punnett, 1606932, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Nationality : United Kingdom, KIA 23 March 1945