No. 41 Squadron RAF

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No. 41 Squadron RAF
41 Squadron badge
Official Squadron Badge of No. 41 Squadron RAF
Active April 1916 - 22 May 1916
14 July 1916 - 31 December 1919
1 April 1923 - 31 December 1963
1 September 1965 - 1 July 1970
1 April 1972 - present
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role Test and Evaluation Squadron
Base RAF Coningsby
Motto(s) Seek and Destroy
Anniversaries Centenary in 2016
Equipment Panavia Tornado GR4 & Eurofighter Typhoon
Battle honours Western Front, 1916–1918*; Somme, 1916*; Arras; Cambrai, 1917*; Somme, 1918; Lys; Amiens*; Dunkirk, 1940;[1] Battle of Britain, 1940*; Home Defence, 1940–1944; Fortress Europe, 1940–1944*; Dieppe*; France & Germany, 1944–1945*; Arnhem; Walcheren; Gulf, 1991[2]
Honours marked with an asterisk (*) are emblazoned on the Squadron Standard
Commanders
Current
commander
Wg Cdr Steven Berry MBE MEng
Notable
commanders
AVM Raymond Collishaw CB DSO* OBE DSC DFC (Oct 1923 – Apr 1924)
Sqn Ldr Raymond Hesselyn MBE DFC DFM* (Mar – Apr 1951)
AM Sir Christopher Harper KBE (Oct 1994 – Jan 1997)
Insignia
Squadron Badge heraldry A red double-armed cross on white background. Adapted from the coat of arms of St Omer, which was the unit's first overseas base in 1916, with which the squadron has since maintained a link[3]
post 1950 aircraft insignia RAF 41 Sqn.svg
Squadron codes PN Jan 39 – Sep 39
EB Sep 39 – Feb 51
F – On Jaguars
EB – On Harriers, Tornados & Typhoons, 2010–present

No. 41 (R) Squadron of the Royal Air Force is currently the RAF's Test and Evaluation Squadron ("TES"), based at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire. Its official title is "41(R) TES". The Squadron celebrated its Centenary at RAF Coningsby on 14 July 2016, and is one of the oldest RAF squadrons in existence.

History[edit]

First World War, 1916–1919[edit]

No. 41 Squadron Royal Flying Corps was originally formed at Fort Rowner, RAF Gosport, in mid April 1916 with a nucleus of men from 28 Squadron RFC. However, on 22 May 1916, the Squadron was disbanded again when it was re-numbered "27 Reserve Squadron RFC".

41 Squadron was re-formed on 14 July 1916 with a nucleus of men from 27 Reserve Squadron, and equipped with the Vickers F.B.5 'Gun Bus' and Airco D.H.2 'Scout'. These were replaced in early September 1916 with the Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.8, and it was these aircraft which the Squadron took on their deployment to France on 15 October 1916. Eighteen aircraft departed Gosport for the 225-mile flight to St. Omer, but only 12 actually made it, the others landing elsewhere with technical problems. The 12 pilots spent a week at St. Omer before moving to Abeele, where the ground crews reached them by road, and the remaining six pilots by rail, minus their aircraft.

The F.E.8 was already obsolete as a pure fighter, and No. 41 used theirs mainly for ground attack. On 24 January 1917, the Squadron claimed its first victories. These fell to Sgt Plt Cecil Tooms, who himself was killed in action only four hours later.

While equipped with F.E.8s, the Squadron participated in the Battle of Arras (April–May 1917) and the Battle of Messines (June 1917). By this time the unit had become the last "pusher" fighter squadron in the RFC. In July 1917 No. 41 were re-equipped with DH 5 fighters, which proved disappointing; in October 1917 the Squadron finally received S.E.5a fighters, with which they were equipped for the duration of the war.

The Squadron provided distinguished service in the Battle of Cambrai (November 1917), and subsequently in the German Spring Offensive (March 1918), and the Battle of Amiens (August 1918). 41 Squadron claimed its final victory of the War two days prior to the cessation of hostilities.

The unit was reduced to Cadre of just 16 men on 7 February 1919 and returned to the United Kingdom. Their new base was Tangmere, but they were moved to Croydon, Surrey, in early October and formally disbanded on 31 December 1919.

During the War, the Squadron had two mascots. The first was a bulldog named ‘Woomf’, named after the sound made by the explosion of anti-aircraft shells in the air. The second was a mongrel found rummaging around in the trenches, which was named ‘Olive Byng’.

During the war, some seventeen aces served with No.41, including; William Gordon Claxton, Frederick McCall, William Ernest Shields, Eric John Stephens, Frank Soden, Russell Winnicott, Geoffrey Hilton Bowman, Roy W. Chappell, Alfred Hemming, Frank Harold Taylor, Malcolm MacLeod, Loudoun MacLean, future Air Vice-Marshal Meredith Thomas, and William Gillespie. The unit had a remarkable number of Canadian aces in it—ten out of the seventeen.[4]

The Squadron's pilots and ground crews were awarded four DSOs, six MCs, nine DFCs, two MMs and four Mentions in Dispatches for their World War I service with the unit. The pilots were credited with destroying 111 aircraft and 14 balloons, sending down 112 aircraft out of control, and driving down 25 aircraft and five balloons. Thirty-nine men were killed or died on active service, 48 were wounded or injured, and 20 pilots became Prisoners of War.

Between the Wars, 1923–1939[edit]

RAF Armstrong-Whitworth Siskin IIIa from No. 41 Squadron at Northolt being serviced with oxygen.

The Squadron reformed at RAF Northolt on 1 April 1923, equipped with the Sopwith Snipe. In 1924, it began receiving the first Armstrong Whitworth Siskin III biplanes.

41 Squadron was often visited by British and foreign government and military dignitaries during the inter-War years. One of the first is Japanese General Matsui Iwane who, after World War II, was held accountable and executed for the 1937 ‘Rape of Nanjing’, in which his armies murdered an estimated 300,000 Chinese civilians. British dignitaries included Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald, the Chief of Air Services, MRAF Hugh Trenchard GCB DSO, the AOC in C ADGB, Air Marshal Sir Edward Ellington KCB CMG CBE, and the AOC Fighting Area, ADGB, Air Vice-Marshal Hugh Dowding, CB CMG.

On 27 July 1929, eleven aircraft from 41 Squadron flew to Calais to rendezvous with French aviation pioneer Louis Blériot and escort him back to Dover in a re-enactment of the first crossing of the English Channel 20 years earlier.[5] During 1929–1930, their Royal Highnesses, the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VIII), and Prince George (the future Duke of Kent) were taught to fly at Northolt by 41 and 24 Squadrons.

On 9 October 1930, Following the R101 Airship disaster in Beauvais, France, 41 Squadron pilots and ground crew formed a part of the Guard of Honour for the Lying-in-State of the 48 victims in the Palace of Westminster. Amongst the dead were the Secretary of State for Air, Brig. Gen. Lord Christopher Thomson PC CBE DSO, and the Director of Civil Aviation, AVM Sir Sefton Brancker KCB AFC. Thousands filed past to pay their last respects.[6]

During the 1930s, displays, sports, competitions, tactical exercises and flying practice were a part of regular activity. In Summer 1934, 41 Squadron even performed a flying display for South Bucks Mothers’ Union.

41 Squadron pilots and ground crew formed a part of the Guard of Honour for the Lying-in-State of the 48 victims in the Palace of Westminster on 9 October 1930.

On 1 July 1935, 41 Squadron escorted an Imperial Airways aircraft to Brussels, with their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of York on board, where they attend functions for British Week at the International Exhibition.[7]

The Squadron was sent to the Aden Protectorate in October 1935, to help provide a presence in the region during the Abyssinian crisis of 1935–1936, and returned to the United Kingdom in August 1936.[8] They were now based at RAF Catterick, Yorkshire, from September 1936,[9] where they remained until May 1940.

In April 1937, 41 Squadron's badge and motto, "Seek and Destroy", are unveiled for the first time and presented to the Squadron by the AOC in C, Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding KCB CMG. The badge takes the form of a red double-armed cross on a white background, adapted from the arms of the French town of St. Omer, the location of the Squadron’s first operational overseas posting, in October 1916.

On 30 December 1938, 41 Squadron was issued with the Supermarine Spitfire, becoming the third RAF squadron to receive them. By early February 1939, the Squadron has received a full complement of 20 Mark I Spitfires, which would have cost the Government £129,130 for the lot.

Around 200 pilots served with 41 Squadron between 1 April 1923 and 2 September 1939. During this period, no Battle Honours were granted, nor any decorations awarded, but the era produced ten Air Commodores, nine Air Vice-Marshals, two Air Marshals and two Air Chief Marshals. During these same years, eleven men were killed and three injured in flying accidents, and three injured in airscrew accidents on the ground.

Second World War, 1939–1945[edit]

Fg Off John Mackenzie DFC RNZAF, Flt Lt Tony Lovell DFC, Sqn Ldr Don Finlay (OC 41 Squadron), Flt Lt Norman Ryder DFC, and Plt Off Roy Ford, RAF Hornchurch, late November 1940.

Following the declaration of War on 3 September 1939, 41 Squadron spent the first several months on monotonous routine patrols in the north of England. At the end of May 1940, the Squadron flew south to RAF Hornchurch to participate in the evacuation of Dunkirk. Twelve days later, they returned to RAF Catterick, claiming six enemy aircraft destroyed and one probable, but also left behind two pilots, the Squadron's first pilot killed in action and their first lost as a Prisoner of War.[1]

After resting for a few weeks, the Squadron headed south again on 26 July 1940, to participate in the first phase of the Battle of Britain. In its two-week tour, the Squadron claimed 10 enemy aircraft destroyed, 4 probable and 3 damaged, for the loss of one pilot killed and a second wounded.

Again, 41 Squadron returned north to Catterick for a few weeks rest, but returned to Hornchurch on 3 September 1940, where they remained until the end of February 1941. They were now in the thick of the Battle of Britain. The price was high, but so was the damage they inflicted on the Luftwaffe. On 5 September, the Squadron experienced one of its blackest days in its history. The Commanding Officer and OC, B Flight, were killed in action and three other pilots were shot down and two were wounded in action; one of these was hospitalised for six months.

On 31 October 1940, the Battle of Britain was considered officially over. 49 pilots flew with the Squadron between 10 July and 31 October 1940. Of these, 42 were British, 2 Canadian, 2 Irish and 2 New Zealanders. 10 were killed and 12 wounded in action (44% casualties). The Squadron claimed over 100 victories from July 1940 to the end of that year.

Sqn Ldr Donald O. Finlay, OC 41 Squadron, standing with Spitfire IIa, P7666, EB-Z, which was his personal mount. He claimed a destroyed Me109 on his first sortie on the day the aircraft was delivered, 23 November 1940.

On 23 February 1941, the Squadron returned to Catterick for a well-earned break. Only four pilots remained from the original 18 who landed in Hornchurch on 3 September 1940. However, in reality it is much worse: a total of 16 pilots had been killed, five wounded and hospitalised (who did not return) and 15 otherwise posted away, in effect a 200% turnover since the unit’s deployment to Hornchurch in early September. The Squadron also now has its third Commanding Officer since then, and its fourth within ten months.

Following five months rest in Catterick, during which the last Battle of Britain hardened pilots depart and new recruits join from the BCATP, the Squadron headed south to Merston, Sussex, on 28 July 1941, to join the Tangmere Wing, where the Wing Commander Flying was Douglas Bader. There followed an intensive period of offensive activity over France.

On 11 February 1942, 41 Squadron took part in the attack on the German Kriegsmarine's Prinz Eugen, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau after they escaped from Brest and made a dash up the Channel to the safety of their home ports. During these actions, 41 Squadron claimed three enemy aircraft destroyed and one damaged, but lost one pilot who failed to return.

The Squadron also supported the ill-fated Canadian landings at Dieppe (Operation Jubilee) on 19 August 1942, completing three Squadron-strength missions over the beaches. The pilots return from the third without the Commanding Officer, who was hit by Flak and killed; he was the Squadron’s only casualty that day.

Tired, after a busy summer on the south coast fending off Me109s and FW190s fulfilling the Luftwaffe’s "hit and run" strategy, the Squadron was taken off operations until February 1943 and sent to Llanbedr, Wales, for an extended period of rest. This heralded the start of an intensive period of turnover in the unit’s ranks as men were rested and fresh pilots brought in.

In February 1943, the unit became the first of only two squadrons to receive the new Griffon-engine Spitfire Mark XII. Having rested, re-equipped and trained on the new aircraft, the Squadron was sent back onto operations in April 1943, and claimed their first definitive victory in over ten months on 17 April. This was also the first by the RAF in the Mk. XII Spitfire.

41 Squadron Spitfire XIIs in an Air Ministry photograph dated 12 April 1944. Flight Commander Flt Lt Don Smith RAAF is flying the aircraft in the foreground.

From late June 1943, large scale bomber escorts to targets in France, Belgium and the Netherlands became a daily event and Ramrod escorts to formations of between 50 and 150 B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-26 Marauders became routine.

41 Squadron provided air support in the lead-up to, and throughout the D-Day landings. On D-Day itself, 6 June 1944, three pilots were hit by Flak over the bridgehead and one was killed. On 19 June, however, the Squadron was pulled off air support for the bridgehead in France and was deployed solely in the destruction of Germany’s newest weapon, the V-1 flying bomb.

On 28 August 1944, the Squadron claimed its last of 53 V1s destroyed during the War. Several pilots succeeded in bringing them down after expending all their ammunition, by flying alongside them and placing their own wingtips underneath that of the V1. The wind movement between both wingtips was sufficient to upset the V1’s gyroscope and send it to the ground.

The Squadron was re-equipped with the Spitfire XIV in September 1944 and during the ensuing three months participated in 'Big Ben' operations against V2 launch sites, in Operation Market Garden at Arnhem and Nijmegen, in operations in the Walcheren campaign, and in the Allied Oil Campaign over Germany.

The Squadron moved to the Continent in early December 1944, making its base at Diest in Belgium. Ground targets were the Squadron's chief prey as a member of 125 Wing, and the unit attacked anything moving on road, rail or canal in Germany. Operating so close to the ground, Flak also took its toll on pilots and aircraft. One pilot was killed, three wounded and two shot down and taken prisoner.

In April 1945, the Squadron moved forward with the advancing front and made its first base in Germany, just southwest of the town of Celle, 140 miles (225 km) due west of Berlin, and only a short distance southeast of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. During April and early May 1945, German resistance crumbled. 41 Squadron claimed 33 enemy aircraft destroyed, 2 probably destroyed and 3 damaged in the air and 21 damaged on the ground, in the 23 days preceding 3 May 1945 (the date of the Squadron’s final claim). Their own casualties for the same period were no pilots killed or wounded in action, and no aircraft lost to enemy action, although some did sustain combat damage.

Spitfire XII, MB882, EB-B, 12 April 1944. This aircraft was the personal mount of two consecutive Flight Commanders, Flt Lt Don Smith RAAF and Flt Lt Terry Spencer.

After the cessation of hostilities, the squadron was based a short time at Kastrup (Copenhagen) but then returned to Germany where it became a part of the Allied occupying forces, 'BAFO'. By the end of the War, 41 Squadron had claimed 200 aircraft destroyed, 61 probably destroyed, 109 damaged and 53 V-1's destroyed. On 31 March 1946, still based on the Continent, 41 Squadron was disbanded by re-numbering to 26 Squadron.

The Squadron had two mascots during the War: ‘Wimpy’, a Bull Terrier with the tip of one ear missing, at Catterick in 1939–40, and ‘Perkin’, a large black French Poodle, in 1943–44.

The Squadron’s 325 World War II pilots were men from Britain, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, France, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palestine, Poland, White Russia, Rhodesia, South Africa, Trinidad, Uruguay, the United States, and Zululand.

41 Squadron's pilots were awarded three DSOs, twelve DFCs, one DFM and one Mention in Dispatches for their World War II service with the unit. Sixty four were killed in action or died on active service, 58 were wounded in action or injured in accidents, three were shot down but evaded capture and returned to the United Kingdom, and 21 pilots were shot down and became Prisoners of War. The average age of a man who died in service with 41 Sqn during World War II was 23½.

Notable Pilots, 1916–1945[edit]

Sqn Ldr Raymond Collishaw DSO & Bar OBE DSC DFC, the third-highest-scoring Allied Pilot of World War I
  • Captain Valentine Baker MC AFC served with 41 Squadron from 1916-June 1917, and served briefly as a Flight Commander. He left the RAF in 1922 to work for Vickers-Armstrong. In 1934, however, he formed the Martin-Baker Aircraft Company with his colleague James Martin, to design new aircraft and offer flying lessons. One of their more famous pupils was Amy Johnson. The company went on to manufacture and market four different propeller aircraft, but Baker himself was killed in a flying accident in 1942, whilst test-flying the third of these. It was his death, however, that caused his business partner to rethink safety and develop a means of assisted escape for pilots. As a result, Martin-Baker began to manufacture ejection seats in 1946, and still does today for both fixed wing and rotary military aircraft. Amongst 80 types of aircraft into which their seats have been fitted are the Jaguar, which 41 Squadron flew from 1977-2006, the Harrier, which the Squadron flew from 2006-2010, and the Tornado and Typhoon, both of which they fly today. Martin-Baker ejection seats are now being fitted into the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. To date, over 70,000 Martin-Baker ejection seats have been delivered to 93 air forces, which have saved almost 7,500 lives. It is a Squadron legacy that in giving his own life, Baker has saved the lives of thousands of others.
  • American Lt Eugene Barksdale served with 41 Squadron from July–October 1918, during which time he claimed two victories and was wounded in action. In October 1918, he transferred to the American Expeditionary Force and returned home to become as USAAF test pilot. Clearly a talented pilot in this early era of flight, he is perhaps best known for having flown an Airco DH-4 light bomber from McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio, to Mitchel Field, which became Mitchel AFB in New York, a distance of some 600 miles solely on instruments. However, in August 1926, whilst testing a Douglas O-2 observation aircraft for spin characteristics over McCook Field, he was unable to recover the aircraft and was killed. Buried with full military honours at Arlington National Cemetery, the USAF’s Barksdale Air Force Base near Bosier City, Louisiana, was named in his honour when opened in February 1933. The base is currently home to five squadrons of B52 Stratofortresses. Barksdale Street, on Hanscom AFB, Massachusetts, is also named after him.
  • Canadian Sqn Ldr Frederick R. G. McCall served on 41 Squadron from May to August 1918, in that time claiming 31 victories, which were in addition to a previous four claimed on 13 Sqn. His achievements on 41 were recognised with the award of a DSO and a DFC. Following the War, McCall was employed in civil aviation, and subsequently served at home as a Squadron Leader in the RCAF during World War II. He died in 1949, aged just 53, but by that time had dedicated over 30 years of his life to flying. In recognition of his service to Canadian aviation, a new airfield in Calgary was named McCall Field in his honour. That airfield is today Calgary International Airport.
  • 2 Lt Gerard D. Robin joined the RFC as a cadet in March 1917, earned his Wings and was commissioned in August 1917. He was posted to 41 Squadron on 2 February 1918 but was shot down over Bapaume and seriously wounded in action less than eight weeks later. Evacuated home, he was hospitalised for four months and subsequently classified as fit only for ground duties and was demobilised in July 1919. Civilian life proceeded quietly for Robin, and he settled down, married, and had a family. This changed again after the outbreak of World War II, and his sense of duty called him back to service. Now too old to serve on the front line, he joined the heavy MG detachment of the East Renfrewshire Home Guard. Nothing overly exciting occurred until 10 May 1941, when a lone Luftwaffe aircraft came down south of Glasgow, with a single occupant who turned out to be German Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess. He was found on the ground struggling out of his parachute by a local farmer, who took him to his nearby cottage and called the local Home Guard unit. 2 Lt Robin was on duty that night and was a part of the Home Guard detail that went to the cottage and took Hess into captivity. They escorted him back to their headquarters at Busby, East Renfrewshire, and held him before his delivery to Maryhill Barracks in Glasgow.
  • Canadian Air Vice-Marshal Raymond Collishaw commenced his flying career with the RNAS in 1915, and transferred to the RAF on the service’s founding in April 1918. By the cessation of hostilities in November that year, he had claimed 60 aerial victories and is considered the third-highest-scoring Allied pilot of the entire War. In the ensuing years, he also served in Southern Russia, Mesopotamia and Persia, and Kurdistan, but returned to the UK in late 1923 to take command of 41 Squadron, then based at Northolt, as its second peacetime Officer Commanding. Having by then seen almost continuous operational service in various theatres of war across Europe, he was bringing significant experience to the leadership of fledgling 41 Squadron, which was barely six months beyond it post-war re-formation. By Collishaw’s arrival on the Squadron as a 30-year-old, he had been awarded no less than 2 DSOs, a military OBE, a DSC, a DFC, 3 MiDs, the French Croix de Guerre, and the three White Russian Orders of St. Stanislas, St. Anne, and St. Vladimir. Along with his significant victory tally, he was very much a legend in his own time. During 1939-43, Collishaw led 202 and 204 (Operations) Groups of the Western Desert Air Force, and 14 (F) Group covering Scotland, but retired in October 1943 and spent the rest of the war as a Regional Air Liaison Officer for Civil Defence UK. By the time he returned to his native Canada in 1946, he had also been awarded a CB and a civil OBE.
  • Having graduated Sandhurst in 1915, Air Cdre Patrick Huskinson was seconded to the RFC later that same year, and served on 2, 4, and 19 Squadrons before the cessation of hostilities. He was credited with 11 victories, and awarded two Military Crosses. Following the war, he commanded 204 and 70 Squadrons, and then spent four years in instructing roles at Cranwell. For the following 11 years from the mid-1920s, he fulfilled armament and ordinance roles in the United Kingdom and Middle East, with the exception of a 20-month period between February 1930 and October 1931 when he commanded 41 Squadron. Returning to ordinance in March 1938, he became Vice Pres of the Ordnance Committee at Woolwich Arsenal and then the Director of Armament Development with the Ministry of Aircraft Production in 1940, reporting to Lord Beaverbrook. In April 1941, however, Huskinson and his wife were seriously injured by Luftwaffe night-time bombing in the Blitz and Huskinson was blinded. Following nine months’ convalescence, he was retired as an Air Commodore in January 1942. However, he immediately became the President of the Air Armament Board, which post he held until 1945. In this role, he was involved in the development of large bunker-busting bombs, such as the Tall Boy, and in several other technologies, despite his handicap. In 1945, he was awarded a CBE and the U.S. Legion of Merit for his work in this role. Huskinson also wrote an autobiography in 1949 called 'Vision Ahead', which explains his career in some detail. He also recalls his “very happy years in charge of Number 41 Squadron”. It was also Huskinson who wrote to the Mayor of St. Omer and obtained permission for 41 Squadron to use part of the Town Arms in its badge.
  • Air Cdre Allen H. Wheeler CBE was granted a Short Service Commission in 1924, and served on 41 Squadron as a Flight Commander from September 1933 to August 1936. During this time, he was deployed to Aden with the Squadron, arriving there six weeks ahead of the main group and aircraft, as a member of the advance party. From 1940 to 1944, Wheeler’s postings related to experimental aircraft & aircraft development, both with the Performance Testing Squadron at Boscombe Down and the Aircraft & Armament Experimental Establishment at Farnborough, for which he was mentioned in dispatches. Between February and October 1944, Wheeler was Station Commander at RAF Fairford where he was involved in glider deployment for D-Day operations and the Arnhem landings. His contribution was recognised with the award of an OBE in the 1945 New Year’s Honours. Following further postings, including to Asia and the Mediterranean, Wheeler returned to the Aircraft & Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe as it Commandant. He was awarded a CBE whilst there and retired in May 1955. Wheeler was subsequently employed as an aviation consultant and technical advisor to the film industry, and worked on such films as 'The Blue Max' and 'Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines', and was even used as a pilot in the latter movie.
  • Flt Lt Louis M. Hilton joined the RNAS in August 1917 and was transitioned to the RAF in April 1918. He also saw action in Northern Russia after World War I and was awarded a DFC in December 1919. However, he remained interested in Naval operations and was posted to the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment at Felixstowe where he undertook a significant amount of early experimental flying operations on aircraft carriers. He was awarded an AFC for his work in the 1927 New Year’s Honours. In November 1930, Hilton was posted to 41 Squadron and it was here that he undertook a number of pioneering high pressure oxygen apparatus tests, but these brought a premature end to his RAF career when he was helped from an aircraft in a semi-conscious condition in February 1931 and resigned from the RAF two months later. Hilton was whipped up by the Fairey Aviation Company as a test pilot that same year and had become a Director of the company within three years. During World War II, he supervised the development of the Barracuda torpedo bomber and the entire design & development of the Firefly. He became Assistant Managing Director in 1951. Although he resigned on account of failing health in August 1956, he remained a member of the company Board until his death in December 1958, aged just 59.
  • Flt Lt Thomas Weston Peel Long Chaloner, The Honourable Lord Gisborough, 2nd Baron Gisborough of Cleveland, Yorkshire, was a WWI pilot and ex-Prisoner of War who returned to RAF service during World War II. He served as 41 Squadron’s Intelligence Officer for over five years of the War, and reported the Squadron’s activity, victories and losses up the chain of command on a daily basis. He refused further promotion.
  • Born in Stoke-on-Trent, Sqn Ldr George Bennions joined the RAF as a Halton apprentice at the age of 16, and graduated as an LAC Engine Fitter in Dec 1931. Selected for pilot training four years later, he gained his Wings as an NCO pilot in Jan 1936, and was posted to 41 Sqn, then based at Catterick, the following month. It was here that he remained for the ensuing almost five years, and he was commissioned on the Sqn in April 1940. Bennions proved to be quite a talented pilot, and he claimed his first victory over the Channel in July 1940, during the earliest salvoes of the Battle of Britain. Over the months of August and September, Bennions’ tally continued to rise to the point where he had claimed ten and one shared destroyed, seven probably destroyed, and five damaged, making him the second most successful pilot on 41 Squadron during World War II. Bennions’ war came to abrupt halt on 1 October 1940, when he was shot down and seriously wounded. He lost the sight in one eye, and spent time at East Grinstead at the hands of gifted plastic surgeon, Dr Archibald McIndoe. Bennions subsequently returned to service, but was no longer permitted to fly operationally. Fulfilling various ground roles as a flight controller and Air Liaison Officer, he was wounded by shrapnel coming ashore in a landing barge in Corsica in October 1943. He retired from the RAF in 1946 with a DFC and a 50% disability pension and spent most of the ensuing years as a wood & metalwork teacher, though he also flew his own private aircraft whenever he could. Aside from his significant victory tally during the Battle of Britain, Bennions is of interest for one of those victories, which took place on 5 September 1940. Contemporary researchers credit him with a shared victory over Oblt Franz von Werra, the Group Adjutant of JG3, who was flying an Me109E. Von Werra’s aircraft is believed to have been damaged by Bennions but finished off by 603 Sqn’s Plt Off Basil Stapleton, forcing the German pilot to crash-land near Marden, Kent. Von Werra was captured unhurt and sent to Canada, as were the majority of German POWs, to hinder their chances of escape. However, von Werra nonetheless succeeded in escaping, and travelled via the then neutral United States, through Mexico and Brazil, crossed the Atlantic to Spain, then made it to Italy, and returned to Germany in April 41. So unusual was this feat that he was in fact the only German POW to succeed in doing so during the entire War. Upon his return to Germany, Adolf Hitler decorated him with the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross. Von Werra's story was the subject of a book, and also of a film entitled 'The One That Got Away', which was released in 1957 and starred Hardy Krüger as von Werra.
Flt Lt Eric S. Lock, June 1941
  • Plt Off Eric Lock, known as ‘Sawn Off Lockie’ for his short stature, joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve in February 1939 and was posted to 41 Sqn as his first operational unit, in mid-June 1940. At the time he joined 41 Squadron, little more than three weeks before the commencement of the Battle of Britain, he had not flown a single hour in a Spitfire. Given the training he required to bring him up to speed, it was not until early August 1940 that he flew his first operational sortie. By this time, the Squadron had already experienced several significant engagements with the Luftwaffe, one man had been killed, another wounded, and 18 victories had been claimed. Lock’s first operational sortie took place on 9 August 1940, and was uneventful. So was his second a few days later, but his life and career were about to change markedly. As 15 Aug dawned, he had not yet seen the Luftwaffe, let alone any action, and was therefore an unknown quantity. The day was a watershed for him, and he would quickly become an essential part of 41 Squadron’s defensive strategy. Lock was about embark on a journey that would see him decorated and become a household name within the space of just a few brief months. Between 15 August and 17 November 1940, Lock claimed no less than 22 aircraft destroyed, and he became the most successful RAF pilot of the Battle of Britain and the equal second highest-scoring pilot in the RAF at the time. Over the three consecutive months of Sep, Oct & Nov 1940, Lock was awarded a DFC, a Bar, and a DSO. On the afternoon of 5 Sep 1940, 41 Squadron’s most intensive day of the Battle of Britain, Lock claimed three victories in a single sortie. The aircraft he flew that day, Spitfire Ia, N3162, EB-G, is recognised by 41 Squadron, which has the letters EB-G on one of their Typhoons, and by the BBMF, which has EB-G emblazoned on their Spitfire P7350. Lock was seriously wounded in action on 17 November 1940, and underwent multiple operations, which included three skin grafts at the hands of Dr Archibald McIndoe at East Grinstead. Following seven months’ recuperation, he returned to operations with 611 Squadron in late June 1941. During July 1941, he added another three victories to his already impressive list. However, on 3 August, he failed to return from a routine operation after attacking a German column on a road behind Boulogne, and remains missing today. In recognition of his achievements and status in Battle of Britain history, he is remembered on several memorials and in his hometown of Bayston Hill, outside Shrewsbury, where a street is named after him. He remains today one of the RAF’s top ten Aces of World War II, credited with some 25 aircraft destroyed and 7 probably destroyed, all bar three of which he achieved on 41 Squadron.
  • Gp Capt Donald O. Finlay joined the RAF at a Halton apprentice in September 1925, and graduated in 1928 as an AC1 with a posting to 1 Squadron at Tangmere. Already an avid athlete by this time, Finlay was kept busy mixing his sporting abilities with his career, and he represented in the RAF in a number of different disciplines. He also competed privately in both domestic and international meets, and represented Britain in two Empire Games and other international sporting events. Accepted for pilot training, he gained his Wings in the midst of a dual RAF/sporting career in September 1931, and was posted to 43 Squadron where he remained the ensuing four years. During his time there, he participated in the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1932, and returned home with a Bronze Medal in Men’s 110m Hurdles. Finlay was granted a permanent commission in April 1935 and was posted to 54 Squadron, where he spent a further four years. During his tenure, he flew to Berlin to participate in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, and earned Silver in the Men’s Hurdles. In doing so, he became one of the few Battle of Britain pilots to have ever seen Adolf Hitler in the flesh. In September 1940, Finlay was posted to 41 Squadron to take over command, as its third Officer Commanding since the commencement of the campaign. He ultimately remained with the unit until the following August, and was awarded the DFC for his service with the unit. Finlay ended the war as a Group Captain with an AFC for his time as Officer Commanding 61 Operational Training Unit. Although his professional sport career was curtailed by World War II, he competed in the 1948 London Olympics, but he was now past his prime and was not placed. However, he was the athlete chosen to read the Olympic Oath at the commencement of the Games. 41 Squadron honoured Finlay during the 2012 London Olympics by painting up the tail of one of the unit’s Tornados. Although that aircraft was recently retired, the Squadron continues to honour Finlay with one of the Tornados marked up as EB-Z.
  • South African Plt Off J. J. ‘Chris’ Le Roux flew with 41 Squadron for a short period in late 1940-early 1941. In July 1944, by now OC, 602 Squadron, Le Roux was credited with attacking and seriously injuring General Erwin Rommel in his staff car, on a road outside Sainte Foy de Montgomerie, in Normandy. Strafing the vehicle, the driver lost control, struck a tree and spun off the road. Rommel fractured his skull when he was thrown from the vehicle. In doing so, Le Roux single-handedly removed Germany's commanding general from the Normandy battlefield.
Dutch Acting Flt Lt Bram ‘Bob’ van der Stok was shot down with 41 Squadron on 12 April 1942, and became one of only three successful escapees in the March 1944 'Great Escape' from Stalag Luft III.
  • Dutch Flt Lt Bram van der Stok was a pre-war air force pilot in the Netherlands, but avoided internment after the Dutch capitulation in May 1940. On his fourth attempt, he managed to escape to Scotland by ship, via Germany and Norway. Reporting to the Dutch Government in Exile in London, van der Stok was encouraged to join the RAF Volunteer Reserve, which he did in September 1941. Following refresher training, he was posted to his first unit, 41 Squadron, where he arrived as a Fg Off in December 1941. Promoted to Actg Flt Lt and appointed OC A Flight in March 1942, he claimed two victories on the Squadron, but was shot down over France the following month. Taken into immediate captivity, he was sent to Stalag Luft III, Sagan, later that month, after the usual interrogation in Frankfurt. He remained at Stalag Luft III until March 1944 when he took part in the mass escape of airmen that we know today as The Great Escape. All but three of the escapees were recaptured and fifty of them were executed as retribution, on Hitler’s orders. Of the three that successfully made their escapes, van der Stok was one. Acting as a Dutch labourer on forged papers, he made it back the United Kingdom in early July 1944, travelling on a route, which took him through the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain and Gibraltar. Van der Stok returned to operations with 74 Squadron, by then based back in the Netherlands. He ended the War as Officer Commanding 322 (Dutch) Squadron, and subsequently returned to the Medical studies he broke off in 1939, and graduated as a doctor in 1951. In 1963, United Artists released the film, 'The Great Escape', based upon a book of the same name, written by Australian author Paul Brickhill in 1950. In the movie, which starred such greats as starring Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Richard Attenborough, a character broadly based on van der Stok was played by James Coburn.
  • Canadian Sgt Plt George F. Beurling attempted to join the pre-war Royal Canadian Air Force but was rejected as he had dropped out of school, and was therefore lacking the education level required at the time. He therefore travelled all the way to Finland to join the Finnish Air Force in 1939, to fight the Russians. However, they also rejected him. With the outbreak of World War II, he then decided to travel to the United Kingdom where he was finally accepted by the RAF during the peak of the Battle of Britain in September 1940. Earning his Wings as an NCO pilot, Beurling was posted to 403 Squadron RCAF in December 1941. In April 1942, he was posted to 41 Squadron, but proved too head-strong, fought with other members of the unit, and gained a reputation for doing his own thing in the air and not remaining in formation or following orders. By the following month, he was requesting a transfer to Malta and it was granted. Nonetheless, in his brief time with 41 Squadron, he claimed his first two victories. In time, he became Canada’s leading World War II Ace, and was credited with 31 victories between May 1942 and December 1943. As a result, he was awarded a DSO, a DFC and two DFMs. However, he was 'retired' early from the RCAF in 1944 as his skill in cockpit was matched by streak of rebelliousness, and disrespect for authority. He had a reputation for ignoring team tactics and breaking formation to attack the enemy alone and had gained two nicknames, 'Buzz Beurling' and the not-so-complimentary 'Screwball Beurling'. He spent the rest of the War on Public Relations work, and was killed in a flying accident whilst he was illegally ferrying aircraft to the new state of Israel in 1948. Suggestions of sabotage have been made but remain unproven. In recognition of his sacrifice, Beurling’s body was moved to Israel in 1950, where he now rests.
  • Prince Emanuel Vladimirovitch Galitzine was the great-great grandson of Catherine the Great. He fled Russia with his parents and siblings in the wake of the October Revolution in 1917, and settled in England, where he was educated. Galitzine joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve on a Short Service Commission in late 1938, but left again to go to Finland in early 1940 to fight the Soviets attempting to occupy the country. Returning to London again in October 1940, after his mother was killed in the Blitz, Galitzine rejoined the RAFVR, but had to do so as an aircraftsman, though he was re-commissioned in September 1941. Galitzine saw operational service in several squadrons before joining 41 Squadron as a Fg Off in May 1943, and he claimed a probably destroyed enemy aircraft with the unit in October. Following his tenure with the Squadron, he was rested as personal assistant to Air Vice-Marshal Sir William Dickson, then commanding 83 Group, which was preparing for the Normandy invasion. When Dickson was posted to Italy, Galitzine accompanied him, adding Italian to an already impressive list of languages he spoke. Following the War, Galitzine worked in the civil aviation industry, but maintained links with Russia and, in 1998, attended the reburial and funeral service of the murdered Tsar and his family in St Petersburg.
  • Fg Off Peter Gibbs was a generally unassuming character who served with 41 Squadron between January 1944 and March 1945. An active pilot during his tour, and an avid musician, he merits a particular mention for his post-War life and, oddly enough, also for his demise. He became a professional musician after he left the RAF in August 1945 and joined the Philharmonia Orchestra in 1954. Within two years, he had joined the London Symphony Orchestra and during this time became rather (in)famous for a dressing down he gave to one of the Century’s most celebrated performing artists, Herbert von Karajan. The Orchestra felt von Karajan had been unprofessional when conducting smaller, ‘less important’ concerts during a tour of the United States in 1956. He had often just bowed once and left the stage at the end of concerts, refusing to return for encores, despite the applause from the audience. The orchestra was slighted by this behaviour, and eventually had had enough. The last straw came when von Karajan left the stage in Boston after the last note was played, neither waiting for applause nor calls for an encore. The orchestra, in which Gibbs was playing First Violin, was upset by this apparent insult to both them and the audience, but turned up nonetheless on time for an early rehearsal the following morning. Von Karajan, however, came in late, much to the disgruntlement of the whole orchestra. When he finally arrived, Peter Gibbs, an impromptu, self-appointed spokesman, stood up and addressed him directly, demanding an apology. He rebuked von Karajan, stating, "I did not spend four years of my life fighting bastards like you to be insulted before our own Allies as you did last evening." Von Karajan ignored him completely and continued conducting as if nothing had happened. That night, however, during a concert, von Karajan chose his moment and, during the interval, refused to go back on stage until a letter was signed stating that Gibbs be immediately sacked. The orchestra’s managers had little choice but to bow to the demand. Although Gibbs was never to play with the Philharmonia again after this incident, it is understood that von Karajan also never conducted the Philharmonia again after the tour either, and it is said that he vowed to never conduct an English orchestra again. All this time, Gibbs also flew privately. He had joined the Surrey Flying Club in June 1957 and then flew more-or-less continuously for the next 18 years. Gibbs bought himself a Tiger Moth and found great pleasure in peacetime flying. However, flying was also what brought about his premature death in December 1975. He took off for a brief flight in a Cessna from Glenforsa Airfield on the Isle of Mull in Scotland on Christmas Eve 1975, but failed to return. A search was mounted but no trace whatsoever could be found of him. Oddly, his body was found four months after his disappearance part way up a hill, approximately one mile from Glenforsa Airfield, without his aircraft, showing the signs of having lain there all that time. The original search for Gibbs had passed through the area at the time he had gone missing, but nothing had been seen. His body gave away no clues as to his cause of death. Gibbs’ missing Cessna bewildered officials and his case soon became known as the ‘Great Mull Air Mystery’. It was not until September 1986 – almost 11 years after Gibbs’ death – that his aircraft was located in the sea off Oban. The aircraft’s remains also gave up no clue as to the reason it was there. It can only be assumed that Gibbs, for some reason, came down in the sea and that he had managed to free himself and swim ashore. It is thought he then tried to make his way back to the airfield, around a mile away, but, considering the time of year, location, and likely temperatures of both the water and air, probably succumbed to the effects of exposure.[10]
Aharon Remez, who served as an NCO pilot with 41 Squadron in 1945, became the first Commander of the Israeli Air Force in 1948
  • Palestinian Sgt Plt Aharon Remez joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve in Canada in December 1942, and was awarded his Wings as an NCO pilot before being shipped to England to complete his Operational Training Course in late 1944. Remez was posted to his first and only operational unit, 41 Squadron, in April 1945 and served with the unit until March 1946, and was not commissioned in the RAF. Based in Germany during the last weeks of the war and beyond, he witnessed Nazi atrocities first hand, and often leant a personal hand. The officers of 41 Squadron turned a blind eye, and he was given special leave to allow him to be able to do so. This enabled him to commence assisted passage for many holocaust survivors to the Middle East. Remez left the RAF in 1946 and returned home to champion the formation of a Jewish State. This occurred in May 1948, and in July he was given the post of Brigadier General and the founder and first Commanding Officer of the Israeli Air Force. He held this post until December 1950. Remez was subsequently the Head of Purchasing Delegation, Israeli MOD mission to the United States, the Israeli Defence Minister’s Aide for Aviation, a member of the House Committee & Foreign Affairs & Defense Committees of the 3rd Knesset, Director of the Dept for International Co-operation in the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Director General of the Israeli Ports Authority, and Chairman of the Israeli Aviation Authority. Remez was also the Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdom from May 1965 to July 1970 and often met up with his former 41 Squadron colleagues from 1945 whilst based there.[11]
  • Sqn Ldr Terry Spencer was originally commissioned with the Royal Engineers in December 1939, he transferred to the RAFVR as a Plt Off in October 1941. Following training, he was posted to 26 Squadron at Gatwick in November 1942 and remained with this unit until February 1944, in that time being promoted to Flt Lt and he left the unit as a Flight Commander. Following a brief posting to 165 Squadron, Spencer was posted to 41 Squadron as OC A Flt at the beginning of May 1944. Arriving just prior to D-Day, he led the Squadron on a number of operations in advance support of the invasion, and then led the unit on anti-Diver operations from June 1944, when the V1 Doodlebug menace commenced. Within four months, he had become a V1 Ace, with seven shot down, and also claimed a destroyed German fighter, thereby ending the career of a 171-victory Luftwaffe Ace Emil 'Bully' Lang. Spencer was posted to 350 Squadron within the same Wing to take command on 4 January 1945. On 26 February, however, he was hit by Flak over Germany and captured. A month later, he escaped from camp by bicycle, and subsequently motorcycle, with another former 41 Sqn pilot, Sqn Ldr Keith 'Jimmy' Thiele, in a Steve-McQueen-style getaway, in which the pair made it back to Allied lines. Spencer returned to 350 Squadron, where he once again took over command on 2 April 1945. Only 17 days later, he was shot down once again, this time over Wismar Bay, in northern Germany. Blown out of his cockpit, the force deployed his parachute at a height of just 30–40 feet, which he miraculously survived, only to be captured again. The successful jump has since been credited by the Guinness Book of Records as having been the lowest authenticated survived bale-out on record. Spencer was injured and hospitalised, but liberated by advancing Allied armies approximately two weeks later. He was awarded an immediate DFC for his exploits. In 1947, he was also awarded the Territorial Efficiency Medal and the Belgian Croix de Guerre with Palm. Spencer was demobbed in December 1945 and headed to South Africa in Spring 1946, taking three weeks to fly himself there in a single-engined Percival Proctor. He was employed there as the personal pilot of Ben du Preez, Managing Director of Kimlite Industries, which was a cover for illicit diamond buying. Spencer then returned to the United Kingdom where he met the actress Lesley Brook, who starred in at least 24 films between 1937 and 1948. The married in August 1947 and resided for a time on the Isle of Wight, before returning to South Africa in July 1948. On this occasion, he launched a new career by founding the aerial photography company in October that same year. The company enjoyed some success, but he was to become a more successful freelance photographer for LIFE magazine, for whom he worked between September 1952 and September 1972. During his time with LIFE, he covered several conflicts, including Biafra, Congo, and the Vietnam War, and spent three months on tour with a then little-known band called The Beatles. When LIFE folded in 1972, Spencer moved to People magazine, where he spent the ensuing 20 years. He authored and published two books, the first a renowned coffee table book about The Beatles ('It was Thirty Years Ago Today'), and the second an autobiography ('Living Dangerously'), which he co-authored with his wife. Following his death in February 2009, The Times published a glowing obituary of a man who was a real-life adventurer, and whose life and exploits were the very stuff of ‘Boys Own’ magazines.

Post War, 1946–2006[edit]

A 41 Sqn Jaguar GR3 during "Operation Northern Watch" in 1999.

On 1 April 1946, only a day after being disbanded in Germany, 41 Squadron was re-formed at RAF Dalcross in Scotland as a fighter squadron, by re-numbering from 122 Squadron, and reverted to the Supermarine Spitfire, this time the Mk. F.21

The Squadron flew its Spitfires for the last time on 18 August 1947, and became No. 41 Instrument Flying Rating Squadron, equipped with the Airspeed Oxfords & North American Harvard.[2] However, in June the following year, the Squadron reverted to fighter defence and was re-equipped with the De Havilland Hornet F.1, followed later by the F.3.

41 Squadron became a day fighter unit again in January 1951 and entered the jet age, receiving its first jet-powered aircraft, the Gloster Meteor F.4. In April 1951 these were replaced by the Gloster Meteor F.8, and four years later the squadron received the Hawker Hunter F.5. During the time that 41 Sqn operated the Mk5 Hunter it additionally provided an aircraft as part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which at that time was, like 41 Sqn, also based at RAF Biggin Hill.

On 14 July 1957, the Squadron was presented with a Standard displaying the unit’s Battle Honours by the CAS, Air Marshal Sir Theodore McEvoy KCB CBE, who had served three years with 41 Squadron as a young officer, following his graduation from RAF College, Cranwell in 1925.[12]

However, no amount of nostalgia would save the unit from the Government’s budgetary axe. On 15 January 1958, as a part of a scheme to reduce the size of Fighter Command, 41 Squadron fell to the same fate as 600 and 615 Squadrons had before them, and were also disbanded. With the departure of 41 Squadron from RAF Biggin Hill ceased to be a Fighter Command airfield, its infrastructure now deemed out of date for the requirements of modern warfare. The runways had become too short for the RAF’s newest generation of aircraft and, as a result of encroaching development and civil air paths which now passed above, the base was no longer in a practical location. Fighter Command officially departed from the airfield on 1 March 1958.

This gave 41 Squadron the curious distinction of being the last fighter squadron ever to be based at Biggin Hill. The departure of the unit marked the end of an era for the Station in every sense of the word, as thereafter it was relegated to non-operational status and only used by the London University Air Squadron.

The Jaguar of outgoing Officer Commanding 41 Squadron, Wg Cdr R. M. J. 'Dick' MacCormac, RAF Coltishall, 1 April 2006

However, as with 41 Squadron’s 1946 disbanding, this, too, was a mere technicality. On 16 January 1958, just a day after being disbanded, 141 Squadron, based at RAF Coltishall, near Norwich in Norfolk, dropped the ‘1’ at the beginning of its number and was thus reborn as 41 Squadron. In doing so, they automatically absorbed 141’s all-weather Gloster Javelin FAW.4 fighters and personnel.

41 Squadron’s Standard, originally presented only six months previously, was handed over to 141 Squadron on 16 January 1958 in a short ceremony attended by Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Fighter Command, ACM Sir Thomas Pike, and by 11 Group’s Air Officer Commanding, Air Vice-Marshal Victor Bowling, himself a veteran 41 Squadron pilot from 1935.

Only remaining at Coltishall six months, the Squadron moved to RAF Wattisham, near Ipswich, Suffolk, on 5 July 1958, where the Gloster Javelin FAW.4s were replaced by FAW.8s in January 1960. By this time, 56 Squadron had also joined them at the station. Whilst there, they hosted French Air Force Dassault super Mystère fighters during President Charles de Gaulle’s state visit in April 1960. 41 Squadron called Wattisham home for approximately five-and-a-half years, before the unit was disbanded again, on 31 December 1963.

On 1 September 1965, after a 20-month break, 41 Squadron was re-formed at RAF West Raynham, near Fakenham in Norfolk, but this time as a completely different structure. The unit remained firmly on the ground as a Missile Defence Squadron, armed with Bloodhound Mk. II surface-to-air-missile (SAM). Changes to the SAM programme, however, saw 41 Squadron disbanded yet again just five years later, on 18 September 1970. The Squadron Standard was moved to the Church of St. Michael and St. George at RAF West Raynham, for safe-keeping.[2]

On 1 April 1972, at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, the Squadron was reborn as a tactical fighter reconnaissance and ground attack unit within 38 Group Air Support Command. To support them in their reconnaissance role, a "Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre" or "RIC" was formed. The RIC is composed of a number of Air Transportable Reconnaissance Exploitation Laboratories (ATREL) which enable the developing of images and their subsequent analysis. The ATRELs can be transported by air or road and can be deployed with the squadron to forward operating bases.[2]

A flypast of a 41 Squadron Tornado and three 41 Squadron Harriers, RAF Coningsby, October 2006.

In this role, they were equipped with McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom FGR.2s but these were soon deemed to be unsuitable for the unit. Over the ensuing years, a strategic decision was made to change the role of the RAF’s Phantoms from a fighter to an interceptor. This amendment, however, created consternation within some circles as it was felt the squadron should maintain her role as a fighter and ground attack unit. Consequently, it was resolved to disband 41 Squadron and re-form it elsewhere to enable it to do so.

In preparation for this change, "41 Designate Squadron" was formed at RAF Coltishall, in Norfolk, on 1 July 1976 and commenced training as a reconnaissance unit with SEPECAT Jaguar GR.1 aircraft. The two squadrons operated independently of one another until 31 March 1977 when 41 Squadron was disbanded at Coningsby. This allowed 41 Designate Squadron to drop ‘Designate’ from their name, take possession of the Standard, adopt the Squadron badge, and become the ‘new’ combat-ready 41 Squadron at RAF Coltishall a day later.

41 Squadron Jaguar XZ103 Tailfin, RAF Coltishall, 1 April 2006.

41 Squadron’s role changed to low-level reconnaissance and, in early 1978, it became part of SACEUR’s Strategic Reserve. In 1980, the unit was assigned to the Allied Command Europe Mobile Force (AMF) and was subsequently involved in exercises at Bardufoss in Norway and in the Mediterranean.

In support of its reconnaissance role, the unit formed a RIC at Coltishall to process and interpret the photographs made by pilots, using sensors located in a large external pod. The film was taken to the MAREL's (Mobile Aerial Reconnaissance Exploitation Laboratories) for processing and interpretation. Ideally, a mission report would have been generated within 45 minutes of 'engines off'. Smaller "air-portable" RICs were also used during off-base deployments.

As a result of this ability, the Squadron has been involved in a number of conflicts over the past two decades. In early 1991, during the First Gulf War (Operation Granby, but more widely known by its American name, "Desert Storm"), a large number of reconnaissance and bombing missions were flown against Iraqi forces with Jaguar GR.1A aircraft as a part of the coalition forces.

In its aftermath, the squadron was deployed to Incirlik, in southwest Turkey, where it participated in the defence of Iraq’s Kurdish minority within the boundaries of the country’s northern no-fly zone (Operations "Warden" and "Resinate North") until April 1993. It was during this period that the large external photographic pods were replaced with smaller, more versatile, medium level pods.

Four months later, the Squadron was deployed to Southern Italy, where it flew policing duties over Bosnia in support of Operation "Deny Flight" until August 1995. It was during this time that one of the unit’s Jaguars became the first RAF aircraft to drop a bomb in anger over Europe since the end of World War II. The target was a Bosnian tank.

The Squadron returned to Coltishall in August 1995 for a well-earned rest. Despite the vital work they had performed in Iraq and Bosnia, however, the Squadron found their photographic systems were inhibited by the use of photographic film, which required special handling and processing before any results could be viewed and analysed. This drawback was compounded by the inherent difficulties of moving hardcopy prints around the battlefield, particularly with the distances involved in modern warfare. To overcome these issues, the Jaguar Replacement Reconnaissance Pod (JRRP) was introduced in August 2000.

The new system provided for the recording of a digital images by three cameras onto VHS-C super videotapes with electro optical sensors for day operations and infra-red sensors for night operations. Digital images were then analysed in the ATRELs through in a windows-based application, named ‘Ground Imagery Exploitation System’, or "GIES". GIES allowed analysts to edit images and send them electronically.

The interior of the doors on 41 Squadron's hangar at RAF Coltishall on the day the Station was closed, 1 April 2006.

This system was taken into battle on the Squadron’s last operational deployment, during the Second Gulf War (Operation Telic. in Iraq in March–April 2003. During the operation, they were based at Incirlik, Turkey, once again, equipped with the more up-to-date Jaguar GR.3.

In July 2004, the Defence Secretary announced that 41 Squadron would be disbanded once again, on 31 March 2006, as a part of a re-organisation of the Defence Forces following a Government spending review, and the so-called Gershon efficiency study. A White Paper, titled "Delivering Security in a Changing World: Future Capabilities", foresaw the retirement of the RAF’s Jaguar aircraft two years early and the closure of RAF Coltishall. Advances in technology, it reasoned, would mean air defence could be maintained with fewer aircraft, thus allowing older equipment to be withdrawn from service earlier than originally intended. The authors planned that the RAF’s future air combat force would be based around the multi-role Typhoon and Joint Combat Aircraft, in co-operation with the Tornado GR4 and Harrier GR7/GR9. Furthermore, the paper intended to reduce RAF trained strength from 48,500 to 41,000 by 1 April 2008.[13]

As a result of these decisions, every one of RAF Coltishall’s units would be directly affected. 16(R) and 54(F) Squadrons, the Operational Evaluation Unit (OEU) and Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) would be disbanded by 1 April 2005, and 41 Squadron by 1 April 2006. 6 Squadron, with the last of the RAF’s Jaguars, would be moved to RAF Coningsby on 1 April 2006 and disbanded by 31 October 2007. RAF Coltishall itself would be shut down in December 2006, thus ending an over 66-year history.[14]

The first of these draw-downs took place on 11 March 2005, when 16 and 54 Squadrons held a combined passing-out parade. However, their disbandment had little immediate effect on the activity at Coltishall as most airframes and personnel were absorbed into 6 and 41 Squadrons. However, with the departure of these latter squadrons in 2006, and the subsequent closure of the base in December, the close-knit RAF community was dispersed to other locations, and a quiet returned to the area, which has not existed since May 1940.

However, despite the Government’s intention to disband 41 Squadron, and plans drawn up for final ceremonies to take place on the first weekend in April 2006, the unit was given a new lease on life only a short while before taking effect. Approval was received to move 41 Squadron to Coningsby with 6 Squadron on 1 April 2006, and to assume the role of the Fast Jet and Weapons Operational Evaluation Unit, or "FJWOEU".[2]

RAF Panavia Tornado GR4 of 41 Squadron (code ZA447) at the 2010 Royal International Air Tattoo, RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, England. To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in 2010, all of the Squadron's aircraft were painted with World War II-era EB codes at the top of each tail fin to represent specific pilots of the period. This particular airframe commemorates Spitfire Mk Ia, P9428, EB-R ('R for Robin'), and its pilot, Sqn Ldr Hilary R. L. 'Robin' Hood DFC, the Squadron Commanding Officer, who was killed during the Battle of Britain.

Fast Jet & Weapons Operational Evaluation Unit, 2006–2010[edit]

The Fast Jet and Weapons Operational Evaluation Unit (FJWOEU) was formed before it assumed the 41 Squadron number plate. It was created on 1 April 2004 from the merger of the Strike Attack OEU (SAOEU), the F3 OEU and the Air Guided Weapons OEU (AGWOEU). The FJWOEU took over 41(F) Squadron's number plate on 1 April 2006, rescuing 41 Squadron from disbandment that would have otherwise resulted from the retirement of the RAF's Jaguar fleet.

Their new aircraft consisted of Panavia Tornados and Harrier GR9.s, and that same year, the Squadron celebrated its 90th Anniversary. It remained in the role of FJWOEU until 2010, during that time testing numerous weapons and defence systems that were subsequently deployed by British forces on the front line at various locations throughout the world, including Afghanistan.

Test and Evaluation Squadron, 2010 to Present[edit]

On 1 April 2010, the Boscombe Down-based Fast Jet Test Squadron (FJTS) was amalgamated into 41(R) Squadron to create a new entity, 41 Squadron Test and Evaluation Squadron, or "41(R) TES", in which form it continues today.

In September 2010, the Squadron celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, holding an event at RAF Coningsby attended by families of pilots of the World War II era.[15] The Squadron painted up its aircraft with World War II "EB" codes, recognising various World War II pilots and their aircraft. Originally, some of these codes were applied to the Squadron's Harriers, but when these were retired the codes were applied to the Tornados, and subsequently Typhoons, that replaced them. They currently encompass the following World War II aircraft:

Aircraft Serial Code A/C Type Serial Date Pilot
Typhoon FGR4 ZJ947 EB-L Spitfire Ia K9805 August 1940 Wg Cdr Edward A. Shipman AFC RAF
Typhoon FGR4 ZK321 EB-R Spitfire Ia P9428 September 1940 Sqn Ldr Hilary R. L. 'Robin' Hood DFC RAF
Typhoon FGR4 ZJ914 EB-G Spitfire Ia N3162 September 1940 Flt Lt Eric S. 'Lockie' Lock DSO DFC* MiD RAF
Typhoon FGR4 ZJ912 EB-J Spitfire Ia X4559 September 1940 Sqn Ldr George H. 'Ben' Bennions DFC RAF
Tornado GR4 ZG775 EB-Z Spitfire IIa P7666 November 1940 Gp Capt Donald O. Finlay DFC AFC RAF
Tornado GR4 ZA560 EB-Q Spitfire Va R7304 August 1941 WO William A. 'Bill' Brew RAAF
Typhoon FGR4 ZK339 EB-B Spitfire XII MB882 September 1944 Sqn Ldr Terence 'Terry' Spencer DFC TEM RAF
41 Squadron Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4 EB-H at the RAF Waddington air show in July 2013. This aircraft code is the newest addition to the Squadron's World War II coded aircraft, representing Spitfire XIV, NH915, EB-H. This aircraft was flown by Gp Capt (then Flt Lt) Derek Rake OBE AFC & Bar when he made 41 Squadron's last victory claim of the War, on 3 May 1945.

Commencing the draw-down of the RAF's Harrier force as a result of the British Government's Strategic Defence and Security review (SDSR),[16] 41 Squadron's three Harrier GR.9’s were transferred to 1 (Fighter) Squadron at RAF Cottesmore on 4 November 2010. The Squadron subsequently increased its fleet of Tornado GR.4's to compensate the loss of these aircraft, and only operated the GR.4 until April 2013.

41 Squadron was also in the spotlight on 29 April 2011, when two of its Tornado GR.4s flew with two Typhoons from RAF Coningsby in the RAF flypast down The Mall and over Buckingham Palace for the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. One of the Tornados was flown by the Squadron's then Officer Commanding, Wg Cdr Rich Davies.

Officer Commanding 41 Squadron, Wg Cdr Steve A. 'Raz' Berry, gives the General Salute on the unit's Centenary Parade at RAF Coningsby on 14 July 2016 as a Typhoon and a Tornado arrive overhead.

In 2012, to mark the London 2012 Olympic Games, 41 Squadron unveiled special tail markings on Panavia Tornado GR4, ZA614, EB-Z, to commemorate the Squadron's link with the Olympic Games. Gp Capt Donald O. Finlay DFC AFC, who commanded the Squadron from September 1940 – August 1941, had won Bronze in the Men Hurdles at the 1932 Los Angeles Games, won Silver in the same event at the 1936 Berlin Games, and read the Olympic Oath at the commencement of 1948 London Games.[17]

The first published history of 41 Squadron, "Blood, Sweat, and Valour", was launched at the RAF Club in London in December 2012, and recounts the unit's wartime activity during the war years August 1942 – May 1945. A second volume, entitled "Blood, Sweat and Courage" was launched at the RAF Club in London in December 2014 and covers the preceding war years, September 1939 - July 1942.

41 Squadron's Typhoon ZK315 with its Centenary tailin during the unit's Centenary Parade at RAF Coningsby on 14 July 2016
A march-past by 41 Squadron led by the Standard during the unit's Centenary Parade at RAF Coningsby on 14 July 2016, with a Typhoon with Centenary tailfin in the background.

Another major change took place on 22 April 2013, when 41 Squadron took over the Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4s of fellow RAF Coningsby based No. 17(R) Test and Evaluation Squadron, which will have a new role, preparing for the introduction of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II into RAF and Royal Navy service.[18]

41 Squadron's WWII era EB codes have been carried over onto three of their new aircraft. They are ZJ930, coded EB-R for Sqn Ldr Hilary R. L. 'Robin' Hood DFC (OC 41 Sqn 1940); ZJ947 coded EB-L for Wg Cdr Edward 'Shippy' Shipman AFC (1936–40); and ZK332, coded EB-J for Sqn Ldr George H. 'Ben' Bennions DFC (1936–40). An additional aircraft had also joined the Squadron, prompting the need for an eighth code, and the opportunity to honour another of the Squadron's World War II pilots. The honour has gone to Gp Capt Derek S. V. Rake OBE AFC & Bar (1945) and Typhoon ZJ914 has been coded EB-H.

41 Squadron celebrated its Centenary in July 2016, by holding a parade and Gala Dinner at RAF Coningsby on 14 July, and a Friends and Families Open Day on 22 July.

Statistical Data[edit]

Key Dates 1916-2016[edit]

Date Notes
15 April 1916 Formed as a fighter squadron (nucleus from 28 Squadron RFC)
22 May 1916 Disbanded by renumbering to 27 Reserve Squadron RFC
14 July 1916 Re-formed as 41 Squadron RFC (nucleus from 27 Reserve Squadron RFC)
31 December 1919 Disbanded
1 April 1923 Re-formed as a fighter squadron
31 March 1946 Disbanded by renumbering to 26 Squadron
1 April 1946 Re-formed by re-numbering from 122 Squadron
15 January 1958 Disbanded
16 January 1958 Re-formed by re-numbering from 141 Squadron
31 December 1963 Disbanded
1 September 1965 Re-formed as Bloodhound Mk. IIa SAM Defence Squadron
1 July 1970 Disbanded
1 April 1972 Re-formed as a fighter and ground attack squadron
31 March 1977 Disbanded
1 April 1977 Re-formed as a low-level reconnaissance squadron
1 April 2006 Disbanded
1 April 2006 Re-formed as Reserve Squadron (41(R) Squadron) and Fast Jet & Weapons Operational Evaluation Unit (FJWOEU)
1 April 2010 New Entity, re-structured as Test and Evaluation Squadron (41(R) TES)

Bases 1916-2016[edit]

Base Location Arrival Base Location Arrival
Fort Rowner, Gosport[19] Hampshire 15 Apr 1916 Westhampnett[20] Sussex 21 Jun 1943
Fort Rowner, Gosport[21] Hampshire 14 Jul 1916 Tangmere[22] Sussex 4 Oct 1943
St. Omer France 15 Oct 1916 Southend[23] Essex 7 Feb 1944
Abeele Belgium 21 Oct 1916 Tangmere Sussex 20 Feb 1944
Hondschoote France 24 May 1917 Friston Sussex 11 Mar 1944
Abeele Belgium 15 Jun 1917 Bolt Head Devon 29 Apr 1944
Léalvillers France 3 Jul 1917 Fairwood Common[24] Glamorgan 16 May 1944
Marieux France 22 Mar 1918 Bolt Head Devon 24 May 1944
Fienvillers France 27 Mar 1918 West Malling Kent 19 Jun 1944
Alquines France 29 Mar 1918 Tangmere[25] Sussex 26 Jun 1944
Savy France 9 Apr 1918 Westhampnett Sussex 27 Jun 1944
Serny France 11 Apr 1918 Friston Sussex 2 Jul 1944
Estrée Blanche (Liettres) France 19 May 1918 Lympne Kent 11 Jul 1944
Conteville France 1 Jun 1918 B.56 Evere[26] Belgium 4 Dec 1944
St. Omer France 14 Aug 1918 B.64 Diest/Schaffen Belgium 5 Dec 1944
Droglandt Belgium 20 Sep 1918 Y.32 Ophoven[27] Belgium 31 Dec 1944
Halluin East Belgium 23 Oct 1918 B.80 Volkel Netherlands 27 Jan 1945
Tangmere Sussex 7 Feb 1919 Warmwell[28] Dorset 7 Mar 1945
Croydon Surrey 8 Oct 1919 B.78 Eindhoven Netherlands 18 Mar 1945
Northolt Middlesex 1 Apr 1923 B.106 Twente Netherlands 7 Apr 1945
Underway to Aden Yemen 4 Oct 1935 B.118 Celle Germany 16 Apr 1945
Khormaksar Yemen 20 Oct 1935 B.160 Kastrup Denmark 9 May 1945
Sheikh Othman Yemen 18 Mar 1936 B.172 Husum Germany 21 Jun 1945
Underway to Southampton Hampshire 10 Aug 1936 B.158 Lübeck Germany 11 Jul 1945
Catterick Yorkshire 25 Sep 1936 Warmwell[29] Dorset 20 Aug 1945
Wick Caithness 19 Oct 1939 B.158 Lübeck Germany 6 Sep 1945
Catterick[30] Yorkshire 25 Oct 1939 B.116 Wunstorf Germany 30 Jan 1946
Hornchurch Essex 28 May 1940 B.170 Sylt Germany 28 Feb 1946
Catterick[31] Yorkshire 8 Jun 1940 B.116 Wunstorf Germany 29 Mar 1946
Hornchurch[32] Essex 26 Jul 1940 Dalcross Scotland 1 Apr 1946
Catterick Yorkshire 8 Aug 1940 Wittering Cambridge 8 Apr 1946
Hornchurch[33] Essex 3 Sep 1940 B.158 Lübeck Germany 29 Jun 1946
Catterick[34] Yorkshire 23 Feb 1941 Duxford Cambridge 9 Sep 1946
Merston Sussex 28 Jul 1941 Wittering Cambridge 30 Sep 1946
Westhampnett[35] Sussex 16 Dec 1941 Acklington Northumberland 11 Nov 1946
Merston Sussex 1 Apr 1942 Wittering Cambridge 20 Dec 1946
Martlesham Heath[36] Suffolk 15 Jun 1942 Church Fenton Yorkshire 17 Apr 1947
Hawkinge Kent 30 Jun 1942 Biggin Hill Kent 29 Mar 1951
Debden Essex 8 Jul 1942 Coltishall Norfolk 1 Feb 1958
Longtown[37] Cumberland 4 Aug 1942 Wattisham Suffolk 5 Jul 1958
Llanbedr Merioneth 9 Aug 1942 West Raynham Norfolk 1 Sep 1965
Tangmere[38] Sussex 16 Aug 1942 Coningsby Lincolnshire 1 Apr 1972
Llanbedr Merioneth 20 Aug 1942 Coltishall Norfolk 1 Apr 1977
Eglinton[39] Londonderry 22 Sep 1942 Thumrait AB4 Oman 13 Aug 1990
Llanbedr Merioneth 30 Sep 1942 Seeb AB[40] Oman 29 Aug 1990
Tangmere[41] Sussex 8 Oct 1942 Muharraq[42] Bahrain 7 Oct 1990
Llanbedr[43] Merioneth 11 Oct 1942 Incirlik[44] Turkey Sep 1991
High Ercall Salop 25 Feb 1943 Gioia del Colle[45] Italy Aug 1993
Hawkinge Kent 13 Apr 1943 Incirlik[46] Turkey Sep 2002
Biggin Hill Kent 21 May 1943 Coningsby Lincolnshire 1 Apr 2006
Friston Sussex 28 May 1943

Equipment 1916–2016[edit]

Aircraft Received Aircraft Received
Airco de Havilland DH.2 ‘Scout’ July 1916 Supermarine Spitfire Mk. F.21 April 1946
Vickers F.B.5 ‘Gun Bus’ July 1916 Airspeed Oxford AS.10 August 1947
Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.8 September 1916 North American Harvard August 1947
Airco de Havilland DH.5 July 1917 De Havilland Hornet F.1 June 1948
Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a October 1917 De Havilland Hornet F.3 August 1948
Sopwith 7F.1 Snipe April 1923 Gloster Meteor F.4 January 1951
Armstrong Whitworth Siskin III/IIIa April 1924 Gloster Meteor F.8 April 1951
Bristol Bulldog 105A Mk. IIa October 1931 Hawker Hunter F.5 July 1955
Hawker Demon Mk. I July 1934 Gloster Javelin FAW.4 February 1958
Hawker Fury Mk. II October 1937 Gloster Javelin FAW.8 January 1960
Supermarine Spitfire Mk. I December 1938 Bloodhound Mk. II S.A.M. September 1965
Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Ia September 1939 McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR.2 April 1972
Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IIa October 1940 SEPECAT Jaguar GR.1 July 1976
Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Ia February 1941 SEPECAT Jaguar GR.3 May 1997
Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IIa March 1941 SEPECAT Jaguar T4 Date?
Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Va & Vb July 1941 Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR9 April 2006
Supermarine Spitfire Mk. XII February 1943 Panavia Tornado F3 April 2006
Supermarine Spitfire Mk. XIV September 1944 Panavia Tornado GR4 April 2006
Hawker Tempest Mk. V September 1945 Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 April 2013

Officers Commanding 1916–2016[edit]

Name Commenced Name Commenced
LANDON, Joseph Herbert Arthur, DSO OBE 20 July 1916 WALLACE, James, DSO DFC[47] November 1949
POWELL, Frederick James, OBE (POW) 3 August 1917 HESSELYN, Raymond Brown, MBE DFC DFM & Bar 19 March 1951
BOWMAN, Geoffrey Hilton, DSO DFC MC & Bar 9 February 1918 OSBORNE, Anthony Frederick, DFC 30 April 1951
SMYTHIES, Bernard Edward, DFC 1 April 1923 MILLER, John, CBE DFC AFC July 1951
COLLISHAW, Raymond, CB DSO & Bar OBE DSC DFC[48] 1 October 1923 SCANNELL, Maxwell OBE DFC AFC[49] June 1953
MURLIS-GREEN, Gilbert Ware, DSO & Bar MC & 2 Bars 15 April 1924 CASTAGNOLA, James, DSO DFC & Bar[50] September 1955
SOWREY, Frederick, DSO MC AFC 8 February 1926 LEGGETT, John William James, QCVSA 1 February 1958
AITKEN, Robert Stanley, CB CBE MC AFC[51] 1 September 1928 HUTCHINSON-SMITH, David Windle AFC[52] October 1959
HUSKINSON, Patrick, CBE MC & Bar[53] 6 February 1930 PINNINGTON, John Frederick[54] December 1961
VINCENT, Stanley Flamank CB DFC AFC[55] 24 October 1931 KENT, William, AFC 1 September 1965
BORET, John Auguste, CBE MC AFC[56] 1 May 1933 ANGELL, Henry Ellis DFC[57] January 1966
ADAMS, John Simon Leslie 4 March 1937 DODD, George Henry August 1968
JOHNSTON, Geoffrey Augustus Graydon, CBE 28 August 1939 LEMON, Brian James, MBE AFC[58] 1 April 1972
HOOD, Hilary Richard Lionel, DFC[59] 22 April 1940 GOVER, Peter David Leonard MBE AFC BSc March 1974
LISTER, Robert Charles Franklin 8 September 1940 THOMSON, Charles John, Sir GCB CBE AFC October 1976
FINLAY, Donald Osborne DFC AFC 14 September 1940 GRANVILLE-WHITE, Christopher CBE 4 December 1978
GAUNCE, Lionel Manley DFC[60] 9 August 1941 MOSES, Hilton Henry MBE March 1982
HUGO, Petrus Hendrik DSO DFC & 2 Bars 20 November 1941 NORRISS, David Kenworthy, QCVSA November 1984
FEE, John Clarke 12 April 1942 MILNE-SMITH, David Henry March 1987
HYDE, Geoffrey Cockayne 28 July 1942 PIXTON, George William DFC AFC September 1989
NEIL, Thomas Francis DFC & Bar AFC 3 September 1942 GRIGGS, Derek Stephen AFC BA March 1992
INGHAM, Bernard DFC 25 July 1943 HARPER, Christopher Nigel, Sir KBE October 1994
MATTHEW, Ian George Stewart DFC 20 November 1943 MALONEY, John P. January 1997
GLEN, Arthur Allan DFC & Bar 26 January 1944 WRIGHT, Graham A., BSc HCSC August 1999
CHAPMAN, Robert Hugh 28 May 1944 HOPKINS, Mark William Gardner MBE MA MSc March 2002
BENHAM, Douglas Ian OBE DFC AFC 28 August 1944 MacCORMAC, Richard M. J., MA September 2004
SHEPHERD, John Bean DFC & 2 Bars[61] 8 April 1945 WATERFALL, Gary Martin, CBE 1 April 2006
AMBROSE, Henry DFC & Bar 28 January 1946 MYERS, Andrew Michael, MBE MA 8 June 2007
LOVELL, Peter Wilson 1 April 1946 DAVIES, Richard Andrew, MA November 2009
HOY, William, DFC AFC[62] 20 January 1948 RODDEN, Mark Owen 6 June 2012
MOON, Harold Herbert 13 October 1948 BERRY, Steven, MBE MEng 5 December 2014

Decorations Awarded 1916-1946[edit]

Name Date of Award
Distinguished Service Order[63] 6
CLAXTON, William G. 2 Nov 1918
LANDON, Joseph H. A. 4 Jun 1917
MCCALL, Frederick R. G. 3 Aug 1918
LOCK, Eric S. 17 Dec 1940
HUGO, Petrus H. 29 May 1942
BURNE, Thomas R. 29 May 1945
Military Cross 6
BAKER, Valentine H. 24 Jul 1917
CHAPPELL, Roy W. 22 Jun 1918
DENISON, Amos A. 3 Feb 1917
MACLEAN, Loudoun J. (Bar) 1 Feb 1918
TAYLOR, Frank H. 22 Jun 1918
WINNICOTT, Russell 18 Mar 1918
Distinguished Flying Cross 30
CLAXTON, William G. 3 Aug 1918
CLAXTON, William G. (Bar) 21 Sep 1918
HEMMING, Alfred S. 2 Nov 1918
MACLEOD, Malcolm P. 3 Jun 1919
MCCALL, Frederick R. G. 3 Aug 1918
SHIELDS, William E. 2 Nov 1918
SHIELDS, William E. (Bar) 8 Feb 1919
SODEN, Frank O. 8 Feb 1919
STEPHENS, Eric J. 3 Jun 1919
RYDER, E. Norman 19 Apr 1940
HOOD, Hilary R. L. 11 Aug 1940
WEBSTER, J. Terence 20 Aug 1940
BENNIONS, George H. 1 Oct 1940
LOCK, Eric S. 1 Oct 1940
LOCK, Eric S. (Bar) 22 Oct 1940
MACKENZIE, John N. 15 Nov 1940
LOVELL, Anthony D. J. 26 Nov 1940
BUSH, Charles R. 14 Oct 1941
MARPLES, Roy 14 Oct 1941
BEARDSLEY, Robert A. 17 Oct 1941
WINSKILL, Archie L. 6 Jan 1942
FINLAY, Donald O. 10 Apr 1942
GLEN, Arthur A. 29 May 1942
GLEN, Arthur A. (Bar) 5 Nov 1943
BENHAM, Douglas I. (Bar) 8 May 1945
REID, Daniel J. 1 Jun 1945
COLEMAN, Patrick T. 24 Jul 1945
COWELL, Peter 24 Jul 1945
STEVENSON, Ian T. 24 Jul 1945
SHEPHERD, John B. (2nd Bar) 14 Sep 1945
Distinguished Flying Medal 1
PALMER, Wilfred 17 Oct 1941
Military Medal 2
BRIFFAULT, Lister, Cpl Mech[64] 15 Jul 1919
WOOD, James, AM2[65] 15 Jul 1919
Mention in Despatches 5
CLAXTON, William G. 8 Nov 1918
KNOWLES, John W., Chf Mech[66] 11 Jul 1919
O’CONNOR, Martin, Snr Mech[67] 11 Jul 1919
SHIELDS, William E. 11 Jul 1919
LOCK, Eric S. 17 Mar 1941
Croix de Guerre (Belgium) 2
BOWMAN, Geoffrey H. 15 Jul 1919
MacLEOD, Malcolm P. 15 Jul 1919
Croix de Guerre (France) 2
GILLESPIE, William J. (with Palm) 22 Aug 1919
MARCHANT, Clarence H. (with Palm) 12 Feb 1918

Prisoners of War 1916-1918 & 1939-1945[edit]

World War I[68] World War II[69]
Name Date of Capture Name Date of Capture
BUCKNALL, Claude V. 5 Oct 1918 APPLETON, Arthur S. 18 December 1944
CARTER, Guy L. 8 Aug 1918 BREW, William A. 27 August 1941
CLARK, Frederick S. 29 Oct 1917 BULL, Alan L. 12 August 1941
CLATON, William G. 17 Aug 1918 CHAPMAN, Raymond 12 August 1941
COOKE, Philip B. 28 Sep 1918 DRAPER, Gilbert G. F. 7 August 1941
CRAWFORD, Charles 24 Sep 1918 GRAHAM, Peter B. 1 September 1944
DEANE, George S. 26 Nov 1916 HARDING, Ross P. 13 February 1945
DWYER, Neville Augustus 22 Sep 1918 HAYWOOD, Douglas 27 August 1943
FRASER, Andrew 3 May 1917 HENRY, David J. V. 10 February 1945
HAIGHT, John L. 28 Sep 1917 HIND, Peter[70] 31 August 1941
HAIR, Norman B. 7 Jun 1917 HOARE, Reginald M.[71] 1 April 1943
HALL, Ernest O. W 27 Oct 1918 PALMER, Wilfred 12 April 1942
HEWAT, Harry B. 28 Sep 1918 PARRY, Hugh L.[72] 7 February 1944
ISBELL, Arthur T. 21 Mar 1918 PRICKETT, Leslie A.[73] 17 December 1943
MacGOWN, John C. 7 Jul 1917 ROOD, Albert van 12 April 1942
MILANI, Rudolph S. 28 May 1918 SLACK, Thomas A. H. 23 August 1944
MITCHELL, William 28 Sep 1918 STAPLETON, William A. 1 June 1940
POWELL, Frederick J. 2 Feb 1918 STOK, Bram van der[74] 12 April 1942
SMITH, A. F. 28 Sep 1918 TEBBIT, Donald F. J. 22 February 1945
STURGESS, Thomas M. 26 Jun 1917 WAGNER, Herbert A. 2 June 1944
TELFER, Harry C. 28 Sep 1918 WILLIAMS, Marx G. 18 August 1941

Escapers and Evaders 1939-1945[edit]

Name[75] Period Details
WINSKILL, Archie L. Aug-Nov 1941 Evaded and returned to UK
SLACK, Thomas A. H. Jul-Aug 1943 Evaded and returned to UK
Prickett, Leslie A. Aug-Dec 1943 Evaded for four months, but captured
MAY, Stanley H. Sep-Oct 1943 Evaded and returned to UK
PARRY, Hugh L. Sep 1943-Mar 1944 Evaded for six months, but captured
STOK, Bram van der March 1944 Escaped in ‘Great Escape’ & returned to UK

Guinea Pig Club Members[edit]

Name[76] Date of Injury Service on 41 Sqn
BENNIONS, George H. 1 October 1940 16 February 1936-1 October 1940
LANE, Roy 26 August 1940 6 April-ca 27 September 1943
LOCK, Eric S. 17 November 1940 18 June-17 November 1940
WHALE, F. Victor 11 December 1944 7 March 1945 – 12 February 1946
WOOLLARD, Frederick G. 18 July 1944 18 December 1943 – 18 July 1944

Roll of Honour 1916-2016[edit]

Name[77] Nationality Date Name Nationality Date
1916-1919 1939-1945
ALEXANDER, Thomas M. British 17 Aug 1918 CHATTIN, Peter W. British 3 Sep 1944
ARBERY, Ernest E. British 6 Jun 1917 COPE, Arthur R. Australian 9 Mar 1943
BAILEY, Louis J. British 17 Jun 1917 COPLEY, John J. H. British 14 Sep 1939
BARWELL, Humphrey E. British 3 Feb 1918 CROKER, Eric E. New Zealander 2 Jun 1941
BROWNING, Stanley F. British 3 May 1917 DUNSTAN, Bruce P. British 12 Feb 1942
BUSH, John S. de L. British 25 Aug 1917 EAST, Walter R. British 3 May 1943
CHAPMAN, Alfred J. British 18 Sep 1917 FLEMING, Douglas Canadian 23 Nov 1941
CHIPCHASE, Benjamin British 20 Mar 1918 GAMBLEN, Douglas R. British 29 Jul 1940
CODY, Samuel F. L. British 23 Jan 1917 GARVEY, Leonard A. British 30 Oct 1940
DOUGLAS, Frederick W. Canadian 12 Aug 1918 GAUNCE, Lionel M. Canadian 19 Nov 1941
ECCLES, Charley G. British 25 May 1917 GILDERS, John S. British 21 Feb 1941
EDWARDS, Arthur W. British 10 Oct 1917 GILLITT, Frank N. British 22 Oct 1942
FRASER, Alistair H. British 11 Aug 1918 GOODALL, Bernard B. New Zealander 15 Aug 1942
GORDON, John A. Canadian 12 Aug 1918 GRAY, James A. B. British 3 Oct 1943
HOLMAN, Gerald C. British 17 Sep 1917 HARRIS, Albert British 18 Oct 1939
JACKSON, Harold British 7 Jun 1917 HARRISON, Ronald British 22 Oct 1942
JONES, Harold E. British 22 Nov 1917 HIND, Peter British 8 Jul 1942
MacGREGOR, Donald A. D. I. British 30 Nov 1917 HOGARTH, Rycherde H. W. South African 18 Jul 1943
MARTIN, Frederick W. H. Canadian 9 Aug 1918 HOGG, Ralph V. British 10 Dec 1940
McARDLE, Hugh F. British 18 Sep 1917 HOOD, Hilary R. L. British 5 Sep 1940
McCONE, John P. Canadian 24 Mar 1918 HUNT, Leonard British 16 Sep 1941
MITCHELL, William British 10 Oct 1918 HYDE, Geoffrey C. British 19 Aug 1942
MORRIS, Walter A. British 2 Oct 1918 JENKIN, Thomas E. British 5 May 1942
NICHOLLS, Edward C. H. R. British 20 Sep 1918 JONES, Horace British 18 Oct 1939
O'LONGAN, Paul C. S. Irish 1 Jun 1917 JURY, Richard D. British 18 Aug 1941
PAYNE, Hubert British 4 Jan 1917 LANGLEY, Gerald A. British 15 Sep 1940
PERKINS, Thorold British 31 May 1917 LECKY, John G. British 11 Oct 1940
PINK, Alan L. British 30 Oct 1918 LEGARD, William E. British 1 Jun 1940
STANLEY, Frederick British 26 Oct 1917 LLOYD, Philip D. British 15 Oct 1940
SWANN, Gerald H. British 18 Oct 1917 McADAM, John British 20 Feb 1941
TAYLOR, Robert E. Canadian 17 Sep 1917 MORGAN, Harry P. D. British 27 Aug 1941
THOMPSON, William G. British 14 Jul 1917 MOTTERSHEAD, Clifford H. British 2 Mar 1945
TOOMS, Cecil S. British 24 Jan 1917 MURRIN, Wilfred F. British 18 May 1943
TRIMBLE, Alan V. British 25 Aug 1918 ODDY, Clifford British 17 Jul 1944
TUCKER, Donald C. British 24 Mar 1918 O'NEILL, Desmond H. Irish 11 Oct 1940
TURNBULL, John S. British 17 Jun 1918 OVERALL, Horace E. H. Canadian 6 Nov 1939
WEISS, Edward S. British 22 Nov 1917 OXENHAM, Russel E. G. British 24 Sep 1942
WHITEHEAD, Reginald M. British 22 Nov 1917 POYNTON, T. Rex Zululand 23 Apr 1943
WINNICOTT, Russell British 6 Dec 1917 ROBINSON, Kenneth B. Irish 7 Jun 1944
SCOTT, Thomas R. British 22 Oct 1942
1923-1939[78] SCOTT, William J. M. British 8 Sep 1940
SHEA, David J. Canadian 13 Mar 1944
ADDAMS, Anthony C. British 16 Jun 1926 SHEPHERD, John B. British 22 Jan 1946
ALLDAY, Francis British 9 Jun 1936 SHORT, Roger L. British 17 Jul 1944
BAILEY, Allan S. British 9 Jun 1936 THOMAS, John I. British 24 Apr 1943
BAKER, Frank British 18 May 1934 VALIQUET, Charles N. Canadian 9 May 1942
MITCHELL, Kenneth British 18 Jul 1939 VAN GOENS, Ryklof Dutch 17 Aug 1944
ST. GEORGE-TAYLOR, Harold British 9 Oct 1924 VINCENT, Arthur British 18 Oct 1939
SAWYER, Wilfred British 6 Aug 1930 VYKOUKAL, Karel J. Czech 21 May 1942
SERJEANT, George V. British 16 Mar 1939 WAINWRIGHT, Derek W. British 10 Jun 1942
SLOWEY, Henry E. New Zealander 23 Aug 1932 WATTS, Edward G. H. British 12 Apr 1942
VAUGHAN-FOWLER, Denis G. British 7 Aug 1931 WEBSTER, J. Terence British 5 Sep 1940
WHITEFORD, Cyril J. L. Rhodesian 13 Oct 1941
1939-1946
. 1946–Present
ALLAN, Reginald C. Australian 20 Jul 1942
ALLEN, John J. Australian 20 Jun 1942 SHEPHERD, John B. Canadian 22 Jan 1946
ANGUS, Robert A. British 20 Feb 1941 MUNROE, John P. J.[79] British 17 Apr 1956
BACHE, Leslie L. British 13 Oct 1941 TAYLOR, Earl[80] American 11 July 1958
BALASSE, Maurice A. L. Belgian 23 Jan 1945 ROE, Brian British 21 May 1983
BEDNARZ, Jozef Polish 1 Feb 1943 MESSENGER, Michael J. British 21 May 1983
BLITZ, Morris British 13 Oct 1940 ARMSTRONG, Paul T. British 21 May 1983
BODKIN, W. Fred Canadian 28 Aug 1941 SWASH, Derrick British 21 May 1983
BOYD, Robert J. British 6 Sep 1943 WINSHIP, Stuart British 21 May 1983
BOYLE, John G. Canadian 28 Sep 1940 MANNHEIM, Andrew S.[81] British 17 Jun 1987
BRIGGS, Michael F. British 2 Apr 1941 NOBLE, Greg[82] British 23 Jan 1996
CHALDER, Harry H. British 10 Nov 1940 - - -

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b The Dunkirk Battle Honour was not awarded until 2012. The reason the Honour was not originally awarded is unknown and was likely just an oversight. Recognising the error and a legitimate claim to the Honour, the Squadron made a formal application in 2010 and Buckingham Palace approved the Honour in February 2012, almost 72 years after the event. 41 Squadron was involved in the evacuation of Dunkirk between 28 May and 8 June 1940. In addition to claiming several victories against the Luftwaffe, the unit lost one pilot killed in action and a second shot down and captured.
  2. ^ a b c d e "41(R) Squadron". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  3. ^ Rawlings 1978, p. 106.
  4. ^ "William John Gillespie". The Aerodrome. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  5. ^ The Times, 29 July 1929
  6. ^ "The Loss of H.M. Airship R101". Flight XXII (1137): 1107–1114. 10 October 1930. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  7. ^ The Times, 27 June, 1 July, 2 July, & 3 July 1935
  8. ^ The Times, 14 August & 2 November 1936
  9. ^ The Times, 14 August & 16 September 1936
  10. ^ Brew, p. 671.
  11. ^ Brew, p. 707 & 815.
  12. ^ The Times, 13 May & 5 July 1957
  13. ^ "Delivering Security in a Changing World: Future Capabilities" (PDF). p. 9. 
  14. ^ "Delivering Security in a Changing World: Future Capabilities" (PDF). p. 12. 
  15. ^ "No. 41 Squadron Battle of Britain Event". Royal Air Force. 8 September 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  16. ^ "Securing Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The Strategic Defence and Security Review" (PDF). TSO. October 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  17. ^ "Olympic and Battle of Britain Hero Commemorated". Royal Air Force. 3 August 2012. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  18. ^ "Typhoons in new colours". Royal Air Force. 22 April 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  19. ^ Originally formed from a nucleus of men from 28 Squadron RFC but disbanded again on 22 May 1916 by re-numbering to 27 Reserve Squadron RFC.
  20. ^ During the Squadron’s stay at RAF Westhampnett between 21 June and 4 October 1943, several operations were flown from other Stations. These included a Rhubarb from Manston on 28 August, a fighter sweep from Manston on 30 August, convoy patrols from Lympne on 2 September, a Ramrod from Bradwell Bay on 5 September, Ramrods from Lympne and Hawkinge on 8 September, a Ramrod from Manston on 15 September, Ramrods from Manston and West Malling on 19 September, and two Ramrods from Manston on 3 October.
  21. ^ Re-formed as 41 Squadron RFC from a nucleus of men from 27 Reserve Squadron RFC.
  22. ^ During the Squadron’s stay at RAF Tangmere between 4 October 1943 and 11 March 1944, several operations were flown from other Stations. These included a Ramrod from Hawkinge and back to Manston on 9 October, two Ramrods from Manston on 10 November 1943, a Ramrod from Hawkinge on 26 November, a Ramrod from Manston on 4 December 1943, a Ramrod from Bradwell Bay on 13 December 1943, a Ramrod from Friston on 21 February 1944, and a Ramrod from Hawkinge on 25 February 1944.
  23. ^ For an air firing course at 17 Armament Practice Camp.
  24. ^ For an air-to-air firing and air-to-ground bombing course at 11 Armament Practice Camp
  25. ^ The Squadron’s operations from RAF Tangmere on 26 June 1944 only consisted of three anti-Diver patrols (six sorties), before moving on to Westhampnett.
  26. ^ B.56 Evere can barely be considered a base. When the Squadron flew to the Continent on 4 December 1944, they only landed at Evere as they were concerned about the condition of the strip at B.64 Diest. The pilots then travelled to Diest by road, where they stayed overnight, and returned to Evere the following morning to pick up their aircraft and fly them back to Diest, where they remained more or less until the end of the year.
  27. ^ There is some confusion about whether 41 Squadron was based at Asch or Ophoven during this period. This probably stems from an entry in the Squadron ORB on 31 December 1944, which states, “Y.32. Asch”, however Y.32 was actually the number for Ophoven. In fact, subsequent ORB entries began to distance themselves from Asch, stating “Y.32 Near Asch”, though all entries still state Y.32. Asch’s number was Y.29 and was an American aerodrome from which fighters of the U.S. 352nd and 366th Fighter Groups operated. Royal Air Force units – namely 41, 130, 350 and 610 Squadrons – were based at nearby Y.32 Ophoven, a fact confirmed by many sources, thereunder the 125 Wing ORB.
  28. ^ For an air-to-air and ground firing course at 17 Armament Practice Camp.
  29. ^ For a dive-bombing course at 17 Armament Practice Camp.
  30. ^ One Flight and a contingent of ground crew were based at Thornaby, Yorkshire, from 23 February until 3 March 1940. During this time, A Flight operated from Thornaby and B Flight from Catterick. On a few occasions outside this timeframe, pilots also operated from Thornaby as a result of weather conditions at Catterick. West Hartlepool (Greatham) was also used as a forward base from 2 April to 28 May 1940.
  31. ^ Hartlepool continued to be in use by the Squadron as a forward base from 8 June to 19 July 1940, but used Thornaby again from 20 to 26 July 1940.
  32. ^ Manston was used as a forward base for several patrols on 27–31 July 1940 and 2–3 August 1940.
  33. ^ The Squadron often operated from RAF Rochford, a forward base and satellite of RAF Hornchurch, between 6 September and 7 October 1940.
  34. ^ During this period, the Squadron operated patrols from Thornaby on 2, 10, and 12 June 1941, on 6 and 16 July 1941, and undertook an offensive sweep from Redhill, Surrey, as an element of an 11 Group Circus, on 27 June 1941.
  35. ^ The Squadron moved to Westhampnett temporarily whilst the runways were repaired and modified. During the Squadron’s period at Westhampnett, the Squadron is believed to have undertaken two operations from Manston during January 1942, and operated from Manston during the German Navy’s ‘Channel Dash’ on 12 February 1942.
  36. ^ The Squadron was initially sent to Martlesham Heath for an Air Firing Course, but the order was amended whilst they were there, to an operational posting, and Air Firing ceased on 20 June.
  37. ^ The Squadron was posted to RAF Longtown for Exercise 'Dryshod'. The Squadron should have flown up to Longtown on 2 August 1942, but the move was hampered by poor weather and they did not arrive until 4 August. The pilots flew to their new base, RAF Llanbedr, on 9 August and the ground crews departed from Longtown by ground transport on 10 August, and arrived in Llanbedr on 11 August.
  38. ^ For Operation Jubilee, the Allied attack on Dieppe, which took place on 19 August 1942.
  39. ^ For Exercise 'Punch', which ran 23–29 September 1942.
  40. ^ Operational deployment in Operation 'Desert Storm' (Operation 'Granby'), First Gulf War.
  41. ^ For Exercise 'Aflame', which ran 8–10 October 1942.
  42. ^ Operational deployment in Operation 'Desert Storm' (Operation 'Granby'), First Gulf War. Muharraq is the site of Bahrain International Airport.
  43. ^ Several sections were attached to RAF Westhampnett from 13 December 1942 to 13 January 1943 during this period for operational training.
  44. ^ Operational deployment for Operation 'Warden', policing no-fly zone in Northern Iraq.
  45. ^ Operational deployment for Operation 'Deny Flight' on air policing duties over Bosnia.
  46. ^ Operational deployment for Operation 'Telic' in the Second Gulf War
  47. ^ Barrass, M. B. "Air Commodore James Wallace". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  48. ^ Barrass, M. B. "Air Vice-Marshal Raymond Collishaw". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  49. ^ Barrass, M. B. "Air Commodore Maxwell Scannell". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  50. ^ "Castagnola, James (Cass)". Special Forces Roll of Honour. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  51. ^ Barrass, M. B. "Air Vice-Marshal Robert Stanley Aitken". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  52. ^ "Group Captain David Hutchinson Smith". The Daily Telegraph (London, UK: TMG). 21 July 2007. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  53. ^ Barrass, M. B. "Air Commodore Patrick Huskinson". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  54. ^ "Deaths Announcements: Pinnington". The Daily Telegraph. 6 January 2006. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  55. ^ Barrass, M. B. "Air Vice Marshal Stanley Flamank Vincent". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  56. ^ Barrass, M. B. "Air Vice Marshal John Auguste Boret". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  57. ^ Haslam, Frank (2013). "A Celebration of the Life of Wg Cdr HE 'Bill' Angell DFC RAF (Retd)". 207 Squadron RAF History. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  58. ^ "Deaths Announcements: Lemon". The Daily Telegraph. 2 November 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  59. ^ "What Happened to Squadron Leader Robin Hood?". BBC – WW2 People's War. 15 November 2003. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  60. ^ "F/Lt. L. M. Gaunce". Battle of Britain London Monument. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  61. ^ "Sergeant J. B. Shepherd". Battle of Britain London Monument. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  62. ^ "Wing Commander William Hoy". The Daily Telegraph (London, UK: TMG). 27 December 2012. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  63. ^ Sources: 41 Squadron ORB and London Gazette
  64. ^ 9991 Cpl Mech Lister Briffault of Dunedin, New Zealand, enlisted in the RFC on 16 October 1915. Unfortunately, no citation exists for his MM, and there is therefore no indication of why it was awarded.
  65. ^ 53074 AM2 James Wood enlisted in the RFC on 3 January 1917. Unfortunately, no citation exists for his MM, and there is therefore no indication of why it was awarded.
  66. ^ 2045 Chf Mech John W. Knowles of Roehampton, Surrey, enlisted in the RFC on 4 November 1914. His personnel file (TNA AIR 79/27) appears to indicate he travelled to France with 41 Squadron’s ground crew on their first deployment to the Western Front in October 1916 and remained with them until he was admitted to hospital with tonsillitis in mid-January 1919. Knowles transferred to the RAF on 1 April 1918 as a Chief Mechanic and was reclassified a Flight Sergeant, Rigger Aero, on 1 January 1919. He transferred to the RAF Reserve, Class E, on 24 April 1919, and was discharged on 3 November 1922, by which time he had completed exactly eight years’ service with the RFC/RAF, of which two years and three-and-a-half months were spent in France. It is unknown what acts or service led to him earning a Mention in Despatches.
  67. ^ 1085 Snr Mech Martin O’Connor of Dudley, Worcestershire, joined the South Staffordshire Regiment on 11 February 1910 and transferred to the RFC on 11 September 1913. He spent time in France and England with 18 Squadron RFC, before being posted to 41 Squadron in Summer 1916. O’Connor travelled to France with 41 Squadron’s ground crew on their first deployment to the Western Front on 13 October 1916, by which time he was a Flight Sergeant and Acting Warrant Officer. Promoted to Temporary Senior Mechanic on 2 May 1917, O’Connor transferred to the RAF as a Senior Mechanic on 1 April 1918 and, on 41 Squadron’s reduction to Cadre and transfer home in February 1919, he was posted to 80 Wing in France. Following brief service with 20 Squadron in late February, O’Connor was repatriated to England on 21 March 1919 and transferred to the Reserve, Class E, a month later. It is unknown what acts or service led to him earning a Mention in Despatches.
  68. ^ Sources: 41 Squadron ORB 1916-1919 (TNA AIR 1/1791/204/153/1-4 & 1/1792/204/153/5-6, 8 & 10) and 'Reports by Repatriated or Escaped R.A.F. Officer Prisoner of War' (TNA AIR 1/1206/204/5/2619 & AIR 1/1207/204/5/2619).
  69. ^ Sources: 41 Squadron ORB (TNA AIR 27/424-426) and 'War Office: Directorate of Military Intelligence: Liberated Prisoner of War Interrogation Questionnaires' 1945-1946 (TNA WO 344).
  70. ^ Died of wounds in captivity 8 July 1942.
  71. ^ Shot down whilst attached to 91 Squadron for operational training.
  72. ^ Shot down 24 September 1943, but hidden by Resistance until his capture on this date.
  73. ^ Shot down 27 August 1943, but hidden by Resistance until his capture on this date.
  74. ^ One of only three successful escapees of the 75 men involved in the mass breakout from Stalag Luft III on 24 March 1944, now known as "The Great Escape".
  75. ^ Sources: 41 Squadron Operations Record Book (TNA AIR 27/425-426) and 'Escape/Evasion Reports: Code MI9/SPG' (TNA WO 208)
  76. ^ Sources: 41 Squadron Operations Record Book (TNA AIR 27/424-426) and 'McIndoe's Army; The injured airmen who faced the world', Peter Williams & Ted Harison, Pelham Books, 1979, ISBN 0 7207 1191 6.
  77. ^ Sources: Commonwealth War Graves Commission, 41 Squadron Operations Records Books 1916-1946 (TNA AIR 1/1791/204/153/1-4, TNA AIR 1/1792/204/153/5-6, 8 & 10, & TNA AIR 27/424-426), 'Air Ministry and Successors: Civil Aviation Accident Reports (C, W, and S Reports) and Technical Memoranda' (TNA AVIA 5), and Air Accident Report Cards, Air Ministry Form 1180 (RAF Museum).
  78. ^ On 5 June 1924, Flt Lt Robert Howell Craster Usher MC AFC was killed in a 41 Squadron hack, DH42 'Dingo', J7006. Although a 41 Squadron aircraft, Usher is not believed to have been a member of 41 Squadron and is thought to have been with the Superintendent of Reserves at the time, which was also located at RAF Northolt with 41 Squadron. Usher has his own page on Wikipedia with further information relating to this incident.
  79. ^ Fg Off John Philip James Munroe was killed in a flying accident in Hawker Hunter, WN965, when he was seen to dive out of cloud at 2,000ft at high speed. He hit the ground Barn End Lane, Wilmington, near Dartford, Kent. See https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=58322 for further information.
  80. ^ USAF pilot Capt Earl Taylor was a World War II and Korean War veteran, who was on an exchange tour with the RAF. He was serving with 41 Squadron when he was killed in a flying accident in a Javelin during an exercise at RAF Wattisham on 11 July 1958.
  81. ^ Flt Lt Andrew Mannheim was flying Jaguar GR1, XZ116/D when he collided with 20 Squadron's Tornado GR.1, ZA493, south of Keswick, Cumbria, on 17 June 1987. See http://www.targetlock.org.uk/jaguar/service_uk.html for further information.
  82. ^ Flt Lt Greg Noble crashed on take-off from RAF Coltishall in Jaguar GR.1B, XX733/ER, on 23 January 1996. See http://www.targetlock.org.uk/jaguar/service_uk.html for further information.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Brew, Steve, Blood, Sweat and Valour. London: Fonthill Media, 2012. ISBN 978-1-78155-193-6.
  • Brew, Steve, Blood, Sweat and Courage. London: Fonthill Media, 2014. ISBN 978-1-78155-296-4.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth 1918–1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Jefford, Wing Commander C.G., MBE,BA,RAF (Retd). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Rawlings, John. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd., 1969 (second edition 1976). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.

External links[edit]