David N. Galpin Gp Capt (Ret'd) - 10 Sqn VC10 navigator Jan 1967 - Oct 1969
David was born in Portsmouth in April 1929 and sadly passed away on 26 August 2017 at his home in Chippenham, Wilts. Our condolences go to his wife Brenda and their three children Nickie, Chris and Roger.
A Memorial/ Thanksgiving Service was held at St Michael's Church, Lyneham on 14 September.
David was a navigator who served as a Flight Commander on 10 Sqn when it was newly formed equipped with the VC10 aircraft. - (see dates below) He was particularly proud to have served on the Squadron, and loved flying on such a lovely aircraft. He was further delighted to have been at Brize Norton in September 2013 to witness the last VC10 flight.
David was a member of 10 Sqn Association and we are honoured and grateful to his family that they have specifically asked for us to be informed of this sad news.
David Galpin & daughter Nickie Evans, in September 2013
(Thanks to go to David's son-in-law, Sqn Ldr Tony Evans (Retd) for providing David's personal details below)
David Galpin: Personal Life & Career Details:
Attended the Royal Grammar School Guildford and joined the Royal Air Force in 1947 direct entry from school.
Professional Qualifications: Graduate RAF Staff College, Air Warfare College and Specialist Navigator Course. Member of Royal Institute of Navigation. Bachelor of Arts OU
Initial Training as a Navigator carried out at Thornhill, Rhodesia from 12 Apr 1948- 6 Sep 1949 & commissioned on return in Dec 1949.
Posted to 235 Sunderland OCU Calshot 27 Mar 1950 - Sep 1950 & later that yearp osted to 209 Sqn Sunderlands in Seletar, Singapore 4 Oct 1950
Flew operational sorties from Iwakuni Japan flying over the Yellow Sea in support on UN forces during the Korean War. Awarded a Mention in Dispatches to his Korean War medal.
Became Senior Navigator on 209 Squadron. He was also involved in flying around the Indian Ocean carrying British government officials looking for a suitable place to build an airfield, eventually choosing Gan.
Returned to UK and posted as Navigator Instructor RAF Shawbury 4 Nov 1953 and attended Specialist Navigator Course RAF Manby 22 Aug 1955
Posted in Jul 1956, on Ground Tour, to A and AEE Boscombe Down writing Navigator Training Manuals. However, managed to fly, and record in his logbook, on a number of aircraft including: Meteor, Javelin, Comet, Ashton, Beverly, Victor, Vulcan and Valiant. David was also was the navigator on the delivery flight of the last Beaufighter RD 761 from Boscombe Down to Seletar in Mar 1959.
Posted to 242 Hastings OCU RAF Dishforth 18 Aug 1959 -22 Dec 1959 & joined 36 Sqn Hastings RAF Colerne 10 Jan 1960 - 8 Jan 1961
Posted RAF Staff College Bracknell 9 Jan 1961-22 Feb 1962
Exchange posting to USAF, Alaskan Air Command Elmandorf AFB Alaska 10 Mar 62 -28 Mar 1964. Staff appointment dealing with policy on navigational training, radio aids and liaison with the FAA. He did manage to fly and did a number of flights around Alaska and to bases along the Aleutian chain to Shemya (the nearest point to Russia) on C54 and C47 aircraft. On one notable flight they carried out a Search and Rescue mission for a group of missing Eskimos missing on an ice floe, successfully locating them.
His tour also proved to be very interesting in other aspects. He and his family were there during the Cuban Missile Crisis and being so close to Russia became familiar with Nuclear Fallout Drills during a very tense period. JF Kennedy was shot during their time there.
At the end of his tour on the day before they were due to come home the Alaskan Earthquake of 1964 struck. The hotel they were staying in was badly shaken and for a time their son became separated from them before being led to safety by another hotel guest.
On return posted on Staff tour to RAF Transport Command, Upavon overseeing map and chart requirements and flight manuals. 22 Jun 1964 - 15 Jan 1967
Flight Commander tour on the newly formed 10 Sqn on VC10s RAF Brize Norton 16 Jan 1967-14 Oct 1969
Staff tour MOD 15 Oct 1969- 28 Dec 1970
Posted 242 OCU Hercules RAF Thorney Island 21 Sep 1970 - 28 Dec1970
Officer Commanding No 30 Squadron RAF Fairford/RAF Lyneham 1 Jan 1971-28 Mar 1973. during the Indo-Pakistan conflict he was sent to Masirah as Detachment Commander overseeing the safe evacuation of British Civilians from Karachi, Islamabad and Dacca.
Attended Air Warfare Course Manby 25 Jun1973 - 8 Dec1973
MOD tour 17 Dec 1973 - 25 Oct 1976
Station Commander RAF Fylingdales 27 May 1977-3 Aug 1979. He particularly enjoyed his time at Fylingdales. The married quarters were in Whitby and his family loved the local area. He was especially proud that, during the Cold War and considering the importance of the role, the BMEWS site never let the country down. There was always a ‘golf’ ball operational.
Final tours at MOD on the Intelligence staff before retirement in 1983.
as Officer Commanding RAF Fylingdales 1977 - 1979
Gp Capt David N. Galpin
On retirement David and his family settled in Whitby, having previously bought an old married quarter. He and his wife became very much involved in the local community: he became a civilian instructor with the local ATC Sqn, voluntary work for SSAFA and RAFA, volunteered at the Captain Cook Museum before becoming the Curator. And as keen golfers he and his wife were very much involved with Whitby Golf Club holding various offices within the club.
Mick sadly died on 22 May after a long illness bravely fought.
The funeral was held on 15 June at St Mildred's Church, Preston, Nr Canterbury.
Mick joined the RAF as a Flight Cadet at the RAF College Cranwell (93 Entry) and trained as a pilot. He finished his service in the RAF following the 1st Gulf War after a short ground tour at Marham. He joined 216 Sqn Tristars at Brize Norton as one of its first crews in the 1980s following his tours on 10 Sqn as a flight commander and VIP captain flying the VC10. Mike was much liked and admired by all who flew with him.
Section of a cartoon depicting the 'Execs' of 10 Sqn in the early 1980s
when Sqn Ldr Dobson was a flight commander
After leaving the RAF he worked for the CAA based at Gatwick after a move from Lechlade, Glos to Kent and took early retirement from Flight Crew Licencing in 2010.
Although he was not an Association member we of course send our condolences to his wife Jane as those who knew them both have fond memories of their time on the Squadron where Mick was held in such high regard.
William L. (Tommy) Thompson (1927 – 2017) 10 Sqn Victor Co-pilot at Cottesmore Nov 1960 – Apr 1963
Born in Gateshead in March 1927 and after a life was devoted to flying with a passion that continued even after retirement, Tommy Thompson sadly passed away away on 28 May 2017 in York. So as not to confuse his name with others so blessed, we are grateful to his son Chris for the following details of his father’s career which started in the RAF in 1944 during WW2.
Prior to joining 10 Squadron at Cottesmore in November 1960 as a Victor B1 co-pilot Tommy’s previous flying experience had all been on single-seat fighters and as a QFI. A 'punishment' ground tour coincided with the 1957 Defence White Paper (no more manned fighters), so he orchestrated a return to flying by joining the V-Force.
His eventful tour on 10 Sqn as Keith Bichard's co-pilot included the Farnborough Air Display 1961, Battle of Britain Day displays in 1962 and a well-known diversion to Wittering on 19 December 1961 when a failure of the Victor's starboard undercarriage to lower resulted in the aircraft coming to rest on the grass with minimal damage.
Wittering December 1961
However, Tommy's most often recalled recollections of his 10 Sqn tour were the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 when the Squadron was on full alert readiness with its nuclear deterrents and the Victor sliding on the ice at Cottesmore while taxying during an exercise with the weapon onboard.
Tommy Thompson (centre) & Victor B1 crew
After his Victor captain’s course he was posted to 57 Sqn at Honington where he resumed QFI duties, displaying the Victor at all the 1964 Battle of Britain Displays and captaining the last crew ever to drop Britain's biggest ever bomb load comprising 35 x 1,000lb bombs, being the only crew ever to successfully drop such a load in a 'stick'. Once the Victor converted to the tanker role, Tommy served as an instructor on it until 1974, when he moved to the Canberra. A tour flying Meteors as the close formation 'shepherd' to unmanned aircraft from RAE Llanbedr preceded his final tour as a simulator instructor on the Hawk at RAF Valley. Tommy retired to North Yorkshire in 1987 after 43 years' RAF service.
Tommy's RAF Career:
Non-Flying Duties (Engine Fitter): 1944-47 48th Entry, No 1 SoTT, RAF Halton
1947-48 No 4 SoTT, RAF St Athan, 1948 RAF Topcliffe (Modification Bay - Wellington, Anson)
Flying Duties (Pilot):
1949 6 FTS, RAF Ternhill (Prentice, Harvard)
1950 203 AFS, RAF Driffield, 226 OCU RAF Stradishall (Meteor T7, Vampire F1)
1950-53 67 Sqn, RAF Gutersloh, Wildenrath (Vampire FB5)
1953-55 19 Sqn, RAF Church Fenton (Meteor F8)
1955 CFS 'B', RAF South Cerney (Provost)
1955 CFS 'A', RAF Little Rissington (Vampire T11)
1955-57 4 FTS, RAF Middleton St George, RAF Worksop (Vampire T11 plus 19 Sqn for Hunter F6)
1957-60 HQ FTC (Meteor, Vampire, Balliol, Provost, Anson)
1960-63 10 Sqn, RAF Cottesmore (Victor B1)
1963-66 57 Sqn, RAF Honington (Victor B1A)
1966-67 214 Sqn, RAF Marham (Victor B(K)1a)
1967-70 Tanker Trg Flt, RAF Marham (Victor)
1970-74 232 OCU (Simulator) (Victor)
1975 85 Sqn, RAF West Raynham (Canberra B2, T4, T19)
1976-78 100 Sqn, RAF Marham (Canberra B2, T4, E15, T19)
1978-82 Royal Aircraft Establishment Llanbedr (Canberra (mod), Meteor T7, NF11.5, D16, Devon/Dove)
1983 RAF Leeming
1983-87 4 FTS, RAF Valley (Simulator - Hawk T1)
A little more about him may be read here:
V-Force: Victors in Malaya » Finest Hour Warbirds
Tommy’s son Chris also adds:
My Father maintained his passion for aviation in retirement by designing and building radio controlled model aeroplanes. Since my Mother's death in 2010, he flew regularly with me, including accompanying me to the Berlin Airshows in 2012 and 2014 in my CAP10 aerobatic machine, where he supervised my displays from the commentator’s stand. He last features in my logbook in August 2016 in a Tiger Moth, aged 89: (see pic below)
A full life well led; Tommy was still out-sharping son Chris in the air until late last year.
At the interment of ashes and memorial service, held at St Gregory's Minster,
Kirkdale near Kirkbymoorside, North Yorks on 11 August 2017
a 100 Sqn Hawk aircraft overflew the setting whilst on a routine training sortie.
The Hawk was the last aircraft Tommy had flown whilst also on 100 Sqn.
RIP Tommy Thompson
John Potter Post WW2 RAF Fitter & Honorary 10 Sqn Assoc Member
We announce the recent death in January 2017 of Mr John Potter of Bersted, near Bognor Regis, West Sussex.
John was made an Honorary Association member for his involvement with those former Association members who had advised the Yorkshire Air Museum in their project to restore their Halifax exhibit. He was also the donor of the two Handley Page Hastings wings that had been stored in a disused railway tunnel at Singleton, nr Chichester, and which were utilised during the rebuild of the YAMs Halifax at Elvington.
John's funeral was held at North Bersted church on 9 February 2017.
Click 'Read More' on the right-side blue icon for more details about the Yorkshire Air Museum Halifax restoration and John Potter's involvement.
The Reverend Ian Cook, the Association Chaplain, gives the following guidance to members regarding the legal position on the draping of coffins with flags and the scattering of Cremated Remains.
1. Relatives often enquire if the coffins, of their deceased relatives who served in the RAF, may be draped in a flag:-
Queen's Regulations preclude the draping of a coffin with the RAF Ensign, which may only be flown from a pole or mast. However draping a coffin with the Union Flag (Union Jack) is allowed, if the deceased has served his country in any of the Armed Services. The securing of the flag over the coffin should be within the scope of undertakers. Flags may be purchased relatively cheaply (about £5 -£8) depending on dimensions, and are available from that well-known on-line internet sales company.
2. It is imperative that the owners of private land must be consulted before any remains are left on the ground. The owner has the right to designate the place of deposit of any remains. Remains should be scattered in an appropriate manner on the ground, again in line with the wishes of the land owner. The owner has the right to remove any remains left in an unauthorised position and either place them in a different position or gather them up and await collection by whoever is responsible. The scattering may then be conducted in line with the land owner's rules.
At the former RAF Melbourne, now Melrose Farm, owner Mr John Rowbottom is willing to grant permission for the scattering of the Cremated Remains of former WW2 members of 10 Squadron.
The designated areas for the scattering are either behind the 10 Squadron War Memorial or, alternatively, on the main runway of the former RAF Melbourne. Mr Rowbottom does not allow the scattering to take place on any other parts of his farm. Permission is of course also required for any member of the public to enter the Farm land and to walk or drive on any part of it, especially to the old runway.
The Reverend Cook is available to answer any queries that Association members may have on this policy.
We apologise if the personal details regarding a deceased member are not fully included but we can only publish what information we have.
The list below includes those who were not Association Members.
"We Will Remember Them"
Reginald Ivor Manning DFC Halifax Flt Engineer - Melbourne …….
…….was an Association member who passed away on Saturday 14 January 2017.
Reg joined the RAF at Halton in 1936 and retired with squadron leader rank in 1956, having completed three separate 10 Squadron postings at various times. In more recent years a silver cigarette box, presented to Reg when leaving the Squadron for the last time in 1956, was re-donated back to the Squadron by him and is now part of the Squadron silver collection.
Reg's cremation was held on 26 January 2017 at Stonefall Cemetery & Crematorium, Harrogate. RIP
Ken Stewart Fg Off - Halifax & Dakota navigator 1945 -1947 (Melbourne, Poona & Burma)
We regret to announce that Ken passed away on Saturday 7 January 2017.
Ken's son Alan has kindly provided us with the text of a eulogy read later at Ken's funeral.
Ken joined the RAF in August 1942 and, after a spell of training in Newquay, Cornwall, sailed to South Africa to receive initial pilot training on Tiger Moths and Airspeed Oxfords, going solo after 15 and 8 hours respectively.
In August 1943 he transferred to a Navigational Training School and returned to the UK in June 1944, where, in August, he teamed up with the men who were to become his crew for the remainder of the War and his subsequent life-long friends. Initially flying Wellingtons and then Halifax Mk III's, they went on to receive an award for 'Best all-round Crew' and for Ken, 'Best Navigator' on the Halifax conversion course.
In February 1944 the crew joined No 10 Squadron, Bomber Command at Melbourne, Yorkshire, and ten days later, with Ken as newly-promoted Flight Sergeant, made their first bombing operation over Germany.
They completed a total 16 operations before the end of the war in Europe, subsequently making some flights over Germany with ground crew on board, [known as Cook’s Tours to show those who had serviced the bombers the results of their hard work –Ed] before transferring to Dakotas for post-war operations over India and later Burma. In March 1946 he was promoted to Flying Officer and in July of that year, he made his final flight with the RAF, being released in September.
There can also be no more a fitting tribute to Ken than recent words sent to us by his old Squadron and Association friend Doug Newham who writes the following:
In early 2013 Ken was one of the first 10 Squadron Association members to apply for then newly announced award of a 'Bomber Command Clasp' to be afixed to his wartime 1939 -1945 Star Medal. He was subsequently invited to No 10 Downing Street and received his Clasp from the then Prime Minister David Cameron. Read the following article compiled by Ken himself, about the event.
at the unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial, London in June 2012
Our website Home Page 'Banner' which was displayed after Ken had received his BC Clasp at No 10.
Dorothy Thackray - Wife of Association Founder member Tom and a member of the WAAF during WW2
Dorothy's cremation was held on 20 January 2017 at Guildford Crematorium, Godalming, Surrey.
The Thackrays after Tom was commissioned in 1944
Dorothy, whose maiden name was Burbidge, married Tom at the parish church Cadoxton, Barry, Glamorgan in 1943. They had met at RAF St Athan where Tom had been sent to attend the Flight Engineers' course before joining 10 Sqn and starting his tour of Ops at Melbourne. Dorothy was working in the Pay accounts section at St Athan. After WW2 she became a civil servant with the Min of Ag and Fish in Guildford and had just passed her 97th birthday on 27 December 2016, sadly to pass away on New Year's Day 2017. It was a peaceful passing.
Dorothy, with Tom at an Association Remembrance Day Lunch
at Allerthorpe in 2013
It is not our general policy to announce the deaths of Members' wives in this column but as Dorothy had supported Tom and the Association so much over the years we choose to make an exception in her case. Our condolences and sympathies go to all her family.
Stuart (Stu) Luff Pierce Sqn Ldr RAF Retd, MBE died suddenly on Tuesday 27 December aged 84.
Extract from 'The Telegraph' dated: Tuesday 3 January 2017:
Dearest husband of Jessie, father of Andrew (deceased), Wendy, Carol, Stuart and Chris and grandad to his 7 grandchildren.
Private cremation. A service of Thanksgiving was held at St Mary the Virgin, Bampton, Oxfordshire on the 26 January 2017.
Stu was a much-admired and well-liked VC10 VIP navigator who set a fine example. His kind nature endeared him to all who had the pleasure of flying and working with him. An Association member who always attended our Reunions, Stu will be deeply missed.
Stu Pierce enjoying the sunshine at Ascension Island in 1984
on the Ground Engineers' Steps at the old Zymotic Hospital which had become the VC10 slip-crew accommodation.
George Arthur Mullinex WW2 (1944) 10 Sqn Halifax Wireless Operator
& Association member
“With sadness that I have to inform you, that my father, George Mullinex, passed away on Friday 16 December 2016 at approximately 21:30 hours.
Following the death of my mother in March 2015, he had been unwell, being confined to bed for the last 5 weeks."
A cremation service was held on Monday 16 January at Yardley Crematorium, near Sheldon, Birmingham, with refreshment at Westhall Court afterwards.
This information was passed to us by George’s son David. We offer our sincere condolences to him and indeed all George’s relatives.
A couple of years ago George gave us some recollections of his final operational flight on 10 Squadron service:
“My last flight on the Squadron, completing my full tour of ops, was on 17 July 1944, involving a mass attack on the ‘buzz-bomb’ site at Mont-Candon in southern France. This was my 36th operation and as I have lived to tell the tale, I know I was one of the very lucky ones. I lost so many friends during my time and watching them disappear one by one, was very heartbreaking.
I stayed on 10 Squadron, at Melbourne, until 10 August 1944 and after completing my tour of duty was posted to Stanton Harcourt, near Oxford, flying Vickers Wellingtons as a wireless operator instructor. This was until 7 February 1945, when I was promoted to Warrant Officer and posted to Castle Bromwich in Birmingham, just two miles from where I was living. I served there for 16 months until my discharge on 25 June 1946.”
John Newbold VC10 Flight Engineer who joined 10 Sqn in 1969.
Sadly we announce that former 10 Squadron Master Engineer John Newbold died on 25 November 2016 after a series of heart attacks in a short time and a stroke. He would have been 82 this month.
John's funeral was held on Friday 9 December at the South Oxfordshire Crematorium & Memorial Park, Garford, Abingdon, after which a post-Funeral Reception was held at: The Rose Revived, Newbridge, Witney, Oxon. OX29 7QD
Personal letters or cards of condolence should be addressed to:
Mrs Koulla Newbold, 78a Burford Road. CARTERTON, Oxon. OX18 1AF
Family flowers only – Details of donations, in lieu of flowers, will be advised shortly. Our sympathies go to all his family and friends.
Alan Bruce (DFC) WW2 - Fg Off & Halifax Mk3 Captain
Joined 10 Sqn in March 1944 & Awarded the DFC in Feb 1945
and sadly passed away on 7 November 2016.
Crew of Halifax 'Z' - Zebra, 1944 after 37 Ops
The funeral was held on Friday 25 November at Chanterlands Avenue Crematorium , Hull.
Further details of Alan's service and life will be added when advised by his daughter Margaret.
Mike McKee Master Air Loadmaster on the VC10
Mike passed away on 10 October and his funeral service will take place at 14:00 hrs at St Bartholomew's, Royal Wootton Bassett on 25 October with refreshments afterwards at the Wiltshire Golf Club. All are welcome.
No other details available at the moment. (15 Oct)
George Rupert Edward GARRETT WW2 Sergeant, & Wireless Operator June - October 1944
died on 1 September 2016 aged 92.
Known as Rupert, Garrett joined 10 Sqn in June 1944 on Plt Off Hagstrom’s crew. After 3 months this crew were then posted to RAF Driffield onto 466 Squadron an RAAF squadron. – Hagstrom being Australian..
After the war Rupert became an electronics craftsman at the Royal Aircraft/Aerospace Establishment (RAE) and was awarded the ISM (Imperial Service Medal) in 1989, presumably on retirement. He lived in Church Crookham, Hampshire and was a member of the Fleet Branch of RAFA. He was also a member of the North Hants Golf Club, in Fleet, for more than 50 years. In recent years he attended the Club every day for his lunch.
George had no close family and the Vicar for his funeral, not knowing about the Golf Club connection and thinking that the church would be almost empty, put out a call to the local Royal British Legion (RBL) and RAFA organisations. In the event, because of the Golf Club, there were more than 40 people in the church, including a contingent from RAFA & RBL and the RAFA Branch Standard.
Re: 466 Squadron - Wikipedia States:
466 Sqn converted to the Handley Page Halifax heavy bomber in late 1943. In June 1944, the Squadron returned to Driffield. From May 1944, operations were focussed on German infrastructure targets in France,such as coastal artillery batteries and railway marshalling yards, in preparation for the invasion of Europe.
A Fg Off Joe Herman (RAAF), captain of a 466 Sqn Halifax Mk.III, narrowly escaped death in a remarkable incident on 4 November 1944. During a night mission over Germany, his aircraft LV 936 was badly damaged by flak. After ordering the crew to bail out, Herman was blown out of the plane, without a parachute. After falling possibly more than 3,000 metres, Herman fell onto the Halifax's mid-upper gunner, Fg Off John Vivash (RAAF), and grabbed one of his legs. Both men then descended on one parachute, suffered minor injuries when landing and survived the war as PoWs. From a total crew of seven, only one other airman, Sgt H. W. Knott (RAF), survived. According to one source, at least three crew members were murdered after being captured.
Harry Gough WW2 Sgt & Halifax Tail Gunner
who joined 10 Sqn with Plt Off Harrison’s crew on 26 June 1944, died on 31 August 2016.
Regrettably we have no other information at the time of writing but hope to publish further details here when known.
Harold V. Canning WW2 10 Squadron Halifax Sgt tail gunner died recently.
The funeral was held at the Fenlands Crematorium on 26 August 2016.
Harry lived in Old Hurst, Huntingdonshire.
He was a member of the exclusive Goldfish Club: (see link)
Returning from a WW2 raid on Cologne their aircraft lost 2 engines and had to be ditched in the North Sea. The dingy didn't automatically deploy and, according to a contemporary newspaper report, Harry went back into the fuselage to manually release the dingy. After over 4 hours in the dingy the crew were rescued by a destroyer.
Further details will be posted here when known.
Maurice Biggs Sqn Ldr & VC10 Captain/Sim Instructor 1967 - 80s
Joined the RAF in May 1944 and flew many types during a long career, including Hurricanes, Meteors, Vampires, Vulcans and VC10s and after retirement became
Chairman of SOFFAM - Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton
We regret to announce that Maurice sadly passed away over the weekend of 30/31 July 2016 in Yeovil District Hospital, after admission there some ten days earlier. Maurice would have been 92 yrs old in a few weeks time.
After a private funeral, a memorial service was held at Somerton on 22 August with a reception afterwards at the family home, in Barton St David.
Our sincere condolences to his daughters Marilyn and Valerie and their families.
Harold Gilbert James Warrant Officer Air Bomber April - August 1944 & PoW
Died aged 93 on 2 July 2016 in the Hereford area.
As a Bomb Aimer, Harold James flew 7 missions in 10 Sqn Halifax Mk IIIs during the liberation of France. In total, he completed a total of 38 operations over German occupied territory. Prior to and in the weeks following the D-Day Landings, he flew on the following missions:
1 June 1944 - Rouen
6 June 1944 - Mont Fleury and St Lô
9 June 1944 - Mining Lorient and St Nazaire
12/13 June 1944 - Longueau Amiens and Mining Brest
15/16 June 1944 - Fouillard (Fuel Dump)
22/23 June 1944 - Laon (Railway Sidings)
27 June 1944 - Mining Brest
In August 1944, his Halifax was shot down and, although he evaded capture for 17 days, he eventually became a Prisoner of War, not returning home until May 1945.
Harold lived with his wife Rosemorie in the White Cross area of Hereford.
He leaves family members who include:
Peter and Amanda James (Son and Daughter-Law), plus grandson, Richard.
David and Shelia James (Son and Daughter-Law)
RIP & Always Remembered
For further details see this link: Harold James
Bryce Devos VC10 Air Steward in late 1970s
died recently and his funeral was held at Wigan Crematorium on 4 June 2016.
Regrettably no other details are known.
Clive William Moate Master Air Loadmaster MSM - VC10
passed away aged 81 in April 2016, after a long and brave battle against cancer.
Clive spent the final years of his RAF service as a MALM on 10 Squadron.
His funeral was held on Friday 13 May 2016 at the Bury St. Edmunds Crematorium,. Awake was held afterwards at The Barn, Elm Vale Farm, Denmark Hill, Palegrave, Diss
Although Clive was not an Association member we offer our condolences to his family.
It is hoped that further details of Clive's life will follow shortly
Edward (Ted) Charles Mills Warrant Officer Halifax & Dakota Navigator
died suddenly on Sunday 10 April aged 93. Ted was a warrant officer and navigator, flying primarily in Halifaxes during the battle for Europe, and on the Squadron's redeployment to India where he flew in Dakotas. He was not an Association member.
His funeral was on 29 April at the Surrey and Sussex Crematorium, Crawley, Sussex.
Alfie Musgrove VC10 Project Officer Pilot captain and later 241 OCU pilot instructor, 1960s - 70s.
Sqn Ldr Alfie Musgrove
Somewhat belatedley we regret to learn of the death in January 2016 of Alfie Musgrove, in the USA.
Sqn Ldr Alfred Claude Musgrove was one of the two project team pilots (the other being Brian Taylor) who brought the VC 10 into RAF service. He subsequently set up the VC 10 element of the Air Training Squadron at Brize Norton which was later to become No 241 OCU. Alfie was well liked and respected by all with whom he flew.
It is understood that before his death he had been resident in Canby, Woodburn, Oregon. USA for a number of years.
An obituary for Alfie, written in the USA, can be seen here: US Obituary For Alfie Musgrove
As with so many ex-Squadron members contact with Alfie had been lost in the past few years. - Do keep in touch with past members, if only to send them a Christmas card once a year.
James Vick WW2 Halifax WO later Fg Off - Wireless Op
at Melbourne Feb - Jun 1945 from Australia and Association Member
James passed away recently in Warrnambool, Victoria, Aus. His funeral was be held on Wednesday 24 February 2016.
FS E.S. Beaumont's crew, on which James was the Wireless Operator, abandoned their Halifax on 9 April 1945 by parachute, after a raid on a German airfield at Stade. 10 Sqn Ops Records show that the right inner engine became unserviceable with severe vibration and flames, caused by low oil pressure. As the aircraft became uncontrollable it was decided to abandon it over France, where all except the navigator Sgt R. Thomas, were picked up by Allied Forces of the British 2nd Army.
(We are uncertain as yet, but Sgt Thomas may have survived also, if he is the same person as we believe him to be, passing away in June 2012. - see Obits below for that year)
Our gratitude goes to James' son Neville for informing us of this sad news. James was pre-deceased by the rest of his crew and to quote his own humourous words, he has now "hung up his coat" as well.
Our condolences go to the Vick family. R.I.P.
Meg (Sarah Margaret) Fensome née Hetherington 10 Sqn Air Quartermaster July 1968 – early 1970s
December 1946 - January 2016
Sgt (W) Meg Hetherington (later Fensome) in Changi 1968
Meg, who was born in December 1946 on the family farm 'Crook Dake' in what was then Cumberlandin, now Cumbria, died in Florida, USA, after a long battle with cancer on Sunday 17 January 2016.
She was on the same No 7 VC 10 conversion course, as her future husband to be, Terry Fensome, then an Air Engineer. Meg, together with her lifelong friends Pat Magill née Howard and Jo Heyland née Bend, completed all aspects of their AQM training together and it is the latter who have kindly provided the substance of this text.
Meg was on the second VC 10 course to be drawn from the RAF/WRAF without previous AQM experience on other types of aircraft. She left the WRAF on her marriage to Terry and when he too left the RAF they moved to Hong Kong where Terry trained as a pilot on multi engined aircraft. When Terry helped form a cargo airline they moved from Hong Kong to Singapore and then on to Malta, where Meg was always Terry's admin back up; she also often flew with him to look after the load, crew and any passengers.
They returned to the UK to live in Carterton, near Brize Norton, when Terry subsequently flew with Laker Airways and at that time Meg worked as a civilian in RAF Brize Norton Flight Operations. They later moved to the USA and Meg became Vice President of husband Terry’s Pelican Flight Training School which she administered whilst Terry continued as CEO of various US airlines.
Meg was the heartbeat of Pelican, having set it up almost single handed, whilst Terry was busy running an airline. She made it the great success it went on to become. Adored by all Pelican-trained pilots; they remained close friends with Meg afterwards. She would often receive phone calls from ex-students flying in distant parts of the world. Pelican employees and sub contractors loved her too.
As trainee pilots came from all around the world, Meg would help them get US visas, accommodation and smooth their way when they arrived. If they became home sick or had accommodation problems she would take them into her home, sometimes for months on end until they had settled. If any of them ever had a problem she would help them resolve it. She was a real mother hen and they loved her for it.
Meg was diagnosed with cancer 2010; afterwards undertaking every possible treatment available in an attempt to prolong her life but finally she lost the fight on Sunday 17 January 2016. Our condolences go to Terry for his loss.
As her close friends will confirm Meg was a lovely lady whom all were the better for knowing. She will be greatly missed by all her friends. The extent of Meg's influence has prompted many comments on Facebook. Non-account holders who nevertheless may wish to see them should click on her name below to open a copy of them all.
Facebook entries for Meg Fensome
Rest in Peace Meg
The US Memorial/Celebration of her life took place in Florida at Meg's favourite Pembroke Pines Country/Golf Club on 11 February 2016, after which her ashes were back to the UK, so she may rest alongside her parents in Cumbria.
A UK memorial service was held on Monday 7 March 2016, in a church close to her sister Mary's farm
Aubrey F.G. ( 'Nicky') Nickels
Mk 3 Halifax navigator on Flt Lt Hurrell's crew from Oct 1944 -Feb 1945
(Shot down during a raid to Worms 22 Feb 1945 in RG426 -'X')
and Association member.
passed away on 17 December 2015, aged 94.
The funeral was held at Burham-on-Sea, Somerset on 29 December.
Our thanks to his grand-daughter Gemma for passing on the information and our condolences go to his family.
Tony J. Richards
Wg Cdr A.J. Richards was the Officer Commanding 10 Sqn from March 1975 - February 1977
Tony sadly passed away on 11 December 2015.
The funeral took place at the Witney Methodist Church, High Street, Witney on Wednesday 30 December.
The Squadron at Brize Norton was represented by OC10 Wg Cdr Jamie Osborne and the Association by Chairman Wg Cdr (Ret'd) Mike Westwood, Ian Macmillan, Harry Liddell and Peter Wentworth.
See Crewroom article for a brief resume of his service career.
R I P
Maud Evans Wife of Doug Evans, Halifax captain, and Founder Member of the Association
sadly passed away in Surrey on 11 November 2015.
Our thoughts and hearts go out to Doug at this sad time. Maud's funeral was held at Randalls Park Crematorium Randalls Road, Leatherhead, Surrey on Tuesday 24 November.
.... R I P ....
A.W.A. (Chalky) White WW2 Halifax pilot and later with BEA and Gulf Air.
Chalky White, who lived in Camberley, Surrey, sadly passed away on 28 October 2015.
The funeral was held at Woking Crematorium on Friday 6 November at 15:30 hrs.
Our sympathies go to his wife Constance (Connie).
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Michael Beetham
WW2 Bomber Command Lancaster pilot and later Chief of the Air Staff
died on 24 October 2015
Readers may wish to open the pdf file below which was published in The Daily Telegraph on 27 October 2015
David McDonald VC10 Flight Engineer (Rank & dates of Service not known)
Mac joined the RAF at the age of 16 and served at Ballykelly in Northern Ireland, Seletar and Brize Norton. As an air engineer, he flew on the Beverley before being posted to No 10 Squadron in the early 1970s. He retired from the RAF in 1978 after 25 years of service and joined British Airways as a Boeing 747 flight engineer.
Mac died on 23 September 2015, aged 78 years. The funeral was on 9 October.
See Crewroom: Funeral attendance at Kingsdown, Swindon.
John Ward Master Engineer, VC10s & Britannias
John, whose last known address was in Chippenham, Wilts,
passed away during the summer 2015.
Our condolences go to all his family. - No further details are known at present.
Joe Overy Sqn Ldr, pilot VC10 1970s and later Danair,
died suddenly on 2 July 2015
The funeral was held on Monday, 20 July 2015
at St Peter's Church, Ardingly, West Sussex RH17 6UR
Robert H. Maslen of Toronto, Canada - 10 Sqn Dakota pilot Mauripur, Karachi
Copied from website: http://mountpleasantgroup.permavita.com/site/RobertMaslen.html
Peacefully at St. Michael's Hospital on Saturday 20 June 2015 at the age of 91 with best friend and partner Kathy Carter at his side.
Born 10 May 1924 in London, England he was predeceased by his parents Arthur and Ethel (Stokes) Maslen, his wife Joy Phyllis Maslen and his first son Paul. Proud father of 5, grandfather of 10 and great-grandfather of 14 (too many to list but he loved all of you). He is survived by his brother Peter, predeceased by his brother Arthur.
WWII veteran 10 Squadron RAF pilot in Mauripur, Karachi. After the war he was with RCAF 406 (B25s) Saskatoon and 405 (Argus) Greenwood NS. Signed up in England at 16 as an armourer's assistant , retired after 26 years as a Flight Lieutenant. Later as a civilian he worked for Manpower and Immigration. He derived enjoyment through personal contacts and earlier active support with fellow veterans in organizations such as Allied Air Forces Reunion (as chairman of the last big reunion in 1999), 408-437 Wing Air Force Association of Canada and Branch 66 Royal Canadian Legion.
William 'Bill' McDonagh WW2 10 Sqn Halifax Rear Gunner 1944-45
Bill flew 40 missions over Germany during WW2 as a Sergeant tail gunner with the crew of pilot Fg Off R. Thorne RAAF. He also served in the Far East before being demobbed in either 1946/47. Formerly of Limerick City, Ireland and Hammersmith, London, Bill, in his 90s, sadly passed away on 1 May 2015.
The funeral was held at St Munchin's Church, Limerick on Wednesday 6 May 2015.
Bill served in the Irish Free State army before WW2 and came to England to work on airfield construction. He had half a tattoo on his forearm which he was getting done in Coventry when the Blitz started. When the raid was over the shop had disappeared in the bombing and he never did get the tattoo finished.
He crash landed 3 times, once with 6 bombs on board and had his turret's plexiglass shot out around him but didn't tell the pilot as he didn't want the mission compromised.
It is not known whether he remained on 10 Sqn when they deployed to India but Bill served in the Far East where he became a driver. He may possibly have been in Burma with 10 Squadron in early 1946 as it is understood that he drove Japanese prisoners. [With the Dakota Food Relief flights in Burma in early 1946 they were used as aircraft loaders of rice sacks and other cargo.] One Japanese officer who sat in the cab with Bill spoke perfect English which he had learnt whilst studying at the Tropical Medicine Hospital in Liverpool before the war. It is understood that Bill was a Flight Sergeant on leaving the RAF.
After returning to the UK Bill became a driver with the London Ambulance Service and lived in Hammersmith until his last few years. He returned to Ireland and lived with one of his elderly sisters.
Bill McDonagh ...........RIP
As advised by Danny Watkins (Bill’s great-nephew)
Owen 'Ollie’ TARRAN Sqn Ldr died on March 20, aged 87.
Ann Bihan kindly sent in this extract from The RAF News dated 24 April 2015:
‘Long and varied career in the RAF from 1945-1976, latterly on 10 Squadron at Brize Norton and 51 Squadron at Wyton. Much loved husband to Gillian, loving Dad to Mel, Mark and Richard, grandfather to Ollie, Zac, Jason, Kerry, Scott and Lee, and great-grandfather to Naomi-May, lost his fight against pancreatic cancer quite suddenly. Loved and missed by his family and friends.
The funeral was held on April 14 at St Giles Church, Standlake, Oxfordshire, where Owen had lived with his family for 49 years. Donations can be made to Pancreatic Cancer UK c/o E. Taylor and Sons Funeral Services, 21 Corbett Road, Carterton, OX18 3LG’.
Ollie was the 10 Sqn VC 10 captain on my very first route experience trip in the RAF, whilst I was awaiting my Britannia course. He was a pleasure to be with and was most instructive to me, a humble Plt Off at the time. RIP Ollie. How can I not forget that trip? – Reason: the Association Secretary was the No1 AQM !
Fred 'Nugget' Worker 5 March 1920 – 11 March 2015
Fg Off, RNZAF (NZ 427824) Halifax Captain 1944/45
passed away at home in North Auckland, New Zealand on 11 March 2015 aged 93yrs, after a short illness. Skipper of Ken Stewart and Fred Tiller's crew they all remained in contact over the years.
Ken Stewart now writes:
A successful breeder of pedigree Jersey and Hereford cattle and sheep breeder from North Auckland, New Zealand, Nugget left home for Canada in 1943, to become a pilot. He trained in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on DH Tiger Moths, Avro Ansons and Airspeed Oxfords, before sailing to England in 1944. We met Nugget at No 10 OTU, Abingdon, Berks and formed a crew of 6, thereafter spending 2 months, from August 1944, flying Vickers Wellington Xs. We moved to No 1659 HCU Topcliffe, N Yorks, in January 1945, when we then met our Flight Engineer for the one month, conversion to Halifax IIIs.
Nugget and his crew, arrived at 10 Squadron, Melbourne, on 1 February 1945, from where they carried out 17 bombing operations over Germany, before the end of the War. He also flew 2 "Cook's Tours", in Halifaxes, over Germany in June 1945 and flew Dakotas, briefly, in July 1945, before being posted back to New Zealand for demobilisation.
On his return to New Zealand, he resumed cattle farming and was still running a herd of cattle, well into his 90s.
He will be sadly missed by all of his family and friends and by me, as we had frequent talks on the telephone, right up until shortly before his death.
A great pilot who really was "The Captain" of the aircraft and a good friend of all of his crew who were:-
Fg Off Fred Wilkinson - RNZAF - Bomb Aimer. Deceased 26 Aug 2003.
FS Ian W. Rowlands - RNZAF - Wireless Operator. Deceased 1950s.
FS Fred Tiller - RAF - Mid-Upper Gunner
Sgt Art Cook - RCAF - Flight Engineer - Deceased 29 Sep 2014.
Fg Off Ken Stewart - RAF - Navigator
FS Bob Woollard - RAF - Rear- Gunner. Deceased. 12 Jan 2000.
Ken Stewart,.........10 Sqn from: 1 February 1945 – 20 July 1946
Jim INWARD 1920 - 2015 Halifax Flt Engineer
sadly passed away on 31 January 2015
Click his name below to read former Chairman, David Mole's article and The Telegraph Obituary
Frank William BOXALL 1803279 Warrant Officer - Halifax & Dakota navigator
died on 26 Jan 2015 at home in Romsey, Hants aged 90.
Born in Weybridge Surrey, 14 June 1924 and served on 10 Sqn in 1944 into early 45 before heading to Burma.
Having been brought up around the early days of motor racing and aviation, at Brooklands it can be no surprise that he joined Hawkers in 1940 building Hurricanes. He was there when the factory was bombed during the Battle of Britain in September 1940.
Despite being in a reserved occupation, he joined the RAF in 1941, and after a Navigator training period in Canada he eventually joined 10 Squadron based at RAF Melbourne, and later flew on Dakotas in Burma. During his time there he was regularly boxing, as a heavy weight, and was runner up in all India, combined services boxing championship in 1946.
Returning to the UK he had a variety of different jobs including fighting as a professional boxer as a Cruiser weight, before eventually returning to Brooklands and Vickers. He remained there as the company and industry evolved into British Aircraft Corporation and British Aerospace. During his time there he worked in the production control and production management field and was involved in the production of a variety of civil and military aircraft including, Viscount, Vanguard, VC10, Valiant, TSR2, BAC111, Concorde, BAe 146, Airbus, Jaguar & Tornado.
In September 1950 he married Rita, moved to Walton-on-Thames with children Amanda and David. He retired 1988 and immediately threw himself into a variety of projects. His greatest desire when he had the time was to track down his old crew members. He was deeply disappointed to find out that by the late 1980s, over 40 years after the war, only 5 of the 7 were still alive, despite all surviving the war. The 5 remaining veterans met regularly until health and age caught up. The sense of comradeship remained undiminished over the years. They were each other’s second family.
At the unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial in 2012, which meant much to him, he proudly represented his crew as the last remaining member. It was a very emotional day for all his family. A particularly moving moment was when a teenage girl wanted to shake his hand after she, her mother and grandmother realised he was a veteran. He wasn’t even offended when referred to as 'Living history'.
Frank was the last of his crew.
WO A Alcroft 1532089 - Captain / Pilot, Sgt F Boxall 1803279 - Navigator, Sgt E Houldey 1521097 - Air Bomber, Sgt S Mitchell 1867816 - Wireless Operator, Sgt T Douris 1825735 - Mid-Upper Gunner, Sgt F Smith 3010635 -Flight Engineer, Sgt F Johnson 2235509 - Tail Gunner
He said that he’d had a Good Innings, before he passed away a very proud 90, at home with Rita, who had been beside him for over 64 years, on 26 January 2015, the month of the centenary of the formation of 10 Squadron.
Our condolences to wife Rita, Amanda and David.
Lesley E. (Mac) Cunningham 1922 - 2013 WW2 Fg Off, navigator 1943 - 45
Recent news from his son informs us that Les passed away last year on 29 October 2013. Les completed thirty ops on 10 Sqn during WW2, the last of which ended in a crash landing with two crew fatalities.
Born in Glasgow, where he spent most of his working life after demob, he became a Foundry Manager and later Company Director. Married to Jean for 65 years and with whom he had 3 sons and subsequently 6 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. Our belated condolences go to all his family.
Air Engineer sadly passed away on Saturday 8 November 2014
Master Engineer on the VC10 and later simulator instructor, Bill lived in the Highworth area of Wilts. Starting a long flying career in Bomber Command he was also well-known in the Argosy world.
Our condolences go to his wife Jean
The funeral will be held at Swindon Crematorium on Monday 24 November 2014 at 1100 hrs.
Lionel G. 'Squire' Morecombe
10 Sqn Navigator VC10s, sadly passed away on 19 October 2014.
A funeral service was held on Wednesday 5 November at St Mary’s Church in Fairford, Glos.
Our condolences go to his wife Liz and family.
I was just reading through this Obituaries page of our Website and I came across the death of Squire Morecombe, which was a sad moment for me.
I joined '10' in Jan 1967. At the ATS (pre OCU days) we, on No 3 course, were told that we were to become 'crewed-up'. People scurried about recruiting those they knew to be members of their crew. There were a few of us left over who didn't really know anyone and we sort drifted into a crew: Sqn Ldr Stan Horrocks (Capt), Flt Lt Fred Wall (Co-Pilot), Flt Lt Squire Morecombe (Nav), M Eng Joe Major (Air Eng), F. Sgt(W) Sylvia Ingold and me, Sgt. John Simlett: who were the Air Quarter Masters (yet to be re-branded Air Load Masters); and a very good and happy fit was made, albeit such a random event. We flew together for three years before I was posted back to 216 Sqn. John Simlett 2015
Now, with Squire cutting the 'Earthly Bonds,' I guess that leaves me as the lone survivor. A sad day.
Geoffrey Stuart Taylor Associate member and brother of 1388419 W.O Denis Taylor, Navigator & PoW
We have just heard that Geoffrey sadly passed away on 18 February 2014
More details to follow, as and when known.
Gareth (Wally) Walters 10 Sqn, 241 OCU and 101 Sqn : VC10 Flt Eng
Roy Mcmullan advises us that:
……..Wally joined the RAF as an apprentice engine fitter exact date unknown. I first met Wally at Topcliffe, during flight engineer training in the early 1970s, on 42 or 44 Cse. He passed out of Topcliffe top of his course and went directly to 10 Sqn, being the first trainee flt eng to do so. On 10 Sqn he soon excelled as a flight engineer and became a holder of the coveted 'A' Operational Category. Moving on Wally joined 241 OCU and soon became an excellent instructor, being held in high regard for his knowledge and wit by all who passed through the OCU.
Always up for a new challenge Wally then moved to 101 Sqn and the tanker world.
I left the RAF in 1984 and my next meeting was when Wally joined Cathay Pacific in the early 1990s on Tristars. He soon became a valued member of that fleet through study, hard work and professionalism. When the Tristar was retired he moved to the 747 repeating the work he did on the Tristar. I retired in 2004 leaving Wally still working with Cathay but he retired soon after on medical grounds.
Wally was aged 65 yrs when he died on 26 July 2014 and was buried on 8 August after a service at St Nicholas Church, North Lopham, Diss, Norfolk.
It was a wonderful service, and very fitting for Wally. A good dose of humour was mixed into the readings by four of Wally’s best friends, Chris Gregory, John Murrell, Mike Kent and Jim Upritchard. The applause was well earned. The rain held off until we reached the pub where we all had a chance to chat with his wife Elaine, and sons Rhys and Gwyn. RIP Wally.
.......... Although not an Association member, Wally was known to many of us who served on the VC10 and who will echo the sentiments of Roy’s narrative.
Our condolences go to Elaine, Rhys, Gwyn and all the family.
Tom F.B. Finnie Association Member and WW2 Wireless Operator
Tom joined the RAF as aircrew in 1943 with another WOP, John McCubbin. However it was not until Tom joined 10 Squadron on Dakotas, immediately after D-Day, that he was re-united with John when they both served together on the Squadron in India and Burma, until Tom's demob in 1947. They remained lifetime friends until Tom sadly passed away on 21 July 2014 and was cremated in Edinburgh on 26 July. Our thanks to John for advising us of Tom’s passing.
Our condolences go to Tom’s wife Ellen, and son Bruce at their home in, Peebles, Scotland.
Mike Cawsey Sqn Ldr - Queens Commendation
216 Sqn Comets prior to 1966, then VC10 Flt Eng & later Simulator Instructor, and Group Examiner
Sadly died after a long illness on the 23 April 2014 at 0216hrs.
Funeral to be held at Kingsway Crematorium, Swindon 10.00 a.m. Thursday 8 May,
followed by a Memorial Service at St Laurence Church, Lechlade 11.30 a.m.
More details, when known.
John 'George' Revell 1922 - 2014 died peacefully in Send, Woking on 2 April 2014.
John 'George' Revell joined the RAF in 1941 and, after what was already a distinguished career, was involved with the introduction of the VC10 into RAF Service. He was there to observe the first teething troubles, from the engineering point of view, that always appear when a new, complex, aircraft starts to accumulate flying hours. In 2003 he decided to write of his experiences of introducing the VC10 into RAF service.. For more about John's interesting career, see http://www.vc10.net/Memories/Revell_introducing.html
Greatly respected in the Send-Woking-Guildford community, for his many years of voluntary, charitable work, he wil be sadly missed by his many local friends.
Sqn Ldr Brian W. Jopling QGM 1951 - March 2014
Brian's funeral was held at 1200hrs on Wednesday 2 April 2014 at St John's Church, Carterton, Oxfordshire. Donations to Cancer Research would be greatly appreciated.
Starting his flying career on Puma helicopters, Brian was on the detachment to Rhodesia / Zimbabwe as part of the monitoring force in 1979/80. He then flew on 18 Squadron Chinooks during the Falklands Conflict and joined 10 Squadron as a Master ALM in the late 1980s. Brian was later commissioned and served on 216 Squadron's Tristars before subsequently returning to the VC10. His final RAF days were on the VC10 Staneval team. He was awarded the Queens Gallantry Medal in 1982, whilst serving on 18 Squadron during the Falklands War: (see below .......)
18 Squadron was embarked on the SS Atlantic Conveyor for duties in the South Atlantic. Hit by an Exocet missile, the ship was lost but one of the four Chinooks survived (ZA718/BN) and performed sterling work in the land battles that followed, carrying 1,500 troops, 600 tons of equipment and 650 prisoners of war in 150 sorties.
On 25 May 1982 Brian Jopling, then a flight sergeant, was on board the SS Atlantic Conveyor in the South Atlantic as part of the 18 Squadron deployment in support of Operation Corporate. During the late afternoon, the ship was attacked and hit by an Exocet missile. FS Jopling was manning an air defence machine gun position on the bridge during the attack. The missile started a fire on the ship which rapidly spread out of control and the decision was taken to abandon the stricken vessel. FS Jopling was among the last to leave the bridge and, as he descended towards the main deck, he was enveloped by thick black smoke. He rapidly donned his respirator and led several people onwards in a human chain but, realising that it would be impossible for the others to survive without respirators, he had to retreat. He eventually found an alternative path within the ship and led his party of survivors to the main deck where they climbed over the side and entered the water prior to boarding a liferaft. The liferaft Flight Sergeant Jopling selected was one of the few remaining and was overcrowded; he, together with several others, was unable to board it. The sea was very cold and night had fallen, adding to the difficulties. The liferaft was still attached to the ship and was being buffeted against the ship's side as the ship rolled. Realising the danger this represented to the liferaft and its occupants, Flight Sergeant Jopling made his way around the liferaft and, despite being struck several times by the ship, eventually managed to sever the lines holding the liferaft to the blazing hulk. As the occupants of the liferaft became more organised, other survivors were gradually brought on board. FS Jopling appreciated that as he was wearing aircrew survival equipment, he was better placed than other survivors in the water. He therefore elected to remain in the sea, encouraging and helping men to hold onto the liferaft. Only when he had ensured that there were no more survivors in the water, did he allow himself to be dragged, exhausted, aboard. He was in the water for between one and two hours in extremely hazardous conditions. Flight Sergeant Jopling acted in the finest traditions of the Royal Air Force and his selfless conduct undoubtedly saved many lives.
Brian was a committed family man and will be sadly missed. Our condolences naturally go to all his family and friends.
Leo Groark Halifax Engine Fitter - Melbourne 1943
Funeral: Thursday 30 January 2014 at 11.40 hrs
At: Saint Cuthberts Church, Seaham, Co Durham.
After a long illness, Leo Groark passed away on 22 Jan 2014. Condolences go to his wife Patsy, son Michael and family.
In joining the Association over 25 years ago, Leo renewed a meaningful friendship with Tom Thackray. Leo was the engine fitter assigned to Tom`s Halifax throughout his tour in 1943 at Melbourne; Tom being the Flight Engineer.
1943 - Leo Groark - 3rd from left
John Greedy 10 Sqn ALM passed away in the Churchill Hospital Oxford – 1 Dec 13.
It is regretted that no further details are known yet.
F.D. (Don) Williams Chief Technician, RAF Service 1943- 1969
10 Sqn and later Victors, Vulcans and Nimrods.- author of “Three Greens” book of his life-story
Died 18 November 2013 aged 86 in Australia.
William Ewart Bradley Jul 1925 – Oct 2013 – Association Member since 1990
LAC Instrument fitter – Ground Crew on 10 Sqn Oct 1944 – Dec 1946 serving at Melbourne, Poona and on the Burma detachment.
William joined the RAF, aged 18½, in 1943 and worked on both 10 Sqn’s Halifax and Dakota aircraft: a time that he remembered fondly and the friends he made.
Living in Durham City for most of his life, when he left the RAF he returned to his position in the Science labs at Durham University and then became a Scientific Instrument Maker with The National Coal Board where he remained until he took early retirement at the age of 61. Taking 2 years off, he then bought a public house in Howden-Le-Wear in County Durham, which he ran until he was 77.
After then retiring again he enjoyed travelling and spending time with his family. Sadly in October 2010, he suffered a stroke and lived in a nursing home until passing away, aged 85, on 24 October 2013. R.I.P. Our condolences and thanks for this information to his daughter Fiona.
Charles Douglas Brignell 1924 -2013 Wireless Operator Halifax & Dakotas
Charles was born in Doncaster on the 13 July 1924. Having served in WW2 bombing operations on 158 Sqn Halifaxes before joining 10 Sqn in May 1945, Charles was a Wireless Operator on Dakotas in India and Burma until October 1946. After leaving the RAF as a Warrant Officer he became a quantity surveyor, living in Ruislip, Middx. He leaves a widow Eunice, son Douglas, two grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. His cremation was on 8 October 2013.
Ken Gorham VC10 Master Airloadmaster and later in 10 Sqn Ops, Ken sadly passed away in
the Eastbourne area, on Sunday 22 September after a long illness.
Who can forget, in the wee small hours on a long night-flight, his renditions of the Great Western Railway steam locos struggling up Dauntsey Bank near Lyemham? Ken was one of the 'characters' much loved by us all. R.I.P.
Peter F.J. Paxton Sadly passed away, quietly in his sleep at home, on 3 June 2013.
Born 21 June 1924 in Fulham, and initially trained for pilot duties during WW2, Peter was re-allocated to be an Air Gunner serving on 10 Squadron’s Halifax aircraft at RAF Melbourne. He flew 19 sorties on operations, including being shot down and escaping back to the UK. After a 6 month break after the war he rejoined the RAF and served on No 35 OP/TRG Squadron flying in Tiger Moths, Whitleys, Halifax 2s, Lancasters, Lincoln's, Washingtons, Oxfords, Ansons & Vampires, during experimental work directed by Barnes Wallace. He later served in Germany and Singapore, before spending his last years as SWO at RAF Waddington. He retired in 1979.
Born May 1921, Len was brought up in the Brownroyd district of Bradford, where he attended St. William’s School until the age of 14. He worked in the textile industry as a ‘pin setter’ before joining the RAF and eventually Melbourne, where he worked alongside Ken Brayshaw, Bob Hunter and Dave Spray. In 1944 he married Irene Ashley in a double wedding with her sister Mary to a John Smith. Len’s son John was born in 1945 whilst Len was overseas in India and it was a only a year later that he first saw his new son, who later was to become an RAF flight Lieutenant and QFI (Quafified Flying Instructor), making Len a proud man. Sadly in 1971 John’s wife Sarah, whom he had married in 1968 was widowed after he was tragically killed in a Hunter flying accident in Wales, when based at RAF Valley. Leonard, although greatly saddened by this, was a great support to his family in their time of need and took great comfort from the birth of his granddaughter Joanne later that year. At the end of the war Leonard returned to textiles, but he and Irene also took on the Leventhorpe Inn, Thornton. In 1951 his daughter Maureen was born and two years later the family moved out of the pub into a house in Bimbrook Street, Bradford. Leonard retired at the age of 65, but was asked to go back for another 5 years as his skills by then were hard to come by. Leonard and Irene were a very devoted couple and they had 67 years of happy marriage. Irene passed away in July 2011 and Len died in April 2013 aged 91 ys.
Our thanks to Sarah Curtis (nee Duckworth) for sending us the above information.
Ronald Webster of Ashby de la Zouch, passed away peacefully on 6 January 2013 aged 89.
He joined the RAF in 1942 and served with 10 Sqn at RAF Melbourne as a Wireless/Radar Mechanic from May 1943 - August 1944. He was then attached to 312 MSSU in Burma and India until December 1945. Following postings to Wymeswold and Hendon he was demobbed from West Kirby on 22 January 1947. - Michael Webster (son) Our condolences to all Ronald's family,
John Grayshan Ex- Halifax crew member, from Littleborough, Lancs,
died 2012 - No further details known.
Raymond Charles Stokes 25 Sep 2012, aged 88, died peacefully in hospital in Leicester.
Sgt Ray Stokes served on 10 Sqn as a Flight Engineer from 27 Oct 1944 to 21 Feb 1945.
and was promoted to Flight Sergeant whilst a Prisoner of War.
Our condolences to his widow Jill. May he rest in peace
Alexander Chadwick 5 Sep 2012 WW2 Wireless Operator
Funeral was in Nantwich, Ches. No further details.
Les Duncan 22 July 2012 Husband to Iris for 68 years. Halifax mid-upper gunner.
10 Sqn RAF Melbourne Aug 1943 - Jun 1944 as a FS and Jan - Mar 1945 as a Plt Off
Peter Frewer In an accident at home 16 May 2012
Ron Stubbs Sqn Ldr (pilot) , RAF (ret'd), late of 10 Sqn, and also 99 Sqn, 29 January 2012 in Southampton.
Mr Reg 'Dolly' M. Gray
January 2012 (Halifax)
Mr J. R. Abbott
January 2012 (Halifax)
Brian Proctor Master Airloadmaster, of 10 Sqn & AT Ops,
sadly died of cancer in Swindon during November 2011
Gordon Webster McCash Neill WW2 Flt Lt pilot with the DSO, Croix de Guerre (French) with
Silver Gilt Star, and the Croix de Guerre (French) with Silver Star.
10 Sqn from 14 June 1944 - 1 Feb 1945 - died 11 March 2011
Admired and well-liked throughout the Transport Force,