Aircrew Association - Surrey Branch
Aircrew Stories


These stories have been gathered over a number of years - the original intention being to publish them as a book to raise funds for the branch. We wanted them to reach as wide an audience as possible and latterly decided that a website would be a good way of achieving this.

A CD of the stories as of June 2010 was provided to all contributors or their families (where we had a contact address) with a covering letter from our chairman explaining that any further updates would be available by reference to this website. For those without their own access to the internet this may well be possible via family, friends or neighbours these days.

Our hope is that family, friends, former colleagues, researchers and many others will find these stories of interest, adding as they do to the colour of the life of aircrew. As far as possible the way contributors expressed themselves has been retained - it is their voice: where factual matters may have faded a little, a note has been added and spellings have been corrected.

If you can add to individual stories - in particular with images that you are happy for us to use, please let us know - see the Contact page for details.

Contributors to the stories

These stories would not have been possible without the dedication shown by Mrs Joan Norris in gathering and transcribing the manuscripts and helping her late husband Len Norris, a former Branch Chairman, with the project.

Those of our contributors have died are marked with a +


Jim Anniss

Flt Lt pilot served in 20 SFTS, Southern Rhodesia

Jackie Briggs DFM

Radio Observer on 25, 68 and 89 Squadrons.

Bert Carter

Flight Engineer with 44 (Rhodesian) Squadron, 5 Group. He was a prisoner in Stalag Luft III, Stalag Luft VI, Camp 357 Poland.

Harry Chambers

Observer with 229 and 465 Squadron, 26 SFU.

Derrick Croisdale

Pilot u/t at 4 BFTS, Falcon Field, Mesa, Arizona. Went on to become an A1 rated QFI.

Fred Cunnell

Navigator/Bomber on 512, 437 and 31 Squadrons

Reg Davis

QFI SFTS Medicine Hat, Pilot on 47 Squadron SEAC

John Erricker DFC

Bomb Aimer on 78 Squadron; Trooping Officer 216 Group

Reg Everson AE

Pilot on 305 (Polish) and 107 Squadrons: 2 TAF
+ Basil Fish Navigator on 617 Squadron

John Gibson

Pilot on 227 Squadron

Ray Gough

An apprentice carpenter and joiner, he volunteered for RAF aircrew and was accepted in September 1941. He was recommended for pilot training but later remustered [u/t Air Bomber]. He served with 298 and 644 Squadrons. After the war he returned to his original career, later working with the former GLC and Lambeth BC.

Mac Hamilton DFC*

Pilot on 619, 617 and 267 Squadrons.

Douglas Holloway

Observer on 36 Squadron BCAC and 267 Squadrons

Eric Hookings

Pilot on 619 Squadron

Norman Jackson CBE

81 Sqn Engineer Officer; later Pilot: OC RAF Sydenham

Ben Knights DFM

Pilot on 104 and 162 Squadrons, and as a Flying Instructor at Moreton in Marsh Operational Training Unit. Both pre- and post-war Ben worked in banking.

Bob Lythgoe

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (Wop/AG) on 166 Squadron

Bob Milne DFM MiD

Pilot on 47 Squadron

Jack Pawsey

Pilot on 29 Squadron, 23 Group

Tony Payne

Pilot on 37 Squadron

Cyril Pearce

Former policeman; Pilot on 142 and 70 Squadrons. After the war he became a school teacher

John Peaty

Pilot on 589, 567 and 287 Squadrons

John Potter

Pilot on 118 and 234 Squadrons

John Puttock

Air Gunner on 70 Squadron

Ken Richards

Pilot on 160 Squadron

Eric Richman

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner on 90 Squadron

Norman Scullard

Warrant Officer, Navigator B on 61 and 97 (PFF) Squadrons. Until his retirement he worked in engineering design

Vernon Thomson DFC

Navigator B on 76 Squadron

Gordon Tripp

Pilot on 213 and 72 Squadrons

John Umbers

Qualified as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner on 150 Squadron in January 1943 having trained in morse at Blackpool and air gunnery at Walney Island, Barrow-in-Furness. After completing his tour of operations he became a Signals Instructor from 1944 to 1946. Until his retirement John worked in the Civil Service

last updated 24 Jun 21