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The 49 Squadron Association

This is not the official web site, but one that was started as a second step to finding out what had happened to those I flew with and enjoyed their company in my National Service days, September 1951 to September 1953. The first step had been to link up with the Association, which in those days was only concerned with WW2 matters and membership. Not so, now of course, but due to the enormous debt that we owe those who failed to return, is still a key part of our activities. Consequently, the major part of the Squadron history has now been published in a number of books and also via a new 49 Squadron Association web site. This has reached the stage where you can now read the full Roll of Honour with many photographs of individual graves and where available, a picture of the WWI, WWII and post 1945 airman concerned. It also includes memories of former serving members, a squadron history and details of the Association. In a section entitled 'Documents' are stories from some of our members.
So go to it NOW and see what a first class job it is.

These pages have been provided for some years now as an on-going source of current information on the web about people and events related to 49 Squadron. While there are a few members who have e-mail addresses, most of the effort made to keep in touch is done through our magazine. And for the majority of members, this is the preferred way. Note that for those members with broadband, you can download the electronic version of the magazine at your leisure. Please ask the Secretary Alan Parr for details.
For others who find this site - read on. You can get some idea of the extent to which the Association has grown in the last few years and to the great lengths that members have gone to ensure that......... WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

I am still extracting items of interest from the current magazine and publish an extract for your information here.

The latest issue is No.37, May 2015 and has as the front cover a photograph of Eric Clarke on his 102nd birthday and includes news of: this year's reunion in Lincoln; the return of a Lancaster undercarriage oleo to Scampton from Sark; the delivery of more bits of ED427 to their new home at East Kirkby; a request from Cosford for BA nuts and bolts; a reminder of the value of medals and logbooks; a reflection on John Ellenor's last letter; the continuing story of "My Service Career in the RAF, 1940/1968" by Squadron Leader T.J.Page DFM; further steps in the story of the Memorial on Hameldown; our Chairman's Birthday Surprise at the RAF Museum Cosford; Anzac Day memorial services in Australia and finally more emails and letters from members.
This issue sadly records the following:- Bill Pyrah who died on February 9th, eight days after his 95th birthday, having been posted in to Scampton in June 1940 as an AC1 Flight Rigger. Eric Jones died on March 2nd aged 92. He flew his tour of ops between 27th August 1943 and 24th February 1944. Geoff Easterling died on the 13th March aged 90. He flew 24 ops with 49 Squadron as M.U.G with P/O G.C.Poole and crew before being posted to 44 Squadron with whom he completed a further 16 ops. After a period as an Instructor he returned to ops with 463 Squadron.
New Associate Member Peter Harvey is the nephew of F/O E.C.Maul, pilot of Lancaster PB354 when it was shot down on the 21st November 1944 as detailed in the February issue. He is also the Scout Master of Lustleigh Scouts in Devon and took part in the service of remembrance at Hameldown Tor earlier this year.
Arrangements are finalised for this year's reunion in Lincoln on June 21-23. If you have not booked but wish to attend any of the events please contact Alan asap.

Now for the reports.

  1. The undercarriage oleo from Lancaster W4107
    This finally returned to RAF Scampton some 72 years after taking off with Sgt. E.J. Singleton and crew on their second operation. After dropping their bombs they were shot at and on fire so four members of the crew baled out leaving the pilot and the two gunners to try to return to base. Fortunately the fires were put out and they were able to make a landing on what turned out to be Sark, then held by the Germans and so spent the rest of the war on a PoW camp. A young man on Sark, Ian le Gresley, 'rescued' an oleo leg from the wreckage and took it back to Jersey where it remained in his garage for 72 years. In 2013 he contacted our WWII Archivist Ed Norman who met David Wright, the new Curator at RAF Scampton Heritage Centre who welcomed it's return. The visit of the Canadian and BBMF Lancasters to Jersey provided the means by which it was brought back to Coningsby in a Lancaster and from there, Honorary Friend Jack Hawkins transported it to Scampton in January.
  2. ED 427 parts for East Kirkby
    The recovery of parts of this aircraft have been recorded in past issues of the 4T9er and they have been stored by Peter Schreiber. Andrew Panton has agreed to give them a home at East Kirkby and Dom Howard brought back aome smaller pieces.
  3. Cosford request
    They are always on the lookout for Imperial threads, particularly BA, so if you have any nuts and bolts, please put them to good use by donating them to the RAF Museum.
  4. Medals and Logbooks
    Have you still got yours? Don't be tempted to loan them to just anyone, as they are quite valuable.
  5. The Last Letter
    Alan has reminded our members of previous articles in Newsletters No.7 and 9 about the letter that Sgt. John (Jack) Ellenor wrote to his daughter Barbara prior to his last flight on 26th April 1944. It is repeated in full in this issue
  6. We continue the story of "My Service Career in the RAF, 1940/1968" by Squadron Leader T.J.Page DFM. Part 4 starts with a reminder that after an operation the aircraft and crew still had to face landing at base with sometimes a full bomb and fuel load due to an early return. He also describes how the pressure of three operations in four days and how long flights over the Alps took their toll. He completed his tour with four ops with different crews and went on to become an Instructor and later was commissioned.
  7. Remembering the Boys
    In the November 2014 issue of The 4T9er the filming of the Hameldown Memorial and the part that Honorary Friend John Lowe played was reported. He has updated us on how the two acts of Remembrance went on the afternoon of Saturday, 21st March 2015, the anniversary of the loss of X3054.
  8. Chairman's Birthday Surprise
    The Secretary arranged for our Chairman to visit the RAF Museum Cosford along with association 'Friend' Rolf Walker and their wives. The highlight of the tour must have been the Lincoln or was it the ex-49 Squadron Valiant XD818? This was an example of the type that Stuart flew after leaving 49 Squadron.
  9. Anzac Day
    Graham Bairnsfather, the nephew of Ralph Bairnsfather RAAF, kia 7th March 1945 on the op to Harburg oil refinery, has attended ANZAC Day and Bomber Command Memorial services for many years wearing Ralph's medals. He describes with some emotion this year's event.

Reader's letters as usual provides more stories and some interesting background information as well as some requests.

One of the greatest problems for the Secretary is being asked by relatives and old friends of squadron members for information on past events. Obviously most enquiries relate to aircrew who were killed in action, but an increasing number seek information on post-war members. This has now resulted in yours truly helping in this, by acting as the post-war members archivist/correspondent. Bearing in mind that the total number of post-war members could run to over a thousand, even though the Squadron was disbanded on the 1st May 1965, it has been possible to use email and the Internet to link up old friends. Yes, there are other sites that do this, but they cover a much bigger group and so it's less likely you will find them there.

So this was started some years ago as a first attempt at spreading the word that the Association does have a presence on the WWW.  It has resulted in many new members, relatives and friends getting in touch with people who they never thought they would ever speak to or see again. Although our new website is now attracting many more enquiries, it seems worthwhile to continue with these pages. I have also provided a potted squadron history which may help you to sort out where your relative or friend might have been stationed. You can go to it now.

I have put some of the previous newsletters on a separate archive page if you wish to look back at them here.

There are always requests in the magazine in the "Do you know? or Can you help?" category - in many cases these are friends or relatives of past members seeking news or information. If you are ex-49 Squadron and have not yet joined your Association, why not get in touch? You may just be the person they are looking for! As a first step, I have now added a "Can you help" page help where I have listed some of the enquiries from emails I have received and also those mentioned in the magazine. Please email me if you have any information to add or can suggest some answers.
It does get results!

If you would like to find out more, e-mail me. But please put 49 Sqdn in the subject line so that I do not throw it out with the spam.

David Boughton

49 Squadron, 1952-1953

Latest update: 1st June, 2015