How to Search for Unsung Heroes on this blog?

Use the search button on the left side to look for someone’s name among more than 400 posts I wrote about this RAF squadron.

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Use the comment section or the contact form below to write to me like someone whose grandfather was Theo Griffiths’ navigator.

 Theo and Ric montage

 

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Arthur David Bishop’s War Medals – the Africa Star

artefacts

Along with his grandfather’s blood-stained wings, Richard sent me this photo of his grandfather’s war medals.

group of medals

On the left we see the Africa Star

The Africa Star

The next medal is the 1939-1945 Star

1939-1945 Star

Then the Air Crew Europe Star

Air Crew Europe Star

The Defence Medal

WW2 Defence Medal

Finally the War Medal 1939-1945.

WW2 War Medal

Each one has a meaning. Here is the description of the Africa Star.

WW2_Africa_Star

The Star was awarded for one more day’s service in North Africa between 10th June, 1940 and 12th May, 1943, both dates inclusive.

The Star was awarded for the following qualifications and operations:

Navy and Merchant Navy – Any Service at sea in the Mediterranean between 10th June, 1940 and 12th May, 1943, and or service in support of the campaigns in Abyssinia, Somaliland and Eritrea. Naval service ashore in the same areas as the army would also qualify. Members of the Merchant Navy who took part in the operations off the coast of Morocco between 8th November, 1942 and 12th May, 1943 would also qualify.

Army – The qualification is the entry into North Africa on the establishment of an operational unit. Service in Abyssinia, The Somaliland’s, Entitres, Sudan and Malta.

R.A.F – The qualification was to have landed in, or flown over, any of the areas previously mentioned (except West Africa), or territory occupied by the enemy.

Source: https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/medals/africa-star

Since the Africa Star was awarded for one more day’s service in North Africa between 10th June, 1940 and 12th May, 1943, both dates inclusive, this means that Arthur David Bishop was in North Africa sometime between 10th June, 1940 and 12th May, 1943, both dates inclusive, before being posted to an Initial Training Wing, then to No. 14 P.A.C.T. which opened in June 1943.

20180911_173430

No 14 Centre, Preliminary Air Crew Training Wing was formed on 20 June 1943 at Cheltenham and presumably disbanded on 2 March 1945. (Source)

Since Arthur David Bishop was born September 24, 1925. He probably enlisted  on September 24, 1942 when he was 17 years-old unless he lied on his age and enlisted earlier. My guess is that he enlisted in the RAF as a ground crew, served in North Africa, and then asked for a transfer for air crew training.

Without his record of service there is no way of knowing.

Next time, this medal will shed more light on what happened to this unsung Mosquito pilot…

Air Crew Europe Star

The Air Crew Europe Star

 

Order of wear

Campaign medals are not listed by name in the order of wear prescribed by the British Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, but are worn in order of the date of the campaign for which awarded.[14]

The order of wear of the Second World War campaign stars was determined by their respective campaign start dates and by the campaign’s duration. This is the order worn, even when a recipient qualified for them in a different order. The Defence Medal and War Medal are worn after the stars.[15]

Source Wikipedia

Arthur David Bishop’s Blood-stained Wings

 

This is the untold story of a Mosquito pilot who survived the war, but never talked much about his ordeal. We have little to go on except for a group photo and names printed under it.

A.C. 2 Arthur David Bishop is third cadet on the left in the first row.

That group photo was given to him by someone who had visited him when he was in a hospital in Scotland. According to the family, Arthur had been shot down over France and his navigator, whose nickname was “Carrotts”, was killed.

The family always thought “Carrotts” was A.C. Carrott seen on the same group photo.

I believe Arthur David Bishop’s navigator was not A.C. Carrott, but someone else. Yesterday I found A.C. Carrott’s name in the book Missing Believe Killed – The Royal Air Force and the Search for Missing Aircrew 1939 – 1952.

The search goes on for Arthur David Bishop and his navigator whose nickname was “Carrotts”, and hopefully, names on the group picture might bring more clues.

As well as Arthur David Bishop’s war medals…

And this information shared by Arthur David Bishop’s daugther… 

Arthur David Bishop was based in Torquay, (Paignton) in Devon for a while. He was also mentioned in despatches as well. He lived in Slough, and was the only son of Gordon and Helen (Betty) Bishop. We believe he underwent his training at Hendon which was a training flying school before it changed to become a museum. He married Edith May Blank after the war. He spent a year in a quarantine hospital / clinic because he got TB while being treated for his injuries sustained (a collapsed lung & several shrapnel wounds) when the plane he was flying was shot down on the French side of the German border in 1944.

Use the comment section or the contact form below to leave a message.

 

 

Information about 23 Squadron Association AGM and Reunion Dinner 2018

23 SQUADRON ASSOCIATION AGM AND REUNION DINNER 2018

The 23 Squadron Association AGM and Reunion Dinner will be held on Saturday 6th October 2018, at the Double Tree Hotel, Brayford, Lincoln.

The AGM will be held at approximately 3:30 pm in the Double Tree Hotel.

The Reunion Dinner will be held at 7:00 for 7:30 pm and will be a traditional dining in night format. Dress will be formal [Black Ties, Dinner Suits, Ladies Formal]. The evening will begin with a drinks reception at 7:00 pm in the Viewing Gallery where drinks will be served.

Dinner will take place in the Cathedral Ball Room at 7:30 pm – menu below (please indicate in the return section if you wish the vegetarian options for 1 or 2 guests). The whole evening will be accompanied by musical entertainment.

The cost will be £58 per person.

As last year we hope to hold a small raffle to help raise funds for charity and to support the Sqn Association.

Whilst there are many alternative hotels available in Lincoln, the Double Tree Hotel is pleased to offer preferential rates for accommodation for guests wishing to stay. For 10% discount off their best available rate please phone or contact the Double Tree Hilton and quote G23SQ. The hotel offers limited parking for guests and is situated in the middle of lower Lincoln near to Brayford Pool overlooking the water.
. Double Tree Hotel, Brayford Wharf N, Lincoln LN1 1YW
Tel: 01522 565188 and quote booking code G23SQ

Starter 1: Smoked Salmon Plate with Gherkins, capers, horseradish cream, pea shoots
Starter 2 [veg]: Roasted Beetroot Salad with Goat’s cheese, orange, walnut dressing
Main 3: Feather Blade of Beef with Chive mash, carrot puree, baby carrots, crispy parsnip, red wine reduction
Main 4 [veg]: Roasted Vegetable Charlotte with Fondant potato, seasonal vegetables, balsamic reduction
Dessert 5: Lemon Crème Brulee with Ginger biscuit
Dessert 6: Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla ice cream, toffee sauce

Drinks and wine will be included within the meal costs along with port.

In order to secure your place at the dinner and to allow us to pay the hotel in advance we would please ask that your remittance is paid by the 1st September 2018. If you wish to attend, please return the section below with the appropriate remittance as soon as possible (cheques payable to ’23 Sqn Association’); or you may wish to use the electronic bank transfer option (Barclays Bank – sort code 20-65-20 / account number 40850004).

Please return the section below to Mr Colin Woolfson, 33 Ridgeway, Nettleham, Lincoln LN2 2TL (01522 889049) and for emails to c_woolfson@hotmail.com

We very much look forward to seeing you at the 23 Sqn Association Reunion.

23 Squadron invitation

Message from Janine Harrington

Interested to read about 23 Sqn Association Reunion in Lincoln. Wish I’d known earlier as I could have circulated it to our members through our quarterly magazine ‘Confound & Destroy’ of which I am Editor. Perhaps it’s a good idea to link re events for the future? Our Reunion is always held in May and includes all Squadrons under RAF 100 Group, including 23 Sqn. Next year’s is 17 – 19 May 2019. Over the weekend we have a number of events going on, with a main Dinner on Saturday evening with old-time Singers and dancing … absolutely wonderful!! As a founding member of RAF 100 Group Association, I have supported and worked with veterans and families for over 20 years. I’m also Secretary worldwide, and author of 28 published books through which I promote their wartime role. So little is still known about them, while I remain passionate about preserving both their history and stories for the future. Our youngest at this year’s Reunion was a 14 year-old Air Cadet, the oldest 98 years. We stay in touch daily, sharing every aspect of our lives … it’s the reason I refer to them as my ‘Kindred Spirit Family’. Each member precious, valued, loved. Please write to the main email address which will get to me direct. I’d be happy to hear from you.

Message from Dai Whittingham

I believe everything is important to preserve the past.

This is a message sent from Dai Whittingham.

 

The message about Leslie Green set me thinking, because I had been led to believe that the Malta casualties were all buried in Malta. It is hard to see from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site where Leslie was originally buried before his remains were moved to Catania, but there is no doubt from the date that he would have been serving at Luqa. The CWGC might have more details as to why he and his pilot were moved.

In 2001, during my time in command of RAF Waddington, we flew two 23 Sqn Mosquito pilots back to Malta (in an AWACS, because we could!) and spent time visiting the Sqn graves there and in Sardinia. We also laid a wreath at the Malta Memorial.

Peter Rudd and Jock Browne are sadly no longer with us, but Peter wrote an excellent book “Red Eagles: A History of No 23 Squadron, Royal Air Force”. The book is out of print but you may find it via Amazon or e-Bay. They were full of anecdotes about their time in Malta, and they were also able to pass some of that information on to the small aviation museum at Ta Qali.

There is one other casualty I should mention. We visited the Cappucini Naval Cemetery in Valletta, which contains several Sqn graves. The one name that remains clear for me is AC2 George Penfold who, from his rank, was obviously not a Mosquito pilot. Peter and Jock both remembered how he died. George Penfold was ground-crew on the Sqn and had been marshalling a Mosquito at Luqa on 9 Feb 1943.

At that time, some aircraft were dispersed around the airfield and had to come up the hill to reach the runway, often by using what remained of the goat tracks. A Hurricane had powered up the hill via a narrow, stony track and was unable to weave its nose as usual for forward visibility; Penfold, who was in front of 2 running Merlins, apparently did not hear the Merlin behind him, and the Hurricane pilot did not see him before it was too late.

So, a tragic and avoidable non-operational death on active service, but a great reminder that ‘they also serve’.

My other abiding memory of the Malta trip was the realisation that many of the names on the Malta Memorial and Sqn graves were, for Peter and Jock, also voices, faces and events despite the passage of time. The sight of a pair of graves in Cagliari (Sardinia) prompted the memory that the crew had crashed while trying to make a single-engine landing, which then turned into 2 octogenarians discussing asymmetric handling and the vices of the Mosquito, all while stood in the sunshine in a quiet Italian cemetery.

It was such a privilege to be with them.

Dai also added this information…

The 23 Sqn Association (of which I am Chairman) is holding its annual reunion in Lincoln, UK, on Sat 6 October.  If any of your correspondents or readers would like to attend, please let us know soonest.  We hope to be joined again by Jim Weston, who flew the Mosquito with 23 Sqn towards the end of the war.  We are also hoping that the Sqn may be revived by the RAF as part of the new focus on space – no aircraft, but at least the badge would be back in service; no formal news on that, but the opportunity is at least a real one.

Leslie Green with his mother

Leslie Green 1[4027]

About his pilot…

Information taken from a genealogy forum with this topic:

51 OTU Cranfield, Mosquito Intruder training 13/4/43  

After many years of searching I have finally made contact with the family of the Pilot, Squadron Leader Geoffrey Charles Matheson, who was killed in action with my wife’s father, his navigator, Fl. Sergeant Laurence W Bush on the night of 23-24/8/43.

They were together at 51 OTU,Cranfield from 13/4/1943 before being attached to 418 RCAF squadron.

These photos of the Mosquito Intruder training course may be of interest to others. They include Charles “last time” Scherf, DSO DFC & bar of 418 squadron and “Pip” E.T. Orringe, DFC of 605 squadron.

We would be interested to hear from other family members with links to the men in these pictures.

Pilots_51_OTU_13_April_1943.jpgNavigators_51_OTU_13_April_1943.jpg


 

I found this on John Augustin Le Rossignol (front row second from the right, labelled L’Rossignol) who was with 23 Squadron briefly. (as would have my late father-in-law had he not ‘volunteered’ to join the 418 Squadron after having received his tropical kit and been assigned to 23 Squadron in Malta). born Berlin, Germany 25.09.1911.
Son of Robert Le Rossignol, British physical chemist who was working for the Auer Lighting Company, later to become ‘Osram’, and Agnes Emily Le Rossignol, of Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, later of Harrow, Middlesex. KIA 05.09.1943 [age 31] [Catania War Cemetery, Sicily, II.C.9]

Preserving the Past – RAF No. 5 I.T.W. Cadet pilots

Note

This post was written in 2016, but I never published it. I was contacted by someone whose uncle was on a group photo. 

group-picture-toronto-september-1941

Exactly two years ago on August 29, 2016, Theo Griffiths passed away but Theo Griffiths will always be remembered on this blog as well as his navigator Rick Maude.

Theo and Ric montage

Theo’s son-in-law has been sharing everything he could find about his father-in-law and everything he sent has been shared on the blog. Richard sent me this 1941 photo of Theo and someone whose name was Green. The date is 12 August, 1941 and taken most probably in Toronto, Canada.

Green.jpg

Theo and Green.jpg

 

Collection Theo Griffiths DFC

Hopkins, Sheppard, Cpl. Shuttleworth (P.T.I.), Green, Thompson.

Every bit of information is important like these two photos I found on a forum last week which helped me in reuniting two first cousins once removed.

I have just found out my 1st cousin, once removed was a navigator in 23 Squadron based in Malta 1942-1943. Sgt Leslie GREEN, 1556380, is buried at Catania War Cemetery, Sicily, after his Mosquito crashed on landing back at Malta on 5th September 1943, following night disruption flights over Italy. I am interested to find anything more about him, and in particular a picture.

Navigators_51_OTU_13_April_1943.jpgPilots_51_OTU_13_April_1943.jpg

Source Internet

I don’t think we have the same Leslie Green.

A shot in the dark

This story will be continued some other day.

For now this is what I had written in 2016 about a group picture.

group-picture-toronto-september-1941

I took me three years to finally understand the meaning of RAF No. 5 ITW that Theo Griffiths DFC wrote in the last years of his life.

Theo is no longer with us, but his memories will live on forever on cyberspace.

Last month I wrote a post The End of the Beginning followed by The Beginning of the End. I never thought for a moment someone would find this blog and would share all the information he had on his uncle “Bunty”.

buntyjpg_edited

Collection Graham Padden

Graham Padden had shared so much photos that I just had to create yet another blog to pay homage to his uncle Gerald Thomas Padden seen here on the group picture.

group-picture-toronto-september-1941

All these cadet pilots are from No. 5 Initial Training Wing Squadron 4.

Very little information exist on the Internet about this group. If you have any information please use the contact form just like Graham Padden used. You never know what you may find.