How to Search for Unsung Heroes on This Blog?

Featured

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

logo

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

 

 

Little Snoring, 1945 – In Search of William Gordon Shearer

Updated 22 February 2021

I don’t make up these stories…

Relative found!

Hello Pierre This is amazing.  Just recently I have been wondering about my Scottish cousins and now this.  You may not remember our correspondence from some time ago.  I told you how hard things were with my father.  We never had anything to do with his family and so I never knew my cousins.  The distress of the past has stopped me from trying to find them. Can you please let me have Colin’s email address or would you give mine to him.  He has assumed that it was my brother who contacted you.  Sadly my brother died in 1998 at the age of 47.  This would never have happened but for your website.  Thank you, Pierre.


Original post

Colin Shearer wants to contact William Gordon Shearer’s son or daughter.

Comment by Colin Shearer…

Hi
I’ve come across this blog by typing in William Gordon Shearer known as Gordon who was my Uncle. I note reference to his son having posted at least part of the blog and if there were a way you know of contacting him then I’d be most grateful as we have not had contact before now.
Many thanks
Colin Shearer

A reader had commented in February 2020.

My father was William Gordon Shearer known as Gordon. He was a Flight Lieutenant. He trained other pilots. He is in the top row to the right (on the photo) of the man in the peaked cap.

Eugene Gagnon 1945 HD (2)

Eugene Gagnon 1945 HD


The group picture features pilots and navigators of 23 Squadron. It was taken probably in June 1945, but no later than July 1945 since I know Eugene Gagnon, a French-Canadian Mosquito pilot, came back to Quebec.

I don’t believe anyone who finds this blog will read everything in it from the start. My blog was not created to monetise what I write. I don’t monetise the sacrifice of the Fallen or those who came back and relived what they went through during WWII.

The advertisements on this blog is generated by WordPress. It could be distracting sometimes, but that’s how you donate to keep this blog online.

Always feel free to comment because I always reply and help with any request.

This could be the start of the amazing story of the airmen of a forgotten squadron in Little Snoring.

Picture taken in 1945 before the squadron was disbanded (Courtesy Tom Cushing via Peter Smith)

More about Squadron 23 (Source Internet)

No. 23 Squadron formed at Fort Grange, Gosport on 1 Sep 1915 under the command of one of the RAF’s most experienced operational pilots – Captain Louis Strange. After a brief period attempting to counter German airship flights over London, the Squadron moved to France with its FE2Bs initially employed on escort duties. By early 1917, Spad single-seaters had arrived, and were being used on offensive patrols. By the end of the War, the Squadron had converted to Dolphins, and flew these until disbanded at the end of 1919.

On 1 July 1925, No. 23 Squadron reformed at Henlow with Snipes, but these were replaced shortly after with Gloster Gamecocks. In 1931, the Squadron was tasked with carrying out trials on the new Hawker Hart two-seaters, taking the production version, known as Demons, on strength in 1933. It wasn’t until late 1938 that the squadron received its first monoplanes in the form of Blenheims, and these were used as night-fighters in the early days of World War II whilst based at Wittering. In 1941, Havocs replaced the Blenheims, and these were used with great success in the intruder role, until themselves replaced by the Mosquito in mid-1942. At the end of the year, the squadron moved to Malta in support of allied operations in the Mediterranean before returning to the UK in 1944.

In September 1945, the Squadron had disbanded, reforming a year later at Wittering with Mosquito night-fighters. By late 1953, Venom night fighters had joined the Squadron, before Javelin all-weather supersonic fighters replaced these in 1957. In 1964, the Lightning replaced the Javelin, and it was with this classic aircraft that the squadron continued until Phantoms were received in late 1975, this coinciding with a moved to Wattisham in Suffolk. After the Falklands War in 1982, the Squadron occupied Port Stanley airfield until reduced to a Flight of four aircraft in 1988, reforming at Leeming with Tornado F3s. Defence cuts following the end of the Cold War saw the unit disbanded in March 1994. No. 23 Squadron was again reformed, this time as part of the Waddington AEW Wing in 1996, sharing not only the aircraft with the already established No. 8 Squadron, but operational duties in Europe and the Gulf.

The Squadron was officially disbanded on 2 Oct 2009.

If you have any information about 23 Squadron and you wish to share what you know, you can contact me using this form.

Remembrance Day 2020 – William Herbert Rogers (1920-1944)

Updated 27 December 2020

New comment:

Hello, my name is Michele Becchi, I was researching about WWII planes shot down over my province (Reggio Emilia, north Italy). I collected some informations from an eyewitness, he was at the local cinema when the sirens gave the alarm signal.

…All the spectators ran out just in time to see the German flak around the Sorbolo bridge open fire. Suddenly a trail of fire was seen crossing the sky on the Reggio’s side of the Enza river. The Germans suddenly went bad and forced everyone to clear out. The next day I went to look around the place where the small plane crashed, an engine lay a short distance from the burnt remains. soon the rumor spread that one of the two aviators had died and the other had been captured. The remains of the plane were taken away by the Germans.

There were more updates before…


This is an update of an update about the navigator.

Good morning Pierre,

I thought it appropriate for today to email the attached picture to you, which brings home the reality of that war even to those such as me who of course have no direct experience of it.

Regards,

Richard

This was the first update…

After the war my father joined the BBC and worked for them till 1969. He was involved in the Nuremberg trials in Germany but as you will know most of the people who survived the war rarely spoke about their experiences of that time. He was briefly posted to Germany working for the BBC overseas network back in 1951. My father married my mother in 1950 and my twin sister and I were born in 1951. My younger sister was born in 1954. My father and the family spent 3 years in Sydney Australia on an exchange with the BBC and  the Australian broadcasting corporation from 1956 to 1959 when we returned to Britain. We eventually moved to Edgbaston in Birmingham where he became Head of the Midland Region of the BBC until 1969. He then spent 3 years in Singapore as an advisor with the British overseas commission. On his return he was then sent to Tonga for a 2 year stint. He had become a specialist in multilingual broadcasting. On his return to Britain he took up simultaneous translation for visiting Germans and also translated german technical papers. Of course he was fluent in German and spoke it like a native! Sadly he developed Motor Neurone Disease and died in 1990. He was still working on translations and was teaching himself Isaiah and Chinese. He was fluent in German, French and Italian as well as having a working knowledge of Dutch. He was highly intelligent and did not suffer fools gladly. That is not to say that he was unkind but he had a brilliant wit! He kept in touch with several well known actors who he met during the war.

T

This was the original post…

This blog is all about remembering the Fallen and also those who survived.

A flight 23 Squadron Naples 10 November 1943

Collection Theo Griffiths (courtesy Richard Cooper)

According to my genealogical research, William Herbert Rogers was born on April 8, 1920, in Teignmouth, Devon, England. His father was William Morrott Rogers and his mother was Ellen Elizabeth Passmore (maiden name to be validated). He had one brother Earnest and two sisters Ada Winifred and Nellie (to be validated also). 

Mosquito FB Mark VI, serial HJ674, of 23 Squadron, was lost in an intruder mission over Sorbolo in the Province of Parma. The plane took off from Alghero, Sardinia, in the night of February 6,1944. The crew was F/Lt (64901) David Leslie Porter (pilot) RAFVR was taken prisoner and F/O (147669) William Herbert ROGERS (navigator) RAFVR – was killed.

F/Lt David Leslie Porter survived and became a prisoner of war. He was taken to Stalag Luft 3 according to my research. His navigator is buried in the Milan War Cemetery.

William Herbert Rogers is remembered on this Website.

Readers have contributed to this blog since 2010 when it was first created. RAF 23 Squadron was unknown to me as well as the pilots and navigators. Little by little my knowledge grew with each comment. Since 2010 there were more than 1,000 comments made.

This is post No. 420 which follows post No. 419.

Someday someone will probably comment on William Herbert Rogers or David Leslie Porter who survived the war. If this happens, my interest about 23 Squadron will be rekindled once more, and I will write another post.

This blog is all about remembering the Fallen and also those who survived.

William Herbert Rogers and David Leslie Porter are probably on this group picture. I have no way to tell. 

a-flight-23-squadron-naples-10-november-1943-bw

A Flight 23 Squadron
10 November 1943
Naples

Paying homage to Allan Sticky Murphy

There are many ways to pay homage to 23 Squadron and to Wing Commander Allan Sticky Murphy.

This is what I had written in June 2011 on this blog to pay homage to Sticky…

But I found that there is another way I have just learned about. You can “view” it at the end.


Allan “Sticky” Murphy was Wing Commander of 23 Squadron.

Alan Michael ‘Sticky’ Murphy DSO and Bar, DFC, Croix de Guerre.
‘Sticky’. (Courtesy of Tommy Cushing)

Sticky Murphy was a pilot flying Lysander in 1941. He flew that particular mission in December 1941 and was hit in the neck.

He managed to get back to his base in England.

This is an excerpt of Peter Smith’s manuscript…

The loss of Sticky Murphy on December the 2nd 1944 would stay with the aircrew, and all whose lives he had touched for the rest of their lives.
Whenever they thought of all those lost, their friends that didn’t return, Sticky would be first in their memories.

His love of life and his love for his airmen would be passed down to their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren-a better friend and comrade no man had.

His accomplishments were at least those of the 23 Squadrons founder Col Strange, and perhaps what he accomplished with the moonlit Squadrons even more.

He would join, and be joined, by so many of his contemporaries- notably ‘Pic’ Pickard whom had also commanded 161 Squadron after Sticky. Outside the RAF Pickard was well known as Squadron Leader Dickson, the skipper of Wellington, F for Freddie, in the popular Crown Film Unit 1941 production ‘Target for Tonight’. He was also the commander of the legendary Amiens Prison Raid (Operation Jericho) when a British formation of 15 Mosquito twin-engine bombers escorted by eight Typhoon fighters bombed the prison and Gestapo headquarters at Amiens in Northern France.

Sticky’s wife, Jean, would marry again and finally find lasting happiness with her daughter Gail.

Gail would grow up with two loving parents-but knowing that her father was Sticky, and be reminded of it throughout her lifetime by stories that would reach her, of Sticky, his love for his men, and his fearless acts of derring-do’ relayed by his fellow aircrew and their children.

This is a comment I just received showing another way to pay homage to him and his navigator.

https://arcg.is/1eDXWK

See the link to my viewer.

I created a web viewer of all planes that are crashed during WW-2 in the province Gelderland, The Netherlands. At 02-12-1944 the Mosquito PZ456 of 23 Sdn crashed South of Wezep.
Pilot: W/Cdr A.M. Murphy and Navigator F/Sgt D. Darbon.
Burried at Oldebroek Cemetery

Jan