Egbert Theune’s tribute to 23 Squadron



church of Little Snoring



Victories score boards of 23 and 515 squadron inside the church of Little Snoring.


War memorial with name of Philip on it inside the church of Hickling

One More Priceless Artefact

Six years ago, this was sent by Peter Smith with this message…

Hi Pierre,

I believe Johnny Rivaz took it down after the last op was flown.

Operational record 004

That’s All Folks
What Next?

This is Johnny Rivaz who was a pilot with 23 Squadron.

Flight Lieutenant Rivaz

close-up of this picture


June 1945

Johnny Rivaz, by taking down this precious artefact, has without knowing it kept this Mosquito Squadron operational forever.

23 Squadron end of the war 3

This is an edited version of the scoreboard.

Operational record 004 modified

My lastest contributor is also keeping 23 Squadron operational…

Message from Egbert Theune about 23 Squadron

Here some information about another 23 squadron pilot.

His name is Squadron Leader Michael William O’BRIEN DFC (69497), he was killed in action during a mission on 22 March 1945. Crashed on (or nearby) Handorf airfield nearby Münster with Mosquito RS577 YP-T. His navigator Flight Lieutenant Philip Allan DISNEY (139616) was killed too.

Michael joined the squadron on 05-02-1945 (he came from 1692 BSTU Great Massingham). Philip was his dedicated navigator and came from 169 squadron Great Massingham and became the squadron’s navigation leader.

What I am looking for is some (extra) pictures of Michael and/or Philip. I can send you a picture of Michael and some extra (Kew, National Archives) documents.


Egbert Theune

To be continued…

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.



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]

News from 418 Squadron

A reader got interested in a post about 418 Squadron, and she is sharing this:

Hello Pierre

Please find attached images which belonged to my late aunt. I’m sorry I have no information as to which newspaper the cuttings are from although I have tried searching on a couple of newspaper websites without success. I suspect they may have been from a London evening newspaper (Evening Standard or Evening News) or possibly one local to RAF Ford? It may be possible to find out online.

I’m also attaching a photo of my aunt, (Mary) Joan Jamieson (1918-2007) who is standing pointing at a wall map. This may well have been taken at RAF Ford, but I’m afraid I don’t know for sure. I believe she was a wireless operator in the WAAF.
I hope they will prove of interest.

Kind regards

Click on each image for a larger view.

Photos are from Alison Botterill, on behalf of Joan Jamieson (1918-2007)…

Squadron Leader Kipp

Squadron Leader Kipp

Flying Officer John Caine DFC

Flying Officer John Caine DFC

Flying Officer Huletsky

Flying Officer Huletsky

Caine and Sherf

Caine and Sherf


Joan Jamieson, standing pointing at a wall map.