Author Archives: grahampitchfork


Wing Commander Facebook copyJohn Wynne completed  40 operations flying Wellington bombers in the Middle East with 40 Squadron.  He was awarded the DFC. He later joined 214 Squadron to fly the US-built B-17 Fortress on electronic countermeasure duties, which involved jamming enemy night fighter communications.  His aircraft was badly damaged and, thinking he was over Allied territory, his crew baled out.  Wynne, unable to release some of his equipment, flew the badly damaged aircraft back to the UK alone.  He later flew on the early Canberra and Valiant squadrons, including operations during the Suez campaign.

Many years later, Wynn discovered that five of his crew had fallen into the hands of a Nazi lynch mob and been shot.  In 1982, there was a reconciliation and a commemorative plaque to remember the dead airmen was dedicated in the German village of Huchenfeld.  Wynn played an instrumental role in establishing a school exchange programme between his Welsh village of Llanbedr and Huchenfeld; the scene of the death’s of his colleagues. The two communities were twinned and maintain annual exchange programmes.

To read full obituary click HERE


TN-1-9179-1 copySir Alec Morris was an expert in all facets of signals and communications and their operational use.  Early in his career he also specialised in guided weapons.  He served at experimental establishments and in the Procurement Executive.  His senior appointments included the  Director of Signals Air before serving as the Air Officer Engineering at HQ Strike Command.  In 1981 he became the Chief Engineer of the RAF.  During this period he was responsible for the huge engineering support required during the Falkland’s War including the development of Wideawake Airfield on Ascension Island and establishing links with British industry to provide additional capabilities for in-service aircraft involved in the conflict.

To read full obituary click HERE


Image (8)Squadron Leader Owen Ellison flew Wellington bombers during the North African and Italian campaigns.  He flew on the first RAF raid to drop mines in the River Danube to prevent the river traffic carrying oil and supplies to the forward armies.  He also attacked marshalling yards and railways in Rumania, Yugoslavia and in Italy.  He bombed Luftwaffe airfields in Austria as the Allied armies advanced north.  He was awarded a DFC.  After a post-war RAF career he ran a hotel in Barbados and was well known for his parties and generous hospitality.

jw1382-childrens-clip-on-poppy_1To read full obituary click HERE


Wellington - Gibbs' crew 1945 copyNew Zealand-born AVM Gibbs flew Dakota transport aircraft during the North African campaign and later in Italy and to the Yugoslav partisans.  During the Allied invasion of Sicily he flew a diversionary raid to drop dummy paratroopers and flares over the beach head.  Once established in southern Italy, he made the first daylight landing in Yugoslavia when he took Fitzroy Maclean and some of his men to Bosnia.  He later converted to the Martin Marauder bomber and flew with Coastal Command after his return to England. After the war he served in Pakistan and Sudan and enjoyed a long post-war career flying Venom, Hunter and Lightning jets.  He commanded the Lightning base at RAF Wattisham before serving in RAF Germany as the air officer in charge of administration.  He retired to New Zealand and died on October 3 aged 97.

In the photograph he is second from the left with his Wellington crew.

To read the full obituary click HERE


MeagherJohnny Meagher had a distinguished war record as a bomber pilot flying Wellingtons and Lancasters.  He completed fifty operations and was twice awarded the DFC and also received an immediate DFM for his part in the daylight low-level attack against the Schneider factory at Le Creusot.  After the war he joined BOAC and had an equally distinguished career, which included captaining some Royal Flights, for which he was appointed CVO, introducing the Bristol Britannia into service and finally managing the VC 10 fleet.  He died aged 97 on September 21.

The photograph shows him at Buckingham Palace with his family after receiving the DFC and DFM.

To read full  obituary click HERE


imgMaurice+HaroldMaurice Webb was a Mosquito navigator who attacked shipping in the Bay of Biscay and off the Norwegian coast.  He and his pilot were forced to bale out over Brittany after their aircraft was damaged by anti-aircraft fire whilst attacking a ship.  He was sheltered by a farmer and the following day he met up with US troops and returned to England.  He was awarded an immediate DFM.  He continued flying operations and attacked a U-boat near Bergen which was damaged and sunk the following day by a Liberator.

The photograph shows Webb (right) with his pilot Hal Corbin.

To read full obituary click HERE


BatWIn the September issue of Britain at War, I have written an article given the title ‘Holding the Line – At All Costs’.  It relates the story of Sergeant Norman Gerrish and his colleagues of No. 2807 Squadron of the RAF Regiment in their epic battle to take and hold the crucial airfield of Meiktila in Burma during the advance of Lieutenant General Sir William Slim’s 14th Army to Rangoon.

20-2 GerrishGerrish’s inspirational leadership resulted in the immediate award of the Military Medal for gallantry.  The citation highlighted his ‘courage, determination and leadership in holding two companies of the Japanese and for their ultimate defeat’.

To see the magazine click HERE