IMG_5984 copyRonnie Buckland was the pilot of a Halifax bomber when his life was saved by the cigarette case in his pocket.  On the bombing run to the target, a piece of shrapnel from exploding anti-aircraft fire pierced the aircraft and hit him in the chest.  Despite his wounds and bouts of unconsciousness, and with the aid of his crew, he managed to return to the UK and make a crash landing in Essex.  He was awarded an immediate DFC.  Two months later he returned to flying to complete 35 bombing operations.  Buckland is in the centre of the photograph.

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Doug Radcliffe copyDoug Radcliffe flew as a WOP/AG in Wellingtons during the Second World War.  Flying in North Africa and Italy, he completed 30 bombing operations.  He will best be remembered for his devoted service as the Bomber Command Association Secretary, a post he held for over 30 years and for which he was appointed MBE. He made a significant contribution to the establishment of the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park, which was dedicated by HM The Queen in 2012.

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Oman_3 copyAlek Tarwid had an adventurous journey from his native Poland before arriving in the UK to join the RAF.  Trained as a pilot near the end of the war, he flew Meteors and Hunters before transferring  to helicopters flying on operations in Malaysia, Northern Ireland and Oman.  He played a key role flying Wessex helicopters in support of the SAS during Operation Hornbeam.  He was appointed MBE and decorated by the Sultan of Oman.

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InceDavid Ince flew many operations in Typhoon fighter bombers in the period immediately after D-Day.  He carried out many ground-attack sorties against German Panzer troops and motor transports.  By early 1945 his squadron had moved to Holland to attack targets in Germany.  He was awarded the DFC.  After the war he worked in the aircraft industry and became a champion glider pilot at national level and test pilot.  He established a number of records.

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walrusThe latest Spotlight  feature in the October issue of Fly Past focuses on the one of World War 2’s unsung workhorses. the Supermarine Walrus, an aircraft designed by R.J. Mitchell.  My article, given the title The Sea Shall Not Have Them by the editorial team, concentrates on the great work by two air sea rescue pilots, Tom Fletcher DFC, DFM & Bar who operated in the waters around the south of England, and New Zealander Arnold Divers DFM who made a number of dramatic rescues in the Mediterranean area.