RAF Servicemen 1940-1941.
Shown above Flight M on November 9th 1941 with Robert Clinkaberry "3rd right middle row with specs." Ginger Burgess is first right top row, Bill Woods first left bottom row, and a guy named Seaman is 3rd left middle row. Find more recollections from Robert on the 1939-1945 Eye Witness page.
No 931 BB Squadron July 5th 1941. I have no other details about this photograph.
Although "RAF Cardington" was written on the back of this postcard above no other details are known. Luckily we have the date when the photograph was taken back in 1941. I am assuming the number 421 was the hut number where this particular group of young men were billetted. *In Dec 2018 Nicola Roe e-mailed with the following information about one of the men in the above photo: “My Grandad is sitting centre front row (5th in) Christopher Quevilly Roe, also known as Christopher Columbus….. He was an orphan and died of cancer young. I have nothing about his time here if you could help point me in the right direct that would be fantastic.” Nicola has sent in the two photos of Christopher shown right. Thank you Nicola.
Christopher Quevilly Roe - centre front row.
Christopher Quevilly Roe, also known as Christopher Columbus.
Leonard Taylor (front row fourth from left) at Cardington in February 1941.
The photo (left) sent in by Geoff Taylor shows his father Leonard Taylor (front row fourth from left) at Cardington in February 1941. In Geoff's own words: "As well as looking through a number of his letters, photographs and other material that relates to my father’s wartime experience, I also obtained a copy of his Service Record from the RAF. By combining the material with Internet research I have put together a fairly comprehensive record of his RAF experience of which this note is a summary. My father, Leonard Taylor, was born on 12th April 1921 and lived in Bromley, Kent. After leaving school he became a motor mechanic and he volunteered to join the RAF in December 1940 at the age of 19. He was demobilised in 1946 and died in 1986. I do not recall Dad talking very much about his wartime experiences but I do know that he worked on the engines of Wellington bombers and spent time in India."
Is Roland Connor in this group photo? Andrew Jones has made contact – can you help him in his research of a WW2 RAF serviceman who used to live at his house? Here is the story so far: “I live in Crosby, Merseyside and am researching my house. The family Connor lived here during the war with 2 boys who went on to serve their country. I have even had people send me photographs of a young lad who lived here. Roland Connors war records online state he went to Cardington in 1941. From a pic I have been sent of him and one of your pics in your 1940-41 servicemen section I think I have a match? What do you think? I will send you my pic and one from your site. I await your response to which chap you think he is. I would love to find out what Roland Connor did during his service. It would be great to piece this jigsaw".
Upon enlisting, Dad’s title was AC2 and he became an AC1 in July 1941. From December 1942 he was a Leading Aircraftman (LAC) and he was promoted to acting Corporal in September 1945 (i.e. after the end of the war). He was designated as “FME” - Flight Mechanic Engines.
The following timeline summarises my father’s principal locations at various times during the war.**
30/12/40 Date of enlistment.
29/1/41 Beginning of training at Cardington, Lincolnshire. See photo dated 2nd February 1941.
26/7/41 To 5 STT (School of Technical Training). Locking (Weston-Super-Mare), Somerset.
26/9/41 To Holme-on-Spalding Moor, Yorkshire. 458 Squadron.
Possibly February 42 To Breighton, Yorkshire. 460 Squadron.
20/5/42 To 30 Maintenance Unit, Sealand, Flintshire.
11/12/42 To Wickenby, Lincolnshire. 12 Squadron.12 squadron were at Wickenby from September 1942. They converted from Wellingtons to Lancasters during the winter of 42/43.
5/8/43 To 5 Personnel Despatch Unit, Blackpool. Prior to despatch to India.
29/10/43 At 29 Personnel Reception Centre, India. According to a website, 29 PRC was in Sind. From further investigation it seems likely that it is the RAF depot at Drigh Road, Karachi.
12/11/43 At 322 Maintenance Unit, India. From the web, 322 MU was based at Chakeri, Cawnpore. Now called Kanpur. Dad probably remained at Cawnpore for the remainder of his service.
5/5/46 Possible release date. RAF records refer to “101 POC Class A release”. I am not sure what this means.
16/5/46 To C5B PDC. Is C5B Personnel Despatch Centre where he was released from?
1/8/46 Possible release date. RAF records refer to “Effective release date”. I am not sure what this means.
30/6/59 RAF records refer to “Discharged from Class 'G' reserve" This is long after the war. I presume from this that Dad could have been recalled to the RAF in the event of another war.
Thank you so much Geoff for sharing this information about your father.
Roland Connor. All I know of the family is that Roland had a brother Billy who fought in Germany and Belgium in WW2 too. Their father William was living at my house during the 1939 registry. Both brothers survived the war got married but had no children. After Billy and his wife passed away, they willed the house to Roland. The only record of a Roland Connor with a birthdate for c1924 died in 1980 in Trafford Manchester. I think this could be him to be fair.” Thank you Andy – let’s hope more details come to light about Roland. – Jane May 2020.
Ernest Pearce. Cardington 1941 - 1945
Staff at the station throughout the war years tended to stay for short periods and then be posted away. So it
“My dad was at Cardington from 1941 to 1945, he was a tailor. When he was demobbed he went on to work at home but for a tailors in Jermyn St. London. He made military uniforms and some of the Coronation robes.
He was born 1905 and died 1996 aged 90. His name was Ernest Pearce. My sister has a picture of my dad measuring up a cadet for a uniform and I have asked her to sort it out for me. I cannot believe my dad lived to 90. He died in 1996 and we had no idea of any of this and he and I were close.
I know he stayed there a while as it is documented in his service and release book. I have enclosed a copy. He was a really talented tailor and after his service he made military uniforms without a pattern!
really good to hear from Elaine Leeks with details of her father who was at the camp for a longer period between 1941and 1945.
I used to travel with him to the West End with his finished suit and back again with a roll of material with a few chalk marks! He worked from home all his life and I can still smell the aroma of his workshop.” - Thank you Elaine. Jane May 2020
Ernest Pearce. Tailor at the station.
Above an undated photo of Frederick Price.
Shown above a group photo (again undated). Frederick is seated far left on the front row marked by the X above his head.
Hut 464 "K" flight in November 1940. Jack Akers is top row, far right.
Susan Davey is looking for information about her grandfather shown above left.
“Hello I am looking for some help. I am researching my family tree and I know my grandfather was at Cardington Bedford as I have his R.A.F book. His name was Frederick Carbert Price he was born 25/9/1911 and enlisted on 14/4/1941. His trade says L.A.C. Leading Aircraft Man. From what I have researched I think L.A.C was the second lowest rank but I am not sure. His RAF book mentions Thorney Island.”
It is more than likely that Frederick was at Cardington as a new recruit and would possibly have been at the station for as little as three weeks for initial screening. Susan has some other photographs of her grandfather but does not know where they were taken, one of these is the group photograph shown above. If you spot a familiar face please get in touch.
-Thanks Jane. May 2020.
Signatures of K Flight November 1940.
Carole Morrison has sent in the following information: “Good afternoon Jane, I am going through photographs that my father had collected over his years in the RAF. Sadly he passed away in 1993 and I have inherited these from my mother and am trying to see if any of the relevant squadrons etc. would be interested in any of the memorabilia. I have a photograph (shown above) of “Hut 464 "K" flight in November 1940 complete with a list of names on the rear of the photograph. My father was Jack Akers, who sadly passed away in 1992 and I know bits about his wartime service and am trying to piece things together.
In this photograph he was 18 years of age and had volunteered as a trainee pilot with the RAF. He was sent for initial basic training for drills, foot, rifle and bayonet and lectures on service life and regulations. He said his rate of pay was two shillings a day. This training lasted for 6 weeks until the end of 1940 when he was posted to the north of Scotland for grand defence duties, awaiting training as a pilot. This began in April 1941 and he was awarded his pilot's brevet in November 1941. He was able to choose which sort of operational flying he would prefer and chose twin engined night fighters - Beaufighters then.
When training was completed he chose 604 squadron based close to his home. After 3 months he volunteered to go to the Middle East to join a squadron and left by troopship around June 1942. He was taken off the ship at Takoradi, Ghana to ferry new Beaufighter aircraft from there to Cairo, across Africa to Khartoum and then up the Nile. He did 5 of these trips and then joined his new squadron near Alexandria. The Al Alamein offensive started in October 1942 and he was sent on various attachments following up the 8th Army as it advanced.
In January 1943 he volunteered to go to India to join a new squadron being formed near Calcutta. He flew a new Beaufighter there which was the first of this model to reach India. He stayed there until May 1944 when he was posted back to the UK to a Fighter Command ferry unit based in York. The work consisted of moving aircraft from squadron to training units, and eventually from training units to storage, or to be broken up or scrapped. He stayed with the unit until it was disbanded in 1946. He flew many types of single and twin engined aircraft for use in Fighter Command and in 1945 was given a conversion course on meteor jet fighters.
When the unit disbanded he chose to go to the Aeroplane Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down and took part in acceptance trials for the De Havilland Hornet and the Miles Monitor. When the trials finished he was posted to a night fighter squadron based at Wittering and equipped with Mosquito aircraft that had replaced the Beaufighter earlier. He stayed with the squadron until June 1947 it had moved to Coltishall and was posted to Central Fighter Establishment at West Raynham to take part in all-weather landing trials and to give the ground control radar stations practice with interceptions.
Towards the end of 1949 he decided to get experience with large transport aircraft which would stand him in good stead as a civilian pilot. He was posted to Dishforth on a Long Range transport course with York Aircraft. When this was completed he was posted to 51 squadron at Bassingbourne and from there flew to Singapore, Egypt, Iraq, Karachi and Ceylon. At the end of 1950 the Yorks were withdrawn from service and he went back to Dishforth for a conversion course to Hastings Aircraft.
In May 1951 he resigned his commission and continued civilian flying. He considered his life a great experience, having visited or worked in some 104 countries on four of the continents, had flown some 8000 hours in around 84b types of aircraft. I am finding this research fascinating and tying up things entered in his log books. I would love any relevant bodies to have the memorabilia as it would mean so much more than being handed down to generations who never knew him. I am trying to contact any that I can identify to this end. As I am now 70 years old I feel I had better get on with it!”
-Thanks Jane. Oct 2020.