41 Squadron Rested after the Battle of Britain
On 23 February 1941, following almost six months deployment in the thick of the action at Hornchurch, 41 Squadron was ordered north to Catterick, in 13 Group, for a rest. It was necessary.
Their time at Hornchurch had taken its toll on the unit, and it was now a very different squadron, both physically and psychologically. Most of the pilots who had been sent south from Catterick with the unit the previous September did not return today. Fourteen pilots landed at Catterick at 10:00, but of the original 23 pilots who had arrived at Hornchurch in early September 1940, only four made the return flight:
• Remaining – 4: Darling, Ford, Lovell, Mackenzie
• WIA/Hospitalised – 4: Bennions, Lock, Usmar, Wallens
• Killed – 6: Boyle, Hood, Langley, McAdam, Scott, Webster
• Posted – 9: Allison, Boret, Carr-Lewty, Cory, Howitt, Morrogh-Ryan, Piddocke, Ryder, Sayers
However, if one also includes all the pilots posted to the Squadron between 3 September 1940 and 23 February 1941, the statistics are much more grim: Angus, Boyle, Chalder, Garvey, Gilders, Hogg, Hood, Langley, Lecky, Lloyd, McAdam, O’Neill, Scott, Walker, and Webster were all dead.
Others had been wounded in action, such as Sqn Ldr Robert Lister who had taken over command from Sqn Ldr Hood in September 1940 but had only lasted a week before he was shot down and hospitalised. Bennions, Draper, Lock, Usmar and Wallens were also all still in hospital as the Squadron headed for Catterick and only two returned after they were released.
Additionally, Aldous, Aldridge, Allison, H. C. Baker, Bamberger, Boret, Carr-Lewty, Carter, Cory, Howitt, Le Roux, Mileham, Morrogh-Ryan, Norwell, Piddocke, Ryder, and Sayers had all been posted away.
Taking all these men into account, a total of 15 pilots had been killed, six wounded and hospitalised, and 17 otherwise posted away, making over a 150% turnover in manpower since the unit’s deployment to Hornchurch in early September 1940. The Squadron now also had its third Commanding Officer since then, and in fact its fourth within ten months [See the table in Appendix I for a clearer overview of personnel movements].
Nominal Roll, 23 February 1941
On their arrival at RAF Catterick, 41 Squadron consisted of the following 22 pilots:
Sqn Ldr Donald O. Finlay
Sqn Ldr Patrick E. Meagher (Supernumerary)
Flt Lt Anthony D. J. Lovell DFC, OC B Flight
Flt Lt John N. Mackenzie DFC, OC A Flight
Fg Off Dennis A. Adams
Fg Off M. Peter Brown
Plt Off Edward V. Darling
Plt Off Roy C. Ford
Plt Off Michael F. Briggs
Plt Off Norman M. Brown
Plt Off Edward P. Wells
Plt Off Archibald L. Winskill
Sgt Plt Aubrey C. Baker
Sgt Plt Robert A. Beardsley
Sgt Plt Norman V. Glew
Sgt Plt Terence W. R. Healy
Sgt Plt Thomas Hindle
Sgt Plt Harry Hopkinson
Sgt Plt Jack London
Sgt Plt Wilfred Palmer
Sgt Plt George W. Swanwick
Sgt Plt Thomas W. Willmott
The move to Catterick gave Sqn Ldr Donald Finlay a much-needed opportunity to rest his pilots and provided him a five-month window in which to do so.
Whilst most men were sent on leave of varying lengths, many were posted away soon after the unit’s arrival, and replaced by pilots from other squadrons or, more often than not, by fresh pilots, albeit inexperienced, who arrived directly from operational training units.
As such, by the time the Squadron returned to operations with 11 Group in late July 1941, the unit had undergone yet another major transformation, and nearly all of the old faces were gone.
[Excerpt from Steve Brew’s “Blood, Sweat and Courage” (Fonthill, 2014). Sharing permitted, but no reproduction without permission, please.]
Royal Air Force personnel are participating in Red Flag 20-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada in the United States.
Typhoon and Lightning multi-role fighters, supported by a Voyager tanker, are being flown daily alongside United States Air Force, U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Air Force counterparts in the most complex and demanding air combat training available anywhere in the world.
Red Flag, the giant air combat exercise held annually in the United States, has tested participants to the limits.
It is one of the pinnacle exercises of the RAF calendar and this year has been no exception; Typhoon, Voyager, Air Operations staff and, for the first time, Lightning have spent three weeks in Nevada honing their skills with American and Australian counterparts.
And it's not the aircraft that play a big part. In the weeks leading up to the three-week exercise over 250 tons of equipment required to sustain and support the exercise arrived at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada via land, sea and air in a complex logistical move.
Read more ➡️ http://bit.ly/RAFRedFlag20
The ‘exclusive’ club with very stringent entry requirements has featured in the news today.
The Goldfish Club is an Association exists to keep alive the spirit of comradeship arising from the mutual experience of members surviving, "coming down in the drink".
If you wish to find out more about this unique Association you can visit their webpage: http://www.thegoldfishclub.co.uk or contact them via email: email@example.com
Do 41 Sqn have any candidates?
The Association is sorry to announce the passing of Wg Cdr Willie Felger.
Willie joined No 41(F) Squadron in April 1972 as a navigator when it re-formed at RAF Coningsby, equipped with the Phantom FGR2. During this tour, he was the Squadron Standard Bearer. The Squadron Commander at the time was Wg Cdr Brian (B.J.) Lemon.
“Willie. Retired Wg Cdr RAF, died on 1st January 2020. Much loved husband to Sue and father to Simon and Harriet. Funeral Service at Wealden Crematorium TN21 0LH on 31st January 2020 at 1 pm. No flowers please but donations, if desired, to Hospice in the Weald TN2 4TA”
Willie contributed his memories of the Phantom era to the Association and they are captured on our website here:
This picture by Andrew Harris is available to purchase from his website.
Terrence Spencer's Mk XII Spitfire tipping the V1 flying bomb.
Painting completed Jan 2020 by Marc Heaton.
Captain Valentine Baker MC AFC served with 41 Squadron from 1916 – June 1917, and served briefly as a Flight Commander. He left the RAF in 1922 to work for Vickers-Armstrong. In 1934, however, he formed the Martin-Baker Aircraft Company with his colleague James Martin, to design new aircraft and offer flying lessons. One of their more notable pupils was Amy Johnson. The company went on to manufacture and market four different propeller aircraft, but Baker himself was killed in a flying accident in 1942, whilst test-flying the third of these. It was his death, however, that caused his business partner to rethink safety and develop a means of assisted escape for pilots. As a result, Martin-Baker began to manufacture ejection seats in 1946, and still does today for both fixed wing and rotary military aircraft.
Amongst 80 types of aircraft into which their seats have been fitted are the Jaguar, which 41 Squadron flew from 1977–2006, the Harrier, which the squadron flew from 2006–2010, and the Tornado and Typhoon, both of which they fly today. Martin-Baker ejection seats are now being fitted into the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Over 70,000 Martin-Baker ejection seats have been delivered to 93 air forces, which have saved almost 7,500 lives. It is a squadron legacy that in giving his own life, Baker has saved the lives of thousands of others.
Congratulations to all the RAF personnel who have been recognised for their efforts in this year’s New Year Honours List!
Updates and news direct from the Committee