During the Second World War, thousands of young men volunteered for service with the Royal Air Force. Some of these became fighter pilots, but a great many more were destined to be trained as members of bomber aircrew; pilots, navigators, wireless operators, bomb aimers, air gunners and flight engineers. On completion of their training a number of these men were posted to XV Squadron, a highly regarded frontline bomb squadron which had been formed during the First World War.
Bomber Squadron: Men Who Flew with XV relates the personal stories of a small number of these men, giving an insight to their anxious moments when flying on operational sorties, staring death in the face in the form of enemy night-fighters and ground fire, and relaxing with them during their off-duty hours. The book also reveals the motivations, emotions and personal attitudes of these men, who flew into combat on an almost nightly basis. Their stories encompass the whole six years of the war, over which period XV Squadron flew a range of different bomber aircraft including Fairey Battles, Bristol Blenheims, Vickers Wellingtons, Short Stirlings and Avro Lancasters.
Martyn R. Ford-Jones
Country of Publication:
03 July 2019
Foreword; Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1 Three Times Fifteen: Air Vice-Marshal Stewart `Paddy' Menaul; 2 MacRobert's Reply: Squadron Leader Peter Boggis, DFC; 3 The Quest to Find Leonard: Pilot Officer Leonard O'Hara; 4 Sojourn in Spain: Group Captain Michael Wyatt, DFC; 5 The Diary: Sergeant Frederick `Steve' Stevens; 6 `Te Kooti': Sergeant Arthur Edgley; 7 The Permanent Reminder: Pilot Officer Graham `Mick' Cullen; 8 The Biter Bitten: Sergeant Douglas `Doug' Fry; 9 The Darkness of Pain: Flight Sergeant Gilbert `Gil' Marsh; 10 A Squadron of One: Flight Lieutenant Oliver Brooks, DFC; 11 The Born Survivor: Flight Lieutenant Len Miller, DFC; 12 No Illusions of Grandeur: Warrant Officer Bernard Dye; 13 The First Hurdle: Flight Sergeant Harry Bysouth, DFM; 14 Operations Manna and Exodus: Flight Sergeant D. A. `Pat' Russell; 15 A Collection of Memories: They Also Flew; Appendix I: XV Squadron List of Awards 1939-1945; Appendix II: XV Squadron Second World War Roll of Honour; Appendix III: List of Wartime Officers Commanding; Appendix IV: List of Second World War Airfield Locations; Bibliography; Index.
Martyn Ford-Jones has spent over thirty-six years studying the history of XV Squadron. During that time he has been privileged to meet, befriend and interview many of those who served with the squadron during the inter-war years, the Second World War and the post war years. He visited the squadron when they were based at RAF Laarbruch, West Germany, RAF Honington, Suffolk, after the first Gulf War and RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland, where he is an Honorary Member of the Officers' Mess. Ford-Jones resides in Wiltshire with his wife Valerie to whom he has been married for over fifty-two years.