In this section we publish historical details and requests on old squadron comrades
We ask members / friends who are able, to provide relevant info.
Have a regular check and help if you can - Thanks a lot, Bill
The photo below comes courtesy of friend of 55 Sqn, Graham Knight, whose Grandfather served with 55 Squadron in WW1
More details about WO Colin Pannell below from Friends of 55 Squadron member Andrew Cox
Success with the Payton enquiry below! Check out the reply from AG Wright's daughter Janet...
Friends of 55 Squadron member, Tim Cornish, sends us the following information, concerning two previous members of 55 Squadron. He is also organising an exhibition of WW1 artefacts - read on for details - we will relay the date and venue when available.
Happy New Year, I trust yourself, your family and the rest of 55 Sqn Association enjoyed a good festive period?
I have just come into possession of a Victory Medal, awarded to Lt Albert Charles Roberts, an observer with 55 Squadron. He was posted to 55 Sqn in France on 6th August 1918, later on the 16th August Charles was the Observer in DH4 F5703 being flown by 2nd Lt Thomas H Laing. They were taking part on a bombing raid on Darmstadt when they were shot up. Charles suffered from gun shot wounds and the aircraft was holed in the fuel tank which necessitated a forced landing near to Luneville. The aircraft was wrecked on landing.
Charles was hospitalised with gun shot wounds to his head, left arm and left leg. He was returned by hospital ship to the UK on 24th August 1918.
Sadly not such a long career, 10 days at the Front at Azelot, but nevertheless an interesting story.
I am in contact with a gentleman who has come into a large possession of RFC photographs & glass slides, numbering into the thousands. He has sent me one of a gentleman of 55 Sqn, see attached (coming later, ed.) Lt Sattim/Sattin? I cannot tell the name, sadly!
I am part of a small 5/6 person team who has over the last 18 months put together the largest Royal Flying Corps exhibition in the country, under one roof. I can forward you the details of when it will be open, most likely April time. These are all original artefacts, uniforms, medals, dating from Air Battalion era to the RAF in Russia, 1919. I am sure you will be most impressed....
Best for now
Received 10 June 2019
From: P & J Stanley
Subject: Squadron leader R D M Evers DFC
I wonder if you can help me. I would very much like to contact the families of my father's crew when he was shot down on Ocotber 6th 1942 whilst serving with 55 squadron in north Africa. It is mentioned on p. 189 in Bomber Losses In The Middle East and Mediterranean vol 1: 1939 - 1942.
Following his order for them to bail out, they were taken POW. My father's escape hatch jammed but he brought the plane down in NML under heavy enemy fire and was eventually rescued. The plane
was so badly damaged and so close to the enemy line that the Allies blew it up the following day. And a few days after that he flew in 12/14 raids by 55 squadron in the battle of Alamein!!
I have his 3 pilot's log books which I am taking to RAF Hendon next week - they have expressed an interest in scanning/copying them.
He captained Worcestershire cricket on 5 occasions, won the county squash championship two yrs before and two yrs after the war, played rugby for Moseley and was the youngest member of the Cambridge Vandals Tour to Canada and the States, playing in both the cricket and rugby matches.
I have written his biography which includes +/- 80 of his wartime letters to his family in Stourbridge and also pictures of his crew.
I would love to contact any of the descendants of his crew, namely:
W/O H. R. Callender RNZAF
Sgt J Hall
Sgt R J Wilson
(Latter two depicted below - also see the latest shots in the Historical Photos section. ed.)
If you can help or have any suggestions I would love to hear from you.
With kind regards,
If it helps, Sqn Ldr Evers attended the 55 Sqn Association re-union in the Savoy Tavern, London on 22.November 1982
My Dad Norman Birchall was on 55 Squadron at Marham and flew on the Victor.
That is what I am named after - he was in Canada when I was born.
We lived at 32 Oak Avenue. I am trying to find out more of my Dad's life in the RAF, as he passed away when I was 19.
If you remember Norman, please send any info to: Vikki Beaton: email@example.com
I have an idea he was Chief Tec
Sgt Ernest Clare DFM Observer 55 Sqn WW1
Ms Jean Noblett and her daughter Leann have written to inform us that they are preparing a short history of Sgt Ernest Clare, who earned the DFM while flying on 55 Sqn. in the First World War.
By a lucky chance they recognised in a picture on our website, his pilot, Capt J R Bell, in a picture of 55 Squadron aircrew while stationed at
(This is included in our reproduced story The Johns Connection by Michael C. Armstrong about the author, W E Johns - who wrote the Biggles series - provided to us by Dave Maloney - and now in the 55 in the First World War section.)
Ms Noblett would like to know how Sgt Clare earned his DFM, as according to the book Chronicles of 55 Squadron by J R Miller, who was the Adjutant during the time that 55 Sqn was stationed at Azelot Airfield, he was the only Observer at the time of his book, to be so decorated.
This was pretty much the period, when Maj Gray and Major Silly had been Squadron Commanders, By great coincidence, information on Maj Gray is also being sought – by his great nephew Tim Cornish – see below.
Ms Noblett has kindly sent us some shots of the 55 Squadron Observers at Azelot and of Sgt Clare. These will shortly appear in the 55 in the First World War section, where they will be a worthy addition to the above mentioned photos.
If you have any information or ideas which can help track down the reason for the DFM or have any information about the other airmen in the pictures from this dynamic and brave time, please let me know.
Thanks, Bill Palmer
Hello, I write from Italy, my name is Giovanni Brunetti. I would like to have more information about the
presence of the squadron in Cecina, Tuscany. Can you help me? In particular I seek information about the airman William Geddes Fielder.
Thank you so much for your collaboration.
My grandfather, Frank Linford, served as an Armourer with 55 Sqn from 1940-45 throughout the western desert,
malta and Italy. I am trying to find out more about his time in the war and if (by some miracle) anyone has any
photos of armourers in 55 sqn. His number was 1352532.
Hello, my uncle Colin Elliott Pannell served with 55 in the Middle East during WW2, Colin was a Warrant Officer RAAF he was a Wireless Op Air Gunner flying the Baltimore Bombers, I am hoping there may be a photo of Colin with his crew, I have a couple photos, his badges and AG Wing and RAAF Wireless Op Badge, Colin was killed in a car accident in 1964
Andrew sends us more details: Uncle Colin Pannell RAAF flew with 55, i posted up a while ago about him, further info has come to light, Colin had to ditch a few times, one ditching he got burnt, his last ditching found him in his dinghy together with a German pilot he had rescued - luckily picked up by the RAF asr first, (Colin ended up flying asr in the Walrus).
Above, seen at the RFC re-union in 1949 is AVM Gray, who as Major Gray was the 55 Squadron "Boss" in 1918 during its famous days in France as a long range Bomber Squadron. He was also present at the 55 / 57 Squadrons 50th anniversary celebrations in 1966. His great Nephew, Tim Cornish has requested any information about his period on 55 Squadron, especially photographs.
Please forward any historical information to my email address.
Thanks, Bill Palmer
Photo above from The Aeroplane in 1949
Thanks to Warwick, Everard Payton's son, I was able to research 55 Squadron's use of the Boston. It is pretty clear that he flew on the Squadron during the Hassani period. Good shots of his fellow crew members too. Does anybody recognise him or them?
Well we have had some success! The following mail and photo came from Janet Wright, daughter of AG Donald Wright:
I hope you don’t mind me contacting you but I have been trying to find former flying crew of my late father, Air Gunner Donald Wright who was in 12 squadron and 55 squadron Greece. I found your site yesterday and was happy to find him with his friend Everad Earnest Payton, who they all called Reg/Norma .
In the first pic my Dad is first left (Top photo by the Boston, Ed.) the second is in Venice - my Dad is sitting next to Everad (Photo below with Crew, Ed) third pic my Dad is top right (Second shot above in Hassani, Greece, Ed) , I thought they could be used on your site.
Two of the shots mentioned were already on the site - Janet's mail has been forwarded to Warwick Payton.