Darley George 609 *

GEORGE DARLEY

Squadron Leader H S Darley DSO

DARLEY, Horace Stanley “George”, was commanding officer of 609 Squadron in 1940, and led the

squadron during the early stages of the Battle of Britain. He was a Londoner from Wandsworth, and gained his first success on 8th August when he shot down a Bf 110. On the 15th he probably destroyed a Ju88, and on the 25th got a Bf 109 and a Bf 110. On 25th September he damaged a Do17 and a Bf 110, and next day probably destroyed a Do17 and damaged another. He was awarded a DSO for his leadership of the unit, and in early October left the squadron after getting 3½ confirmed kills and 3 probables. He was posted as Wing Commander, Exeter, and from here he brought his score to 5. The following year he was posted to the Far East, and was in command of operations by the Buffalo equipped fighter force in Malaya in December 1941. In 1942 he commanded Risalpur RAF station in India, with the rank of Group Captain. He served with 221 Group in Burma during 1943, and then commanded 151 OTU until 1944. He was in charge of 62 OTU from then until 1945 when he became Commanding Officer of RAF Cranfield.

George Darley was an accomplished pianist and held the ‘Russian Desk’ in Intelligence for 14 years.

Mukeiras, Aden 1935 – 36

Horace (but known universally to all as George) Darley was born on the 3 November 1913 and educated at Emmanuel School on Wandsworth Common. Whilst there, he obtained colours for rugby, rowing, and shooting at Bisley, representing the school also at swimming and fives.George joined the RAF in 1932 with a commission and the following September was posted to Bircham Newton flying Fairy Gordons with 207 Bomber Squadron.

In 1935 George was posted to 8 Sqn in Aden flying Fairy 111F’s and Vickers Vincents. Whilst at Aden, George spent some time at Burao in British Somaliland, and then promoted as a Flight Commander in March 1936.

Postings to CFS at Upavon on an instructors course and 7 FTS at Peterborough followed, with further postings in 1938 to 602 Sqn in May and 611 Sqn in December. Promoted to Squadron Leader on 1st April 1939, George took over firstly the Catterick Ops room and then soon after the Debden Ops room. In April 1940 he was posted to Merville in France as part of No 63 Wing Air Component, British Expeditionary Force. After being evacuated from the continent via Boulogne in June 1940, George was posted as a supernumary to a Spitfire Squadron at Hornchurch, for three sorties only. Then came a posting to 609 (WR) Sqn on the 28th June 1940 at Northolt. During the 3 months that George was in command, 609 (WR) Sqn claimed 85 enemy aircraft for the loss of seven pilots. On October 5th, George was posted as a Wing Commander to command the Exeter wing with two day squadrons and one night fighter squadron. Eighteen days later, George was awarded the DSO, only the eighth DSO to be awarded for leadership during the Battle of Britain. The following May, he was posted to Air HQ, Far East, Singapore. After several different assignments and locations, George was promoted to Group Captain in June 1943, and posted to command 151 FTS at Risalpur, NWFP. This was followed by the command of 62 OTU at Ouston near Newcastle upon Tyne, and the command of RAF Cranfield in June 1945. After the war, George completed a Staff College Course in 1946 and was posted as Senior Air Staff Officer at 12 Group in Watnall. In the October of that year, George was posted to RAF Wittering as Commander followed by West Mailing in 1948. In July 1948, George was sent to India to set up a Staff College at Wellington near Ootacumond. In May 1950 he returned to West Mailing as the Commanding Officer and in 1952 was posted to the Air Ministry as Deputy Director Overseas Operations.

Middleton St George June 1954 to October 1956

In June 1954 George was posted to 4 FTS at Middleton St George, then as a Chief Intelligence Officer Far East, Singapore. George retired from the RAF eventually in June 1959, but then was invited to join the Air Ministry where he spent a further 14 years on special duties. During his service career George flew 65 different aircraft types, completed 27 years service and commanded 11 RAF stations.

David Darley – June 2014

Crook David 609 *

Flight Lieutenant David M Crook DFC – 609 Squadron

David Moore Crook was born in Huddersfield in 1914 and went to Cambridge University. In August 1938. He joined 609 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force at RAF Yeadon, and had done some flying training before he was called for full-time service on 25 August 1939 .He was posted to 6 Flying Training School Little Rissington on 7 October and, after completing his training, he rejoined 609 Squadron in May 1940. On 9 July, Crook destroyed a Junkers Ju87 ‘Stuka’ and damaged another; o the 13th he damaged a Dornier Do17. O 11 August, h destroyed a Me110, on the 12th probably another, on the 13th shot down a Me109, on the 14th shared a Heinkel He111, on 27th September shared a Me110 and on the 30th destroyed two Me109’s and probably another.

He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 1 November 1940).

On 10 November 1940, Crook was posted to Central Flying School Upavon for an instructor’s course, after which he went to 15 Elementary Flying Training School Carlisle, remaining there until April 1944 when he moved to the Advanced Flying Unit (AFU) at Wheaton Aston.

In July 1944 he was posted to the AFU at Tern Hill, in September to 41 Operational Training Unit (OTU) Hawarden and on 1 December to 8 (Coastal) OTU at Dyce.

On 18 December 1944 Crook took off in a Spitfire IX EN662 to fly a mid-morning high-level photographic training sortie. At 10.52 am HQ 13 Group reported to Dyce that a Spitfire had been seen to dive into the sea near Aberdeen from 20,000 feet. A search of the area picked up some of Crook’s flying clothing but he was never found. He may have passed out to due to a fault in his oxygen system and his death remains somewhat of a mystery to this day, although a theory exists that he had suffered a heart attack due to a hereditary condition which had only just been diagnosed at the time.

He is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, panel 202.

Cowie George RFC *

2nd Lieutenant George Cowie
54 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps*

Killed in Action, 22nd October 1917, aged 18

The only son of Captain and Mrs Alexander Cowie of Dullan Brae, Dufftown, Banffshire in North East Scotland, George was my father’s first cousin and four years older. My father greatly admired and looked up to him. Both were educated at Rugby School.

At the beginning of 1917, and much against his parents’ wishes, George Cowie left school early while still only 17, as he was determined to join the Royal Flying Corps. After what seems to have been a very short period of training, he was commissioned and was posted to 54 Squadron.

Flying Sopwith Pup B1782, George Cowie was with a patrol over the front line in Belgium when it was engaged by German aircraft. In the ensuing battle, he collided with another aircraft, both falling behind the German lines. It was at first hoped that he might have survived and become a prisoner of war, but then it became clear he had been killed.

His mother was presiding over a large group of ladies knitting and sewing for men at the front, when she received a note to say he had been killed. Knowing that nearly all those in the hall had husbands, sons and brothers fighting in the war, she managed to conceal her grief until the session was over.

Had he survived, George Cowie would have inherited the Glenrinnes estate. All that is left is the collection of over 300 letters I have that, from the age of 8, he wrote to his parents and two younger sisters from school.

Sir Michael Oswald KCVO DSc MA

Honorary Air Commodore

2620 (Count of Norfolk) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force

11 November 2006 to date

* Lt Howie enlisted as a volunteer airman in 1917. Had he so enlisted in 1924, he would have become a member of the recently formed Auxiliary Air Force. Inasmuch, he and similar RFC and RNAS volunteers are considered very worthy of, and eligible for inclusion in today’s RAuxAF Foundation’s Memorial list.

Chapman William 609 *

William Chapman 609 Sqn

POEM WRITTEN BY FS VIC ROSE 609 (WEST RIDING) SQUADRON RAuxAF IN MEMORY OF FLT SGT BILLY CHAPMAN

The poem below was written by FS Vic Rose in memory of his friend and comrade in arms Flt Sgt Billy Chapman. The family would like the poem to be displayed with the three career pictures on the QR.

     
“BILLY BOY”

To write this poem I could not wait
As I wanted you to read it Billy mate

I’ve lost my Mum, I’ve lost my Dad,
But to loss you mate makes me so sad

When you go to that big place in the sky
Go through those gates with your head held high
When he offers you wings
Tell him it’s too late, say
I’ve already got the real ones mate

When you get in there book some seats
And if the big yin asks you why
Tell him it’s for a big reunion in the sky
Tell him they are for Vic and Geordie
But that he will have to wait
Cause those two wankers are always late

Don’t worry about Libby
Your Daughters or Son
Cause they are now part of the Squadron
So laugh with joy cause you’ll still be with us
Billy Boy

There will be a big place on the Squadron that they can’t fill
Cause that big place belongs to Bill
A place for you Geordie and I will keep
In our hearts and that is deep

We will raise a glass when we go away
But not with whisky, we’re not that dumb
So it will have to be the good old Spicey Rum

We will fill one for us and one for you
Then raise the glass and say

PER ARDUA
(Through Adversity)
Forever RAF Regiment
“BILLY BOY”

Bushell Roger 601 *

Roger Bushell

THE LEADER OF THE GREAT ESCAPE

Roger Joyce Bushell was born in Springs, Transvaal, South Africa on 30 August 1910. Educated in Johannesburg and at Wellington College in Berkshire, he went on to study law at Pembroke College between 1930 and 1932. As a student, he developed a passion for skiing and captained the Oxford and Cambridge team on a vist to Canada. He was declared the fasted Briton in the Male Downhill Category and subsequently had a run named after him at St Moritz in Switzerland. On graduation from Cambridge, he became a Barrister at Law at Lincolns Inn in London, where he specialised in criminal defence.

In 1932, Roger joined 601 (County of London) Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force, known variously as The Legionaires due to the colourful variety of its members or The Millionaires Mob because of the privileged background of its officers. Although a pilot,with his legal background, he was soon appointed to military cases, prosecuting and defending RAF personnel who had been charged with flying offences. Shortly after the outbreak of war, he was promoted to Squadron Leader and achieved the remarkable distinction of being the first auxiliary officer to command a regular RAF squadron, No 92.

On 23 May 1940, Roger was shot down over Boulogne. He crash-landed his aircraft but was soon captured and sent to the Dulag Luft Transit Camp from which he escaped, only to be recaptured at the Swiss Border. He was transferred to Lubeck, then Oflag X-C at Wurburg, in October 1941, and whilst in transit, the train stopped briefly in Hannover. He and his fellow prisoner, Jaroslav Zafouk, cut a hole in the floor of the carriage and made their way to Prague. After 6 months hiding in Prague with the Czech Resistance, Roger was arrested and subsequently interrogated in Berlin by the Gestapo for some weeks in connection with the recent assassination of Reinhard Heydrich by the Resistance.

He was then sent to Stalag Luft III at Sagan in what is now Poland where he took over the role of `Big X’ in charge of escapes. In the spring of 1943, he masterminded what became known as The Great Escape. 600 men dug three separate tunnels, so that in the event that one was discovered, the Germans would think it unlikely that others existed. At the time, many POWs preferred to sit out the rest of the war, rather than escape but Roger rallied and inspired others, when he declared `everyone here in this room is living on borrowed time. By rights, we should all be dead. The only reason that God allowed us this extra ration of life is so that we can make life hell for our captors. In North Compound, we are concentrating our efforts in completing and escaping in one master tunnel. No private enterprise tunnels allowed. Three bloody deep, bloody long, tunnels will be dug, Tom, Dick and Harry. One will succeed. On the evening of 24 March1944 200 officers prepared to escape, but just 76 got out before the tunnels were discovered, Only three made it back, one to the UK and two to Norway. The remainder were recaptured and 50 of them, including Roger Bushell, were shot by the Gestapo on Hitler’s direct orders. The Inscription on the headstone of Roger’s grave in Poznan, Poland reads:

A LEADER OF MEN, HE ACHIEVED MUCH,
AND
LOVED ENGLAND TO THE END

Bunkell Dennis *

DENNIS BUNKELL

The Debt We Owe

It is a well-known military saying; never volunteer for anything. This country recently commemorated the momentous events of D Day which changed the course of history. Many of those who stormed ashore that day had volunteered to fight before waiting to be called up.

I know exactly where my father Dennis was that day; his RAF logbook tells me that he was in Madras India. He had volunteered as an RAF mechanic in 1940 aged 18 but by 1943 he had volunteered again to train for aircrew duties. His training had taken him to Canada and the West Indies but in June 1944 his war was about to start for real!

Operating from a jungle air strip in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) by the end of the war he had completed 45 operational missions as the flight engineer on a Liberator aircraft. Operating at the very limits of the aircraft’s capability they flew across endless tracts of the Bay of Bengal hunting Japanese submarines, laying mines and on special operations dropping agents behind enemy lines. His Squadron was special by any measure; they earned 60 bravery decorations and lost 105 personnel during hostilities. He was still only 23 years old when the war finished.

He finally got home in 1946 having reached the rank of Warrant officer and immediately volunteered as a reservist with the Royal Auxiliary Air Force until 1960; he just couldn’t leave it alone! He eventually retired to Capel St Mary where he spent the last 20 years of his life. He passed away in January 2005 a few weeks before he and I were due go back to Sri Lanka to visit some of the locations where he had served. I still made the trip and his ashes now rest in the jungle clearing he flew from; his ‘corner of a foreign field’ as the poem goes.

Although special to his family he was not by any means unusual; thousands like him served this country with great distinction. He gave some of the best years of his life; thousands gave their rest of theirs. In May we dedicated a memorial stone for him at the National Memorial in Staffordshire. He wouldn’t have welcomed a lot of fuss, like many of his generation he was modest and unassuming; despite having much to be proud of.

He and his brothers in arms understood that there are occasions when freedom has to be won. They should all be respected and admired; above all they should be remembered.

Gary Bunkell

May 2014

Blayney Jarvis *

Flight Lieutenant Jarvis Blayney AFC

Joined 609 in 1936 and was stationed at Yeadon Aerodrome. Flying Officer Jarvis Blayney flew Spitfire serial number L1065 “Harpo” PR-M, B Flight, Green Section. Following the outbreak of war, the Squadron was stationed at Catterick, the Drem, Kinloss, Northolt and Middle Wallop. Throughout the Battle of Britain Jarvis Blayney undertook many operations, earning him the honour of being referred to as one of “the Few” by Prime Minister Winston Churchill whom he had previously escorted to France. Following the Battle of Britain he suffered a hearing problem requiring surgery. By then into his 30s he was no longer permitted to fly Spitfires and was posted to Training Command where he trained many pilots to fly. He was awarded the Air Force Cross for his work.