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...:::: "The Dawn Patrol" - A Memorial and Historical Website ::::...

Squadron Crest

"This site is dedicated to all the men and women who served with 59th Squadron RFC & No. 59 Squadron RAF"

...::: View Squadron Service Honour Roll :::...
190 Honoured
1185 Honoured
151 Honoured

...::: Latest Site Updates - 14th August 2015 :::...
...::: Best viewed with Chrome (PC & Andriod) :::...
...::: Safari on Apple Devices :::...

No.111 OTU
Consolidated B-24 Liberator GR.Mk V's and VIII's - No. 111 O.T.U Nassau, Bahamas. A new and sometimes final posting for many 59 Sqdn officers and crew.

"... From the airmen that flew high above to those on the ground that made sure that day after day, night after night the aircraft were in top fighting condition, ready to carry their crews into battle with the best chance of victory and survival. To the WAAF and administrative personnel who worked hard and long hours to make sure that whatever airfield the squadron was stationed at, it was a well run and welcoming place that they all called home at the end of the day and at the end of a long enduring mission. Lest we forget.."

Blenheim TR-M
A 59 Sqdn Bristol Blenheim Mk IV with a new coat of camouflage - Poix airfield France - 1940.
::: A Friendly welcome from the site Maintenance Crew :::...

 

Hello, welcome to the site and thank you for taking the time to drop by! I have built this site with the express purpose of honouring 'all those' who served with No.59 Squadron, although for the moment I have paid particular attention to those who served during WWII. Eventually, given the time and resources I intend to further expand into the Great War and post WWII years. It is hoped for now that this site will act as a "linked resource base" for others wishing to learn more about No. 59 Squadron and those mentioned above. During my own research, I have discovered that there is a wealth of knowledge out there in cyberspace, books and from many various sources such as family members of veterans and even the veterans themselves... but it would be helpful if there were 'somewhere or something' that connected the dots. So I hope this site will help in this regard. One of my aims for the site is that it become a place for families to pay tribute and honour those loved ones who served. For this purpose I have put together a Service Honour Roll with links to individual Aircrew pages. Eventually each person on the Roll will have their own page. The Roll covers the years 1937-1946, and is for 'service' and not only for those lost... There are also Service Honour Roll's for WW1 and The Battle of Britain.

As well as the Honour Roll's, there are mission and crew detail pages, personnel profile pages, a U-boat War section, a page for details on lost aircraft, Lost Wings and an extensive squadron History section (links top and bottom of page). So far I have managed to source approx 350 photos of personnel and over 1100 names are included on the 1937-46 Roll. This site is forever growing and as more information is found and sent in a more in-depth picture of events is unfolding. If you have any information you feel should be included or you would like to set up a tribute page for a relative or friend, please let me know as I would be honoured to do what I can. Likewise if there is anything you feel should be omitted or revised, also please let me know: email me.

Nothing is irrelevant or of little importance... Everything, from the smallest of detail to the most renowned of memories, are all part of the greater story and thus should not be lost...

Thanks once again for stopping by, enjoy your stay and remember... "Ab Uno Disce Omnes - From One, Learn All".

AS OF MARCH 2014 - WE HAVE A NEW CONTACT EMAIL AND SITE ADDRESS CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE!!

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...::: New Additions for 2013 :::...
Honour Roll for WW1 has been added - This is still a work in progress but there are nearly 200 names listed so far and about 120 new tribute and memorial pages...

I have started updates to the post war operations of 59 Squadron, during the Berlin Airlift and flying the Canberra between 1956 -1961 in Germany.

...::: 59 Squadron Aircrews in the Far East :::...

In late Dec 1941 - Jan 1942, 18 crews were posted overseas with the task of flying the squadrons old Hudson force to the Far East. One more crew, originally destined for West Africa in October 1941, would join the contingent in Sumatra. Not all the crews made it, some were stranded along the way, some were lost but those that did arrive, found themselves with no chain of command. As Sgt. Hubert Birks described the situation,

"as far as 59 Sqdn were concerned, our job was done, all we had to do was return to the U.K... easier said than done!" (Into the Hands of Nippon, Birks, 2014)

The aircrews that did make it, found themselves attached to No.8 Sqdn RAAF and later No.1 Sqdn RAAF, operating in the defense of the Dutch East Indies.

 

-. ..- -- -... . .-. / ..-. .. ..-. - -.-- / -. .. -. . / ... --.- ..- .- -.. .-. --- -.
F/L Hervey Rae Longmuir RAAF - Nav-Bomb - No 59 Sqn RAF

Hudson Crew - Dunkerley

(L-R) P/O Pennycruick - P/O Longmuir - S/L Dunkerley - Sgt Drabble

A Bit of Background: (from Lorenzo) My grandfather HR Longmuir served with 59 Sqn. He never spoke of the war and sadly he passed away before I came to be here undertaking this research. As I read and learn more about the experiences and lives of other men and women during the war and their service with 59 Sqn, I feel I am learning more about my grandfathers too. Especially when the memoirs of his fellow 59 Sqn aircrew (EE Allen - HF Tuckwood etc) make mention of certain missions such as the Millennium II raid (Bremen), which my grandfather also took part in and flew with the men shown here (left).
View Hervey's Memorial page
.-. --- -.-- .- .-.. / .- .. .-. / ..-. --- .-. -.-. .
Liberator crew - Barson

(Back LR): P/O Massina, Sgt Bailey, Sgt Pilon, P/O Lees (Front LR): F/O Blair, F/O Barson, F/O Longmuir: made one of the first 59 Sqn attacks (causing damages) for which the U-Boat (U-223) has been confirmed, on 01/03/1943 in Flying Fortress FL463 - D/59. At this time the squadron were detached to RAF Chivenor for patrols in the Bay of Biscay.

 

:::: Airmen of the Commonwealth :::..
War Delcared Britain looks to the Empire and Dominions for help: At the start of the Second World War, the British Government looked to the Empire and Dominions for aid in "air training" because the United Kingdom did not have the space to accommodate training and operational facilities, and because aerodromes in the United Kingdom were vulnerable to enemy attack. The Agreement was signed by Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand on 17 December 1939, it listed the percentage of trainees each country would send, the percentage of costs each would take on, the training schedule, and the aerodrome opening schedule. Many of these Commonwealth aircrew served with British squadrons in Europe and other theatres of the war, as well as within their own nations.

:::: Still Flying ::..
Alec McCurdy: A former RAF pilot (DFC & Bar) flew with 59 Sqn early on in his service and was reassigned shortly after the squadron had returned from the Battle of France. Alec now resides in Berwickshire and is in the process of completing his memoirs. After the war, Alec built up a rewarding trade from the design and crafting of 'Cellos. (view more)
Alan Johnson: Converting to twin engine aircraft, Alan, promoted to Flight Lieutenant, finally got his wings in March 1943, before being posted to Prince Edward Island to undergo coastal recognition training and then on to the Bahamas flying Mitchell B25’s and B24 Liberators. Joining 59 Squadron, Alan flew 29 operations protecting allied convoys crossing the Atlantic. more to follow...
Sir John Curtiss: In his memoirs, F/L E Allen notes that in Sept. 1943, a second tour crew came in and their navigator, one S/L John Curtiss became their captain (this having been the first occurrence of a nav becoming a pilot that he recalls). He goes on to note that Curtiss went on to become 59 Sqn C/O and had been re-posted by June of 1944 and replaced by W/C Gilchrist. view more

Don Howard: When Don signed up for service in Australia in October 1941, he met and befriended Roly Hall. Both airmen were later posted to 59 Sqn as Nav/B's from Dec. 1943 till April 1945.They arrived as 2nd navigators and soon settled into life on the Squadron. Don and Roly are still great friends many years on... view more

Jimmy Winstanley: I was recently contacted by Jimmy's grandson in-law, who informed me that Jimmy is still flying, is living in Chorley, England and just turned 90 in Feb. 2012. More updates to come!

Ian Robinson: Ian got in touch with me in early May 2012. He was an observer on the Squadron between March 1941 and January 1942. He is now 92 and living in Canada. He was navigator on one of 18 crews re-assigned to the Far East in late 1941. (read more) Thanks for getting in touch Ian!

W/O Ronald E. Brown: I have recently been contacted by his son, who informs me that Ronald is "still flying".. more updates to come... (read more)
Sgt Leslie M. Waltham: I have recently been contacted by Leslie who submitted some details for the crew that sunk U-292 in May of 1944. Thank you Leslie. (read more)
F/Sgt Tom Clark: I have recently been contacted by Tom's son, Owen who submitted the following... (read more)
Do you know of any other 59 Sqn member who's "Still Flying"..?

 

:::: Recently Updated Memorial & Tribute Pages ::..
Sgt Charles Ernest Crosher Sgt Charles Brinn
Pilot Officer Thomas Kerr Wing Commander de Gruyther
Sgt. John Woodcock Cpl Leslie Otto Shvemar
Corporal R.K. Bartlett F/O T.R. Chambers
F/L Herbert Lipsit F/L Jack Catley
Sgt Len Hunt Sgt Charlie West
F/O Harold Watts F/Sgt Jack Jones
VIEW ALL MEMORIAL UPDATES

Did you send in this picture of Derek? Sadly I was unable to update the site before my old email was lost and along with it the accompanying information for the above airmen. If you sent this picture in, please contact me again at the new email address provided. Thank you.

All other memorial & tribute pages can be found (linked) off the Service Honour Roll's (see top of this page)

 

:::: Folded Wings ::..

 

Squadron Leader Charles Henry Edgar O.B.E

Squadron Leader C.H.Edgar M.B.E.

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner with 59 Sqn in Bristol Blenheims and subsequently R.A.F. Regiment

Realising that war was coming & heeding his fathers advice not to join the army as he had done in The Great War where he had been gassed & wounded by shell fire in the trenches Charles joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve and was subsequently called up as wireless operator/air gunner in July 1939 and was posted to 59 Sqn flying in a Bristol Blenheim Mk IV out of Thorney Island in 1940.

In February 1941 his Blenheim crashed on take off killing the pilot and observer and leaving him hospitalised, after recovering from his injuries he was back on active sevice in March of 1941 and flew a total of 50 missions. On his 50th mission on 16th June 1941 a beautiful clear summers day he took part in Circus 13 a low level daylight raid to bomb the docks & gas works at Boulogne which were heavily defended by flak.

The Blenheims bomb release mechanism jammed and after three attempts over the target the crew headed for home flying at sea level to avoid attack from beneath by German fighters. Nearing home over the Channel the bomb release mechanism let go of the bomb load almost swamping the Blenheims bomb bay with sea water and they were bounced by an Me109 knocking out their port engine and forcing them to ditch a few miles off the English coast and take to the dinghy.

After drifting for a while they were picked up by a German E-Boat and taken captive. After hospitalisation for his wounds he became a PoW for the remainder of the war serving time in Stalag IXc, StalagLuft III, StalagLuft IV and Stalag 357.

In the winter of 1945 one of the most severe that Europe had experienced the camps were emptied and he took part in the "Long March" where many of his colleagues died on route from ill treatment, bitter cold & malnutrition.

At Gresse they were straffed by "friendly fire" killing one of his mates, Frank Duffield and putting a bullet hole through the greatcoat of another, Ron Buckingham before finally making it safely back home to end his war.

Charles Henry Edgar was born on 15th March 1921 in The London Hospital, only son of Charles William and Grace Violet Edgar and grew up in Chelsea before the family moved out to Romford away from the London "peasouper" smogs that were further damaging his fathers health after being gassed during The Great War.

He was a keen sportsman and excelled at both football and cricket where he kept wicket, a position he would make his own in the RAF team.

After turning down a scholarship to Westminster School he went out to work to help the family finances and his early career was as a butchers boy before joining Booker Daws as a shipping clerk in the City prior to joining the Royal Air Force.

After the war and not being particularly enamoured with his flying experiences he opted to join the RAF Regiment where he stayed until his retirement from the service in 1975.During his time with the Regiment he served many roles, Fire Officer, Range Officer and Wing Adjutant and his postings included Aden in 1953, Kenya in 1954 where he was awarded the MBE for his services, Singapore in 1957 and Hong Kong in 1959, returning to England in 1960 to various postings throughout the country culminating in his final posting to Brize Norton where he was Fire Officer for both the station and also Fairford during which time his team won the Higginson Trophy for the most efficient fire fighting squadron in the Regiment.

Retiring from the RAF in 1975 he took a post as area emergency officer for the South Devon area before taking full retirement in March 1986. He and his wife "Paddy", had four children, three sons Paul, Ian & Simon (who died at birth) and a daughter Paddy-Anne.

Squadron Leader C.H.Edgar was born on March 15th 1921 and died on April 19th 2015.

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Visit Eddie's Memorial Page

Rest In Peace

 

Wing Commander Geoffrey Bartlett A.F.C

W/C Bartlett served as C/O from June 1942 till late 1943 when he was posted to No.111 OTU in the Bahamas as Chief Instructor. According to Alwyn Jay in his book Endurance, when the squadron converted to the Liberator (from the Hudson) W/C Bartlett flew the first flight on the 21st of Aug in LV342 59/V (ex 120/A) from Ballykelly to North Coates, being the first time that a four engine aircraft had been deliberately landed there.

Rest In Peace

 

Wing Commander Walter Joseph Hurst A.F.C
(above) Joe in Rennes, France.

Walter Joseph Hurst: Joe joined the RAF in 1938 at the age of 17. One year later he was an "AC plonk" when 59 Sqn went to France and was an air gunner for several pilots and crews. First note of Joe in the ORB's is in a RAF Form 541 (Mission report usually completed by the crew captain) along with P/O Grece (P) and Sgt Davis (Obs). The date was 17-5-40 and duty was a tactical recco flight. After service with 59 Sqn Joe trained to become a pilot in 1942 and later flew Sunderlands in W.Africa reaching the rank of S/L. Post war Joe took part in the Berlin Airlift and became C/O of No.1325 Flight, that he later named Christmas Airways. The Flight consisted of three Dakota C-47 aircraft which made regular supply trips to the observation sites during Britain's era of nuclear testing on Christmas Island. He received the Air Force Cross in 1957 for his exemplary service.

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I was first contacted by Joe and Sue (his daughter) in May 2010 and sadly a couple of months later, Joe folded his wings on the 10th July 2010. My thanks and appreciation to you both for your contributions to the site and taking the time to get in touch.

Rest In Peace

 

Flying Officer Roland "Roly" Don Hall RAAF

Roly Hall: Sadly passed away on the 1st of June 2012 with Jo, his beloved wife of 65 years by his side. Don Howard, his long time friend who served with Roly on 59 Sqn said that it was a sad end to a very long friendship between them. They both met on the day they signed up for service here in Australia and as fate would have it, they stayed together for the rest of the war.

Rest In Peace

 

 

:::: The Crew Files ::..
The 59 Squadron Crews

These pages are currently under construction.

I have managed to source quite a few pictures of crews, from the early years of the war when the Squadron was flying the Bristol Blenheim, to the later years flying Liberators and for a short period of time the Fortress. Some (like the image above) have been sent in by relatives of those pictured and others have been found online (ww2images.com). View them by selecting a link below... To view crews from the Berlin Airlift, please go to the "Post War" link in the "59 History" section...

 

...::: 59 Squadron Airmen told to Return Battle Honours :::...
In 1960, revisions to the list of squadrons eligible to claim the Battle of Britain Bar, saw No.59 Squadron RAF taken off it and the airmen told they were no longer entitled to wear the bar and that they must return it... (read more) - Also visit the Battle of Britain section - "59 History" then click "Battle of France" and scroll down.
With Thanks: I have created this site with information and images found from many different places. I have taken care to not excessively use information gathered from sources such as the memoirs of ex 59 Sqn airmen and other copyrighted material etc. I have taken much care to name and/or link my sources where possible. I urge people to view these sources, especially the memoirs as they often give a much more detailed story and are a great read! For more information and details view the Links page.
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This site was created by and information compiled by L.Del Mann - © 2008