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Sqn Personalities c.1949

Ken Utton (Apr 46-May 50) compiled these fascinating recollections of his contemporaries in the post-war years

Commanding Officers

Sqn Ldr A.G. Woods: Took over when CO of 605 (Wg Cdr Mitchell) was reported missing. He was acting CO of 605 when it was disbanded in August 1945 and reformed as 4 Sqn. Then moved up to Gutersloh in November of that year. Wg Cdr Corkery: I believe was CO when I joined in April 1946. He had come off Mitchells and his navigator Peter Woods became Squadron Nav Leader whilst his W.O.P./AG became Sqn Adj and Mess Bar Officer (Jimmy Hutton). Wg Cdr R.I. Jones: Better known as ‘The Ghost’ because of his premature white hair. Was an excellent swimmer and great badminton and squash player. Sqn Ldr Everton-Jones: Called by all as EJ. Once when on an APC at Lubeck it is rumoured that he was pulled before the brass for painting his initials on his kite. Actually it was a squadron lettering, EJ- M. Sqn Ldr ‘Ace’ Newman: ‘Ace’ to his wife and friends, ‘Boss’ to the aircrew. Took over the Squadron when it moved up to Celle from Wahn.

Flight Commanders

Sqn Ldr ‘Buck’ Buckley: Shot down on Blemheims early on in war and spent the rest of it in the bag. Met him many years later when he was keeping a pub in Lincolnshire. Sqn Ldr Jimmy Harrison: Did the Test Pilots’ course at Farnborough then went on to Avro. Credited with the expression ‘Shit-house mouse’! This was abbreviated (for decency’s sake?) to ‘Shouse-mouse’ and became the Squadron cocktail. Sqn Ldr ‘Colonel’ Mowatt: Had ditched a Hurricane and hit the bottom before getting out. Was local Town Major in Gutersloh before joining 4. He was killed with Pete Pinnion (Engineering Officer) in an Anson which hit a chimney at Munster when they were going home on leave. I believe he was one of the group who returned to France to dig up the Squadron Silver. Sqn Ldr Golightly: Famous for flying No.2 and holding in with rudder – hence the expression ‘Doing a Golightly’. Flt Lt Jimmy Gill: Shot for the RAF team at Bisley and eventually won there. Was grounded for high tone deafness in October 1948 and joined the Equipment Branch and became an explosives expert. Flt Lt Ernie Holmes: A Canadian who had flown bomber Mosquitos during the war. I believe he was later killed in a Dakota as a passenger over in Canada. Flt Lt Reg Banwell: The first of the peace-time career flight commanders. Took over from Jimmy Gill. Flt Lt Jack Boreham: After leaving 4 and whilst flying a Prentice or something akin, stuck his Master Green on the windscreen and took off in thick fog. Unfortunately he was pointing in the wrong direction and ended up in some greenhouses.

Nav Leaders

Flt Lt Peter Woods: Wg Cdr Corkery’s navigator. Flt Lt ‘Ferdy’ Fernande: Mexican moustachioed. Navigators

Bud Nethercott: Editor of Wing Magazine. ‘Archie’ Archbold: Went into Air Traffic. Paddy Robbins: Excellent footballer. Jock Ramage: Went on to Ops after 65 hours. Met him again as Nav Leader on 16 Squadron. Died of cancer of the throat about 1980. Jock Goodwin: Became an ace in Transport Command. Darky Martin: Had been on Mitchells and eventually became Sqn Adj. (See epitaph in Fourfax No.7). Bill Bower: Broad Geordie – who had an Oxford accent when speaking on the phone. ? Johnson: Had the DFC and DFM. Shan Shanahan: Had been on the Mosquito raids in the Norwegian Fiords. Fred Nixie. ‘Quirk’ Cochrane. Ben Corbett

Pilots

Johnny Burton: Went to Test Pilots’ School and also to APS at Leconfield. Chris Capper: Went to Test Pilots’ School and eventually joined de Havilland – I believe he took over John Derry’s work after the crash. ‘Rox’ Roxberry: My pilot for the second two years on the Squadron. Also went to Leconfield and Farnborough and spent a year with the Yanks at Edwards base. Les de Garis: Also went to Leconfield and each time the weather was unfit for flying we all heard Les’s lecture ‘T.S.C.S. x SIN Angle Off’ again – and again – and again. Sax Saxby: One of the best pilots on the Squadron, but unfortunately in those days inhibited by the PII ranking. Monty Mountford: Overcame the PII syndrome and became a Groupie or something. ‘Chips’ Hunter: Excellent swimmer and diver. A bit hair-raising to fly with – later killed in an air crash. Iain Dick: Good footballer. Alec Lawson: Never took a parachute and always sat on a seat cushion made from the folded engine covers. Dave Spencer: We did OTUs on Canada and England together and he was my pilot for three years until grounded with high tone deafness. Like Jimmy Gill he joined the Equipment Branch. ‘Ferdie’ Fortune: Hit Rox’s tailplane during formation. We then discovered he was half blind in one eye. ? Archer: Alec Lawson fell out with him one night in the Mess and chased him back to his room (the last block on the left when looking with your back to the Mess at Gutersloh). Archer hid round the corner in his room and locked the door. When Alec couldn’t get in, he fetched his 12 bore and blasted a hole in the door. Luckily Archer was out of the way, but his raincoat was hanging on the door! ‘Willie’ Williams: Spent all his time reading Bradshaw and could tell you the time of almost every train in the UK and all the connections. Jock Marshall: Received his Croix de Guerre and legion of Honour through the normal post. We celebrated on the beach at Sylt with crates of Guiness left in the edge of the sea to cool. Jackie Butt. ‘Doc’ Orrell. ‘Bunny’ Warren.

Engineering Officers

Pete Pinnion: Killed in Anson air crash. ‘Tiny’ O’Hara. ‘Bunny’ Burroughs.

Army Liaison Officer

Major Jock Newton: Used to wear a tiny leather sporran. Dot Hutton, Jimmy Hutton’s wife, once made the classic remark ‘Isn’t a sporran that big hairy thing that a Scotsman wears between his legs?’. Our ALO replied ‘It was before the war, my dear, but now in these days of austerity they are just tiny leather things!’. I’m sure there are dozens more if only I could think of them.