Wing Commander Frank Geoffrey Woolley, D.F.C., A.F.C., was born in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, 1922, the son of the then Flying Officer Frank Woolley. Upon the outbreak of the Second World War he wrote to his father, who by then was on Tedder’s staff out in Singapore, asking permission to join him by working his passage to the Far East. Arriving in Singapore in January 1940, he joined the Singapore Flying Club and his father took him for his initial training in an Avro Tutor- the name ‘W/Cdr: Woolley’ featuring prominently as 1st Pilot in the first few pages of his Flying Log Book.
He was considered competent to solo after just 4 hours and 10 minutes of instruction.and having gained his ‘A’ Licence, he was posted to No. 4 Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit at Kallang in July 1940, and then joined No. 4 Service Flying Training School at Habbaniya, Iraq, in September. Commissioned Pilot Officer, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 29/3/1941, his first operational posting was to No. 244 Squadron (Vickers Vincents), at Shaibah, near Basra. He was in action soon after- the Axis powers had established a pro-German government in the country, and to counter this Britain sent a Brigade from India under the command of General Wavell. Arriving on the 18th April, the Iraqis responded by besieging the R.A.F. base at Habbaniya, but without any air support were forced to retreat. Wavell followed up by launching an assault on Baghdad, and on the 2nd May Woolley flew his first operational mission, as part of a two-plane sortie to bomb the railway line 60 miles south-west of Ur and gained the somewhat unusual distinction of winning an immediate DFC on hid first operational sortie.
A post on facebook by Ken Marshall
For the attention of those living in the Great Yarmouth/Gorleston area. A 94 year old RAF veteran has died recently. He has no surviving family and we are concerned that very few people will attend the burial.
John Davies spent 3 years in the US and Canada, before being posted to India. His funeral is at the small Cemetary inside the gates of the Crematoriam in Gorleston.
It would be good if we can get a good turn out to see this gentleman on his final journey. Funeral is at 09.30hrs on Wednesday 23rd December.
Update (26 Dec 2015):
- More than 100 strangers gather at funeral of Great Yarmouth RAF veteran after Facebook campaign
- Crowds turn out for funeral of RAF veteran with no family after Facebook appeal
A Short War, The history of 623 squadron by Steve Smith.
This is a history of an often overlooked and neglected bomber squadron, No.623 Squadron. Formed from No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron in August 1943 the squadron flying from RAF Downham Market participated in a number of the important raids on Germany during the summer and winter of 1943, losing a number of crews in the process. Made up almost entirely of Commonwealth skippers the squadron flying the Short Stirling had its fair share of difficulties, losing ten crews before it was disbanded in December 1943.
Commanding Far Eastern Skies: A Critical Analysis of the Royal Air Force Air Superiority Campaign in India, Burma and Malaya 1941-1945 (Wolverhampton Military Studies)
has its origins in a PhD dissertation that was done by the Author , which itself asserts itself as the only one related to the RAF in the far east.
The author is a visiting lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton and this book is published as one of the series of the Wolverhampton Military Studies. Continue reading Book Review: Commanding Far Eastern Skies
by Sally-Anne Greville-Heygate
Called up by the army in August 1939 David Greville-Heygate operated a searchlight until commissioned at Sandhurst. Posted to the Loyals in Portsmouth he had ‘a bit of a row’ with his Brigadier and labelled an Army Rebel he transferred to the RAF. After training as an Army Co-operation pilot he flew No. 16 Squadron Lysanders and Mustangs. Photographs he took of Northern France were used to plan the D-Day landings.
Continue reading From Sapper to Spitfire Spy
A visitor to our site, Sue Hendrie , recognised her father in the photo album of Cpl Kennedy . Her father Flt Sgt Ray Whitehouse can be seen in the below photo of pilots from 261 Squadron, sitting top left.
A related post elsewhere got me searching on the casualty figures that the RAF incurred in South East Asia cover India, Burma and the Pacific. The main source that I could fall back on was the CWGC Database .
Using CWGC, following figures could be extracted. In the SEAC Region 6,897 aircrew belonging to all common wealth air forces are commemorated. Continue reading RAF War Dead in Asia during WW2
My uncle Max Addess, a pilot with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, went missing in action on 12 April 1942 together with his observer Sergeant B.A.T. Lane when their Beaufighter T4746 failed to return to its base. It was only Max’s second operational flight. Until now, no one has been able to determine what happened during the mission, and all that has been known remained the matter-of-fact comment in the Operations Record Book for RAF North Coates, mentions the loss from 236 Squadron that, “The machine failed to return from the Operation”.
However, following research not only in the RAF records here, but also looking into the German flak and coastal defence records in the Bundesarchiv in Berlin, I believe the plane was probably shot down over Stavanger by a German flak unit and crashed into the fjord where presumably it remains to this day.
Here is the story. Continue reading Beaufighter T4746 – “Failed to Return” 12 April 1942