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Thread: Sgt Alan BATES RAF DFM MBE -- ex 31 Sqdn SAAF

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    Default Sgt Alan BATES RAF DFM MBE -- ex 31 Sqdn SAAF

    I've just heard this week that Alan Bates died in December 2012 .He lived in Cheam, Surrey .
    He was the instigator of the 44 Warsaw Club which included ex members of 148 RAF , 178 RAF ,31 & 34 SAAF , Polish men & some USAAF who had flown on the Warsaw airlifts or delivered agents to Poland .

    Anne

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    Ah............ but what you didn't say was that Alan Bates was awarded an immediate DFM for events on 13 Aug 44 when a 31 (SAAF) Sqn Liberator, serial EW138, failed to return from Warsaw.

    In essence, the aircraft was badly shot up and the captain abandoned it, leaving the crew behind - pretty poor form - as they might say!! The co-pilot took control and Bates assumed the role of second pilot. After many adventures the aircraft was forced landed in soviet occupied territory and the remaining crew eventually repatriated. Besides the DFM for Bates, the navigator Lt Noel Sleed SAAF received the DFC and the original co-pilot Second Lieutenant Robert Burgess SAAF was awarded a well deserved DSO, the only such award to a 2nd Lt in the SAAF. For completeness, the other RAF crew were: Sgts I G Payne, D E D Lewis, J S Appleyard and W Cross.

    If anyone is interested, I can post the combined citation and a more comprehensive account of what happened.

    However, thank you for telling us of the passing of an exceptionally gallant man.


    Colin Cummings

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    Colin
    Yes I knew about the SAAF captain jumping out of the crippled plane. One presumes he had some sort of breakdown and disappeared from public life after the war .

    Alan told me he was asked if he wanted to try for a commission but he'd have to pay for his uniform [which he couldn't afford at the time] nd leave his mates, if he became an officer .

    He received the MBE for establishing the 44 Warsaw Club and the work within it .He was recommended by WC members .He introduced me to an ex Warsaw partisan now living in Australia and to another 31 man, a friend of my father,Max Badham RAAF [pilot], who died 2 years ago in Australia. Max and my father ran a book club on the base.

    Alan had been ill for a long time .

    Anne

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