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Thread: Over-age air gunners 1940

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    Default Over-age air gunners 1940

    Hi guys

    This has often intrigued me - over-age air gunners, invariably WWI veterans, who were permitted to fly on operations particularly during 1940.

    There were quite a number over 40-50 years old. Names would be useful, please.

    What was the Air Ministry ruling?

    Cheers
    Brian

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    Hello Brian

    I can name P/O Sir Arnold Talbot WILSON, 75684. He was 56 at the time of his death, and is buried in the small village of Eringhem, south of Dunkirk.

    Have a look at his CWGC entry.

    Joss

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    Hi Brian, I can add another one - who also flew one sortie with 311 Sq, member of 151 Sq, WWI Ace:

    81 942 Flying Officer Sidney Carlin, MC, DFC, DCM

    killed on 9th May 1941 in his 52 during an enemy raid.
    Among others there are two interesting points of him - he lost one leg in WWI when an infantryman and as he was not allowed to return to trenches, he trained as a pilot! He was also close friend of famous "Target for Toninght" pilot Pickard, DSO & 2 Bars, DFC

    HTH

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Hi Brian,

    There are a number of ‘old’ air gunners mentioned in Guns in the sky by Chaz Bowyer.

    Wing Commander Lionel ‘Sos’ Cohen, DSO,MC, DFC born in 1874 re-joined the RAF in 1939. He initially got a staff job with Coastal Command Headquarters but after being appointed Liaison Officer did a lot of operational flying as air gunner.

    Squadron Leader William Spurrett Fielding-Johnson, 73613, RAFVR air gunner on bombers awarded a DFC. Had at least 8 combat victories as pilot with 56 Sqn during WW1 where he received a triple MC.

    Flight Sergeant Alfred Harry Bolton, 357613, another veteran from WW1 received a DFM during 1940 at the age of 48 for air gunner operations with 220 Sqn.

    Cheers
    Peter

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    Thanks guys

    I didn't have 'Guns in the Sky' in my collection so just checked Amazon - there was a new copy available at £204 - and a used copy at 1p (yes, one pence). No guesses, no prizes!

    Cheers
    Brian

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    Dear Brian
    Bernard 'Pop' Green was a Hampden Air Gunner who served in the trenches and ended up in The Great Escape.
    'Great War to Great Escape - The Two Wars of Flight Lieutenant Bernard 'Pop' Green MC' - by Laurence Green - ISBN - 978-0-9562696-3-8
    Best wishes
    James

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    The Rear Gunner who met Adolf Hitler

    Sir Arnold Talbot Wilson was without doubt one of the Royal Air Forces’ most renowned Rear Gunners. Born in July 1884, he was also the eldest gunner to squeeze into a rear turret. Educated at Clifton College and then at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, where his abilities were recognised by the King’s Medal and the Sword of Honour in 1902. Arnold was destined to become a highly decorated and honoured individual who naturally gained a military commission from Sandhurst, serving with the Wiltshire Regiment and transferring to the Sikh Pioneers in 1904. Later employed in the Indian Political Department south west Persia until 1913 when he returned to the U.K. In The Great War he was appointed Deputy Chief Political Officer to General Gorringe, Indian Expeditionary Force, he was later awarded the D.S.O. Arnold was appointed Deputy Civil Commissioner at Basra, and later at Baghdad, where he served until March 1918.

    In 1932 he decided to enter the political arena, elected Tory M.P. for Hitchin in June 1933. Arnold immediately pressed for rearmament and for compulsory military service. He travelled extensively in Italy, Germany and Spain meeting, among others, Hitler, Hess and Mussolini. These are names that went on to shape history and create devastation across Europe. Arnold recorded meeting with Hitler in Berlin during May 1934, his book ‘Walks & Talks Abroad’ reports on that matter. Members of the House of Commons saw Sir Arnold wearing the uniform of an RAFVR Pilot Officer, having volunteered alongside young men, nearly forty years his junior, to serve in the Royal Air Force. His tunic supported an extensive row of medal ribbons, acknowledging his military and political achievements, and as an ex-Lieutenant-Colonel, he could scarcely hope to be treated on equal terms to the very youthful company he frequented. It was not long before he came to be known to all as ‘Sir Gunner’ a title that sat happily with him and those that served alongside him. Arnold had carried out his statement previously direct to his Hitchin constituents - he had vowed ‘Not to shelter himself behind the bodies of young men.’ Taken from my book on Rear Gunners http://www.colinpateman.com/books/glorious-in-solitude/

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    Colin,
    Absolutely brilliant!!!
    Pity there aren't more like him in the current HoC!!
    Respectfully,
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Thanks guys

    I have already ordered Pop Green's autobiography, and will now purchase Colin's book (I wasn't aware of this although we write for the same publisher!)

    Cheers
    Brian
    Last edited by brian; 1st June 2014 at 19:40.

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