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Thread: Unit flying Neville Chamberlain to Munich ?

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    Default Unit flying Neville Chamberlain to Munich ?

    Hello,

    Can someone confirm that the unit flying Neville Chamberlain to and from Munich in 1938 was No. 24 Squadron, R.A.F., or was it a civilian company ?

    I'm trying to find out if one of the pilots involved might have been Herbert Pilling, who was later killed in action, on 30th June 1940, flying a Blenheim Mk IV with No. 107 Squadron. He was awarded the A.F.C., published in the 1941 new year's list, but even with the help of Hugh Hallyday, I haven't found the recommendation for that award. I'm trying to get a clearer idea of Herbert Pilling's career, compiling snippets of informations from various sources such as the London Gazette and Flight archive.

    Thanks in advance.

    Joss

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    Hi Joss

    I watched a BBC documentary last week on the Munich Summit and the aircraft were civilian registered and over the door had the name 'British Airways' (not the current company)

    Malcolm

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    Hello Joss,

    Chamberlain's flights - September 1938 - British Airways.

    15/16-9-38 Lockheed 10A Electra G-AEPR Heston-Oberwiesenfeld(Munich)-Heston.
    Pilot: Capt.C.N Pelly (Munich meeting)

    22/24-9-38 Lockheed 14-WF62 G-AFGN Heston-Cologne-Heston.
    Pilot: ? (Bad Godesberg meeting)

    29/30-9-38 Lockheed 14-WF62 G-AFGN Heston-Oberwiesenfeld(Munich)-Heston.
    Pilot: ? (Munich meeting) "I believe it is Peace for our time..."

    All needs verification.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 9th September 2009 at 01:36. Reason: minor correction

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    Hello,

    Thanks Malcolm and Col for your contribution. Indeed they were Lockheed twins and not R.A.F. machines.

    I think that nevertheless Herbert Pilling flew Neville Chamberlain, and also Winston Churchill, between Paris and London, for meetings of the Supreme Allied War Council, but this must have later, in 1939 and early 1940. I think I'll have a go at the ORB of No. 24 Squadron for that period, in order to be sure.

    Thanks again for your help.

    Joss

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    Joss,

    The old British Airways merged with Imperial Airways in 1939 to form BOAC, the forerunner of today's British Airways. The helpful people at BA's excellent archive might hold the answer to your query. You can email them at - ba.1.museum@ba.com

    Errol

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    hello,

    Errol, thanks for your suggestion. I'll try that track too as well as a look in No. 24 Squadron ORB.

    Cheers

    Joss

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    hello,

    I checked yesterday the pre-war O.R.B. of No. 24 Squadron, and indeed S/L Herbert PILLING was posted to the Squadron on 19th September 1938, and was put in charge of 'A' flight. He flew a variety of machines, mostly the DH-86B, but also DH-89s, Vega Gull, Q6, DH-95 Flamingo and indeed he also flew the impressed Lockheed Electras, including G-AEPR. So there was some bits of truth in the sketchy details I had.

    He was posted out on 6th May 1940, to Staff College. I don't know when he was posted to No. 107 Squadron, unit with which he was killed in action on 30th June 1940. His A.F.C., gazetted in the 1941 New Year's list, was thus linked to his time with this communication Squadron, where he flew "top brass".

    Joss

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    Hello, new member here researching Sqn Ldr Herbert Pilling RAF. I wonder if anyone is still monitoring this thread. I am keen to find his AFC citation but it seems, as a New Year's Honour, it's not available. I'm also interested as to what brought a Rochdale man to live in the village of Rockbourne in Hampshire during WW2, or at least his wife, Vera, about whom I also need more information. She went to live in Lancaster, it seems after her husband's death. Hampshire doesn't seem logical as his postings were all distant and it seems she has no local relatives. Finally, could Joss (above) give a reference for his staff college entry in May 1940? It doesn't seem to fit with his flight out of Wattisham in June that led to his death.
    I would be grateful for any information about him ... 7 years after the last post!
    Acknown25

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    Hello,

    I've made quite of lot of research about Herbert Pilling A.F.C., his crewmates and the lethal mission in which he and his wireless operator air gunner lost their lives on 30th June 1940. My association set up a commemorative plaque besides their graves in Ecques cemetery which was unveiled in 2013.

    I've never been able to find the A.F.C. recommendation. I checked 3 references at Kew which were likely to contain it, following suggestions here, and from other researchers : AIR 2/8887, AIR 2/8886 and AIR 2/6116 all without success. Checking references in these AIR 2 series can be very time consuming, and absolutely not rewarding with no positive result in the end. The family doesn't have any document or recommendation either.

    A.F.C. / A.F.M. awards would normally be given for non combat duties tasks like instructing. In the case of Herbert Pilling, as he wasn't a flying instructor, the only logical option is the transport duties he carried out with No. 24 Squadron out of Hendon, between 19 September 1938 and 6 May 1940.

    I don't understand your question about "his staff staff college entry". The source of my information is No. 24 Squadron Operations Record Book at Kew, completed later by the R.A.F. Staff College O.R.B. for that period. The course was cut short when Germany attacked in the West on 10th May (4 days after his posting there) so he was posted to No. 17 Operational Training Unit to convert to Blenheims, and then after conversion to No. 107 Squadron at Wattisham. I've accessed and copied each of these records as well.

    What is your interest in Herbert Pilling ?

    Joss

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    Joss,
    Very many thanks, that's very informative. Herbert is on the Roll of Honour in Rockbourne in Hampshire, because that was where he and Vera were living in 1940, and presumably at the time of his death. I am researching all the names of this RoH and those of a number of neighbouring villages; for local education and remembrance. You have answered the staff college question as I wondered why he was flying in Wattisham when he had just arrived on his staff college course.
    I now have enough on his military career for my purposes, but would appreciate some details about his wife. If you are able to tell me her maiden name and why she/they arrived in Hampshire, that would be most interesting.
    Best wishes,
    Acknown25

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