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Thread: S/Ldr Maurice William PETTIT RCAF DFC and Bar

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    Default S/Ldr Maurice William PETTIT RCAF DFC and Bar

    Gents,

    Looking for a war-time photograph of this RCAF officer, ex 218 & 432 Squadron.

    TIA

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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    "East Moor Experience" by Brian Shields may have one. i will look it up when i get home later. if so all the photos are photocopies and poor quality though.

    regards Rich

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    Rich,

    Thanks mate, it a start.

    Cheers

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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    Steve, alas, having looked through the book i cant see a photo of Pettit.

    Worth a try, sorry, Rich

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    Does anyone know the service number of S/Ldr. Pettit? There was a S/Ldr. Pettit DFC RCAF who flew with 199 Squadron in 1944 and as a F/Lt. in 1943. His service number was J.15517.

    Douglas

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    Default Various Pettit people

    No help on the photos but the following represent the latest upgrades of the data base on M.W. Pettrit, M.F. Pettit, and W.R. Pettit.


    PETTIT, F/L Maurice William (J16060) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.218 Squadron - Award effective 24 March 1943 as per London Gazette dated 6 April 1943 and AFRO 809/43 dated 7 May 1943. Born in New Liskeard, Ontario, January Ontario, 1920; home in Toronto; enlisted there 6 January 1940 and posted to No.1 Manning Depot; to No.1A Manning Depot, 21 January 1941; to No.4 BGS, 8 February 1941; to No.1 ITS, 22 April 1941; graduated and promoted LAC, 28 May 1941 when posted to No.12 EFTS; graduated 15 July 1941 when posted to No.5 SFTS; graduated and promoted Sergeant, 25 September 1941. To Embarkation Depot, 26 September 1941; to RAF overseas, 11 October 1941. To No.20 OTU, 12 January 1942; to No.1651 CU, 22 July 1942; to No.218 Squadron, 7 September 1942; commissioned 7 October 1942. Promoted Flying Officer, 15 February 1943; promoted Flight Lieutenant, 7 March 1943. To No.12 OTU, 24 April 1943. Promoted Squadron Leader, 17 June 1944. Repatriated 25 September 1944. To No.124 (Communications) Squadron, 1 November 1944. To No.5 OTU, 15 November 1944. To No.9 Release Centre, 7 September 1945. Released 11 September 1945. DFC presented at uncertain date - probably same time as Bar to DFC (9 April 1948).

    "This officer, who has completed twenty-seven operational missions, has displayed great keenness and tenacity. On two occasions towards the end of 1942 he displayed great resolution in pressing home his attack on certain targets after his aircraft had been badly damaged by enemy action. In February 1943 he took part in an attack on Cologne. Whilst over the city his aircraft was held in the searchlights and hit by anti-aircraft fire. One engine was put out of action and two windows beside the pilot were blown in. Despite this, Flight Lieutenant Pettit successfully bombed his target. His exemplary conduct has been worthy of high praise."

    Public Record Office Air 2/4951 has recommendation drafted 17 March 1943 when he had flown 27 sorties (160 hours).

    "Flight Lieutenant Pettit has been operating with No.218 Squadron since September 1942 and has completed 27 operations involving 160 flying hours. He has undoubtedly shown himself to be one of the most tenacious and level headed pilots in the squadron.

    "In October 1942, while on operations to Hearnwyk his aircraft was so badly shot up that it seemed impossible to attack. Flight Lieutenant Pettit, however, pressed home his attack with three engines, one having received a hit and cut, and daringly bombed in the ace of heavy opposition. He was able to bring his badly damaged aircraft back to base where he crash landed with an unserviceable undercarriage.

    "In November 1942 while on an operation to Hamburg his Stirling was intercepted and badly shot up by two night fighters. Despite this, he carried on and bombed the target on three engines and made a safe return.

    "In February 1943, his aircraft was coned at Cologne and received severe hits by flak. One engine was completely put out of action and two windows beside the pilot were blown in; despite these hazards the target was successfully bombed.

    "Flight Lieutenant Pettit has, at all times, displayed keenness of a high order towards operational effort, and has been a splendid example to younger and inexperienced pilots joining the squadron.

    "He is very strongly recommended for an immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Cross."

    PETTIT, S/L Maurice William, DFC (J16060) - Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross - No.432 Squadron - Award effective 4 November 1944 as per London Gazette dated 14 November 1944 and AFRO 239/45 dated 9 February 1945. Recommended 28 July 1944 when he had flown 46 sorties (258 hours 25 minutes), including 20 sorties since the DFC. Tours had been from 10 September 1942 to 11 March 1943 (26 trips, 155 hours 50 minutes) and 18 March to 24 July 1944 (20 sorties, 102 hours 35 minutes). An ink notation added one more sortie on 1 August 1944 (3 hours 30 minutes).

    "Since the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross, Squadron Leader Pettit has completed many attacks on heavily defended targets. He has displayed outstanding qualities of courage, skill and determination. His operational record during both of his tours has set an inspiring example to all the members of the squadron."

    * * * * *

    PETTIT, F/L Murray Fothergill (J22352) - Commended for Valuable Services in the Air - No.20 EFTS - award effective 1 January 1946 as per Canada Gazette of that date and AFRO 82/46 dated 25 January 1946. Born July 1915. Home in Freeman, Ontario; enlisted in Hamilton, 20 December 1940 and posted to No.1 Manning Depot. To No.1A Manning Depot, 8 January 1941. To Trenton, 27 January 1941. To No.1 ITS, 10 April 1941; graduated and promoted LAC, 16 May 1941 when posted to No.9 EFTS; graduated 3 July 1941 when posted to No.1 SFTS; graduated and promoted Sergeant, 13 September 1941. To Trenton, 14 September 1941. To No.20 EFTS, 14 December 1941. Promoted WO2, 13 September 1942. Commissioned 11 December 1942. Promoted Flying Officer, 1 May 1943. Promoted Flight Lieutenant, 1 November 1943. To Central Flying School, 24 September 1944. To No.4 Release Centre, 18 March 1945. Retired 22 March 1945.

    "Employed in flying instructional work for two years, this officer has consistently been, in that capacity, a credit to the service. The proficiency with which he carries out his duties is exemplary and his qualities of leadership command the respect of all ranks."

    * * * * *

    PETTIT, F/L Wilmot Reginald (J15517) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.199 Squadron - Award effective 30 September 1943 as per London Gazette dated 15 October 1943 and AFRO 2386/43 dated 19 November 1943. Born in Brantford, Ontario, 3 April 1912; home there; enlisted in Ottawa 5 September 1940. To No.1 Training Command, 4 October 1940. To No.5 SFTS, 5 November 1940. To No.1 ITS, 10 December 1940; graduated and promoted LAC, 15 January 1941 when returned to No.1 Manning Depot. To No.14 EFTS, 20 January 1941; graduated 17 March 1941 when posted to No.2 Manning Depot; to No.3 SFTS, 9 April 1941; graduated and promoted Sergeant, 3 July 1941. Warned for overseas embarkation, 4 July 1941; to RAF overseas, 25 July 1941. Commissioned 15 May 1942; promoted Flying Officer, 15 November 1942; promoted Flighting Lieutenant, 23 August 1943; promoted Acting Squadron Leader, 6 January 1944. Killed in action, 5/6 June 1944 (Stirling EF295, No.620 Squadron); buried in France. DFC and OBE presented to next-of-kin by Governor General, 28 February 1946.

    "As pilot this officer has participated in many attacks on important enemy targets and has displayed great skill and determination. On a recent occasion whilst over Berlin his aircraft was hit by fire from the ground defences but he continued his bombing run to execute a successful attack. Shortly afterwards the bomber was hit again, this time by fire from an enemy fighter. The rear turret was rendered unserviceable, most of the electrical system was shot away, while the control wires of two petrol tanks were severed. Coolly and skilfully Flight Lieutenant Pettit evaded the attacker and afterwards flew the bomber to base. This officer displayed great courage and determination throughout."

    PETTIT, S/L Wilmot Reginald, DFC (J15517) - Officer, Order of the British Empire - No.199 Squadron (since KIA) - Award effective 26 May 1944 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 1380/44 dated 30 June 1944. Joint citation with 944525 LAC Joseph Therwell Wray, awarded BEM.

    "One night in February 1944, Squadron Leader Pettit was the officer in charge of night flying at a Royal Air Force Station when an aircraft, whilst attempting an emergency landing, overshot the end of the runway and overturned. The aircraft immediately caught fire. Squadron Leader Pettit rushed to the spot and, with the assistance of the fire party led by leading aircraftman Wray, quickly released two members of the crew who had been trapped in the fuselage. Squadron Leader Pettit then found that the rear gunner was seriously injured and trapped upside down in his turret. By this time the aircraft was burning furiously and the petrol tanks had started to explode. In spite of this and of the further danger from exploding ammunition and pyrotechnics, Squadron Leader Pettit decided to attempt the extremely difficult task of removing the rear turret completely from the fuselage as all other attempts to reach the trapped gunner had failed. By strenuous efforts he was ultimately able to get into the turret while a party headed by Leading Aircraftman Wray, wrenched at it from outside. Eventually the gunner was extricated alive and without any addition to the severe injuries which he had sustained in the crash. Squadron Leader Pettit's coolness, courage and initiative, and Leading Aircraftman Wray's determination and devotion to duty in dangerous circumstances were of a very high order and were instrumental in saving the lives of three members of the crew of the aircraft."

    NOTE: Public Record Office Air 2/9119 has original recommendation for a George Medal. The incident occurred on 26 February 1944. The aircraft that crashed - a Lancaster - overturned in the middle of some swampy ground.

    Public Record Office Air 2/9219 has the original BEM recommendation for LAC Wray, drafted 3 March 1944, which fills in the story.

    "Leading Aircraftman Wray was in charge of the fire party on the night that a Lancaster overturned in swampy ground beyond the runway and caught fire. The fire tender was unable to get near the crash but the fire party headed by Leading Aircraftman Wray, ignoring the flames and exploding petrol tanks, assisted the officer in charge of night flying to free two members of the crew who were trapped in the fuselage.

    "When the rear gunner was found upside down in his turret, Leading Aircraftman Wray led his men in to the officer in charge of night flying in the difficult task of wrenching the rear turret away from the fuselage, all other attempts to extricate the gunner having failed.

    "The flames and heat were intense, and there was a possibility that some bombs were still on board the aircraft. In spite of this, Leading Aircraftman Wray persisted in his efforts in a most courageous and determined fashion, and eventually was successful in securing the release without further delay of the trapped gunner.

    "The splendid courage and devotion to duty shown by Leading Aircraftman Wray in the face of great danger and under severe physical difficulties is most commendable and is an inspiration to all ranks in his station.

    "Leading Aircraftman Wray was uninjured."

    A further note by the Air Officer Commanding, No.3 Group, stated:

    "This incident occurred in the early hours of the morning of February 26th on the boundary of Lakenheath airfield. In the burning wreckage all the petrol tanks exploded, as well as the oil tanks, a large quantity of ammunition, pyrotechnics and some incendiary bombs, and Leading Aircraftman Wray ran the risk of serious injury. I recommend the award of the British Empire Medal."

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    Hi Steve,

    I expect to help you.
    Copy the link below and it should be the good man:

    http://www.bombercrew.com/432/pettit.htm

    Regards.

    Bruno
    Bruno LECAPLAIN
    Raf WWII 38 Group Squadrons Reunited <www.raf38group.org>
    Stirling Aircraft Society <stirlingaircraftsoc.raf38group.org>

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    Hugh

    Thank you for the information regarding the individual airmen named Pettit and in particular, S/Ldr. W.R. Pettit of 199 Squadron. I had recognised the name Pettit from the 199 ORB from when I have been researching 199 Squadron aircrew.

    For the record, I have had a look at S/Ldr. Pettit’s operational career with 199 and as far as I can tell, it was as follows : -

    14/1/43 - Lorient area : Mining
    9-10/8/43 - Frisian Islands : Mining
    15-16/8/43 - Gironde River : Mining
    16-17/8/43 - Turin : Bombing
    23-24/8/43 – Berlin : Bombing
    27-28/43 – Nuremburg : Bombing
    30/8/43 - Munchengladbach : Bombing
    31/8/43 – Berlin : Bombing
    5-6/9/43 - Mannheim : Bombing
    15-16/9/43 – Montlucon : Bombing
    16-17/9/43 – Modane : Bombing
    22-23/9/43 – Hanover : Bombing
    23-24/9/43 – Mannheim : Bombing
    3-4/10/43 – Kassel : Bombing
    4-5/10/43 – Frankfurt : Bombing
    28-29/1/44 – South East Denmark : Mining
    5-6/2/44 – Special Mission
    11-12/2/44 – Special Mission
    5-6/3/44 – Special Mission
    11-12/3/44 – San Sebastian area - Mining

    I would assume that the operation to Berlin for which he received the DFC was that of 23-24 August 1943. During the same operation, Sgt. Currie (Flight Engineer with the Pettit crew) was awarded the DFM as he had to cut through the fuselage into the port wing to repair damaged petrol cables. The ORB also indicated that the aircraft had suffered damage from fighter attack.

    Looking at the dates of S/Ldr. Pettit’s operations and when he was initially posted to RAF overseas in 1941, his first operation with 199 in January 1943 may have been the last of a first tour and the gap between his first and second operations may have co-incided with him having been screened. However, that is supposition on my part.

    Although the Lakenheath ORB indicates the 15 Squadron crash on 26 February 1944, neither S/Ldr. Pettit or LAC Wray are named as being involved in the attempts to rescue the Lancaster crew. There is also no date to indicate when S/Ldr. Pettit was transferred from 199 Squadron to 620 Squadron.

    Best wishes

    Douglas

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    Steve, I looked through Chris Ward's "6 Group Bomber Command" but no pics of Pettit re 432 Sqn.
    Last edited by Andy in West Oz; 17th April 2010 at 01:24.

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    Default More on W.R. Petit

    Revised and expanded data base entry:

    PETTIT, F/L Wilmot Reginald (J15517) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.199 Squadron - Award effective 30 September 1943 as per London Gazette dated 15 October 1943 and AFRO 2386/43 dated 19 November 1943. Born in Brantford, Ontario, 3 April 1912; educated at Dufferin Public School and Brantford Collegiate. Worked as a shoe salesman for the Robert Simpson Company, Montreal, 1934 to 1937 and Assistant Manager of Shoe Department, Charles Ogilvy, Ottawa, 1937-1940. Enlisted in Ottawa 5 September 1940. To No.1 Manning Depot, 6 September 1940. To No.1 Training Command, 4 October 1940. To No.5 SFTS, Brantford, 5 November 1940 (guard). To No.1 ITS, 10 December 1940; graduated and promoted LAC, 15 January 1941 when returned to No.1 Manning Depot. To No.14 EFTS, 20 January 1941; graduated 17 March 1941 when posted to No.2 Manning Depot; to No.3 SFTS, 9 April 1941; graduated and promoted Sergeant, 3 July 1941. Warned for overseas embarkation, 4 July 1941; to RAF overseas, 25 July 1941. Arrived in Britain, 16 August 1941. To Central Flying School, 21 August 1941 where he took an instructor course followed by a Beam Approach Training course. To No.12 SFTS, 16 November 1941 (later redesignated No.12 Pilots Advanced Flying Unit) as instructor. Commissioned 15 May 1942. To No.27 OTU, 1 September 1942; promoted Flying Officer, 15 November 1942. To No.199 Squadron, 2 January 1943. To Station Hemswell, supernumerary, 28 January 1943. Attached to No.11 OTU, 24-27 June 1943, apparently for purposed of taking an engine course at No.1 ECDU, Westcott. Attached to No.1651 CU, 9 July 1943 to 3 August 1943. Reposted to No.199 Squadron, 23 August 1943 with Acting Rank of ; promoted Acting Squadron Leader, 6 January 1944. To No.190 Squadron, 4 April 1944. To No.620 Squadron, 13 April 1944. Killed in action, 5/6 June 1944 (Stirling EF295, No.620 Squadron); buried in France. DFC and OBE presented to next-of-kin by Governor General, 28 February 1946.

    "As pilot this officer has participated in many attacks on important enemy targets and has displayed great skill and determination. On a recent occasion whilst over Berlin his aircraft was hit by fire from the ground defences but he continued his bombing run to execute a successful attack. Shortly afterwards the bomber was hit again, this time by fire from an enemy fighter. The rear turret was rendered unserviceable, most of the electrical system was shot away, while the control wires of two petrol tanks were severed. Coolly and skilfully Flight Lieutenant Pettit evaded the attacker and afterwards flew the bomber to base. This officer displayed great courage and determination throughout."

    Note: His sorties with No.199 Squadron are reported as follows:

    14 January 1943 - Lorient area : Mining
    9-10 August 1943 - Frisian Islands : Mining
    15-16 August 1943 - Gironde River : Mining
    16-17 August 1943 - Turin : Bombing
    23-24 August 1943 – Berlin : Bombing
    27-28 August 1943 – Nuremburg : Bombing
    30 August 1943 - Munchengladbach : Bombing
    31 August 1943 – Berlin : Bombing
    5-6/9 1943 - Mannheim : Bombing15-16 September 1943 – Montlucon : Bombing
    16-17 September 1943 – Modane : Bombing
    22-23 September 1943 – Hanover : Bombing
    23-24 September 1943 – Mannheim : Bombing
    3-4 October 1943 – Kassel : Bombing
    4-5 October 1943 – Frankfurt : Bombing
    28-29 January 1944 – South East Denmark : Mining
    5-6 February 1944 – Special Mission
    11-12 February 1944 – Special Mission
    5-6 March 1944 – Special Mission
    11-12 March 1944 – San Sebastian area - Mining

    PETTIT, S/L Wilmot Reginald, DFC (J15517) - Officer, Order of the British Empire - No.199 Squadron (since KIA) - Award effective 26 May 1944 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 1380/44 dated 30 June 1944. Joint citation with 944525 LAC Joseph Therwell Wray, awarded BEM.

    "One night in February 1944, Squadron Leader Pettit was the officer in charge of night flying at a Royal Air Force Station when an aircraft, whilst attempting an emergency landing, overshot the end of the runway and overturned. The aircraft immediately caught fire. Squadron Leader Pettit rushed to the spot and, with the assistance of the fire party led by leading aircraftman Wray, quickly released two members of the crew who had been trapped in the fuselage. Squadron Leader Pettit then found that the rear gunner was seriously injured and trapped upside down in his turret. By this time the aircraft was burning furiously and the petrol tanks had started to explode. In spite of this and of the further danger from exploding ammunition and pyrotechnics, Squadron Leader Pettit decided to attempt the extremely difficult task of removing the rear turret completely from the fuselage as all other attempts to reach the trapped gunner had failed. By strenuous efforts he was ultimately able to get into the turret while a party headed by Leading Aircraftman Wray, wrenched at it from outside. Eventually the gunner was extricated alive and without any addition to the severe injuries which he had sustained in the crash. Squadron Leader Pettit's coolness, courage and initiative, and Leading Aircraftman Wray's determination and devotion to duty in dangerous circumstances were of a very high order and were instrumental in saving the lives of three members of the crew of the aircraft."

    NOTE: Public Record Office Air 2/9119 has original recommendation for a George Medal. The incident occurred on 26 February 1944. The aircraft that crashed - a Lancaster - overturned in the middle of some swampy ground.

    Public Record Office Air 2/9219 has the original BEM recommendation for LAC Wray, drafted 3 March 1944, which fills in the story.

    "Leading Aircraftman Wray was in charge of the fire party on the night that a Lancaster overturned in swampy ground beyond the runway and caught fire. The fire tender was unable to get near the crash but the fire party headed by Leading Aircraftman Wray, ignoring the flames and exploding petrol tanks, assisted the officer in charge of night flying to free two members of the crew who were trapped in the fuselage.

    "When the rear gunner was found upside down in his turret, Leading Aircraftman Wray led his men in to the officer in charge of night flying in the difficult task of wrenching the rear turret away from the fuselage, all other attempts to extricate the gunner having failed.

    "The flames and heat were intense, and there was a possibility that some bombs were still on board the aircraft. In spite of this, Leading Aircraftman Wray persisted in his efforts in a most courageous and determined fashion, and eventually was successful in securing the release without further delay of the trapped gunner.

    "The splendid courage and devotion to duty shown by Leading Aircraftman Wray in the face of great danger and under severe physical difficulties is most commendable and is an inspiration to all ranks in his station.

    "Leading Aircraftman Wray was uninjured."

    A further note by the Air Officer Commanding, No.3 Group, stated:

    "This incident occurred in the early hours of the morning of February 26th on the boundary of Lakenheath airfield. In the burning wreckage all the petrol tanks exploded, as well as the oil tanks, a large quantity of ammunition, pyrotechnics and some incendiary bombs, and Leading Aircraftman Wray ran the risk of serious injury. I recommend the award of the British Empire Medal."

    Training: Interviewed on 19 August 1940 by F/O O.W. Froom who listed his hobbies (music, especially clariionet) and sports (golf, tennis, badminton extensively, skiing, swimming and hockey moderately). “Excellent character and pleasant. Alert and intelligent. This young man has Junior Matriculation, also part Senior Matriculation. Has been successful in business life. Nice looking, clean, smart, intelligent - alert - officer calibre. Wants to be a pilot but overage. Recommend observer.”

    Course at No.1 ITS was 13 December 1940 to 14 January 1941. Courses and marks as follows: Mathematics (92/100), Armament, practical and oral (96/100), Visual Link (80/100), Drill (82/100), Law and Discipline (84/100). Placed 28th in a class of 116. “Intelligent, keen and smart. Is good pilot material. Second aircrew recommendation, observer.”

    Course at No.14 EFTS was 16 January to 17 March 1941. Flew in Tiger Moths (27.45 dual, 25.05 solo plus five hours in Link). “Smooth, confident student. Shows excellent air sense at all times. No outstanding weaknesses.” (H. Taylor, CFI). Ground school courses were Airmanship (194/200), Airframes (100/100), Aero Engines (85/100), Signals, practical (97/100), Theory of Flight (75/100), Air Navigation (129/200), Armament, oral (160/200). Considered suitable for commission. “Excellent type. Neat. Conduct very good. Active and reliable. Very good on parade.” (F/L D.J. Thomson). Graduated 9th in a class of 29.

    Course at No.3 SFTS was 10 April to 3 July 1941. All flying in Ansons (30.20 day dual, 40.20 day solo, 3.35 night dual, 6.40 night solo). These times included 21.00 on instruments. Also logged 17 hours in Link and 12.15 as passenger. Marked on formation flying (average), navighation ability (below average), night flying (average), determination and initiative (average), instrument flying (average), ability to maintain speed, course and height (above average). “An above average pilot. Flying is sound.” Ground courses were Airmanship and Maintenance (123/200), Armament, written (64/100), Armament, practical (73/100), Navigation and Meteorology (116/200), Signals, written (87/100) and Signals, practical (49/50). Placed 14th in a class of 39. “Pleasant, frank personality. Keen, alert and mature. Confident manner. Has makings of a good officer.”

    Course at No.27 OTU, 1 September to 21 December 1942 involved flying on Wellington aircraft - two hours 35 minutes day dual to first day solo, five hours 20 minutes day dual total, 35 hours ten minutes day solo; one hour 50 minutes night dual to first night solo, three hours five minutes night dual total, 41 hours 15 minutes night solo. Of this time, 24 hours five minutes on instruments. Also logged 25 hours in Link. Flying Tests in General Flying (320/400), Applied Flying (150/200), Instrument Flying (175/250), Night Flying (77/100), and Link (47/50). Ground examinations in Airmanship (261/300), Armament (240/300), Navigation (148.200), and Signals (63/100). Meteorology either not taken or he was not tested. “An above average pilot of quiet, imperturbable nature. Keen and his perseverance has done him credit whilst on the course.” (W/C A.D. Jackson).

    Assessments:

    “This NCO is very thorough in his method, but needed checking on several points. He did not know the correct recovery from a stall and had never used ‘U.M.P. Flaps Trim Gyros’ before landing. Steep turns should be frequently practised. He is a good pilot and sound type and is considered up to ‘Q’ Standard.” (F/L A. Scott, No.12 AFU, at which time Pettit had 106.55 dual and 303.45 solo of which 127.20 were instructional.)

    “This officer has been commissioned recently at this unit, and has been carrying out his duties as an officer satisfactorily.” (W/C A.B. Abbott, No.12 AFU, 22 September 1942).

    “An excellent officer and an exceptional operational captain of aircraft.” (Flight Commander, signature illegible, 18 September 1943).

    “A fine operational pilot and excellent Flight Commander. Squadron Leader Pettit is justky respected and esteemed by all ranks. He is a very good and steady influence among aircrew especially, and with some more experience as Flight Commander should make a first class Squadron Commander.” (W/C N.A.N. Bray, No.199 Squadron, 8 April 1944. At the time he was noted as having flown 990 hours, of which 77 were in previous six months).

    Circumstances of Death: He took off at 2334 hours, 5 June 1944 in Stirling EF295. His aircraft was carrying 17 paratroopers, of whom one subsequently returned to the United Kingdom, six were taken prisoner, and ten killed or missing. The objective was Ranville. The aircraft was hit by flak and caught fire as they crossed the coast. A surviving air gunner (1314446, Sergeant A.E. Pryde or Pryce or Pride) stated they were at about 500 feet when hit. He remembered little, although he landed by parachute about 25 yards from the wreckage. Crew had consisted of J15517 S/L W.R. Pettit, 135746 F/O Richard George Watkins (navigator), NZ424961 Flight Sergeant Edward Harry Frederick Atkinson (air bomber), 1851161 Sergeant Geoffrey Albert Maud (flight engineer), 1295606 Flight Sergeant Robert Frederick Kebbell (WOP, POW), and 1314446 Sergeant Albert Ernest Price (air gunner, POW).

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