View Full Version : 19 Squadron circa 1938/9

8th August 2018, 16:32
I came across this photo in the wallet of a BOB pilot who transferred from 19 Squadron to 222 Squadron in 1940. I also am making a transcription of his diary for activity at 19 squadron where he was with Douglas Bader amongst others during April 1940 at Duxford. I am wondering if anyone can recognize the others in this rather blurry old picture. The wallet belonged to Geoffrey Charles Matheson 39363.


8th August 2018, 16:50
Howdie, Hi,
The 1940’s winters were pretty severe (I was a young lad in ‘em!).
Note the snow on the ground, the heavy Great-Coats, the Wellies & Sea-Boot Socks, and the scarves.
And what was that trike u/c a/c behind the bloke (far left, and without a Great Coat)? Might be a Havoc (or similar) my 1940’s a/c recognition has disappeared into the memory Big Black Hole!!
Interesting pic!
Peter Davies

bruce dennis
8th August 2018, 18:07
Is it me? I can't see a picture but obviously Peter can. Anyone?


8th August 2018, 18:20
Hello Peter,

It's been many years since we corresponded.

I am putting together a document for the family about Geoffrey Matheson 39363 who was killed in 1943 with my wife's father. Included are the weather maps for the day they died which you so kindly sent me many years ago. Thank you.

Geoff's brother, Bryan Matheson, the actor, died last year at the grand old age of 96. A few months earlier he had passed to my wife some of the things that he had kept from his dearly beloved brother including Geoff's diary for April 1940 with 19 Squadron at Duxford and that photo which I posted on Photobucket as a publicly available image. ( not sure why others cannot see it)

I too was intrigued by the 'trike'.

Best wishes,


8th August 2018, 19:02

I couldn't see it on Firefox, but Safari can see the image (or a little blue box with a question mark, anyway), for some strange reason. I right clicked on the blue square, and selected 'open image in a new tab', and it's posted on Photobucket - here's a direct link:




bruce dennis
8th August 2018, 19:56
Thanks Simon. I tried it in different browsers as well and no picture, link or icon is there for me. I would appreciate comments from anyone who can get past this (or has always been able to see the photo) before I pass it on to the broad techie shoulders of Jagan.
The thread should not be hijacked but a bit of feedback is welcome.


8th August 2018, 20:57
Thanks all - Not quite sure what happened there - you type for a bit, post a reply and it gets blocked! I've also posted the picture to twitter. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DkGjZKBXsAEuuup.jpg:large Best,


David Duxbury
8th August 2018, 21:19
Certainly looks like a Havoc to me, or one of that family (Boston/DB-7 etc.)
David D

9th August 2018, 15:09
Peter, I think from the photo of Geoffrey Matheson that it was 1939/40 winter. He is wearing a Sergeant's coat, possibly not his own though. He went to 222 Squadron in June 1940 based at Kirton Lindsey then Hornchurch from where he was shot down on 30 August 1940 and crash landed at Sittingbourne. There is a scene of winter at Duxford in late December 1939 on the Imperial War Museum's blog re Duxford. http://blogs.iwm.org.uk/historic-duxford/files/2011/12/22.-HU_002377.-small.jpg

Best, Howard

9th August 2018, 16:27

According to this ref:

Your IWM photo (IWM HU 2377), depicts 119881 Sgt Frederick Neal Robertson RAFVR* standing alone against a backdrop of 66 Squadron Spitfires at snow-covered Duxford airield in February 1940.

* + 13-8-1943 MAC with B-17 at night near Norwich

RAF Duxford A History in Photographs from 1917 to the Present Day.
Smith,Richard C.
London:Grub Street,2006.


9th August 2018, 22:59
Certainly looks like a Havoc to me, or one of that family (Boston/DB-7 etc.)
David D

It looks like a Boston/Havoc to me as well, but I understand the first Boston was delivered to the RAF in July 1940. Did the French receive any of their DB-7s by late 1939/early 1940?
Tony Broadhurst

10th August 2018, 12:30
Hello Tony

Indeed the French Armée de l'Air received its first Douglas DB-7 in early 1940. They were delivered by sea, in crates. It was intended first to build them in continental France (at Caen) but the high command changed its mind and they were delivered in North Africa, and flown to France.

Several groupes de bombardement were operational on the machine during the Campagne de France (May- June 1940).


10th August 2018, 12:58

Air Ministry 12th August 1941, the Day Fighter Scheme: The Sky spinner, Sky fuselage band and yellow leading edge strips.

To this date were spinners black… Winter 1941?



10th August 2018, 21:48

Spinners during the Battle of Britain and the winter of 39/40 were black. Directives at the end of November 1940 gave instructions to paint spinners "duck egg blue"...(no please don't open that one again !) thus appearing light in B and W photos. Therefore the Spitfire photo was taken December 1940 onwards?

Equally, as well as French examples, British Bostons/Havocs were arriving from late Summer 1940 onwards and the night fighter Havoc entered service in December 1940. The one in the photo appears to be a small finned Havoc/Boston as you would expect.

Matthewson became A Flight Commander of 222 Sqn on 6th June 1940. 222 moved to Coltishall on 11th November 1940 remaining there until June 41. Therefore a speculative case could be made for the photo being taken at Coltishall during the winter of 40/41 from December 40 onwards.

Back to the original question though...who are these young chaps?

regards Peter

11th August 2018, 09:55
Content of this post has been deleted on the author's written request with his apology to all as he posted an incorrect info here.

CZ_RAF (Moderator)

25th September 2018, 14:56
I have it on the good authority of Dilip Sarkar and note the information on the painting of the tips of propellors above that the Spitfire in question was not around until December 1940 so can only assume that it was taken after Geoff Matheson had moved to 57 OTU on flying duties in October 1940 - This seems to have operated from South Cerney and I thought were flying twin engined planes at that time.