Interview with Frederick Joseph Keith Martin


Interview with Frederick Joseph Keith Martin


Keith Martin was working for an agricultural machinery merchants in Shrewsbury when the war started. This was classed as a reserved occupation but when he was nearly 20, he decided to volunteer for the Royal Air Force in April 1942 and was selected to be a wireless operator/air gunner. Initial training took place in Blackpool, followed by further training at RAF Yatesbury, RAF Ternhill, RAF Calveley. Promoted to sergeant he was then posted to 18 Initial Training Wing at RAF Bridgnorth to complete his wireless operator training. Flying training took place at RAF West Freugh and in October 1943 he was posted to an operational training unit at RAF Hixon flying Wellingtons. It was there that Keith was formed in to an aircrew. In December 1943 Keith’s crew flew their first operation, as part of their training, which was leaflet dropping over Belgium. January 1944 saw a posting to a heavy conversion unit at RAF Sandtoft to fly Halifaxes. In April their aircraft had an engine failure on take-off, resulting in a crash landing which wrote it off but injured no-one. He transferred to Lancasters at RAF Hemswell and was then posted to RAF Wickenby. From May he was in an operational squadron. Keith describes the many operations that he carried out, including an operation during which an aircraft below his exploded, and caused his aircraft to go out of control until the pilot recovered control at 2000 feet. In June 1944 he was posted to 300 Squadron. By August his crew had flown 26 operations. On completing his tour, Keith went on to spend a year at the advanced flying unit at RAF South Cerney before volunteering for the Empire Test Pilots’ School at RAF Cranfield. He was finally demobbed in 1946 returning to his pre-war employer, who had kept his job available.



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01:41:51 audio recording






Dawn Hughes, “Interview with Frederick Joseph Keith Martin,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed May 19, 2021,

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