Sam Saunders Final Flights



Sam Saunders Final Flights


Details of Sam's citation for his DSO, further training in Navigation and as an instructor. He then returned to transport in the Mediterranean. His last flight was from Malta to Cairo.
There are three photographs of his wife.




Temporal Coverage



Two printed sheets with three b/w photographs


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In March 1945 he received a letter from his old school, the Whitgift, “...feel once again the reflected glory which we all experience in this great honour....may you be able to render further service to our country...”

This is the citation for the DSO;

Sqn. Ldr. E. J. SAUNDERS, D.F.C., R.A.F.V.R., No. 128 Sqn., These members of aircraft crew have completed very many sorties against enemy targets. On 1st January 1945, they were detailed for an operation which necessitated releasing heavy bombs from low level at openings to various tunnels on the enemy's railway system leading to the Western Front. The mission called for a high degree of skill. The good results obtained reflect the greatest credit on the efforts of the personnel mentioned, who throughout a dangerous and difficult sortie, displayed exceptional ability, great determination and devotion to duty.

From March to May 1945, he flew with 109 Operational Training Unit B Flight. Here Daddy trained further in Navigation and as an instructor. On 22nd May he got his final certificate for the Transport Operational Training Course. After this there was a gap but in July 1945 he travelled as a passenger to Marseille (Ystre), Luqua, El Adem and Cairo but we don't know why.

During August he was with 216 Squadron navigating transport flights all round the Mediterranean and further afield. He flew in Dakotas, Fairey Battles, Tiger Moths, Mosquitos and many more in 2 and 3 hour flights. They went to Almazza, Lydda, Hasbaniya, Bahrein, Shaiba, Karachi, Masira, Naples, Luqua Heliopolis, Ras El Hard, Mauripur, Khartoum, Juba, Nairobi, Durban, Zwartop. Transvaal and Rhodesia, Tanganyika and of course Wadi Halfa, Almaza and Asmara.

And so it went on into January 1946 and the end of his war. His total flying hours of 1968.55 were impressive, with daytime hours of 1194.30 and 774.25 of nightime.

[page break]

[three black and white photographs]

On the 9th of January 1946 his [sic] made his final official flight, from Luqa [sic] to Heliopolis, a flight of 6.30 hours. Below the 'Grand Total' of hours he wrote “Finis”.

By this time he had met Mummy, there are several romantic and touching notes sent to her from many far away places.

We have postcards from 1945 sent from Asmara and Malta by Daddy to Mummy and his Christmas card from 1945.

“...for though I would fly in the air as an eagle, or though I were the messenger of Jupiter, yet would I have recourse to rest with thee; and I swear by the knot of thy amiable hair, that since the first time I saw thee, I never favoured any other person...”

Sargeant [sic] Peggy Saunders had been stationed in Huntingdon, working one day in the NAAFI cinema, she had handed him his ticket!


Penny Thickett, “Sam Saunders Final Flights,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 23, 2024,

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