Two newspaper cuttings



Two newspaper cuttings


First - over 400 times they led the way. Article about RAF Pathfinders. Crest and details about 35 Squadron. Also mentions 7, 83 and 156 Squadrons as nucleus of force in August 1942. Mentions some of their attacks and numbers of decorations awarded. Continues with mention of 35 Squadron Halifax and past history. Continues with other wartime exploits of squadron. Second cutting is a letter from Daily Telegraph complaining that the obituary of R V Jones did not mention aircraft of Bomber Command other than the Lancaster.







Two newspaper cuttings mounted on an album page


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[boxed] SQUADRON HISTORIES [/boxed]


[italics] THE WINGED HORSE'S HEAD in the badge of 35 Squadron commemorates its co-operation with the cavalry in the First World War. Translation of the motto is "We act with one accord." Authority for the badge was given by King Edward VIII in October, 1936. [/italics]

First of the Pathfinders

NIGHT after night they flew eastwards into danger.

Always they were there, ahead of the main bomber group, leading, guiding, indicating.

To them the men of the R.A.F.'s select Pathfinder Force, goes the highest of praise.

Their magnificent work ensured that Bomber Command's all-out efforts during the Second World War were not wasted, that the bombs hit Germany where it hurt most.

Among the most distinguished of the Pathfinder squadrons was No. 35.

With 7, 83 and 156 Squadrons it formed the nucleus of the force in August, 1942. And from then until the end of the war it supplied marking aircraft for no fewer then 425 attacks.

From St. Nazaire to Berlin and from Turin to Hamburg its aircraft clearly and effectively showed the way.

And the outstanding courage of its crews earned over 50 D.S.O.s, D.F.C.s and D.F.M's

But it wasn't only as a Pathfinder squadron that No. 35 gained distinction.

For 18 months before becoming one it had already been [missing letter]itting hard at a great variety of targets, from factories at Manheim to the battleship Tirpit[missing letter] at Trondheim.

It was, in fact, the [missing letters]rst squadron to us Halifaxes. It received them at Leeming, Yorks. on November 20. 1940.

From Madras
[italics] The money for them was [missing letters]vided by people of the Mad[missing letters] Presidency. And in appre[missing letters]tion the squadron has [missing word] been officially known as [missing numbers] (Madras Presidency) Squadron [/italics]

It was the intention of [missing word] Madras Provincial War Com[missing letters]tee to commemorate the gift [missing word] some more permanent to[missing letters] Soon after the war, [missing words] presented the squadron with a writing-table set, comprising an inkstand, blotting-pad and roller-blotter, all of Indian beaten silver and bearing the Madras Presidency arms.

No. 35 also saw much action in the First World War.

It was formed at Thetford, Norfolk, from a nucleus of 9 (Reserve) Squadron, on February 1, 1916.

After a period of training it flew to France on January 25, 1917, as a Corps squadron. Its aircraft were Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8s.

[italics] It was soon in the thick of the fray. Without respite it did sterling work in the Battles of Arras, the Somme, Ypres and Cambrai. [/italics]

Casualties were often heavy, but there was never any sign of faltering.

Advancing with the Army and carrying out a mixed bag of duties, from bombing to laying smoke-screens, it kept up the pace [indecipherable word] up to the Armistice.

Ten-year break

It returned to Britain early in 1919 and was disbanded on June 26 at Netheravon.

When it was re-formed on March 1, 1929, at Bircham Newton, Norfolk, it became a bomber squadron.

At first it received D.H. 9As, but they were soon replaced by Fairey 3Fs. Then in 1933 came Gordons.

In October, 1935, after the Italians had invaded Abyssinia, the squadron was sent to the Middle East. It stayed ten months.

Back home it faced a period of reorganisation. After moving in 1938 from Worthy Down to Cottesmore, it received Battles and Ansons. Then in 1939 came a move to Cranfield.

Quick start

For the first year of the war No. 35's duties were confined to training. But it soon made up for lost time.

Based at Linton-on-Ouse, it struck its first blow at the enemy on March 11, 1941, with a raid on the docks at Le Havre.

Other early targets included Bremen, Essen, Hamburg, Hanover, [indecipherable name], Kiel, Rotterdam, Stettin and Turin.

Several attacks were made on the battleships [italics] Scharnhorst and Gnelsenau [/italics] at Brest.

Among first crew-members to win awards were S/Ldr. J. B. Tait, who gained a bar to his D.S.O., and S/Ldr. T. P. A. Bradley who won a D.S.O. and a bar to his D.F.C. The latter was killed three years later in the Far East.

Early in 1942, before it became a Pathfinder squadron, No. 35 hit continually at vital targets in the Ruhr and other parts of Germany.

A change came on two successive nights in April, when attacks were made on the [italics] Tirpitz [/italics] in Trondheim Fjord.

1,000-bomber raid

[italics] Then on May 30 the squadron took part in the first 1,000-bomber raid on Cologne. [/italics]

First Pathfinder operation was made on August 18 against Flensburg. It was not a success.

The crews quickly gained proficiency, however, and were soon providing an effective spearhead to raid after raid.

In an attack on November 18 on Turin, the C.O., W/Cdr. B. V. Robinson, flew back to base at Gravely with his aircraft on fire.

He was killed the following August during a second spell with the squadron. Then a group captain, he had gained a D.S.O. and a D.F.C. and bar

Almost nightly

An attack on Berlin marked the opening of 1943. Then came raids on U-boat bases at Brest, Lorient and St. Nazaire, followed by almost nightly trips to the Ruhr.

Included in targets during June were the Schneider armament works at Le Creusot.

During that month F/Sgt. N. F. Williams, an Australian rear gunner, became the first member of the squadron to win a C.G.M.

[italics] On a raid on Dusseldorf, though partly paralysed through wounds in his body and legs, he stayed in his turret and shot down two enemy aircraft. [/italics]

He already held a D.F.M. and bar.

In August Nuremburg and Peenemunde were among the targets. Then, as another winter of all-out effort began, strong forces were led to Berlin, Hamburg, Hanover, Kassel, Mannheim, Munich and many other towns.

Another outstanding act of gallantry occurred in December S/Ldr. J. Sale, returning to [indecipherable word] with an aircraft extensively damaged by fire, ordered his crew to bale out.

But when he discovered one member had an unserviceable parachute, he stayed at the controls and brought off a most difficult touch-down.

The following March he crashed in Germany and was seriously wounded.


That month No. 35 converted to Lancasters and began blasting pre-invasion targets.

[italics] After D-Day it augmented strategic bombing with tactical operations. It gave close support to our troops at Caen and Falaise and bombed the heavy-gun batteries at Walcheren. [/italics]

Attacks against flying-bomb sites and important store centres also formed part of the programme.

On a raid against Dusseldorf in November, S/Ldr. G. A. Patrick, a veteran of 118 sorties, kept on course even though his navigational aids were useless, and made a faultless bombing run.

No letting up

Operating by both day and night, the squadron kept hard at it right to the end.

Targets hit during the last months of the war included Bonn, Cologne, Goch, Mainz and Potsdam.

Final tasks were dropping food to the Dutch and flying home repatriated prisoners of war.

[italics] In July and August, 1946, No. 35 was honoured by being chosen to carry out the R.A.F.'s first post-war goodwill tour. [/italics]

Today it is still a vital part of Britain's striking force, being equipped with Canberras and based at Marham.

There is no doubt that it can always be counted on to maintain the magnificent pattern of efficiency and devotion to duty set by its gallant wartime crews.

[italics] Most of the information in this article was supplied by Air Force historian [indecipherable words] [/italics]

[page break]

[missing number] 6455

[inserted] DAILY TELEGRAPH MON. 29/12/1997 [/inserted]

SIR – I was disappointed that your obituary of Professor R. V. Jones (Dec. 20) mentioned only the Lancasters of Bomber Command. At the start of the Second World War the Wellington, Hampden and Blenheim did sterling service. Later the Command became all four-engined with the Sterling, Halifax and Lancaster.

While the Sterling was not a success, valuable work was done by the 6,000-odd Halifaxes, especially the later versions fitted with Hercules engines. Indeed, some Halifax crews loved to cut one engine on return from a raid and then overtake Lancasters while making an appropriate gesture. And while the Lancaster served only with Bomber Command, the more versatile Halifax operated with both Coastal and Transport Commands and dropped supplies and agents in occupied Europe.

Why is it, these days, that only the Lancaster is ever mentioned?




M Usherwood, “Two newspaper cuttings,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 14, 2024,

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