Ernie Twells' Obituary and letter from the King



Ernie Twells' Obituary and letter from the King


Ernie Twells' obituary detailing his life before, during and after the war.

A letter from the King awarding Ernie Twells his Distinguished Flying Cross.



A newspaper cutting and printed sheet on a scrapbook page


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PTwellsE15070064, PTwellsE15070065, PTwellsE15070066


Wartime pilot is praised

Dambusters’ pilot Bob Knight has paid tribute to the war service of Mr. Ernest Twells of 2 Abbott Street, Long Eaton, who died recently.
Mr. Twells, who served in the Royal Air Force as a Flight Engineer during the 1939 to 1945 conflict, joined the famous 617 Squadron just after the daring, bouncing bomb raid. But he flew with Mr. Knight on precision raids of pinpoint German factories, U-boat pens, V1 and V2 rocket sites and other special targets.
Aged about 34 at the time, Mr. Twells was affectionately referred to as ‘Dad’ by the rest of his crew – the average age of the Dambusters being between 21 and 23.
Speaking of him at a funeral service, Mr. Knight said the crew of his Lancaster bomber ‘Thumper’ knew they owed their lives to Ernest Twells.

“It was,” he stated, “due to his thorough and immaculate knowledge of the flight engineering that we never run short of fuel, even on our longest diversions.”
Originally from Wilford, Mr. Twells, who leaves a widow, Mrs. Doris Twells, a son, Ernest and a daughter, Margaret, first came to Long Eaton in 1937 to work as a race twist-hand at Byard’s.
Rising to management level in his work, which he returned to after the war, Mr. Twells joined the RAF auxiliary in 1938 and was called-up for active service at the outbreak of war.
Serving first as an engine fitter, Mr. Twells was promoted to sergeant and then to flight engineer.
His training in Lancasters began early in 1943 when he served with 619 Squadron at Swinderby and later at Woodhall Spa, from where he took part in 30 raids over Hamburg and Berlin.
While in the Dambusters’ team, Mr. Twells served under the command of Group Captain Len Cheshire and, together with the rest of the team, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for taking part in 70 operations over Germany and other enemy territory.
He was among the crew which sunk the German battle cruiser Tirpitz, sister ship of the Bismark, in the Norwegian Fjiords.
A keen member of the international Dambusters’ Associations, Mr. Twells had attended reunions in many parts of the world, including Canada and Australia.

[page break]

[Crest of Buckingham Palace]
I greatly regret that I am unable to give you personally the award which you have so well earned.
I now send it to you with my congratulations and my best wishes for your future happiness.

[signature] George R.I. [/signature]

Flight Lieutenant Ernest Twells, D.F.C.


“Ernie Twells' Obituary and letter from the King,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 14, 2024,

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