Interview with Ken and Diana Odell


Interview with Ken and Diana Odell


Ken Odell was a schoolboy at the beginning of the war living in Highgate and was evacuated with the school. When he was of age he volunteered for the RAF and was sent to RAF Sywell for Pilot, Navigator, Bomb Aimer evaluation. Accepted as a pilot, he undertook training at 3 basic flight training school in Oklahoma flying PT19 Cornells.
Graduating as top of his course, he was sent back to England and was asked fly as an instructor for one year with the promise of joining an operational fighter squadron. He joined Number 1 elementary flying training school at RAF Panshanger but the war finished before he was made operational and he continued in his training role, at one point training senior royal naval officers to fly. Ken considers himself fortunate as most of his course friends were retrained as glider pilots and took part in Operation Varsity which had a high casualty rate.
Demobbed in 1947 he returned to his civilian banking position but a year later re-enlisted for ten years in the volunteer reserve and continued his training role flying Tiger Moths and Chipmunks. Ken retired with the rank of flight lieutenant in 1968. He joined the 3 BFS Association and had reunions in both England and America.

Diana Odell was also a child at the start of the war and shared her home with various refugees her father brought home while working as a lorry driver. Diana volunteered for the WAAF and trained as a telegraphist with Coastal Command.

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01:04:16 audio recording


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Chris Brockbank, “Interview with Ken and Diana Odell,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 20, 2024,

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