Warwick crew from RAF 281 Squadron
Photograph of a Warwick crew from RAF 281 Squadron in September 1944.
Courtesy of Mr Geoff Stephens
Standing in front of their Warwick aircraft at the Tiree aerodrome are Flight Sergeant Bobby (or Billy) Balcombe, Flight Sergeant Harry Merrison, Flight Sergeant ‘Kim’ Nicholls, Pilot Officer E. G. Rendall, Warrant Officer Joseph ‘Ray’ Stephens and ‘Poppy’ Brandeth, all from No. 281 Squadron.
The squadron, whose motto was ‘Volamus servaturi’ (We fly to serve), was formed in March 1942 for air-sea rescue duties, initially flying Defiant aircraft which were replaced the following year with Anson aircraft. In November 1943 it was absorbed by No. 282 Squadron and reformed with Warwick aircraft carrying airborne lifeboats.
The squadron’s base was moved to Tiree in February 1944 and detachments were sent around the British Isles. In February 1945 it moved to Northern Ireland but a detachment remained at Tiree until September. The squadron was disbanded in October 1945.
Black and white photograph of Warwick crew, September 1944.
Warwick crew, September 1944. L-R: Flight Sergeant Bobby (or Billy) Balcombe, Flight Sergeant Harry Merrison, Flight Sergeant `Kim` Nicholls, Pilot Officer E. G. Rendall, Warrant Officer Joseph `Ray` Stephens (donor`s father), `Poppy` Brandeth.