Tag Archives: raf

1997.189.9

Polish airmen from RAF 304 Squadron in 1942

Photograph of Polish airmen from RAF 304 Squadron in 1942.

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Courtesy of Mr Mike Hughes

Polish airmen from RAF 304 Bomber Squadron are shown here taking a break from servicing their Wellington aircraft. After the Nazi-Soviet victory in Poland in 1939, a large part of the Polish Air Force was evacuated, eventually being withdrawn to the United Kingdom.

Polish pilots were among the most experienced in battle, most of them having fought in the 1939 September campaign in Poland and the 1940 Battle of France. In addition, pre-war Poland had set a very high standard of pilot training.

Created in 1940, 304 Squadron was based briefly on Tiree in the spring of 1942, flying Wellingtons on anti-submarine duties. The squadron was one of fifteen in the RAF manned by Polish airmen, the most famous being 303 Squadron which claimed the highest number of enemy kills during the Battle of Britain.

Black and white photograph of a Polish aircrew in 1942.

Polish aircrew from RAF 304 Squadron based on Tiree in 1942 take a break from servicing the Wellington aircraft in the background. (Photograph from Mike Hughes in Filing Cabinet 2 drawer 1)

1997.189.11

Black and white photograph of an RAF Concert Party in 1944.

RAF Concert Party in 1944. L-R: Fred MacKeown, Fred Parratt, Jessie MacQueen, Denis Guest, unknown, Bryn Lewis, Nan Hogarth, Frank Murphy, Dodo Leslie, Jack May, Jean Hind, Jim Worthington, Nettie MacFarlane, Harry Smith, Harry Barr, Paul Blomley. (Photograph from Mike Hughes in Filing Cabinet 2 drawer 1)

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1997.189.27

Flight Lieutenant Max Bacon and his aircrew from RAF 518 Squadron

Photograph of Flight Lieutenant Max Bacon and his aircrew from RAF 518 Squadron.

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Courtesy of Mr Mike Hughes

Flight Lieutenant Arthur ‘Max’ Bacon (4th left) and his aircrew from RAF 518 Squadron are pictured beside their Halifax which was lost on operations over the Atlantic in January 1945.

RAF 518 Squadron arrived on Tiree in September 1943 to fly weather reconnaissance missions in long-range Halifax aircraft. Twice a day flights ‘Bismuth’ and ‘Mercer’ left Tiree for a ten-hour-long trip out into the Atlantic at either 20,000 or 50 feet.

Pressure to fly was relentless and in 1944 518 Squadron flew every day but two. Often icing and waves 100 feet high made this dangerous. 518 Squadron lost twelve aircraft during their spell on Tiree. That night in January, Max and his crew disappeared without trace.

Black and white photograph of Flight Lieutenant Max Bacon and his aircrew during World War II.

Flight Lieutenant Max Bacon (4th left) and his aircrew from RAF 518 Squadron beside their Halifax which was lost on operations over the Atlantic on 21/1/1945. Far right: F/Sgt Tony Porazka (Met. Air Obs., Polish). (Photograph from Mike Hughes in Filing Cabinet 2 drawer 1)