PATHFINDER FORCE NAVIGATION TRAINING UNIT

The Pathfinder Force Navigation Training unit was under the control of No. 8 Group and was established at Gransden Lodge on the 10th April 1943. The units task was to train crews which where selected from Main Force Squadrons for Pathfinder duties. Equipped with Stirlings, Halifaxes and Lancasters and in late 1944 Mosquitoes and Oxfords. The unit moved to Upwood on the 17th June 1943 and an air party being established at Warboys.


25th January 1944 Halifax II W7823 crash at Upwood village.

Take off Upwood at 21.15 with 10 onboard, tasked for a target indicator dropping exercise, but failed to gain height. Seconds later, having smashed through some trees, the Halifax was in a mass of flames in Upwood Village on the south side of the airfield. LAC Preston was taken to Peterborough Memorial Hospital but despite the best efforts of the doctors and nurses, he succumbed to his injuries the next day.

As far as iam aware it came down in Upwood village and set fire the the roof of Calton House (this has yet to be confirmed) I was told that there was a pond somewhere and alot of the reckage was used to fill in the pond (this also needs to be confirmed).


Copyright Google.com



Halifax heavy bomber


The Handley Page Halifax was one of the four-engined heavy bombers of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. A contemporary of the famous Avro Lancaster, the Halifax remained in service until the end of the war, performing a variety of duties in addition to bombing. The Halifax was also operated by squadrons of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Free French Air Force, and Polish forces, and after the Second World War by the Royal Egyptian Air Force, the Armée de l'Air and the Royal Pakistan Air Force.

General characteristics

Crew: 7
Length: 71 ft 7 in (21.82 m)
Wingspan: 104 ft 2 in (31.75 m (Early Mks. had span of less than 100 ft (30 m) to fit through standard hangar doors.))
Height: 20 ft 9 in (6.32 m)
Wing area: 1,190 ft² (110.6 m²)
Loaded weight: 54,400 lb (24,675 kg)
Powerplant: 4 × Bristol Hercules XVI radial engine, 1,615 hp (1,205 kW) each

Performance

Maximum speed: 282 mph (454 km/h) at 13,500 ft (4,115 m)
Range: 1,860 mi (3,000 km) combat
Service ceiling: 24,000 ft (7,315 m)
Rate of climb: 750 ft/min (3.8 m/s)
Wing loading: 45.7 lb/ft² (223.1 kg/m²)
Power/mass: 0.12 hp/lb (195 W/kg)

Armament

Guns: 8 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns (4 in dorsal turret, 4 in tail turret), 1 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers K machine gun in nose
Bombs: 13,000 lb (5,897 kg) of bombs


In Memory

25th January 1944

Halifax II W7823

F/L BERNARD FRANCIS McSORLEY DFC RCAF died
F/S FREDERICK JOSEPH PATRICK JERVIS DFM died
F/O GEOFFREY WILLIAM CLIFTON CANDLIN DFC DFM died
P/O LOUIS LAWRENCE ORAM died
Sgt WILFRED GEORGE STONEMAN died
Sgt WILLIAM ELLENOR died
AC2 ANNESLEY RICHARD KAVANAGH died
W/O HERBERT ALFRED WILLIAM JOLLY DFM died
Sgt BEJOY KRISHNA MITRA died
LAC ARTHUR CHARLES PRESTON Injured but died a day later in hospital from Terrible burns.

BERNARD FRANCIS McSORLEY

Rank: Flight Lieutenant
Trade: Pilot
Service No: J/17664
Date of Death: 25/01/1944
Age: 27
Regiment/Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Awards: D F C
Grave Reference Sec. M. Grave 1132.
Cemetery SHORNCLIFFE MILITARY CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of John A. McSorley and Edna May McSorley; husband of Marjorie McSorley, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

DFC reads:
McSorley. Bernard Francis. PO. (C/J17664). RCAF. 405(RCAF)Sqn
London Gazette:19/10/1943:4619
No other information.

 

 

F/S FREDERICK JOSEPH PATRICK JERVIS DFM

Age 23
Rank: Flight Sergeant
Trade: Flt. Engr.
Service No: 979438
Date of Death: 25/01/1944
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Awards: D F M
Cemetery WIGAN CEMETERY
Son of Frederick and Annie Jervis, of Wigan; husband of Rosaline Jervis, of Wigan.

DFM reads:
L/G 18/1/1944 Sorties 47, Flying hours 302. Flight Engineer. Air2/9153:
As a Flight Engineer, Flight Sergeant Jervis had carried out a continuous tour of 47 operations against the majority of heavily defended targets in Germany and enemy occupied territory. His unfailing reliability and coolness have been of the highest order. Throughout, this N.C.O. has shown commendable knowledge and skill, always setting a very high example to the rest of the Flight Engineer of the squadron. His outstanding devotion to duty as a member of an exceptional Pathfinder Force crew make him very worthy of the award of the Distinguished FLying Medal. 21 Novmeber 1943.

F/O GEOFFREY WILLIAM CLIFTON CANDLIN DFC DFM

Rank: Flying Officer
Trade: Nav./Bomber
Service No: 146286
Date of Death: 25/01/1944
Age: 28
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
83 Sqdn.
Awards: D F C, D F M
Grave Reference Row B. Grave 24.
Cemetery BURY CEMETERY, HUNTINGDONSHIRE
Son of William Roderick and Ethel Maude Candlin; husband of Olive Hilda Candlin, of Hillingdon, Middlesex.

DFM reads:
L/G 9/7/1943 Sorties 45, Flying Hours 253.15 Air Bomber Air2/8964
Flight Sergeant Candlin has completed 45 operational sorties, a large proportion of which have been over the most heavily defended German targets including Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen and Kiel. This N.C.O. has shown consistent and unflinching determination to lead his aircraft through these defendces with the utmost skill, finally placing his target-markers and bombs in the desired position and securing photographic evidence. His keenness is exemplary and he possesses a complete and thorough knowledge of his duties, both on the ground and in the air. He Possesses a high sense of duty and is now continuing on his second tour of operations without a rest. He is strongly recommended for the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal. 16th May 1943.

DFC reads:
London Gazette: 15/10/1943: 4558.
As bomb aimer, Pilot Officer Candlin has participated in a large number of sorties and his skilful efforts have contrubuted in a large measure to the successful bombing of many important targets. In addition, Pilot Officer Candlin has devoted his energies towards training of other members of aircraft crew, rendering excellent service. His fine record is worthy of great praise.

 

 

 

 

P/O LOUIS LAWRENCE ORAM

Rank: Flying Officer
Trade: Nav./Bomber
Service No: 144455
Date of Death: 25/01/1944
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Grave Reference Block A.A. Grave 15.
Cemetery RICHMOND CEMETERY, SURREY



 

 

WILFRED GEORGE STONEMAN

Rank: Sergeant
Trade: Nav./Bomber
Service No: 1324455
Date of Death: 25/01/1944
Age: 34
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Grave Reference West of Church.
Cemetery TAMERTON FOLIOTT (ST. MARY) CHURCHYARD
Additional Information: Son of William George and Bertha Elizabeth Stoneman, of Whimple; husband of Lily Ada Rose Stoneman.


WILFRED GEORGE STONEMAN


Wilfred Stoneman gave

 

 

 

WILLIAM ELLENOR

Rank: Sergeant
Trade: Nav./Bomber
Service No: 1396585
Date of Death: 25/01/1944
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Grave Reference Sec. C. Div. 31. Grave 68.
Cemetery IPSWICH OLD CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of William and Lousina Ellenor; husband of Florence Ellenor, of Ipswich.

 

ANNESLEY RICHARD KAVANAGH

Rank: Aircraftman 2nd Class
Service No: 1795814
Date of Death: 25/01/1944
Age: 29
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Grave Reference Grave 261.
Cemetery RATHNEW CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of Charles and Sarah Jane Kavanagh, of Rathnew.

 

HERBERT ALFRED WILLIAM JOLLY

Rank: Warrant Officer
Trade: W. Op.
Service No: 629823
Date of Death: 25/01/1944
Age: 22
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force
35 Sqdn.
Awards: D F M
Grave Reference Sec. P. Grave 84.
Cemetery BUNGAY CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of Herbert and Lottie Elizabeth Jolly, of Bungay.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission has Jolly second name as Alfred. The DFM Register shows it as Arthur. However the service numbers are the same, so below is his DFM

DFM reads:
L/G 12/1/1943 Sorties 50, Flying Hours 352 W.Op/Air Gnr. Air2/8930
During the exceptionally large number of sorties this N.C.O. has made against enemy targets, which includes three attacks on Berlin, the skilful operation of his wireless set has proved a decisive factor in the success of the attaks on frequent occasions, this quality being exceeded only by his persistent determination to strike at the enemy on every occasion he is permitted to do so. For his outstanding example, devotion to duty and unshakeable determination to face the enemy whatever the cost. Flight Sergeant Jolly is strongly recommended for the non-immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Medal. 24th November 1942.

Remarks by Commander, Pathfinder Force.
The fine services Flight Sergeant Jolly has rendered to his country are deserving of the highest praise and have gained him a reputation high above average. The successful completion of so large a number of operational sorties against heavily defended targets proved not only his skill as a Wirless Operator/ Air Gunner, but also his outstanding determination and courage. His consistent anxiety to procees on any mission whatever the circumstances and his dogged determination to see it through to its successful conclusion has set an example which it would be har to equal. FOr the outstanding part which he has played in this war, Flight Seargeant Jolly is stronly recommended for the non-immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Medal
.


BEJOY KRISHNA MITRA

Rank: Sergeant
Trade: Air Gnr.
Service No: 1560689
Date of Death: 25/01/1944
Age: 28
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Grave Reference Column 2.
Cemetery CAMBRIDGE CREMATORIUM
Additional Information: Son of Haridas Mitra and Sudhanshu Bala Mitra, of Calcutta, Bengal, India. Graduate of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Edinburgh.


ARTHUR CHARLES PRESTON

Rank: Leading Aircraftman
Service No: 1356244
Date of Death: 26/01/1944
Age: 22
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Grave Reference Sec. E.E. Row J. Grave 8.
Cemetery SOUTH EALING CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of Charles Francis and Ethel May Preston of West Ealing.

 

Many thanks to Dave Stoneman for all his help with information and pictures

More information will be added after more researching

Sean Edwards 28/5/2012