W.O. Don Say DFC RAFVR Retd
Royal Air Force 1939 - 1945
Don joined the RAFVR in March 1939 and was sent for Aircrew training to Calgary and Hamilton in Canada in 1941. He qualified as Observer (armanents) aimer and served first on Vickers Wellingtons with 466 Sqn (Aus) completing 20 operations before moving on to 196 Sqn for a further ten operations over France and Germany on Stirlings. After six months as instructor his second tour of 23 operations in Lancasters was with 514 Sqn. Don took part in a daylight operation on oil refineries at Bordeaux on 4 August 1944. Crossing the Cornish coast on return at very low level, everyone reported nude sunbathers running for cover as 300 Lancasters roared overhead. Don was awarded the DFC in 1944.
Cpl. Mac Mcleer RAF Retd
Royal Air Force 1990 - 2011
Mac has served in Iraq and Afganistan. Whilst on duty with an American EOD team in Afganistan Mac sustained injuries to his right leg resulting in a below knee amputation. Mac is married and has a son and three daughters, plays wheel chair basketball for the Gloucester Blazers and works for Alabare, a Christian charity providing accommodation and support to homeless veterans.
Flt. Lt. Harry (Terry) (Spider) Webb RAF Retd
Royal Air Force 1938 - 1965
Terry joined the Royal Air Force at 17 and served on 52, 691, 30, 640, 148, 17, 216 and 70 squadrons as a wireless operator/air gunner (WOP/AG), completing 2,196.40 flying hours.
On the night of August 10, 1944 his aircraft was badly damaged forcing the crew to bail-out. An account taken from his log book reads:
"hit by flak over target. Lost PO engine, SI engine set on fire. Bailed out. Made our lines from LS12 to France to Northholt by Anson. Helped to escape by French Underground Forces".
The log book does not record that it took 8 days to return to the UK and that on 1 occasion he joined a group of mourners attending a funeral to avoid capture.
Terry ceased flying duties in 1950 and transferred to Station Security.
Harry passed away on 26 August 2016 peacefully and with all the family.
W.O. Roland (Roly) Bell RAF Retd
Royal Air Force 1942 - 1947
Roly is first on the left
Roly served on 39 Sqn, one of two RAF Squadrons (39 and 14) flying the Martin B26 Marauder as a wirless operator/air gunner (WOP/AG). Roly has been an active artist for many years and is a member of the 39 Sqn B26 Mauauder Association. One of his pictures shown here recounts a particular raid.
The story behind the picture is as follows:
Pula-Eastern Adriatic 21st February 1945
B26 Martin Marauder "0" FOR oboe of 39 Squadron, piloted by Fg. Off. Ross RCAF and based at Biferno, Italy beats a hasty retreat from a box barrage after attacking the harbour installations at the port of Pula.
The Aircraft was severly damaged and was out of action for some time. The tail gunner Leslie Charteris (The Saint) was badly wounded and was subsequently invalided out.
F.Sgt John Seccombe RAF Retd
Royal Air Force 1946 - 1977
John joined the RAF as a Wireless Operator Aircrew but due to a surplus of aircrew returning from the war his course was cancelled and he was forced to remuster to the trade of teleprinter operator. Further remustering included Aircraft Handler General Duties, MT Driver, MT Mechanic and finally MT Fitter.
Postings following basic training included Hawarden, Kidlington, Weeton, Kenley, Waddington with USAF, Gutersloh, Nordhorn, Sundern, Wunsdorf, Coltishall, Stanmore Park, Wattisham, Nicosia, Norton, El Adem, Wyton, Hameln Fairford, Salalah, Chessington and the RAF Staff College Bracknell.
John received a CinC's Commendation whilst serving at RAF Fairford.
John recalls the following account of his tour in Nicosia, Cyprus:
I took my turn as a corporal doing foot patrol in the centre of Nicosia, armed with a Sten gun with 28 bullets and controlling four airmen armed with 303 rifles each with five bullets. I had to walk down the centre of Ledra Street, known at that time as ‘murder mile’ and the four airmen would walk down under the overhanging verandas.
On one occasion I was walking down the road and just ahead in the middle of the road was an object that looked like a home made bomb, with two wires coming from the centre. My heart missed a beat and I halted my patrol, and told them to take cover in shop doorways. I then went gingerly forward with perspiration streaming down my face with fear, to investigate the object. I radioed back to base to inform them of the situation, and the action I was taking. As I got closer to the sinister looking object I found it was a hoax, a large black wooden cotton reel made to look like a harmful bomb. I was not quite sure that it was harmless, as the bomb makers used all kinds of unusual items. It turned out to be just a child’s prank.
AC(W) 1 Ruth Gaskin RAF Retd
Royal Air Force 1943 - 1947
Ruth joined the Royal Air Force on reaching her 18th birthday against her mothers wishes.
Following basic and trade training Ruth was posted to the ground radar station at Rose Hearty. One of her jobs was to clean the radar dish some 200 feet up. Because Ruth was small she couldn't reach the dish so had to stand on the safety rail much to the concern of her corporal.
Ruth recalls V.E Day. My sister and I went to London on the trolley-bus and train and stood near the Victoria Memorial. I couldn't see a thing and two Welsh Guardsmen realising my plight lifted me up on their shoulders so I could see the tiny dots that were the royal family on the balcony.
If you have a story to tell then I would like to hear from you. Please email or telephone Ray, contact details at the General Office.