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37 squadron

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7 years 10 months ago - 7 years 10 months ago #3881 by dontaylor
dontaylor created the topic: 37 squadron

Hi, my name is Melanie Bacon. I recently attended the Bomber Command memorial unveiling in London's Green Park with my mother and one of my sons. As a result I have decided to do as much research as I can about my father, Donald Ernest Taylor, who served as a pilot with 37 Squadron in 1944 in Tortolla, Italy. I am eager to contact any veterans or their relatives who were also in that squadron and may have known my father. I have attached a photo of my mother, myself and my son at the unveiling last week and also a group photo of my father after he qualified as a pilot with the RAF in Rhodesia. He is in the back row, 5th from the left hand side. You can also see him in the group B photo on the natureonline.com site.

natureonline.com/37/57-ap5-photos.html

This is a site run by the grandson of James MacIsaacs who was also in 37 squadron.
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Last Edit: 7 years 10 months ago by Gary.

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7 years 10 months ago #3883 by Gary
Gary replied the topic: Re: 37 squadron
Hi Melanie
Welcome to my humble abode, I'm so jealous of you attending the opening of the memorial. I left England 6 years ago for a better life here in New Zealand and would have loved to of gone. I've followed the process of the memorial from it's early conception and have signed various petitions over the years, its so good to see it come to life at last.
I could of gone and would of proudly worn my grandfather's medals but the cost of the trip was prohibitive.
I don't have much in the way of information about 37 Squadron and as it happens I know the grandson of James and have obtained his permission to incorporate his info in to this site.
Cheers
Gary

'Yea, Though I Fly Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I Shall Fear No Evil. For I am at 50,000 Feet and Climbing.'

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7 years 10 months ago - 7 years 10 months ago #3884 by Bhoodog
Bhoodog replied the topic: Re: 37 squadron
Hi Melanie,
My father also flew with 37, sadly injuries sustained on a mission in July '43 cut short his aircrew career (although he continued to serve in the RAF until '45 in North Africa) so he may not have known your dad (I don't think) but I can recommend the following books which greatly helped with my research:
Bombers over Sand And Snow (205 Group RAF in World War II) Alun Granfield
Wellington Wings (An RAF Intelligence Officer in the Western Desert) F.R. Chappell
Wise Without Eyes (37 Squadron Royal Air Force 1939-1945) Kevin Mears
Although they might not reference your dad directly, they'll give you a great insight into conditions, missions etc,
You can also obtain copies of the Squadron 'Operations Record Book' (ORB) from The National Archive, ( www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/look...ect/raf-squadron.htm )
Hope this helps and all the best with your journey, it'll be well worthwhile
Colin
Last Edit: 7 years 10 months ago by Bhoodog.

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7 years 10 months ago #3886 by dontaylor
dontaylor replied the topic: Re: 37 squadron
Thanks for your reply. I do feel very privileged to have attended the Bomber Command memorial. It was a very hot day and to see the veterans dressed in their jackets and ties (when I was almost passing out in a sleeveless top) was a very humbling experience. The memorial meant so much to them. My father died a few years ago and my mother says that he had been very upset during his life because there was no recognition of Bomber Command. When I spoke to one of the organisers of the memorial afterwards she told me that many veterans now feel proud instead of guilty about what they did and can finally talk about it. I have 2 sons age 23 and 30 and I cant bear to think of them going thru such a fearful experience when they were only 20. Not to mention the harsh living conditions they had to endure. I am in contact with James MacIsaac's grandson and he has added a couple of my photos to his site. I regret so much not getting involved with all this years ago when there might have been more chance for me to contact other members of 37 Squadron.

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7 years 10 months ago #3887 by dontaylor
dontaylor replied the topic: Re: 37 squadron
Thank you very much for your reply and for letting me know about these books. I have been in contact with James MacIsaac's grandson who runs a site about 37 Squadron you may know about called natureonline.com. He recommended a book called Out of the Italian Night by Maurice Lihou which I have just ordered from Amazon. This deals specifically with 37 Squadron when they were in Italy during the war. My father also had his flying career cut short in 1955 when he was flying Sunderlands and did an air display from Pembroke Dock to Eastbourne for the Duke of Edinburgh. The craft hit the water and broke up on landing; four of the eight crew were killled and my father was badly injured and eventually had to have one of his legs amputated. He remained in the RAF until he retired but was always saddenned that he managed to survive the war only to lose a leg and his flying career afterwards. I wish I had started this journey to find out more about his squadron and comrades in Italy in 1944 while he was still alive and not least early enough to be able to find some living veterans.

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7 years 10 months ago #3888 by Gary
Gary replied the topic: Re: 37 squadron
I knew Maurice personally for a number of years before he died, I setup his website many years ago and I'm still in sporadic contact with his son and daughter. One day I will rebuild his site as it's pretty old and decrepit now by today's standards.
I can totally recommend his book and another good one to get is Tom Scotland's book Voice from the Stars, A Pathfinder's Story. This book tells another story from the same theater of operations.
It's never too late, there are still a number of surviving veterans and people like yourself that have information to share. This is why I always try to beg anything from visitors, so many times I've had people write to me and say that's uncle so and so in your photo. The more info I can add the more we can share.

'Yea, Though I Fly Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I Shall Fear No Evil. For I am at 50,000 Feet and Climbing.'

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