John Williamson continues the story of the secret RAF Special Duties Squadron based at Tempsford during WW2
RAF No. 138 Special Duties Squadron
138 Special Duties Squadron was responsible for dropping agents, weapons, sabotage equipment and other stores by parachute inside occupied Europe and flew as far as Poland and Yugoslavia from RAF Tempsford. There was also a detachment serving the Middle East.
Missions By Moonlight No. 161 Special Duties Squadron
Hugh Verity was a night fighter pilot during WWII until 1942 when he volunteered for RAF special duties and became involved in one of the most extraordinary and effective operations of the secret war. Flying a single-engine Lysander aircraft he was landing in German occupied France delivering and collecting SOE and SIS agents. With only the light of the moon to recognise landmarks whilst navigating hostile terrain 161 squadron had carefully selected pilots with highly developed flying and navigation skills.
The Barn Tempsford Airfield 2014
The barn where agents were fitted with parachutes and issued with equipment. From this barn agents who could not face the possibility of prolonged torture were given an opportunity to take with them the ‘L Pill’ (lethal) containing cyanide. During their training they were informed the ‘L Pill’ would kill them within five seconds.