Margaret ‘Mardi’ Gething was an Australian pilot with the ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary) who ferried military aircraft from British factories to operational RAF airfields throughout the United Kingdom. From 1941 to 1944 she ferried Spitfires, Hurricanes, Tempest, Typhoons, Mustangs, Wellington and Blenheim bombers. She flew 42 different types of aircraft, delivered over 600 aircraft to RAF operational airfields and often flew three different types of aircraft in a day. Margaret ‘Mardi’ Gething died in Australia in July 2005.
Flight Lieutenant ‘Rusty’ Waughman was 21 when he was flying Lancasters with 101 Squadron in 1944. He was one of the lucky ones who returned from the infamous Nuremberg raid on 30 March 1944. That night, the RAF losses surpassed those of the entire Battle of Britain.
(Royal New Zealand Air Force) VC awarded solely on the testimony from the enemy.
Nola Trigg showing her children, John and Wayne, their late fathers’ medals, the Victoria Cross and Distinguished Flying Cross. A photograph of their father can be seen on the wireless behind them. New Zealander, Flying Officer Allan Trigg was a Liberator pilot attached to 200 Squadron RAF Coastal command who was posthumously awarded the VC on the testimony of the captain of the German U-boat he sunk.
Oberleutant Klemens Schamong explained:
“We opened deadly fire from our ‘two 20mm cannons’ and the first salvo at a distance of 2000m set the plane on fire. Despite this, Trigg continued his attack. He did not give up as we thought and hoped. His plane flew deeper and deeper. We could see our deadly fire piercing through his hull. Such a gallant fighter as Trigg would have been decorated in Germany with the highest medal or order”. (RNZAF Official photo)
Original wartime caption: One day in August 1943 Flying Officer Trigg of the R.N.Z.A.F. undertook, as captain and pilot, a patrol in a Liberator although he had not previously made any operational sorties in that type of aircraft. After searching for eight hours a surfaced U- boat was sighted. Flying Officer Trigg immediately prepared to attack. During the approach, the aircraft received many hits from the submarine’s anti-aircraft guns and burst into flames, which quickly enveloped the tail. There could have been no hesitation or doubt in Trigg’s mind. He maintained his course in spite of the already precarious condition of his aircraft and executed a masterly attack. Skimming over the U-boat at less than 50 feet with anti-aircraft fire entering his opened bomb doors. Flying Officer Trigg dropped his bombs on and around the U-boat where they exploded with devastating effect. A short distance further on the Liberator dived into the sea with her gallant captain and crew. The U-boat sank within twenty minutes and some of her crew were picked up later in a rubber dinghy that had broken loose from the Liberator. Flying Officer Trigg, missing believed killed, has been awarded the V.C. (Picture issued 1943). (IWM)
At the request of the French Resistance on 18 February 1944 British and Canadian Mosquito fighter -bombers with Typhoon fighter escorts were tasked with destroying SS barracks and machine gun positions whilst breaching the wall of Amiens prison to help facilitate the escape of 832 members of the resistance and other political prisoners due to be shot by the SS.
Shortly after the raid the following newsreel called Jail Breakers was shown in cinemas throughout Britain.
Through a chance encounter I came across 95-year-old John Mellor a veteran of RAF Bomber Command during WW2 who has just self-published his memoirs. John is one of the few who survived the bombing sorties and described himself as “one of the lucky.”
Over 76 years later few who served during WW2 remain alive and I believe John’s recollection of his war service is of major historical importance, and after receiving the following message from John I decided to do whatever I could to promote his war memoir ‘The Boy with one shoe’.
“Thank you, Alan all proceeds go to the RAF Benevolent Fund, but for my sake I want this book to be read so that the sacrifice my friends made will not be forgotten or misunderstood.”