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|Signatures on this item|
|*The value given for each signature has been calculated by us based on the historical significance and rarity of the signature. Values of many pilot signatures have risen in recent years and will likely continue to rise as they become more and more rare.|
Flt/Lt P G Taylor
*Signature Value : £15
|Joined the RAF as an Aircraft Apprentice at Halton in 1938, aged 16. In 1940 he became airframe fitter on the Maintenance Unit and volunteered for aircrew in 1941. He was recommended for training as a Navigator, completed his ground training in the UK and his flying training in Port Albert, Canada. On completion, he was Commissioned and returned to the UK in January 1943, where he commenced familiarisation training in Tiger Moths (15 EFTS) and Ansons. In August 1943, along with a pilot, wireless operator and bomb aimer, he commenced training on Whitleys. From December 1943 to January 1944, he underwent training for conversion to Halifaxes and was posted to 10 Sqdn. After one operation he was transferred to 158 Sqdn (Lissett). On his tenth op. (18th April 1944) his aircraft was returning from a bombing raid on the marshalling yards at Tergunier (northern France) when they were attacked by a German night-fighter. The port wing of the aircraft was on fire, they went into a steep dive and the pilot shouted “Bale Out”. Fortunately for him, the navigator position in the Halifax was next to the forward escape hatch and both he and the Flight Engineer were the only ones able to bale out, the other five crew members were all killed on impact. The Flight Engineer was captured the next day but Flt/Lt Taylor avoided capture and was sheltered by the Resistance in various safe houses until 28th July. By this time in the war French collaborators had infiltrated the Resistance Movement and were turning evading Allied airmen over to the Germans. Flt/Lt Taylor was betrayed and turned over to the Germans on 28th July. He was imprisoned in Paris with approximately 140 other Allied airmen captured in similar circumstances. When Allied forces closed in on Paris, all prisoners mainly French civilians were packed into cattle trucks and evacuated to Germany, destination unknown, which turned out to be Buchenwald concentration camp. Along with other airmen, he was subsequently transferred to Stalag Luft 3 on 21st October where he remained as POW until the Russian advanced forced evacuation of all POWs and a long trek, finishing near Hamburg just as Germany surrendered.|
M/Sig R D Pearson
*Signature Value : £15
|Joined the RAF in 1943 to begin training as an Air Gunner. After the usual short attachments at various training stations eventually ending up at No 2 AGS Dalcross. Air firing was carried out from an Avro Anson. There was always a mad rush to be first aboard the aircraft on every detail, not from enthusiasm, but from trying to avoid winding up the undercarriage after take off. M/Sig Pearson went from Dalcross to Kinloss to join a crew flying Whitleys and several months later ended up at 158 Sqdn Lissett to commence operations on Halifaxes. After half a tour and very happy at Lissett his crew were posted onto a PFF Sqdn, 635 Sqdn Downham Market. His first operation, and very nearly his last, was a daylight raid on Hamburg. On the bombing run, they had the misfortune to be selected by the pilot of a ME262 as his victim. He was not spotted until he was dead astern and blazing away with the four 30mm cannon in the nose. Evasive action was given and the pilot promptly stood the Lanc on its nose. Unfortunately not all the cannon shells missed and they lost quite a piece of fuselage leaving ammo belts hanging out in the slipstream. After regaining level flight, they were attacked again by another ME262, but this time they were lucky. Both ME pilots decided to push off and find some other sitting duck! Despite these attacks, they carried on and bombed, making their way home across the North Sea, not a pleasant journey. The pilot received an immediate award of the DFC. M/Sig Pearson finished the war out at Downham Market and after the war in Europe ended was posted to 83 Sqdn Conningsby for Tiger Force training and operations against the Japanese. Fortunately the war in the east ceased just as they were ready to depart. He was demobbed in May 1947, but was not happy out of uniform so was back in again at the end of 1949 as an A/G flying on Lincolns at 9 Sqdn. Binbrook. He had a short detachment with 617 Sqdn at Shallufa, Egypt and at the end of 1952 was posted onto B29 aircraft with 15 Sqdn. Coningsby. After six months he was posted to Little Rissington on a Link Trainer course and then to FTS Syerston as a Link instructor to Naval cadet pilots. In 1955, he was required to either remuster to a ground trade or take another aircrew trade. He was posted to Swanton Morley to take training as an Air Signaller and from then to St Mawgan 228 Sqdn on Shackletons. Next came a posting to Northolt in a drawing office drawing En-Route charts and Terminal Approach Procedures. Back to flying in 1961 and a posting to 224 Sqdn Gibraltar and then to Air Traffic Control School at Shawbury. On completion of this course came a posting to RAF Lyneham as Local Controller and thence to RAF Colerne as Approach Controller. He left the service in 1968.|
Mr. I J Lewis
*Signature Value : £15
|Met his crew at Heavy Conversion Unit in August 1944, being the last member to join them and he was then posted to 158 Sqdn. Lissett to fly on Halifax IIIs on 20 August 1944, and completed his tour after 41 ops.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Halifax||Royal Air Force heavy Bomber with a crew of six to eight. Maximum speed of 280mph (with MK.VI top speed of 312mph) service ceiling of 22,800feet maximum range of 3,000 miles. The Halifax carried four .303 browning machine guns in the tail turret, two .303 browning machines in the nose turret in the MK III there were four .303 brownings in the dorsal turret. The Handley Page Halifax, first joined the Royal Air Force in March 1941 with 35 squadron. The Halifax saw service in Europe and the Middle east with a variety of variants for use with Coastal Command, in anti Submarine warfare, special duties, glider-tugs, and troop transportation roles. A total of 6177 Halifax's were built and stayed in service with the Royal Air Force until 1952|
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