1920 - 1992
Rear Gunner - Stirlings
In caelo auxilium (Aid from the skies)
. No 295 was formed on 3 August 1942 at Netheravon and was equipped with Whitleys. These were supplemented by Halifax Vs in February 1943 and both types were operated until November 1943 when they were replaced by Albemarles , which had begun to arrive in October.
Early operations consisted of leaflet dropping missions, but in June 1943 the squadron towed gliders to North Africa and this continued until September. From October supply drops to resistance forces began and it started training for its part in the forthcoming invasion of Europe.
On D-Day one squadron aircraft (and one from 570 Squadron) dropped the first troops into France, followed by the rest of the squadron towing 21 gliders. In July, the squadron converted to Stirling IVs, which were used in September to tow gliders to Arnhem. The squadron then flew re-supply missions to the troops there until the operation ended. Its next major operation was the crossing of the Rhine in March 1945 and following VE-Day, the squadron flew troops to Norway to disarm German forces there. Various trooping missions were then carried out until the squadron disbanded on14 January 1946.
|The squadron reformed on 1 February 1946 at Tarrant Rushton in the pure transport role, equipped with Halifax VIIIs, but on 31 March 1946 it was disbanded again. Its third incarnation began on 19 September 1947 when it reformed in the airborne forces role, once more, at Fairford, but this was also short-lived as the squadron disbanded on 1 October 1948.
I'm very pleased that you responded to my posting for 295 Squadron. I have done a lot of reading and research on this squadron due to my late father's somewhat reluctant attitude to discuss his war experiences. From what I have read I am amazed that my father even survived some of the operations they were involved in. I had the pleasure of meeting his pilot who visited the family in the mid 80s and he quietly passed on a few stories that made my hair stand on end. The combination of that and the research I have done indicates they were involved in some very dangerous operations the length and breadth of Europe. Most of their work was involved in dropping supplies and agents into occupied Europe and their losses on these often single airplane operations were quite heavy. My fathers crew was there from when the squadron reformed in England after the Sicily invasion until just before VE day when they were finally "screened" from operations and he returned to Canada.
There were a lot of Canadians flying with 295 and many other commonwealth crews too. I have a couple of books about 295 and I just checked the indexes for references to your uncle to with no luck but most of the references are using the pilot's names rather than individual crew members. If you have his pilot's name in your records I can check to see what I can find in these books. 295 was the first squadron of British planes to take off and drop the first paratroop pathfinders into Normandy during the D Day invasion and also one of the lead squadrons for the large parachute assault into occupied Holland at Arnhem. This was due to the training and equipment they had for low level precision navigation. They were specialists at what they did. They also did the occasional bombing operations on small precision targets but this was more the exception than the rule. I am attaching some pictures to this email for you to see and of course I would love to see any that you have.. Steve Clarke