467 Postblog XXII: Monday 14 February, 1944

A new crew arrived at 467 Squadron today. Led by Flying Officer Jim Marshall, the crew included an Australian navigator by the name of Arnold Easton. “We were pleased to see them,” wrote Flying Officer Alan McDonald, the compiler of the Operational Record Book, “our ranks were becoming depleted.”[1]

The crew of Flight Lieutenant J
The crew of Flight Lieutenant Jim Marshall, in front of the Lancaster that would become ‘theirs’ – DV372 PO-F ‘Old Fred’ (The Fox). Marshall himself is on the far right; third from right is navigator Arnold Easton. From the Waddington Collection, RAF Waddington Heritage Centre

January had been a grim month and, though the first few weeks of February had been quiet in terms of operations, these were only the second new arrivals since Flight Sergeant John Sayers and crew arrived on 24 January.

It was a foggy day and the lack of trips for 463 and 467 Squadrons – which had now not operated in more than two weeks – continued. Jack Purcell and Jerry Parker attended a lecture about ‘Photographic Interpretation’, along with all the rest of the Squadron’s Air Bombers and Navigators, but otherwise, very little happened.[2]

Gil Pate wrote a letter home.[3] He’d also spent his leave in London and, as a consequence, was “quite worn out [from] running about”. It appears he was feeling a little homesick: “I would like to spend an afternoon at the cricket just to be in the sleepy atmosphere of Australia.” Perhaps the reality of life on an operational squadron was beginning to make itself felt.

This post is part of a series called 467 Postblog, posted in real time to mark the 70th anniversary of the crew of B for Baker while they were on operational service with 467 Squadron at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire. See this link for an in-depth explanation of the series, and this one for full citations of sources used throughout it. © 2014 Adam Purcell


[1] 467 Squadron ORB, 14FEB44

[2] Ibid.

[3] Pate, Gilbert. Letter t his Mother, 14FEB44. In Gil Thew’s collection.