Departure Graveley

Departure ~ RAF Graveley

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Alan1stLeftC in C Sir Norman Bottomley Inspection 3rd July 1946

The Squadron was visited by the Commander in Chief, Bomber Command, Air Marshal Sir Norman Bottomley KCB, CIE, DSO, AFC.  He was accompanied by E S Goodwin, CB, OBE, Air Officer in charge of Administration, Bomber Command, and was met on his arrival at RAF Graveley, Air Officer Commanding No.3 Group, Air Commodore Hesketh, CB. OBE, DFC, Group Captain RCM Collard DSO, DFC Officer Commanding No. 35 Squadron Detachment, and Wing Commander Mathews, of HQ No.3 Group.  The Commander in Chief arrived at 10.00 hrs.  On leaving his Dakota Aircraft he inspected a Guard of Honour en route to No.1 Hanger,  The Squadron Detachment was drawn up as 3-Flights in a hollow square in the Hanger.  The Commander in Chief then addressed the Squadron.  He said that the high standard of flying shown by the Squadron on VE Day if kept up in the USA would find no adverse criticism in that Country.  He offered his congratulations to the Squadron on its being chosen to represent not only Bomber Command but the entire RAF.  The Commander in Chief also touched on Flying Discipline and in particular to discipline, bearing and behaviour, on the Ground, on and Off-duty, but said he hoped we would enjoy to the full when the opportunity presented itself.  The amusements & entertainments which would be arranged for us by the American people and the members of the USAAF.  He called on all Personnel going on the Tour to do their utmost to uphold the high standards of British Aviation & British Equipment and also stated that he felt sure the Squadron by its excellent flying & Ground Discipline would uphold & enhance the traditions of Service in the RAF.  He told the Squadron they were going to a great Country to visit a great people and that the resources we saw there were the same great resources which were freely applied to our needs when this Country was in desperate straits during the early part of the War.
35SqdnInspection3-7-46Air-crew on parade Graveley, 3rd July 1946. Note Guns still present in the front Turrets and the Squadron Badge on the side of the Cockpit of front replacement  Aircraft TL-S PA835.  The Crews were sorry in a way that they were not flying the Lancasters that they used during the War which were being scrapped hurriedly.
Avro Lancaster PA385 TL-S – FR Leadon (Pilot), A Brundritt (Navigator), D Thompson (Navigator), R D Butterell (Navigator II), L Rippon (Signaller), D Collins (Gunner), R Watson (Gunner), A Taylor (Flight Engineer)
Ground Crew – Bullock, Duncan, Instone, Mason, Ogston

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Goodwin, Hesketh, Air Commodore Hesketh Acting Station Commander, Tedder, Craig & Bottomley on the right,

6th July 1946 Graveley Saturday.
Chief of Air Staff, Lord Tedder
in Forage Cap visits Graveley. Tedder of Carpet Bombing fame with W/C Craig.  The Dakota was C in C Bottomley’s Aircraft.  On Portal‘s retirement as Chief of the Air Staff, Tedder was appointed to replace him at the beginning of 1946 then handing over the post in 1950.

The Main Party [‘A’ & ‘B’ Flights] was honoured to be visited by the Chief of Air Staff, Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Lord Tedder. He arrived in the Commander-in-Chief’s Dakota at 09.30 hrs, accompanied by the Commander-in-Chief, Sir Norman Bottomley.  They were met on arrival by the Air Officer Commanding No.3 Group, Air Commodore Hesketh, the Acting Station Commander and the Officer Commanding No.35 Squadron, Wing Commander Craig.  The Chief of Air Staff & Party visited each Section of the Squadron and talked informally with each Leader & Members of the Section. He then addressed the assembled Personnel in the Squadron Briefing Room. At the end of his address, the Party took coffee in the Squadron Commander’s Office, where they examined the Trophies & Photographs that were on display. The Chief of Air Staff advised the Party that No.35 Squadron was the 1st Squadron on which he had served – received Higher Instruction in Aviation

Dispersed Sites at RAF Graveley

The Chief of Air Staff Tedder was then taken to the Dispersals where he thoroughly inspected Lancaster TL-L.  He expressed his satisfaction at the Air & Ground Crew safety Arrangements & Modifications before taking off from Graveley with the Commander-in-Chief Bottomley.  In the evening, another Farewell Party & Dance was held in the Station NAAFI in which all Ranks took part.
Tedder was married to Rosalinde Maclary, who died in 1943. At Rosalinde’s request, Tedder married again, to his young Service Driver, “ToppySeton. In his last years, he became severely crippled with Parkinson’s Disease and died at Well Farm in Banstead, Surrey, England, on 3rd June 1967.

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Craig & Bottomley Escort Tedder to the  Staff Car, a Humber

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Collard & Bottomley Air Crew Inspection

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Bottomley inspects Air & Ground Crews in the new Tropical Flying Suit & White Overalls

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Collard & Bottomley inspect an Arms Parade


Layout at RAF Graveley
The Squadron A & B Flights left RAF Graveley in 2 waves on 8/9th July and were routed via St Mawgan Cornwall, Lagens the Azores to Gander, Newfoundland.

7th July 1946 Sunday
The Advance Party in York MW234 flew from Lagens to Gander (Newfoundland) overnight on 7th/8th
The Final Briefing for the Main Party [“A” & “B” Flights] was held at 14.30 hrs and the remainder of the day was spent in packing for the Trip.

8th July 1946 “A” Flight to St Mawgan Monday
On the 8th July 1946, ‘A’ Flight consisting of 8 Lancasters under W/C Craig departed Graveley for St Mawgan on the 1st Leg of Operation Goodwill.

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Many Press Representatives & Photographers were present to cover the Take-off.  A large number of Squadron Personnel & friends were assembled at the end of the Runway to give them a send-off.  A Farewell Party to Main [‘A’ & ‘B’ Flights] Officers was held in the Officers Mess

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8th July 1946 RAF Graveley to RAF St Mawgans
W/C Craig left on the 1st stage On Lancaster B.Mkl (FE) TW880 TL-F with 12 crew personnel as follows:-
F/|Lt Kennedy, F/LT Howel, F/Lt Walton, F/Lt Cooper, F/Lt Felgate, F/Lt Davidson, F/Lt Walne, Sgt Tompkins, LAC Punt, F/Sgt Blake, LAC Trainer, also Mr Charles Gardner, Air Correspondent (Former War Correspondent) of the BBC.  The BBC Broadcast a Script read by W/C Craig on the day of his Departure and a copy of the Transcript was sent to him at Graveley awaiting his return from the Goodwill Tour.

The 2nd Wave ‘B’ Flight under S/L (Shorty) Harris left on the 9th July (Tuesday) with a further 8 Aircraft.
B-Flight Log Entry:
9th July, 12.52 arrive St Mawgan
10th July, 10.21 depart St Mawgan (Wednesday)
F/O John Robinson (died in 1988) was on this Tour and flew Lancaster TL-R which was involved in an accident on the return flight but then it was being piloted by F/L Peter Stockwell.
9th July  St Mawgans to Lagens (Azores)

11th July (Tuesday) – The 1st Wave Flight A were recalled after 3-hrs due to bad weather over Gander and went back to Lagens which was unfortunate as Accommodation was very limited and it meant that now both Flights were stationed there at the same time.  They both then progressed to Gander on 12th July (Wednesday) after a 9-hr Flight and spend some days there for pre-Tour check-ups.

The intended Outward Route was Graveley – St Mawgan (Overnight Stay)  – Lagens (Azores) – Gander (Newfoundland) for pre-Tour full maintenance then took off on the 17th July on a 6-hour flight to Mitchel Airfield, New York.  A New York Flypast was made on 18th July and flight in Formation en route over Boston was cancelled due to low Cloud Ceiling.

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A gloved W/C Craig struggles into his new Tropical Flight Suit on the grass verge aged 23- yrs