RAF  Special Duties Squadrons      

United States Air Forces Special Duty Squadrons

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Under construction more to add

  161 Special Duties Squadron.  Halifax & Whitley Bombers ,  Lysanders .

138 Special Duties Squadron . Halifax . 

1586 Flight.  (Polish Air Force , ) attached to 138 Squadron . Halifax.

644 Special Duties Squadron . Halifax

801st - 492nd Bomb group (The Carpetbagers) U.S.A.F.

af-specops.gif (11903 bytes)   The Carpetbagers History and much more visit  Tom Esmingers Website  Link.

United States Air Commando . China & Burma .

L1 & L2 Light aircraft, Dakotas , Mustangs, Mitchell Bombers Sikorski Helecopters , Gliders.

Far East  Force 136

357 Special Duties Squadron B24 Liberators , Lysanders . Link to 357 Squadron Jessore

All of the special duty aircraft operated for S.O.E. and S.I.S. (M.I.6 etc etc ) and later the O.S.S .

Special Duties Pilots.

Sadly many of the special duty Pilots and aircrew that survived WW2 are no longer with us , Those of you that remain seem to be  becoming an endangered species , I will endeavor to include as many of you as I can , however the last of the Great British Newspapers

The Telegraph , can be relied on to write up your Log book far better than I . Should I meet you before then , The drinks are on me.

 

Bunny Rymills 31.JPG (14135 bytes) Squadron Leader 'Bunny' Rymills .Obituary , 22February 1997. Electronic Telegraph UK.

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SQUADRON LEADER "BUNNY" RYMILLS, who has died aged 76, was a highly successful RAF Special Duties pilot; he excelled in the perilous moonlit business of landing and picking up Special Operations Executive agents and members of the French Resistance.

Rymills became involved in these risky operations over France because of his readiness to play cards with his future commanding officer one night in October 1942. Wing Commander Charles Pickard, commanding Number 161, a Special Duties Lysander squadron, had just returned from France.

Not in the best of moods because his small and vulnerable single-engined Lysander had been shot at by a convoy as he crossed the Channel, Pickard was walking across a perimeter track when he was almost run over by Rymills at the controls of a 138 Special Duties four-engined Halifax bomber.

Afterwards, over cards - Pickard's customary relaxation following a sticky trip - Pick told Bunny, "Any bloody fool can drop Joes [parachuting agents] over France" and offered him a job as a Lysander pilot.

It was the start of Rymills's exploits involving landings and take-offs on rough French farm fields under the noses of the enemy, for which he was awarded a DFM and DFC and Bar.

Pickard thought Rymills should also have had a DSO but his recommendation was not endorsed by the station commander "Mouse" Fielden - also captain of the King's Flight - on the grounds that he had never heard of such a junior officer receiving a DSO.

One trip Pickard would have had in mind was Rymills's last pick-up on the night of July 15 1943. Rymills was fetching two French agents from a very rough field near Auxerre. It was an important mission because they were bringing to London what they said was their "basket of cherries" - a detailed map of defences built by the Germans along the coast of Morbihan in Brittany.

To his passengers he was the perfect host, providing them with a thermos of coffee laced with rum. Not until many years afterwards did he confess to breaking the rules by smoking a cigarette every 20 minutes in the cockpit.

On one trip Rymills picked up an RAF air crew sergeant who had been shot down over France on his return from a raid on the Ruhr. Baling out, the sergeant had landed virtually at the feet of an SOE agent's wife who was waiting for Rymills. On his arrival, Rymills invited the sergeant to jump in. The airman simply could not believe this stroke of good fortune. After returning to base, Rymills had to walk him to the main gate where a large sign announced: Royal Air Force, Tangmere. Only then was the sergeant convinced.

When he left 161 Squadron in July 1943, Rymills had completed 65 operations without a break, twice the usual number.

Frank Ernest Rymills was born at Oxford on Aug 11 1920 and educated at Southfields School. He sang as a choirboy with the Cowley Fathers.

He started to train in Abingdon to become an architect but, sensing war was imminent, volunteered for the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in June 1939. Before flying Halifaxes with 138 Squadron he flew Whitley bombers with 58 Squadron.

Later he was posted as a flight commander to Number 644, a Halifax squadron dropping supplies to the Resistance and preparing to tow gliders in the Normandy invasion of June 1944.

At the end of the war Rymills stayed on in the RAF. He flew operations against jungle insurgents during the Malayan Emergency, but was happiest there when indulging his fondness for wild pig shooting.

 

Terrence O'Brien . Commanded 357 R.A.F Special Duties Squadron .

Terrence O'Brien was born in Maitland , Australia .He   was working on a Solomon Island plantation when war broke out. He paid his own passage to the U.K. to  Join the      Royal Air Force . He completed two tours of operations in Europe before Japan entered the war , He then led a bomber Flight to Singapore , After many adventures following the fall of Singapore he managed to escape finally to India where he was  seconded to the Chindit force in his book Out of the Blue , A Pilot with the Chindits , you will read was has been acclaimed  as one of the best  books to be written about the war in

Burma .  ( Collins . London . 1984.)   His second book The Moonlight War. Collins London 1987.   The story of clandestine air operations in South East Asia . Is a first hand account of air operations carried out by the author and his comrades from 357 squadron Jessore , Missions were flown to Burma , Siam , Indo China , and North Malaya . Not only is Terrence O'Brien a Master pilot , but a master writer as well . (Bernie .)

Terrence O'Brien's description of moonlight flying , and of the natural scene , will be no surprise to those who read Out Of the Blue  , But he has given us   such a fascinating as well as accurate account  of the background of the political structure that the whole emerges as an absorbing story of our war against the Japanese . His book will be  a revelation not just to SOE people , but to all clandestine people.`   Colin Mackenzie , former head of SOE in South East Asia .

`Out of the Blue was one of the best books to come out of the war. M.R.D. Foot , official SOE Historian .

 

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