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Shot in foot
IN HIS letter of October 9, entitled “Whitley’s never here”, Mike Usherwood sadly seems so keen to point out my perceived shortcomings he has actually shot himself in the foot with his criticisms of the article about 70th anniversary of the arrival of 77 Squadron at the newly-opened RAF Elvington.
In his first paragraph he says that “whilst Whitley aircraft never operated (on bombing missions) from Elvington, some may have used the airfield during training missions”. Precisely! The aircraft were at the airfield during the initial arrival of the squadron, while the air and ground crews converted to the Halifax. This may explain why the link road leading to the Museum entrance is named Whitley Way.
While the colour photograph of a Whitley was captioned as being at Elvington and may not have been (it is difficult to be precise), it is certainly representative of the squadron’s early use of this aircraft.
I am sure that during his painstaking research, Mr Usherwood would have seen photographs within the 77 Squadron Memorial Room, one of which shows ground crew working on the engines of a Whitley, on what is captioned as “..the mud bath that was Elvington”, circa November 1942.
Ian Richardson, Communications manager, Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington.
• THE Whitleys letter brought back distant memories. 78 Squadron equipped Whitley medium bombers were stationed at Linton-on-Ouse from July 1939 as the newly formed Bomber Command.
From September 1939 to April 1941, 78 Squadron flew night operations from RAF Linton and RAF Dishforth; in 1942 the squadron re-equipped with four-engine Halifax Bombers flying from Breighton in East Yorkshire.
In 1939, being a keen teenager and future RAFVR, I can remember cycling out to Linton and watching the Whitley bombers (from a distance) as they stood at the dispersal points.
J Beisly, Osprey Close, York.