West Yorkshire market town of Pontefract
 
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Pontefract Letters Page

MATTHEW KILLINGBECK R.A.F.

ADDED 17 APRIL 2007

Mrs Audrey Milner’s story of her husband Matthew Killingbeck's wartime experiences in the R.A.F. were most interesting and especially so to ex R.A.F. personnel.

With regards to the identification of the aircraft in the photograph submitted by Mrs Milner, Mr. Barry Howell of Pontefract, ex R.A.F., and a member of the Vulcan Club, telephoned me to confirm that the aircraft was a twin-engine Whitley Bomber. No. 10 Squadron was a prestigious and historic squadron. It was formed in January 1915 at Farnborough and served at various stations around the country. In 1937 it arrived at the new airfield at Dishforth and received the Whitley Bombers.

Due to the expansion of the R.A.F., squadrons detached flights to form new squadrons and No. 10 formed the new 97 Squadron, which I myself later joined. In July 1940, No. 10 moved to Leeming, was brought up to force and supplied with the Halifax four-engine bombers, which formed part of the main force of Bomber Command for the duration of the war. New recruits were always made well aware of the important part that the wartime personnel, such as Mr. Killingbeck and his colleagues, played.

No. 97 Squadron flew Whitley and Lancaster Bombers throughout the war. It remained in post war Bomber Command as a bombing school and was equipped with Lincoln Bombers and Canberra’s at Helmswell in Lincolnshire where I was stationed with them.

Norman Blackburn


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