Photos of Ground Crew Life with 92 Squadron RAF

92 Squadron RAF

My father, Eric Barnes, joined the RAF on 12th July 1938 and was transferred from 19 Squadron to 92 Squadron on the latter's reformation in October 1939. The squadron moved to the Middle East in February 1942. From the Western Desert, 92 took part in the push up through Italy in 1943 and 1944. My father missed his part in the battle of El Alamein as he was recovering in hospital in Heliopolis from the loss of a finger sustained during an earlier attack on the squadon's base. He remained with 92 Squadron for the duration of the war until December 1945, and left the RAF in July 1950. He died in 1993.
Since I first started putting this page together in 2004, I have been contacted by several people who are related to some of those who served with 92 squadron. It was a great pleasure to meet up with Robin Baldry (right in the photo) in October 2006 and browse through the photo collections of our respective fathers, who were clearly great friends. Rob's father Bob appeared in several of my father's photos, and vice-versa.

Bob Baldry's service record contains the following information:

LAC R.A. Baldry, Armourer, served in the RAFVR on full-time service from 10-12-40 to 13-11-45. Has been a keen and conscientious worker during his period of employment in this section and can be recommended for any responsible post. His character throughout his service in the Royal Air Force has been very good.

Rob has kindly allowed me to scan his father's photos and include them on these pages. Several have apparently contemporaneous captions on the back that give dates, locations and sometimes a little background.


Bob Baldry, Wally Adams, Eric Barnes
Some history of 92 Squadron is available on the web and I would be interested to hear of more.

Recent Additions

2017.03.04: Added photos of 'Tiny' Hall from Italy 1945 to the contributions section.

A History from Original Records

I am very grateful to Simon Morris, a former pilot of 92 Squadron, for passing on a link to me to a history of 92 Squadron that he is gradually placing on the web. As you can read in his introduction, Simon had unique access to original records and contact with many of the wartime pilots through reunions. He is adding biographies of former members as his records are being typed up. It was his work that led to the memoire of Arthur Watts (below) being put together.

Audio memory of Ted Webb

  In early August 2007 I was privileged to spend an evening with Ted Webb. Ted joined up when he was under age and was a member of 92 Squadron ground crew between 1940 and 1942. One of the pilots he was crew for was the CO, Robert Stanford Tuck. Here is a seven minute (6.5MB) clip of Ted remembering the day Tuck was shot down. Sadly, Ted passed away in November 2007.

Memoire of Arthur Watts

Arthur Watts, a founder member of 92 Squadron, wrote a memoire in 1976. He appears in a photo of a football team below. Thanks to his son, Peter Watts, for providing me with a copy and permission to include it here.

Ted Brister

Ted Brister was a pilot with 92 Squadron from 1942 onwards. I was put in touch with him by his grandson, Gareth Clark, a few years ago, and I enjoyed chatting with Ted on the phone from time to time. Sadly he died in July 2008. Gareth has sent me several photos and I have included a couple here, with more in the section of contributions from others.
 
You can read about Ted on the BBC's People's War pages: Getting Lost and Finding Drainpipes and Tales from 92 Sqaudron.

Photographs from the albums of Eric Barnes and Bob Baldry

A selection of photos from the albums of Eric Barnes and Bob Baldry. Click on the image to see an enlarged version. I hope to put up more photos as time permits. If you can identify anyone in any of these I would love to hear from you.

One intriguing thing that has emerged is that there are multiple copies of some of these photos in the possession of different people. An explanation for this was offered by Rob: "I can remember [my father] telling me that photographs were plentiful because film was used and developed from reconaissance aircraft." So I imagine that photographs became more or less communal property, with exact ownership now difficult to establish.

Furthermore, Steve Peet (who has contributed some photos belonging to his father Marson Peet) has offered the following possible answer to this puzzle:

"I can remember [my father] telling me that during the advance after El Alamein the squadron took over a German airfield that they had had to abandon very quickly. Left behind was a mobile photographic darkroom belonging to a photo-reconaisance squadron. My dad 'liberated' some of the stock of film and adapted it to use in peoples' cameras. He then had a little business on the side using the wagon to process peoples' pictures. I cannot guarentee this story but it does ring true for me. ... starting to clear out the loft space above the garage I came across a homemade contact printing box and some very old photographic paper so I am sure dad did actually do his own processing."
I am grateful to Andrew Pentland for helping me to locate further information on Spitfire AD577 from the site giving details of Spitfire production and contracts.

David Weiss maintains Falcon's Messerschmitt Bf 109 Hangar archive of photos and associated information, from which I have included further details of some of the crashed German aircraft pictured on these pages.

Sections

UK, 1938-1941

Trainees, Uxbridge 1938

Pembrey 1940

Biggin Hill 1941

Starting up on a misty morning

Spitfire Vb AD577, RAF Digby between 23.11.1941 and 6.2.1942

Squadron scoreboard, RAF Digby

At Laughing Water. R.M. Milne 8th from left.

Squadron football team, RAF Digby.
Arthur 'Dodo' Watts front row with ball.

Reg Butler, Eric Barnes and Frank Dorey on the aircraft of Tom (Jock) Sherrington

"My mates Harry and Willy, Biggin Hill 1940". Person on right Eric Barnes?

Following sections

Other 92 Squadron Information

The MOD's Battle of Britain history site provides interesting background on the period that established the squadron as one of the best, and includes a Roll of Honour of the pilots involved.

The squadron was stationed for a period at RAF Digby in Lincolnshire. This site focusses on the RAF in Lincolnshire and the Station Sector Ops Room Museum at RAF Digby is open to the public during the summer.

There is a Facebook page dedicated to 92 Squadron, set up by Jim Sewell.

I am grateful to Ian Bowskill, chairman of the Battle of Britain Locomotive Society for providing me with a link to the Society's page about Locomotive no.34081 '92 Squadron'.

This site of Spitfire Production Information is a useful reference for identifying some of the aircraft seen in these pictures.

J. Rickard's No. 92 Squadron (RAF): Second World War page contains a detailed chronology of the places the squadron was based between 1939 and 1946.

One of the squadron's pilots, Paul Klipsch, was the subject of UK Channel 4 Time Team series on 16th Jan 2000. The team excavated the site of his crash in May 1940 in Wierre-Effroy, France.

If you have an interest in 92 Squadron, and would like to get in touch, I would love to hear from you.

Some books I have relating to the Squadron are:

Details of some other relevant books, some of which were recommended to me by David Morfitt:

Copyright

Except where indicated, all images Copyright 2004-2010 and 2017, David J. Barnes or Robin Baldry, although also see my reference above to image authorship.

If I have inadvertently included material whose copyright belongs to someone else, I would be grateful for that information and will, of course, remove it.


This document (http://www.cs.kent.ac.uk/~djb/92squadron/) is maintained by: David Barnes (the anti-spam email address will need editing by you) to whom any comments and corrections should be addressed.
© David Barnes
Last Updated: 4th March 2017
Created: 5th February 2004