Paying Homage to Pilot Officer Donald Hickson

About an unsung hero who flew with RAF 203 Squadron.


Pilot Officer Donald Hickson was assigned to RAF 203 Squadron he completed 23 reconnaissance sorties as observer / navigator / second pilot flying in Martin Maryland IIs and Baltimores over the Mediterranean Sea.

His story will be told by his son on a new blog.

RAF 203 Squadron


This site is dedicated to the memory of all those aircrew that served in the Commonwealth Air Forces during World War Two. The numbers are astounding. Some 185,600 aircrew served and approximately 70,200 made the ultimate sacrifice. The number of sorties flown and the number of aircraft lost is also difficult to comprehend.

  • Bomber Command – 392,100 sorties and 9,100 aircraft lost
  • Fighter Command – 700,200 sorties and 3,500 aircraft lost
  • Coastal Command – 235,700 sorties and 1,600 aircraft lost

To the best of my knowledge, there were about 126 Squadrons in the RAF, RCAF, RAAF, RNZAF and other Commonwealth Air Forces.

Obviously, the subject is much too broad to cover in any meaningful way in a single blog.

In particular, this blog is dedicated to those who served with RAF 203 Squadron during World War Two and all relevant submissions are welcomed.

I will make periodic posts about…

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CAM Ships – Protecting the Convoy from the Condors – Redux

Can anybody help?

I am trying to find a print quality image of the EMPIRE MORN CAM ship for use in a chapter about Arctic Convoys PQ15 and return convoy QP12 when Flying Officer Kohn B Kendall, the CAM pilot on the EMPIRE MORN, was killed after shooting down a Ju 88 bomber. He was the only CAM pilot to be killed after launch.


Bill Forster

Lest We Forget

Great post about a little piece of history on naval warfare in WWII.

Click here.

Norman Taylor was one of the pilots who flew the Hurricat.



Source here

Hurricat log book

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Col. Ashley Woolridge; 106 Missions in a B-26

Great tribute to one who got back.

Aviation Trails

At the height of the war, the life expectancy of a fighter pilot was measured in weeks, for a bomber crew it was perhaps even less. With tours of duty standing at around 30 missions, it was rare to find anyone who survived these tours without at least serious injury or mental health issues. Many paid the price with their life.

Whilst aircraft could be salvaged, patched up, repaired and put back into the air, it was not  so easy for crewmen to be returned to battle so quickly. It was therefore, very rare to find anyone completing one or even two missions in a front line aircraft. Of course the subject of what constitutes a mission is in itself open for debate, ‘milk runs’ leaflet drops etc all create fractions of a mission, but this aside, for any airman to surpass 100 missions was indeed rare.

We have seen…

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All Quiet on the Western Front (4)

All Quiet on the Western Front… Part Four

John Knifton

This is Part Four of a dialogue taken from “All Quiet on the Western Front”. A group of German soldier discuss their plight:


“I’ll tell you how it should all be done.
Whenever there’s a big war comin’ on, you should rope off a big field…”

“And sell tickets.”



“And on the big day, you should take all the kings and their cabinets and their generals, put ’em in the centre dressed in their underpants, and let ’em fight it out with clubs. The best country wins.”


Unfortunately, only one war has ever been carried out like that. It was the Israelites and the Philistines in the Old Testament when one side chose a champion and so did the other:


It would certainly be something to think about, especially where wars are just dragging on in pointless fashion as the First World War and the now long forgotten Iran-Iraq War…

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All Quiet on the Western Front (3)

Why there are wars…
So simple to understand.

John Knifton

This is Part Three of a dialogue taken from the film “All Quiet on the Western Front”:

Remarque_Im_Westen_ book cover

A group of German soldiers discuss their plight:

“Somebody must have wanted the war. Maybe it was the English. No, I don’t want to shoot any Englishman. I never saw one ’til I came here. And I suppose most of them never saw a German ’til “they” came here. No, I’m sure “they” weren’t asked about it.”


off to war

“Well, the war must be doing somebody some good.”

more shells

“I think maybe the Kaiser wanted a war.”

“I don’t see that. The Kaiser’s got everything he needs.”


“Well, he never had a war before. Every full-grown emperor needs one war to make him famous. Why, that’s history.”

“Yeah, generals, too. They need war.”


And Prime Ministers and even Presidents come to that. They think it will make them look good when somebody else takes the risks on…

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73 years ago today…

Albert Dugal received posthumously the medal of l’Assemblée nationale du Québec November 11th, 2016. His sister Claire received it.


RCAF 425 Alouettes

Jacques Desjardins had written a tribute to his uncle Albert Dugal. What he had written  in French was so touching that I had told him it had to be translated in English.

Jacques had a cousin who did just that…!

Her name is Thérèse Kirouac. She too wanted to pay homage to her uncle…


I would like to talk to you about my uncle, Flight Sergeant J. J-B. Albert Dugal, member of l’Escadron 425 Les Alouettes during the last World War. He died on March 3, 1943 during a bombing mission on Hamburg; he was the «bomb aimer» during this mission.

bomb aimer

I never knew my uncle, as I was born 11 months after he passed away. My grandmother and my mother, his sister, kept his memory alive for me. He was that brave hero who sacrificed his life for his country and liberty. But who was he exactly?



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History – Attention Must Be Paid

History – Attention Must Be Paid

History is sadly repeating itself…

Envisioning The American Dream

Vanity Fair cover 1933 July Despondent Sam Illustration by Paolo Garretto We need to take a hard look at history. A Vanity Fair cover from July 1933 showing a despondent Uncle Sam seated on the Western hemisphere with storm clouds above can serve as a somber harbinger for our own times. Illustration by Paolo Garretto

History has never seemed more relevant.

That anti-Semite Steve Bannon who made white nationalism mainstream through Breitbart, is now to be President Elect Donald Trump’s Goebbels…er…Chief Strategist.

This past summer with  the weight of history hanging heavy as the Republicans nominated Donald J. Trump as their candidate for president, historians spoke out as never before.

We didn’t listen then.

We need to listen now.

It’s a post worth repeating, so we don’t repeat history.

It’s Worth Repeating

A dozen distinguished  historians from David McCullough to  Ken Burns have bonded together to create a Facebook page called Historians on Donald Trump, dedicated to educating the voters…

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