As you say in your history of 411 Squadron it was formed in 1941 and I remember being at the first recruiting meeting. It was several weeks before we got our uniforms. Like many other youngsters at that time I was mad about flying and keen to join up as aircrew. We all flew regularly at RAF Bramcote 5 OTU on Wellingtons often with Polish aircrew. We also flew in Ansons and Oxfords from 1941 onwards. Most of us went on to join the RAFVR.

I think I must have gone to every annual camp. The first camp I remember was at RAF Pershore in 1942. A group photo of 411 is attached. The two officers i/c were FO.Loasby and F.O.Hall (I am standing at middle row rt.) Two of my best friends were Sgt Bob Husbands seated fifth front rt and Cpl Roy Wilson fourth rt. Roy was killed at Bullawayo in June 1945 when his Harvard crashed during training. Bob did his flying training in Texas USA.

Both Bob and I had aircrew training scrubbed at the end of the war and were remustered to ground staff roles. Bob became a Sgt compass swinger and was posted to India and I became an Instrument mechanic and was posted to BAFO Germany.

Another group photo is that at the 1943 camp at RAF MU Wythall We had a wonderful time at this camp because it was manned mostly by WAAF's doing barrage balloon training!!! Another good friend was Sgt Tony Barr seated front 3rd rt. We were all good friends at a difficult time during the war and mixed socially as well as at weekly parades. Many week ends were spent at RAF Bramcote where you would find us flying whenever possible (in a great variety of wartime aircraft, but mostly Wimpies)

Like many of the others I was demobbed in 1947 and we became dispersed around the globe. I became an expatriate in Europe and the Middle East returning to the UK in 1980 having been awarded an OBE in 1975.

I am now retired living on the coast in Kent and often thought of getting in touch with old friends (if many are left alive!)

I have lost touch and forgotten the names of many good old friends (particularly Bob Husbands). If any old pals wish to email me I will try to respond

Yours John.M.Phillips (Ex Cpl 411 Sqn)

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