Teamwork by Philip West

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F/Lt. Geoffrey Ware AE FCA (Pilot) started his RAF career in December 1940 at No. 1 Receiving Wing Babbacombe, then No. 4 Initial Training Wing at Paignton. A long wait in the Liverpool area during which it was sunbathing or fatigues, led to a five-week trip in convoy to South Africa. There followed an enthralling year in what was then South Rhodesia for Elementary Flying Training on Tiger Moths and Service Flying Training on Harvards leading to the award of Wings. Instead of being sent to the Middle East, as was normal, a fast, unescorted trip took a boatload of fledgling pilots and navigators back to the UK.

It appeared that the strategy of the war had changed and the emphasis was then on the build up of Bomber Command and therefore he was converted to multi-engine aircraft on Oxfords at South Cerney and on Wellingtons at further conversion to Stirlings at Waterbeach, plus two further crew members (making a crew of seven) and on to an operational tour with XV Squadron at Bourn and the award of the DFC. It may be appropriate here to mention that the navigator was Brian E. B. Harris, DFC who has provided pictures and information to the authors of "Oxford's Own" (a history of XV Squadron) and "The Stirling". He has also produced a video tape called "Remember the Stirling". Brian is now the Chairman of "The Stirling Project" which is a charity devoted to trying to build a Stirling aircraft for display purposes.

Following the appropriate training F/Lt. Ware became an Instructor at an Operational Training Unit and was mentioned in Dispatches. After the War was over he transferred to Transport Command and spent the rest of his time in the RAF flying Liberators, mostly empty, to Karachi, and returning with 26 passengers, mostly troops.

It was not easy to give up flying completely and he remained with the RAFVR and the RAux AF until they closed down, as a relief from and transition to, training to be a Chartered Accountant.

A. R. Charlesworth (Pilot) volunteered at the age of 18 in 1942 and trained as a pilot in Canada. On returning to England in spring of 1942, he trained on Whitley Bombers and converted to Stirlings in January 1945. He took part in the Rhine Crossing towing a Horsa glider, which was his last operation. He joined 299 Squadron at Shepherds Grove in April 1945 and was heavily engaged in towing gliders (Horsas) and supply drop training. He flew Stirling IVs supplying our advancing armies through Europe and completed one operational supply drop to Denmark underground forces. He left the RAF in 1947.

Overall size: 28" wide x 12 1/2" high.

Image size: 24" wide x 8" high.