GALLERY & WIN!: Book celebrates 70th anniversary of RAF Pathfinder Force’s formation
THE story of the RAF’s elite Pathfinder Force is told in a new book published to mark the 70th anniversary of its formation.
The Pathfinder Force, which flew 50,000 sorties against enemy targets from Cambridgeshire airfields, volunteered to fly through the dark, smoke-filled skies above occupied Europe.
Five squadrons, from five different Bomber Command Groups, formed the force which came together in August 1942 at the neighbouring airfields of Oakington, Graveley, Warboys and Wyton. Wyton now houses the Pathfinder Museum.
In a book entitled The RAF Pathfinders: Bomber Command’s Elite Squadrons, aviation historian Martyn Chorlton outlines the increasingly successful role the force played in bringing accuracy and effectiveness into the air war that Bomber Command waged against the Third Reich during 1942-1945.
The role of the Pathfinder Force was to locate the target and lay down fire markers for the mass of bombers following behind them. It was a successful technique that had been used by the Germans in 1940 against Coventry and other cities.
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The book contains a moving forward by the Rev Michael Wadsworth, the former vicar of Haddenham. He is chaplain to the Pathfinders Association and the son of one of the men who lost their lives serving with 156 Squadron.
The book describes all the major operations in which the Pathfinders were involved. These include the Battle of the Ruhr, the Berlin offensive of 1943/44 and the celebrated raid on the German V2 rocket works at Peenemunde.
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The cost in human lives was very heavy; some 3,700 Pathfinder aircrew were killed in operations.
Published by Countryside Book, the book is priced at �14.95 and is available at booksellers and other retail outlets including historic houses and period attractions. It can also be obtained from the publishers at www.countrysidebooks.co.uk