RAF 216 Squadron

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Annette438, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. Annette438

    Annette438 Junior Member

    My dad, Captain J P Venter (also known as Max or Peter) was a SAAF pilot seconded to the RAF. Stationed in Cairo from September 1943 until September 1945. Served with detachments to Palestine (1943), Burma (1944), Sheikh Othman (1945). Flew to various destinations in North Africa, Malta, Italy, Palestine, Greece, India, Burma, Persian Gulf, Syria, Jordan,Sicily, Yemen, Cyprus, Romania, Muscat & Oman to name but a few. I have a tiny photograph, pasted in his log book, of a message from Louis Mountbatten SACSEA, dated 3/8/44 which reads: " I am glad to have an opportunity of saying "Thank you" to 216 Squadron for saving the situation at Imphal". I have spent years trying to identify air/landing strips from his log books and also trying to find out what was going on during certain time-lines. My dad rarely spoke of the war which makes researching his air force career difficult. Before my husband's death last year he wrote down his family 'memories' for our kids and I am doing the same but have hit a brick wall regarding my dad's time with the RAF during WW2. Is there any kind soul out there who can assist?
  2. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Hello Annette and welcome to the forum. You are in good company here as there are a lot of RAF experts on the forum who will be along soon to help.

  3. peaceful

    peaceful Senior Member

    Hello Annette


  4. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Good luck with your research.

    Going off some extracts from Wiki it was certainly a busy squadron and he was a busy pilot by the looks of his logbook.

    During World War II, 216SQN was principally a transport squadron, operating the Vickers Type 264 Valentia, Bristol Bombay, Vickers Wellington, Lockheed Hudson and Douglas Dakota. It spent a lengthy time deployed to Greece from October 1944 to August 1946 as the primary transport unit for British forces involved in the Greek Civil War.

    Battle honours:

    Egypt and Libya 1940-1942

    Greece 1940-1941 (on 2 May 1941, Bombays of No. 216 Squadron RAF evacuated the Greek Royal Family from Crete to Egypt)

    Syria 1941

    El Alamein, North Africa 1943 (on the night of the 14/15 September 1943 120 paratroopers from 11th Parachute Battalion were dropped by Dakotas of No. 216 Squadron RAF on the island of Kos. The paratroopers were welcomed by the Italian garrison who laid straw on the landing zone)

    North Burma 1944

    South East Europe 1944-1945 (one of the busier units in Greece, the only Dakota equipped RAF unit operated in Greece from October 1944 through March 1946 performing primarily transport duties)


    1943 saw the squadron settle down to routine missions including VIP flights and in March, Dakotas began to arrive and by May the squadron was solely equipped with this type. With the Dakotas the squadron began scheduled flights although some paratroop and re-supply missions were carried out.

    In April 1944, the squadron sent a large detachment to Burma, where it carried out re-supply drops and casualty evacuations from the area. By the end of the war, the squadron was acting much in the role of an airline with scheduled services throughout Africa, the Middle East, India, the Mediterranean, Southern Europe and even back to the UK.
  5. Annette438

    Annette438 Junior Member

    Hi Dave,
    Many thanks for the info.

    My mom kept all my dad's love letters from the War and reading them again I picked up a few nuggets. Of course, letters were censored and he couldn't tell her exactly what was going on at the time but once I got through all 'missing you and love you' parts, I found that when he was in Burma at Imphal the Japs strafed the landing strip and he was forced to 'hit the deck' a few times. He also told me that he was rather upset with the Japs because he had just had a new uniform made and that it was ruined!

    I also found in his letters that Lt Dennis Bilse, who died so tragically when his plane flew into the Atlas Mountains, was a great friend of his. He and Lt Bilse flew to Morocco together (in separate planes) and that when they landed they bumped into each other which was just hours before the accident. Lt Bilse was also with him in Burma and they shared a tent together. My dad was shattered when he heard of the accident and asked my mom to visit Bobbie Nevin (his girlfriend) to convey his condolences to her.

    Kind regards,

    MAC6MIMI Junior Member

    My dad (Simon Charles Cameron Mackay) served in ww2 in the RAF. He was a navigator and served in Africa and Burma.He also went to Canada to work with Canadian Air Force- he was medically evacuated back to the uk with kidney stones, and then returned to duty. My dad died in 1969 at the young age of 48yrs of cancer, I miss him very much as I could not have asked for a better father, he taught me and my 5 siblings a lot. He himself came from a very big family, he had 13 brothers, all of who went off to serve their country in ww2, and every one of them returned with only one of them taken as a prisoner of war in Germany. One of his brothers syaed in the Army(ROYAL SCOTS) for a total 56years, he was Major Murdo John Cameron Mackay, he died in 2008, but served in many campaigns. I hope that someone can give me a message to say they may have know any of the Mackay's from ww2. That's it for this thread.I hope it is not too long.
  7. Oggie2620

    Oggie2620 Senior Member

    If you havent already contacted them I found this on the RAFRA site:
    216 Squadron Association Secretary Dave Maloney, 18 Bolts Croft, Chippenham SN15 3GQ: secAT216squadronassociation.org.uk : www.216squadronassociation.org.uk

    Dee :D
  8. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    A belated welcome to the forum Annette - enjoy!

    I missed your introduction as out of the UK at the time of you posting...


  9. billgracie

    billgracie New Member

    Hi Annette, my name is Bill Gracie. I was searching through the website when I spotted your post. I was in 216 squadron with your dad Peter and remember him well. I have a photograph of the officers of the squadron taken in 1944. He is second from the left, back row, I am fifth, perhaps you have a copy? If not I could scan a copy and forward it to you. My email is xxx

  10. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Hi Bill and welcome to the forum - I don't know if Annette is still logging in to check, but on behalf of the other members of the forum I look forward to any info regarding your wartime (and beyond) career you wish to share.

    Please feel free to add copies of the photos here with names and other details. Any personal stories and anecdotes are also encouraged.

    Hopefully the forum administrators could move this into a better sub-forum instead of user introductions.

    regards and best wishes


    PS - this thread (http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/46568-introducing-a-new-veteran-member/?hl=veteran) shows the kind of welcome we try to give veterans who join us
  11. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Welcome to the forum.
    I have emailed Annette so hopefully she will be in touch, assuming the email address on file is still valid.
  12. ABP

    ABP New Member

    My brother Cpl D J Peacock (574306) served with 216 throughout the war. There is a picture of him in a book about the Squadron
  13. carolm

    carolm New Member

    Hello, I am new on this forum, and am hoping someone familiar with RAF 216 Squadron can help on this. I have a Greek friend whose father grew up in Crete. During 1940-41 he became acquainted with a young British flier named Harry Mather who was stationed there with the RAF. He and Harry became great friends and exchanged letters for time--they still have a photo of Harry in their home! -- but then they lost touch and my friend's dad was never able to find out what happened to Harry.
    We found this photo which appears to be Harry
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/35/a6680135.shtml in a group of photos by Jack Burgin who was with the 216 Squadron, which leads us to believe that Harry also was with this squadron.
    Does anyone here know how we could find out more?
    I have searched for RAF personnel lost during the war, but couldn't immediately find anyone whose name and details seemed to match -- also of course it's possible that Harry was a nickname or middle name.
    Thank you! Carol
  14. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

    Two IWM photos depicting two Bristol Bombays that were shot up by ME109's 24th July 1942 taken by Sgt. Morris AFPU
    Bristol Bombay Mk.1
    L5824 & L8535 216 Squadron RAF. Written off (destroyed) 24.7.42: While overflying the Egyptian Desert, the aircraft was attacked by the pilot of a German fighter. The crew was forced to attempt an emergency landing in the Western Desert, at Diet El Monas, Egypt. While the aircraft was damaged beyond repair, there was no casualties. Possible claim by Ltn Erich Schöfböck 7./JG 27 as L5824 & L8535 were landing at Deir el Monas.

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