Sgt Digby 44 (Rhodesia) Sqdn 1942-1943

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Dannemois, Jan 23, 2023 at 6:57 PM.

  1. Dannemois

    Dannemois Member

    Sergeant Wilfred Charles Digby of 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron lost his life when his aircraft AVRO - Lancaster Mk1 W4110 KM-K failed to return from operational flight on 13/14th May, 1943.

    Pilot F/O. W.D. Rail 80131 RAF
    Flight engineer Sgt. N.K. Underwood 1000940
    Navigator Sgt. A.T.C. Bromwich 1392030
    Bomb aimer Sgt. W.C. Digby 1315999
    Wo ag Sgt. R.C. Boardman 1028039
    Air gunner Sgt. R.S.A. Walker 1085432
    Air gunner Sgt. G. Batty 1415510

    A letter from ‘B’ Unit, Waddington dated 14 May 1943 signed by J Nettleton to his father mentioned: “During the two months your son has served with the Squadron, he has taken part in twelve operational flights over enemy territory.

    Can someone please help with any details/information about the flights Digby was involved in?

    I found just two OPRs in National Archives - AIR-27-450-8 (3/4 April) bombing raid to Essen and AIR-27-450-9 (4 May 43) to Dortmund.

    A letter with a date of 3 April (presumed 1943) written by Digby to a friend says his first trip was to St Nazarene on 22 March followed by Berlin on 27 and 29 March. He also mentioned a bombing raid on Kiel but no date.

    Any help appreciated
    CL1 likes this.

    JDCAVE Active Member

    The RAF Commands forum has a nice search engine that will allow you to search the ORBs for his time with the squadron and to link directly with Discovery at the National Archives. The ORBs are available to download for free. You just have to sign up for an account with TNA, which is easy to do and free. I will let you do this yourself, as I already have "too many" ORBs on my computer, most of which I have only looked at once, for one reason or another.

    The RAF Commands forum Search page:

    AIR 27 Search (

    If you have any trouble, post again and I will assist.

    CL1 likes this.
  3. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    I am not an expert in such matters, having only researched one SAAF squadron (under RAF command), what you need to access are the RAF Squadron Operations Record Book. See: RAF Squadron ORBs digitised by TNA

    There are a mass of threads here for the squadron, my search did not include (Rhodesia) and you will have to review them to get the ones you seek. I used this to find them: "44 squadron" + "RAF" + "". Note after pg.3 there are online resources not just here.

    Smaller number of threads found using: "44 squadron" + "RAF" + "" + "rhodesia"

    Good luck. Others here with expertise may be along.

    JDCAVE Active Member

    Just use the search engine I described in post #2. Easy-Peasy!
  5. Dannemois

    Dannemois Member

    Jim, Many thanks for the info, and as you said 'Easy-Peasy' ...........when you know where to look. I've enough to go on for now, much appreciated.

    Thanks also to Patron for your input.
  6. Dannemois

    Dannemois Member

    Morning Jim,
    From reading AIR-27 I learned Sgt Digby was posted to 44 Squadron from No 1654 conversion unit.

    A snippet in the Merthyr Express on 22 August 1942 mentions "Sgt Observer Wilfred C Digby arrived home on short leave after spending seven months in South Africa.

    I would like to learn more about his time in the RAF, are you able to advise on the above, please
    Kind Regards, Roy
    CL1 likes this.
  7. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Last edited: Jan 24, 2023 at 10:11 AM
  8. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    photo of Runnymede panel from my collection

    Service Number: 1315999
    Regiment & Unit/Ship
    Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

    44 (Rhodesia) Sqdn

    Date of Death
    Died 14 May 1943

    Age 27 years old

    Buried or commemorated at

    Panel 147.

    United Kingdom

    • Country of ServiceUnited Kingdom
    • Additional InfoSon of Charles Leonard Gwynne Digby and Julia Digby, of Nelson, Glamorgan.


  9. Quarterfinal

    Quarterfinal Well-Known Member

  10. JDCAVE

    JDCAVE Active Member

    Roy: Per your request, there is quite a bit of information on the Bomb Aimers Trade on the International Bomber Command Centre Digital Archive:

    IBCC Digital Archive

    I might suggest searching for Rhodesia and also for bomb aimer. Lots of documents on calculations, training, all up weights here. You could also search for bomb aimers briefing. I think some of this material might have come from the leader for bomb aimer section.

    The Air Historical Branch has quite a few documents on the various training programs.

    Their thematic studies has sections on training.

    Last edited: Jan 24, 2023 at 3:24 PM
  11. JDCAVE

    JDCAVE Active Member

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