In writing this history I have relied extensively on the official written accounts in the Form 540s, the official operations records and the unofficial squadron diaries which were kept by an appointed squadron member. The task of Squadron Diarist was to record the more informal and social side of squadron life, and this post was held by a different officer every few months. To all of them, whoever you are, thanks for all your efforts.
Many books have been written about the famous battles and people related to 92 squadron and I thank the authors and publishers for letting me quote from them. I received direct help in compiling the First World War history from Air Vice Marshal A.J.Capel CB. DSO DFC. Writing the squadron’s history in the Second World War was helped by direct contributions from Group Captain B. Kingcome DSO DFC & Bar, Group Captain J.A.Kent DFC & Bar AFC Virtuti Militari, Group Captain A.R. Wright DFC & Bar, Wing Commander R.R.Stanford Tuck DSO DFC & two Bars AFC, Wing Commander R.E.Havercroft AFC and General Adolf Galland. More recently, Antoinette Maclachlan has come forward with information about her father who commanded 92 Squadron for a short while in 1940. In Canada I met Reid Hutchinson, who served as a pilot in the Italy campaign and gave a clear recollection of the tactics that they used in dive bombing.
The unsung heros, the ‘Ground Crew’, would have been overlooked in this history if it were not for Mr. Arthur Watts and his memoirs of the squadron in 1939 and 1940, Mrs. P.K.Back for the loan of her album of newspaper cuttings, and for the memoirs of Mr. H.T.Wallace who was a ground crew member during the Desert Campaign which he wrote out for me and were sent by his son, after his father had passed away. Also the loan of his photograph album.
For the post war era I am indebted to John Finney, the first National Service pilot to be posted to 92 Squadron in 1952 and to Chris Stone.
The “Glory Days” of the Blue Diamonds were brought to life when I visited Chicago to meet up with Hamid Anwar, who I had met previously at a 92 reunion. Flt Lt Anwar was on loan to 92 squadron during the 1960s from the Pakistan Air Force. Thanks Harry. Kevin Hutchinson was an armourer on 92 Squadron from April ‘61 to May ’68 and he gave valuable insight into how the Hunters were prepared for the formation aerobatic displays.
I would also like to thank the squadron commander’s secretary, Mrs. Pam Spencer for deciphering my handwriting and typing it so that, some thirty five years later , one can read it. Also to Peter and Helen Hayden-Davis for proof reading the draft manuscript, and Corporal John Spreadbury and Corporal John Redshaw of RAF Gütersloh’s Photographic Unit for reproducing many of the photographs.
Twenty years after this book was written I was approached by Michael Robinson who was writing a history of the squadron in 1939-40. I supplied him with all the information that I had of that era and he was able to correct my mistakes. He wrote an excellent and detailed account of those two years in his book “ Best of the Few” published in 2001. The detailed biographies of those who served on 92 Squadron. in 1939 and 1940 are taken from this formidable work. Please buy his book because a percentage of the proceeds are given to the RAF Benevolent Fund.
I left the squadron in April 1977 when the Lightning was disbanded at RAF Gütersloh. The Squadron was simultaneously reformed at RAF Wildenrath with the Phantom so I would be grateful if others would fill in the details of years after I left the squadron to the present day.
Recently the original Form 540 covering the years 1939 to 1958 has turned up. It was rescued from a skip and handed to Richy Brawn who had it for many years before passing it to me. Thanks to Richy and his wife Denise I can now add more detail to the history of those years.
Thanks also to my sister Penelope Rawlings for re-typing the manuscript an e-mailing it to me for publication on the internet. To Wendy Baker in Singapore, Bro Palmer in Queensland and Susanne Kling in Germany for proof reading the draft. Bro Palmer also helped to compile the list of Squadron members. Lastly to Kevin Hutchinson, again, who served on 92 during the Hunter and Lightning F2 days for his corrections. To everyone who has helped, thanks a million.