WW2 RAF – Crossing paths, familiar names – Malcolm McKiggan, Fred Perry, Roy Gallop, Frank Wadge, et alia.

WW2 RAF – Crossing paths, familiar names – Malcolm McKiggan, Fred Perry, Roy Gallop, Frank Wadge, et alia.

A little more has come to light about F/Sgt Albert Patrick Jones, mid-upper gunner in F/Sgt Roy Fennell’s 166 Squadron crew. Many thanks to Ian for confirming that Sgt A P Jones, home address 77 Strathnairn Street, Roath Park Cardiff served with 40 Squadron in the Middle East. A quick check of squadron records places him in Egypt from August 1942 flying in the crew of 1st pilot Sqn/Ldr F J Steel, operating Wellington medium bombers against the Tobruk battle area. Alan Jones also flew on occasions with Sgt F Perry’s crew.
Incidentally – the initial ‘F’ may have been a typographical error or an example of the RAF penchant for rather unsubtle nicknames – as in Jim Ives’ and Geoff Yates’ cases – ‘Ginger’ and ‘Curly’ respectively- which carried through into the squadron ORB. 1177568 F/Sgt John Clifford Perry received the DFM, gazetted 22nd January 1943 – for ‘gallantry and devotion to duty in air operations’ – Perhaps it was inevitable that Perry would be known as ‘Fred’ in homage to the tennis star. Fred Perry became a naturalised US citizen in 1938 having won Wimbledon in 1934, 1935,1936, US Open 1933, 1934, 1936, Australian Open 1934, French Open 1935. The ‘real’ Fred Perry joined the US Air Force in 1942.
Other familiar names on 40 Squadron at that time :- Sgt M McKiggan – who appears in Jim Ives’ log book instructing at 27OTU, and RCAF pilot Anton Van Rassel who would later fly Lancasters with 405 Squadron where he was a contemporary of P/O Doug Hackett who died on the Berlin raid on January 30th 1944 (who himself served in the Mediterranean with 424 Squadron).
Having completed his duty in the Middle East, Australian pilot Malcolm McKiggan returned to the UK for his stint as an instructor. He lost his life on the evening of 6th November 1943 in a flying accident during a night cross-country exercise when Wellington 3637 of 27OTU and a Stirling of 1657CU, engaged on a ‘bullseye’ collided near the Essex/Suffolk border. A contemporary accident report suggests that the aircraft crossed each-others paths at about 7,000ft with the Wellington passing close beneath (presumably taking evasive action) the other, its tail fin hitting the fuselage of the Stirling and tearing away in the air, rendering the Wellington uncontrollable. P/O McKiggan, the novice crew of five men and two other screened instructors, all RAAF personnel, died when the aircraft crashed on farmland near the hamlet of Little Walden, Essex.
It is always fascinating to receive documents and photos which place certain airmen with others who have cropped up elsewhere – demonstrating how intertwined were the existences of Bomber Command aircrews.
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Very many thanks to cousins Mike & Leslie for this photo dating from the end of March 1943 – of No9 Pre-AFU Course, 11EFTS, RAF Perth (Scone) which has the priceless annotation of names on the reverse. Leslie & Mike’s uncle, Roy Gallop is the primary subject of interest – second from right, third row back. Gallop was skipper of 625 Squadron Lancaster JB122, another casualty of the 30th January 1944 Berlin raid, his rear gunner was W/O Davey Johnson DFC, late of Jimmie Ives’ crew.
Fourth from left, back row is F/Sgt Frank Wadge who would in February 1944 receive an immediate DFM award after a collision with a German night-fighter severely damaged his 100 Squadron Lancaster ED749. His aircraft lost a large chunk of wing, suffered major damage to propellers, fuselage and control surfaces, but F/Sgt Wadge brought his aircraft and crew home safely from the Stuttgart operation of 20th/21st February 1944. Very sadly on Wadge’s next op – Schweinfurt 24th/ 25th February – he and the crew of ND593 were lost without trace over the North Sea.
Third from right, back row, Sgt (later P/O) Stanley W G Neighbour was a contemporary of Roy Fennell’s at 166 Squadron, RAF Kirmington before being posted to 156 Squadron (8 Group, Pathfinders) in December 1943. P/O Neighbour died when ND454 was shot down, also on the Schweinfurt operation.
The clarity of the photograph (apart from a few blemishes on the print) really takes you to the moment it was taken, the expressions, new blousons, brevets and caps, collars up, proud and keen to get on with things.
I would be very grateful to receive information about any of the pilots and observers/ navigators in this iconic photo.
Many thanks.

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