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I have received this email from Barry Owens re his brother Herbie. Can any one recognise any of the Squadron Members in the photos below. I can pass these onto interested parties. There are 14 photos in all. These are just a selection.


“Whilst I was with 56 Sqdn (Lightnings) at Akrotiri (1968-71) my brother John (Herbie) Owens – Armourer – was there with 249 Sqdn. Unfortunately he died 2 years ago but my sister and I have found some old photographs of John with other members of the Squadron” – “in relaxed mode in various watering holes in Limassol”.

Lest we forget

Air Ministry.

15 November 1940.


The KING has been graciously pleased to confer the Victoria Cross on the
undermentioned officer in recognition of most conspicuous bravery : —

Flight Lieutenant James Brindley NICOLSON (39329) — No. 249 Squadron.

During an engagement with the enemy near Southampton on 16th August, 1940,
Flight Lieutenant Nicolson’s aircraft was hit by four cannon shells, two of
which wounded him whilst another set fire to the gravity tank. When about to
abandon his aircraft owing to flames in the cockpit he sighted an enemy
fighter. This he attacked and shot down, although as a result of staying in his
burning aircraft he sustained serious burns to his hands, face, neck and legs.
Flight Lieutenant Nicolson has always displayed great enthusiasm for air
fighting and this incident shows that he possesses courage and determination of
a high order. By continuing to engage the enemy after he had been wounded and
his aircraft set on fire, he displayed exceptional gallantry and disregard for
the safety of his own life.

Fully recovered by September 1941, in 1942 Nicolson was posted to India.
Between August 1943 and August 1944 he was a Squadron Leader and C.O. of No 27
Squadron, flying Bristol Beaufighters over Burma.  During this time he was awarded the DFC.

As a Wing Commander, he was killed on 2 May 1945 when a  RAF B-24 Liberator from 355 Squadron, in which he was flying as an  observer, caught fire and crashed into the Bay of Bengal.  His body was not recovered.

Nicolson was the only  Battle of Britain pilot and the only RAF fighter pilot to be awarded the  Victoria Cross during the Second World War. Nicolson’s Victoria Cross is  displayed at the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon, England.

Foot Note :

Presentation at Rhyl Library on Monday, 23 May, 2011 of a Replica DFC, Poem and Biographical Folder in memory of Flight Lieutenant Norman Macqueen DFC, 249 Squadron.

In a ceremony at Rhyl Library in April, 2010, local Rhyl poet George Hornby and historian Charles Leach marked what would have been the 90th birthday of Norman Carter Macqueen DFC RAFVR before the Mayor, community leaders and representatives from further afield, including Sqn Ldr Bob Williams and his daughter, representing 249 Squadron.

On Monday, 23 May, this year, again at a civic ceremony at the library, George and Charles are presenting a replica Distinguished Flying Cross for permanent display in the Library, together with a poem written by George to remember the valuable contribution made not only by Norman Macqueen but also by RAF personnel during the Second World War. A Welsh translation of “The Few” will stand by the poem in the
upstairs section of the Library. This short biography of Norman Macqueen will
also be included:

Flight Lieutenant Norman Macqueen DFC RAFVR (Volunteer Reserve) entered RAF service from Rhyl, September 1939 and was killed on active service near Ta Kali, Malta, May 1942. His name is of course recorded on the memorial (with many more) at the Garden of Remembrance, Rhyl. Norman’s father was Dr. Joseph Gordon Macqueen a well known and much respected Doctor and Surgeon who was based at Clarence House, Russell Road, Rhyl for many years. Norman’s mother was Helen Fairley Macqueen who served the medical practice as a receptionist and secretary. Both Joseph and Helen Macqueen came from Balmaclellan in the Scottish Borders and before moving to Rhyl in 1930 Dr. Joseph Macqueen had been in practice in Hyde, Cheshire. The Macqueen family lived in rooms above the surgery and Rhyl was a smaller place during the dark days of the Second World War (1939-1945). It was from Rhyl that Norman Carter was to enter RAF service at Padgate; Warrington on September 10th 1939, a few days after the War had started.

In all, Norman was to serve his King and country in three RAF squadrons and the first one was 610, followed by squadron 602 and then the famous 249 Squadron. He quickly rose through the ranks, being promoted to Flying Officer by 1940,and the rank of acting paid flight lieutenant by the following year. In 1942 he was selected for overseas duties, and was sent to Malta with 249 Squadron. His unit, based at RAF TaKali, played a major role in defending the island against the German and Italian
forces. On May 4th 1942, Flt Lt Macqueen’s Spitfire sustained damage from an
enemy attack. It is thought he was also hit and may have lost consciousness.
His plane nose-dived into the ground just short of the runway at RAF TaKali.

On 1 May, 1942, the London
Gazette announced that Flt Lt Macqueen had been awarded the DFC, in recognition
of his exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy in the air. It is not known whether he knew of the award.

The Citation in the London
Gazette read:

“This officer carried out a large number of sorties over enemy occupied territory and destroyed one enemy aircraft whilst based in this country. In the Middle East he has destroyed a further four hostile aircraft. Throughout his operational career, Flight
Lieutenant Macqueen has rendered most valuable service. He has displayed great
skill and leadership.”

George Hornby and Charles Leach hope that the medal, poem and short biography folder will serve to perpetuate the memory of a hero from Rhyl, especially for the younger generations. Lest we forget.

Text and research by Charles Leach, St.Asaph, November 2010


Distinguished Flying Cross

This silver cross is awarded to officers and Warrant Officers for an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty performed whilst flying in active operations against the enemy. A straight silver bar with an eagle in the centre is awarded for a further act or acts. The year of the award is engraved on the reverse. The award was established on the birthday of King George V, June 3, 1918. Until 1919, the stripes were horizontal.

The Distinguished Flying Cross is a military decoration awarded to personnel of the United Kingdoms’s Royal  Air Force and other Services, and formerly to officers of
other Commonwealth countries, for “an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy”.

During the Second World War, 20,354 DFCs were awarded (the most of any award), with approximately 1,550 first bars and 45 second bars. Honorary awards were made on 964 occasions to aircrew from other non-commonwealth countries.

In 2008,Flight Lieutenant Michelle Goodman  became the first woman to receive the DFC.

I have received an email from a Mr Nick Lawson requesting we give acess to these links on the internet. Charles Palliser is raising money towards the Battle of Britain Memorial Trusts new education centre.

See the link at

There is an event at Newark Aircraft museum on 21 May 2011. Possibly some of the Crews from our Canberra Element may be interested.

See link

Further to Jim’s comment, here are a couple of photos of Paddy Cardwell Taken at the Squadron, Akrotiri, circa 1957.