My Journey to 50 squadron
My Dad, Flt/sgt Herbert Reginald “Bob”Martin, was a wireless operator in 50 squadron and he served 1944 to 1945 until demob. He
came out more or less without a scratch having flown 20 plus operations. He didn’t talk much about his
experiences and I guess like many others, I didn’t ask many questions, probably because he was always there and I
didn’t need to. Dad passed away at 54 years of age over 35 years ago and in many ways that meant that the doors
and windows to his life in the RAF had shut. Over the past few years I have become more interested in what Dad experienced but other than his log book, I had very little to go on or at least
that’s how it seemed. Truth is, it wasn’t until last year that I even knew what airfield he flew from.
However,a series of events and coincidences have brought me to where I am now and it is a story worth
I guess like many kids, hurricanes and spitfires were what fascinated me and the stories of the battle of
britain were the stuff of childhood games, comics and the like. Lancasters and bomber command didn’t interest me
that much I think because big lumbering bombers lacked the glamour and excitement of of the fighters. So, how did that change.
Seeing the lanc take to the air at Farnborough in 2010 was the start. Hearing those merlins start up was such a
sweet sound that I realised that I just had to find out more. In 2011 I went to Duxford museum, something I had wanted to do for years and this gave me an even closer view. Also that year we bought a
puppy. What has that got to do with Lancasters and the RAF you might ask. A lot as it happens. The puppy, a cockerpoo called woody, came from a breeder living just to the south of Oakhampton. As we
were two thirds of the way to cornwall and we were collecting the little chap on a sunday we decided to stay a couple of nights at Port Isaac (Portwenn of the Doc Martin series). I booked a room at
the The Bay Hotel (used as Wenn House in the series), a bit pricey, but it overlooked the sea and is only a few minutes walk from the harbour. When I walked in through the front door I was amazed to
see prints, photographs and paintings of various WW2 and other aircraft. When I put my head around the lounge door I really was taken aback. There were more paintings etc, models and other WW2
memorabilia. Some of the prints were autographed. I spoke to the owner and he told the background to his wonderful collection. His father was a fighter pilot during the battle of britain ( flying
hurricanes if I remember rightly) and he took the rather unusual step of transferring to Bomber Command and spent the rest of his service flying Lancasters. He knew the Panton Brothers and was
planning on going to East Kirby and having a taxi ride.
All of this fascinated me and made me determined to go to Linconshire at some time to see
“Just Jane”. It’s a long journey from Bristol however so I had no real idea when I could go.
In 2012 I needed to visit a firm of architectural designers in connection with my part time job. whilst I was
waiting for the owner to finish a phone call, I happened to notice an East Kirby leaflet on his desk and after he finished his call he told me why he had the leaflet. He said that his company had
entered a competition to design a new memorial dedicated to aircrew lost flying from Lincolnshire airfields. This was yet another coincidence as the company’s offices are only a mile or so away from where Dad was born in southville in Bristol. (The company have won the competition).