Warrant Officer Reg Freeth
In 1941 he volunteered to join the RAF for flying duties.
After a short period of tests and medical checks he was accepted for training as an Air Observer/Navigator.
He joined the RAF (VR) on 4 Aug 1941 at St John's Wood, London.
Left is a photo taken at the Initial Training Wing, Torquay.
It was there he met up and became friends with Jamie Barr.
Both Reg and Jamie were sent to different stations in South Africa for training..
It was there that he met up with Jamie Barr again.
Now that Bomber Command was taking delivery of larger aircraft requiring 7 men crews they decided that the work of Air Observer/Navigator should be split up. Reg became a Bomb Aimer and Jamie a Navigator.
At the time crews were selected by the powers that be, so you can well imagine the delight that Reg felt when he was placed in the same crew as Jamie..
On the 6 May 1943 they joined 61 Squadron at Syerston from 1661 Conversion Unit.
Whilst with 61 he completed 17 operations. 7 with Jamie in 'J.J'.
After suffering a perforated ear drum when his aircraft made a rapid decent from 20,000ft to 2,000ft Reg was medically grounded. Dr Jock Cook took his place in that crew.
Above is a photo, taken at the 2007 Reunion (or there about), of the crew of the lst 'Just Jane'.
Left to right:
F/L Jim Chapman DFC. M/U/G 15 ops in 'J.J
F/L Eric Walker DFC. R/G 16 ops in 'J.J
W/O Reg Freeth B/A 7 ops in .J.J'.
W/O Reg Bunyan DFM W/O/P 10 ops in 'J.J'.
F/L George Turnbull DFC. F/E 16 ops in 'J.J'.
F/L Dr Jock Cook DFC B/A 10 ops in 'J.J'.
F/L Jamie Barr DFC Nav 16 ops in 'J.J'.
Over the past 20 years Reg has thoroughly enjoyed his annual visits to Lincoln to attend reunion, sadly his old crew members have gradually disappeared. In 2007 Reg and Jamie are the only surviving members of the original crew.
On the 25 Sept 1999 Reg joined Jamie for a flight in the BBMF Lancaster PA 474 "City of Lincoln". He managed with difficulty to make his way to the Bomb Aimer's position in the nose of the aircraft.
Below is a photo that Reg took from the B/A position whilst they made a fly past over the WW11 Memorial on Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire's sea front where a 6ft Aircrew statue was being unvelied to commemorate the Beaufighter Strike Wing at RAF North Coates.
They did a flypast over RAF North Coates itself and then followed this with a further flypast over RAF Leeming. During the flight he had a wonderful view of the Yorkshire countryside on the return journey to RAF Coningsby.
According to his log book they were airborne for 1hr 40mins.
How other ex-WW11 aircrew must envy him!
Reg Freeth sadly passed away on 29th August 2017.