Leading Aircraftman Sydney James Arthur King


No.50 Squadron 1940-1945

Syd King was born in June 1922 in Cardiff. He went to to Ross Grammer  school and left school at 16. His parent ran a corner shop in Whitchurch, Herefordshire. He orginally had an appointment for a job with Sainsburys when he left school. He unfortunately didn't get the job and thus spent the next year or so working with his Father in the shop, which also had a transport cafe. This was an all night cafe and the chap who ran it joined the army so Syd took over the running of the cafe unitl he was eighteen. At this point he made the decision to apply to join the Royal Air Force.



His Fathers shop at Whitchurch, where Syd started his working life.

Syd Kings letter from the recruiting office in Cardiff, dated 15th August 1939, it shows him as being assessed as "Aircrafthand/U/T/Flight mechanic or Flight Rigger".


Following his basic training Syd was posted to RAF Weeton which was the No.8 School of Technical Training.


RAF Weeton was situated in Lancashire just a few miles from Blackpool.

Friends Doug and Maurice with Syd on Right, during trainin at RAF Weeton January 1941.



Barrack room W26, 1 Wing, RAF Weeton.


Half of hut W33, Weeton January 1941. Syd King is standing third from left.

Following completion of his training he was posted to 50 Squadron and served with this squadron throughout the war both at Swinderby and Skellingthorpe.


48 Hour pass issued to Syd on January 13th 1942 at RAF Skellingthorpe.


This pass was issued to Syd at RAF Swinderby, allowing him to be off camp nightly after duty until 23.59 hrs daily. We would assume this was after 50 Squadron returned to Swinderby while the Skellingthorpe runways were done. That would be between June and October 1942.


"B Flight" 50 Squadron, April 1942. The Hampden in the background, according to the writing on the back of the photo, was the last Hampden to leave 50 Squadron.



This was Syd Kings cigarette allowance whilst stationed at Skellingthorpe during 1942, being allowed 30 cigarettes a week.

This certificate which was kept by Syd is for inspecting the leading edges of the aircraft, at 21.00 in the evening, fortunately in July 1942. The aircraft "R" assuming it to be VN-R serial number R5688, was originally supplied to 50 Squadron. After a couple of operations in 1942 it finished up at 46 M.U. so we must assume that there was an incident with the aircraft. Records show that there were one or two cases where aircraft crashed because the leading edges were not secure. Syd obviously kept this as it shows that he had done his job. Following repairs at the M.U the aircraft was sent to 12 Squadron in April 1943, it did one operation in May 1943 and was ditched in the North Sea on its return from a raid to Bochum.

It was around this time that Syd started to write to his wife to be Margaret. She had a friend who was going out with an airman and asked her if he had a friend she could write to. Shortly afterwards she receieved a postcard from Syd, "without a stamp" as Margaret points out. They eventually became very close, engaged in 1943 and were married in January 1944. Margaret at that time lived in Halstead, essex on her Fathers farm and they were married in Halstead. She stayed there while Syd served out his time in the Royal Air Force.

The above images are of a letter from a pal of Syd's, LAC "Ginger" Williams of 617 Squadron at RAF Scampton. Dated 12th July 1943, a couple of months after the Dams raid. (Just click on each image to see the text in larger format).

The above items are Air Drop Leaflets collected by Syd King from the early days of the war.


After leaving the Royal Air Force, Syd and Margaret bought a couple of lorries and started a haulage business, after which they bought a taxi business, eventually going back to his roots and opened their own grocery store in Portcawl.

Syd was an avid supporter of the association and attended the annual reunions every year in Lincoln.




Sadly Syd passed away in 2011, and Margaret still remains a member.

"We are indebted to Margaret King for passing on all Syds memorabilia which has enabled us to produce his story. With Margaret's pemission we are intending that all his items should be passed on to the Internation Bomber Command Centre, so that it can be accessed through their digital archives"

Mike Connock