Flight Lieutenant Douglas Blan 1914-1976
Flight sergeant Douglas Blan shown during his flying instructor period at No. 36 Service Flying Training School Penhold, Alberta.
Douglas Volunteered for service in the RAF in April 1940, following his basic training and wireless training he was recommended for pilot training in December 1940.
The following details and pictures were supplied by his son Jim Blan.
Before joining up Douglas was a hairdresser.
From St Roberts School in Harrogate he went to Bettemborough Technical School in Luxembourg (1929/30) to learn Barbering.
Returning to Harrogate to do hairdressing
He then went to sea on the 25/09/36 serving as an assistant barber on the SS Orontes and SS Oronsay (Sister passenger ship for the orient line England/Australian route) but suffered badly with the heat.
Douglas returned to west London in 1937 and continued hairdressing where he met his future wife Rita.
Details from his Service Record
27/04/40 No. 2 Reception Centre, Cardington
28/04/40 No. 3 Engineering and Wireless School, Calne, Wilts.
25/10/40 No. 3 Wing 2 Signals School RAF Yatesbury
19/12/40 Recommended for training as Airman Pilot
20/12/40 RAF Cardington
Douglas, having been accepted for pilot training decided to get married, he and Rita were married in June 1941
25/08/41 Air Crew Reception Centre
27/09/41 No. 13 Initial Training Wing
13/11/41 Promoted to Leading Aircraftsman
01/02/42 No. 31 Elementary Flying Training School, De Winton, Alberta, Canada (Arrived 14/02/42)
23/02/42 Commenced Flying Training at De Winton Alberta in Tiger Moth
02/03/42 First Solo Flight after 12hrs training
11/04/42 No. 35 Service Flying Training School,North Battlesford, Saskatchewan, Canada (Oxfords)
29/04/44 No. 7 Personnel Reception Centre, Harrogate
04/05/44 Promoted to Flying Officer
09/10/44 No. 11 Group RAF North Weald
31/10/44 No. 21 Pilots Advanced Flying Unit
RAF Wheaton Aston (Oxfords, Ansons)
23/01/45 No. 14 Operational Training Unit
RAF Market Harborough (Hampdens, Wellingtons, Ansons)
30/03/45 No. 1660 Heavy Conversion Unit RAF Swinderby (Stirlings, Lancasters)
13/05/45 No. 619 Squadron RAF Strubby (Lancasters)
11/06/45 No. 50 Squadron Air Crew RAF Sturgate (Lancasters)
E Lewis, Fishguard, Pemb.
Henry Hall J.B.O., London
Nobby Clark, London
Gerry Sealy Bell, Kings Langley, Herts.
Douglas McConchie, Paremata, New Zealand
One final item to come to light from Jim Blan was a song about 50 squadron which was in his Fathers paperwork. Part of the song refers to his C.O. Wing Commander Jimmy Flint who was the last wartime C.O. of the squadron.
FIFTY SQUADRON SONG
We are Phif Tee Squadron,
We're the boys who know the score,
If anyone denies it,
We will lay them on the floor,
At bombing, beer and billiards,
And all theLincoln”Hops,”
We've got the gen, we're the leading men,
We certainly are the tops.
While the bombs go “Bang”,
And the flak goes “Clang”,
And the searchlights blaze away,
We weave all over the starlit sky,
And wish we'd gone by day,
Oh, Flinty, Flinty save us,
For we cannot abide the noise,
A credit to Butch Harris,
Are the Phif Tee Squadron Boys.
Ta – Ra – Ra – Ra, etc ………………….