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

26/04/40       Enlisted

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)

40 winks in Canada

29/04/42      First Solo Flight in an Oxford

01/10/42      Flight Instructor School Vulcan Alberta

27/11/42      Qualified as Flying Instructor –Oxfords

30/11/42      No. 36 Service Flying Training School Penhold, Alberta

Promoted to Flight Sergeant.

Plane crash Penhold Canada January 1943

04/09/43          Promoted to Training Flight Sergeant

12/09/43          Completed a total of 1,000 hours flying time

03/11/43          Commissioned as Pilot Officer

Crashed Plane January 1943
Oxford BG504 'flipped' on landing in soft snow on the runway which had not been rolled properly.
The cabin filled with snow and D.Blan had to find L. Ayres after sorting himself out.
He found his nose first, then before finding his mouth and clearing it, he nearly poked his eye out!!
Douglas on Canadian Railway engine

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)

50 Squadron Lancaster Sturgate

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

Lancaster crew 50 Squadron Sturgate

21/10/45          No. 100 Personnel Dispatch Centre 

04/11/45          Promoted Flight Lieutenant 

06/02/46          Last day of Service

01/07/59          Commission relinquished but rank retained.

50 Squadron Lancaster crew

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.







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 ………………….