Many thanks to John Edgington for forwarding this account and photographs detailing the service career of his father.
My dad and I didn’t talk very much about his experiences in the RAF however he did take me to various aircraft related events and that included a tour of St Athan and numerous air shows. From his death in 1998 to 2013 I did very little in the way of research although I often looked through his photo album and other things such as a log book, service record and related paperwork.
In 2014 the then Prime Minister David Cameron took on board the calls from the families of those who served in Bomber Command to commission a Bomber Command clasp and I applied for one of these on behalf of my father. My request was rejected on the basis that my father was part of the Mediterranean Allied Air Force Command and such he did not fly any active missions out of the UK which I understand was a requirement for this award.
This spurred me on a little and I began to do some research and a part of that prompted me to have a photograph of my father along with his fellow crew mates framed with his medals which are mentioned in the attached scan from the MOD. I have included a rather poor photo of the framed items but I can’t improve it because of the reflection however it is always a talking point in my home and I am very proud indeed to have it on display.
Following on from this I began to search for the aircraft in which my father did most of his operational flights. This was a B24 with the nomenclature of KL372 “C” for Charlie. I had numerous photos of parts of the aircraft mostly with members of the crew alongside it but nothing of the aircraft itself until the beginning of 2019 when I found a photo clearly showing KL372 on the ground probably in Foggia.
I spent many hours trying to get hold of a copy but without success however earlier in 2020 just as the world went completely crazy following the pandemic I had a little luck. I made contact with a Company who had this photo in their stock and they were prepared to let me have a copy without water marks and would frame it for me as well and so that hangs alongside the other items which were framed in 2015.
During the research I was intrigued by a note in my dad’s log book regarding an escort of 15th American Air force P51 Mustangs and Lightnings whilst his crew were on a mission to Monfallcone in Italy. (Copy included)
Intrigued because in his photo album there is a photo of two P51 Mustangs flying alongside the B24. This photo was taken from the cockpit probably by my dad. I did a lot of research into this photo and eventually both aircraft and pilots of the P51’s have been identified. (Photo included). The nearest P51 number 10 is flown by Robert “Bob” Williams and his aircraft is named Duchess Arlene. Williams went on to be involved with the making of the HBO movie, “THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN starring Laurence Fishburne and Cuba Gooding Jr.
The second aircraft number 7 is flown by Roscoe C. Brown Jr who went on to be involved in education and human rights in America, he was also responsible for being involved in the first shooting down of a German fighter jet in 1944.
Both of these American airmen were black and were a part of the famous Tuskegee Airmen group. My father probably didn’t know any of this and I have had a lot of interest from various groups including the Tuskegee Airmen Association in American.
My dad was involved in various other missions including supply drops to troops in Canomelj in what was then Yugoslavia, bombing marshalling yards in Bruck, Villach Austria plus many others to Northern Italy and so on.
One of the saddest photos which I have included is that of two of my dad’s friends in uniform enjoying a break in Tel Aviv. These airmen along with their crew failed to return from a night flight over the Mediterranean after taking off from Abu Suier. (Photo included). I have tried to find out if there are any living relatives but I have failed in that task.
I have included various scans of my dad’s log book pages but what is also clear is that prior to being allocated KL372 there were other B24’s as well as Wellington’s flown by Sgt Paver and his crew.
I have included a photo of my father in uniform with my mother when they got married. I believe that this was after the war but I can’t give you an exact date.
My father returned to the printing industry for most of his post war working life and spent time at the Western Mail in Cardiff, the Hereford Times in Hereford and latterly for a large part of his remaining time at the Daily Mirror and Daily Telegraph in Manchester. These latter two were a part of the Maxwell Empire and indeed from being called Thompson House initially it later became Maxwell House. It is now called the Print Works in Manchester and is one of the cities night life hubs
Douglas Frank Edgington
Service number 624793.
Born 18/05/1920 Ipswich Suffolk
Joined RAF October 1938 and posted to Brize Norton and RAF Henlow as a Flight Rigger. AC2.
October 1939 posted to Technical Training at RAF St. Athan. AC1
Middle of 1939 posted to No. 7 Flying Training School at Peterborough servicing Hawker Harts and Fairey Battles. Flight mechanic/ Airframe
September 1940 posted to Canada with 7 FTS (31 SFTS) under the Commonwealth Air Training Scheme. LAC
Its a little blurry around this time but it looks as though my dad was still working on aircraft until the end of 1942 when he was transferred to the Aircrew Receiving Centre at Abbey Lodge London.
He was transferred to Flight Engineer Training (Initial Training Wing) Bridlington in February 1943 and then back to St Athan where he finished his Flight Engineer Training.
Promoted to Flight Sergeant
January 1944 posted to the Middle East Aqir under the Middle East Command flying in Wellington Bombers as Flight Engineer/Co pilot. He was also qualified as a Flight Engineer on Halifax Mk 111 aircraft but there is no record of him flying operationally on one of these planes.
December 1944 posted to Foggia in Italy flying B24 J Liberator Heavy Bombers
Ron Paver Pilot
Jack Dyson Mid upper gunner
Ken Marsh Navigator
Sid Lees Rear gunner
Harry Leech Wireless operator
George Jolleys Bomb aimer
Douglas Edgington Flight Engineer/co pilot
June 1946 discharged
June 1946 re-enlisted. Sergeant Flight mechanic airframe
January 1949 Discharged
1939 – 1945 Star
War Medal 1939 – 1945
Did not qualify for the Bomber Command clasp