Alan Bateman – RAF training and flight logs

October 8, 2009

Alan had flown in the air cadets as a youth, and volunteered for the Royal Air Force in 1940, as World War Two had broken out. After six weeks basic training  at Uxbridge and Stratford-upon-Avon, he was posted to Aberystwyth for his theoretical training. Alan had a desire to be attached to the Fleet Air Arm, but was told that because of his good stable character, he was to be posted to Bomber Command, as it was felt he had the special qualities needed to safely lead a group of men. He first trained at Brough, near Hull, on Gypsy Moths, and practised flying in between the barrage balloons that were over the Humber estuary.

At Kidlington, Oxfordshire, Alan became an officer, flying Tiger moths and Air speed Oxfords, Whitley Bombers, and eventually Stirling Bombers in East Anglia, using the Wash for bombing practice. Alan was attached to 15 Squadron as a Flight Lieutenant , personal number 108992, and his last year of training is meticulously recorded in his 1941-42 diary, that I have in my possession, and is reproduced below.

note ; entries in the diary were written by hand and some words were difficult to decipher. However, I have transcribed the exact words and phrases that Alan wrote as accurately as possible.

Alan’s diary – Sunday 28th December 1941 – Wednesday 30th December 1942

Entries ; January 1942

Thursday 8th Jan 1942 : Posted from Stanton Harcourt to Abington (crew training) Sgts. Seabrook, Readhead and Howland posted to Kinlos.

Friday 9th January 1942 : 48 hours leave

Sunday 11th January 1942 ; Saw Jean and Betty Swift at Ealing

Tuesday 20th January 1942 : 48 hours leave – still awaiting crew in crew training section

Thursday 22nd January 1942 : Leave extended to Monday

Friday 23rd January 1942 : Lacock

Saturday 24th January 1942 : Returned – dance at Waterloo Hospital

Tuesday 27th January 1942 : Sgt Jones added to crew as absence. Still no WT/AG’s

Wednesday 28th January 1942 : Sgts W.O.R/A.G ?? Hearty? Burrel added to crew

Friday 30th January 1942 : Posted to E flight. 48 hours

Entries : February 1942

Monday 2nd February 1942 : Started E flight – no flying owing to snow

Thursday 5th February 1942 : First flight with ??? and ??? Capt. Soon recalled owing to snow

Friday 6th February 1942 : No flying

Saturday 7th February 1942 : Started X country – recalled after 45 minutes owing to icing and snow. Notice given of intention to sit ??? accounts exam on 20/3/42

Tuesday 10th February 1942 : Climbed to 35,000 ft in decompression chamber for inspection by Duke of Kent

Thursday 12th February 1942 : Day dual X country Frome – Okehampton – Newbury – Northampton – Peterborough – Base

Friday 13th February 1942 : Night X country with screen Capt and crew. Nottingham – Leeming – Boston – Salisbury – Base

Saturday 14th February 1942 : Home for few hours

Sunday 15th February 1942 : No flying, weather and kites U/S

Monday 16th February 1942 : No flying – kites U/S

Friday 20th February 1942 : Law society exam today

Entries : March 1942

Saturday 7th March 1942 : Posted to Waterbeach

Sunday 8th March 1942 : 8.00 met w/spa? Who had missed breakfast but were already proceeding to Pay C1? Sec. No work today

Monday 9th March 1942 : Lecture on fuel system

Tuesday 10th March 1942 : Lecture on brake systems and lecture on iol etc. Farewell ??? to 99 Squadron (who have already gone)

Friday 13th March 1942 : Flew as passenger in Stirling. Abandoned at 5pm with puncture

Saturday 14th March 1942 : went to dance at “Dorothys” in Cambridge (Norwegian) with Jock Hulse

Sunday 15th March 1942 : Anniversary of joining up. Took conversion unit on Church Parade

Friday 20th March 1942 : Law society exam today

Entries : April 1942

Monday 6th April 1942 : Officially posted to 15 Squad today

Friday 10th April 1942 : self and crew (Shiels, Jones, Spunchley? Bussell, Hearthy, Rose) flown to Wyton. Introduced to w/c Macdonald and Squad/ldr Wilson

Saturday 11th April 1942 : Spent entire day getting stores together – innumerable forms. Down for trip tonight – recalled. Sgt Steele and crew arrived today

Memo : S/Ldr Wilson killed ???ing aerodrome   **(see notes below)

Mon 13th April 1942 : Did trip to Essen F/Lt Barr cleverly avoided s/lts etc. Bomb dropped on ETA and some map reading

Tuesday 14th April 1942 : No op. today. Front gunner lost flying with another crew

Wednesday 15th April 1942 : Operation on Dortmund. Held for 15 mins in S/lts for 15 mins. Many hits recd – port outer pitch control knocked out, tank (carried on to 16th April) holed but self-sealed, tyre punctured and many other bits. No op today (16th April)

Friday 17th April 1942 : No op. Ron fell off horse and will be U/S for some 7 days. * (see notes below)

Saturday 18th April 1942 : op scrubbed. Tea at St Ives with Ron, Bass, Alan Young and Dennis

Sunday 19th April 1942 : Ops scrubbed – squad binge at ???


Entries stop on the 19th April 1942. Alan was shot down over South Denmark on the night of the 26th April 1942.

* This is a reference to Alan’s colleague who broke his arm in a horse riding accident and was unable to fly. Alan took his place as Bomber pilot on the night he was shot down.

** A note about this incident can be found on the website  RAF Wyton Losses in 1942;


Alan flew Short Stirling bombers for 15 Squadron

Short Stirling

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