I have already stated in a different chapter of my website that as a family we were very lucky that all our men came home from WW2, we didn't have a man at home, they were all serving in the army or the air force.
There was one exception and this was my mother's cousin, Frank, he served in Bomber Command and flew Lancaster bombers, every so often she would mention him, saying what a really nice lad he was and very good looking, she had been very close to him when they were young.
A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a lady called Fiona who lives in Scotland, she is seeking members of the Greenwood family, we started exchanging emails on a regular basis, I told Fiona about Frank and how I wished I could find him. I had his first name, I knew his age when he was shot down over France and his mother's maiden name. I was delighted when she sent me the links to Frank and I cannot thank her enough.
By some coincidence, I was talking to my brother on Remembrance day and I told him about Frank (this was before Fiona had been in contact), John asked if there was any way in which I could find Frank. I knew that Frank's mother had been to France to see his grave and this was all the information which I had, it seemed as if fate had taken a hand when Fiona contacted me, below are the details of Frank and I am so pleased that with the help of Fiona, I have brought him back into the family.
FRANK HARTLEY WAS AWARDED THE 1939-45 STAR FOR OPERATIONAL SERVICE IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR BETWEEN 3RD SEPTEMBER 1939, AND 2ND SEPTEMBER 1945.
FRANK HARTLEY WOULD HAVE BEEN AWARDED THIS STAR IF THEIR SERVICE PERIOD WAS TERMINATED BY THEIR DEATH OR DISABILITY DUE TO SERVICE. ALSO THE AWARD OF A GALLANTRY MEDAL OR MENTION IN DESPATCHES ALSO PRODUCED THE AWARD OF THIS MEDAL, REGARDLESS OF THEIR SERVICE DURATION.
FIGHTER AIRCRAFT CREW WHO TOOK PART IN THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN (10 JULY TO 31 OCTOBER 1940) WERE AWARDED THE "BATTLE OF BRITAIN" BAR TO THIS MEDAL. IN UNDRESS UNIFORM, A SILVER-GILT ROSETTE WAS WOR ON THE MEDAL RIBBON TO DENOTE THE AWARD OF THIS CLASP.
By John Gillespie Magee (1922-1941)
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of; wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sun-lit silence. Hovering there
I've chased the shouting wind along and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air;
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
Where never lark nor even eagle flew;
And while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
Although John Gillespie Magee was not a Bomber pilot, we felt that his words were true to all those in the air-force; and that is the reason that we have included his poem here.
|DATE OF DEATH:||05/07/1944|
|INFORMATION:||SON OF J. N. HARTLEY AND EVA HARTLEY, OF HALIFAX, YORKSHIRE; HUSBAND OF V. HARTLEY.|
|SERVICE:||ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE|
|REGIMENT:||ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE|
ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE DURING WORLD WAR 2
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVEFORMED: 1936
THE RAFVR WAS FORMED IN JULY 1936 TO PROVIDE INDIVIDUALS TO SUPPLEMENT THE AUXILIARY AIR FORCE (AAF) WHICH HAD BEEN FORMED IN 1925 BY THE LOCAL TERRITORIAL ASSOCIATIONS. THE AAF WAS ORGANISED ON A SQUADRON BASIS, WITH LOCAL RECRUITMENT SIMILAR TO THE TERRITORIAL ARMY REGIMENTS. INITIALLY THE RAFVR WAS COMPOSED OF CIVILIANS RECRUITED FROM THE NEIGHBOURHOODS OF RESERVE FLYING SCHOOLS, WHICH WERE RUN BY CIVILIAN CONTRACTORS WHO LARGELY EMPLOYED AS INSTRUCTORS MEMBERS OF THE RESERVE OF AIR FORCE OFFICERS (RAFO), WHO HAD PREVIOUSLY COMPLETED A FOUR YEAR SHORT SERVICE COMMISSION AS PILOTS IN THE RAF. NAVIGATION INSTRUCTORS WERE MAINLY FORMER MASTER MARINERS WITHOUT ANY AIR EXPERIENCE. RECRUITS WERE CONFINED TO MEN OF BETWEEN 18 AND 25 YEARS OF AGE WHO HAD BEEN ACCEPTED FOR PART TIME TRAINING AS PILOTS, OBSERVERS AND WIRELESS OPERATORS. THE OBJECT WAS TO PROVIDE A RESERVE OF AIRCREW FOR USE IN THE EVENT OF WAR. BY SEPTEMBER 1939, THE RAFVR COMPRISED 6,646 PILOTS, 1,625 OBSERVERS AND 1,946 WIRELESS OPERATORS
WHEN WAR BROKE OUT IN 1939 THE AIR MINISTRY EMPLOYED THE RAFVR AS THE PRINCIPAL MEANS FOR AIRCREW ENTRY TO SERVE WITH THE RAF. A CIVILIAN VOLUNTEER ON BEING ACCEPTED FOR AIRCREW TRAINING TOOK AN OATH OF ALLEGIANCE ('ATTESTATION') AND WAS THEN INDUCTED IN TO THE RAFVR. NORMALLY HE RETURNED TO HIS CIVILIAN JOB FOR SEVERAL MONTHS UNTIL HE WAS CALLED UP FOR AIRCREW TRAINING. DURING THIS WAITING PERIOD HE COULD WEAR A SILVER RAFVR LAPEL BADGE TO INDICATE HIS STATUS.
BY THE END OF 1941 MORE THAN HALF OF BOMBER COMMAND AIRCREW WERE MEMBERS OF THE RAFVR. MOST OF THE PRE-WAR PILOT AND OBSERVER NCO AIRCREW HAD BEEN COMMISSIONED AND THE SURVIVING REGULAR OFFICERS AND MEMBERS OF THE RAFO FILLED THE POSTS OF FLIGHT AND SQUADRON COMMANDERS. EVENTUALLY OF THE "RAF" AIRCREW IN THE COMMAND PROBABLY MORE THAN 95% WERE SERVING MEMBERS OF THE RAFVR.
DURING 1943, THE DECISION WAS TAKEN BY THE AIR MINISTRY TO RAISE AN ORDER FOR MEMBERS OF THE RAFVR TO REMOVE THE BRASS AND CLOTH 'VR'S WORN ON THE COLLARS AND SHOULDERS OF OFFICERS AND OTHER RANKS (RESPECTIVELY), AS THESE WERE VIEWED AS BEING DIVISIVE. NO SIMILAR ORDER WAS RAISED FOR MEMBERS OF THE AUXILIARY AIR FORCE, WHO RETAINED THEIR 'A'S ON UNIFORMS AT THAT TIME.