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F/Lt Basil Oliver PETRIDES D.F.M.

Serial Number: 115353
RAF Trade:
Wireless Operator
Date of Enlistment: Not Known

Rank Achieved: Flight Lieutenant
Operational Sorties:  ? Ops with 50 Squadron presumably a first tour of 30 ops,

? Ops with 101 Squadron,

5 ops with 156 Squadron

Personal Details: Son of Basil Cecil and Olive Petrides, husband of Anne Merriel Petrides, of East Dean, Sussex. Basil died aged 22, married, a DFM receipient, and probably around 40 + operational missions.

Service History: Basil appears to have started his operational  service with 50 Squadron which at the time were flying Hampden bombers. Basil was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal on 10/02/1942 presumably after having completed his first tour of ops of 30 missions. At this point in time his rank was Sergeant.

I assume that Basil would then have been posted to an Operation Training Unit (O.T.U.) for some time before being posted back to operational duties.

Basil first appears in the records of 101 Squadron, with the rank of Flight Lieutenant in August 1943. His missions with 101 Squadron have been confirmed as:

10/8/43  Nuremburg
14/8/43  Milan
3/9/43    Berlin
7/10/43  Stuttgart
3/11/43  Dusseldorf
10/11/43 Modane

Basil flew the above missions with a variety of crews and due to his rank and the gaps between missions I wonder if he may have been the Squadron's Wireless Operator Leader.

It seems that Basil joined up with F/Lt Mackay to make up a crew for transfer to 156 Squadron. As with most Pathfinder postings this would have been on a volunteer basis.

Basil flew only 5 ops with 156 Squadron, including three to Berlin. January 1944 saw the heaviest losses in 156 Sqn. history. On a mission to Berlin on 27/1/1944 their aircraft was attacked and seriously damaged by a fighter attack and both Air Gunners were wounded.

Basil's last mission was to Stuttgart on 20/3/1944 when his aircraft was hit by flak at 20,000 ft and exploded. Only the captain, who was thrown clear, survived.

Photographs provided by his nephew Jeremy Prescott and  Simon Foster. Grave photo from my private collection.

Copyright and ownership of the photos and other material is acknowledged on their behalf.