Stanley Oborn's RAF Diary

Stanley Oborn


Stanley Leonard James Oborn was born 1913 in the village of Beer, East Devon eldest son of William Leonard (Len) & Alice.

This history of Stanley's time during the war years has been compiled from many sources including his official service history, personal correspondence, a selection of many souvenirs and artifacts collected during his time in the RAF, and based on notes from personal diaries.

September 1st 1939

Reported to Higher Barracks, Exeter, passed medical and exam for Volunteer Reserve RAF.

December 12th 1939

Travelled to Taunton Barracks to rejoin unit.

Stanley Oborn in uniform

January 1st 1940

Medical examination at Exeter

Then to RAF Receiving Station, Padgate near Warrington, Lancashire as Flight Mechanic 977244 c/o Hut 336 H Flight Wing No. 4.

February 23rd 1940

Posted to RAF Technical Training School, Blackpool. Billeted with Mr. & Mrs. Harold Foster, 19, Hornby Road.

19 Hornby Road, photographed September 12th 2009, now The Windsor House Hotel

Stanley Oborn's grade card

Postcard from 13th Jan 1940

May 19th 1940

Bristol and Rolls Royce engine exam - scored 80%

June 10th 1940

Moved classes to Stanley Park Aerodrome, Blackpool for flight procedures and parachute drill. Worked on old fighter aircraft - Hawker Fury - Gloster Gauntlet.

July 14th 1940

Returned to School for lessons and final exams. Promoted to Leading Aircraftman.

Course notebook front cover

Class Photograph with Stanley Oborn in middle row 3rd from right

Course notebooks inside

Course Notebooks sample pages

July 25th 1940

Leave from Blackpool, before being posted to 254 squadron Coastal Command. This squadron was equipped with the Blenheim Mk 2 fighter/bomber.

August 10th 1940

Exeter St Davids Station - Kings Cross Station. Travelled from there to Aberdeen by The Flying Scotsman 'Sir Nigel Gresley'.

August 11th 1940

Exeter St Davids Station - Kings Cross Station. Travelled from there to Aberdeen by The Flying Scotsman 'Sir Nigel Gresley'. Reported to Squadron for duties at Dyce Airport. Then on, learning refueling and maintenance procedures. Billeted with Mrs. Hearn, 92 Bankhead Avenue, Buckburn, Aberdeenshire from time to time

Form 365 Absence Authorised July 1940

Stanley Oborn's Identity Tags

RAF Flying Clothing Card - issued with boots flying knee, respirators, Masks Oxygen Type D, Brushes cleaning, parachutes (observer)

December 7th 1940

Attached to crew of QY/K. Went on early morning test flight, poor visibility, crashed on landing due to a Polish Spitfire Pilot taking off on the wrong runway. All taken to Royal Navy Hospital, Kingseat.

January 10th 1941

Discharged from Kingseat Hospital

January 14th 1941

Sick Leave. Departed Aberdeen 6.40pm arrived Kings Cross 10.30am. Depart Waterloo 12.50, arrive Seaton 6pm.

January 18th 1941

Return to Dyce. Squadron to move to RAF Sumburgh Shetland Islands but Dyce snowed in. Spare Blenheims at Sumburgh so we had to go up by boat, the S. S. Ben-My-Chree, high seas in the Pentland Firth, most of us sick.

Christmas 1940 greeting card from Royal Navy Hospital, Kingseat

Postcard of Sumburgh Aerodrome by J. D. Ratter, Lerwick

February 1941

The Squadron involved in raids over Narvik, Norway. Lost a number of our aircraft. Kept busy repairing the damage to the aircraft that returned. Aberdeen and Dyce Airport snowed in again. Ground Crews sent on leave. Returned to Aberdeen on the Ben-My-Chree, held up off Aberdeen Harbour waiting for the mines to be cleared.

March 1941

On leave. On return from leave left Kings Cross on the Aberdeenian. Snowed in at Durham. Marooned in train carriage for nearly 24 hours with 3 sailors, 3 soldiers and one lady.

Mid March 1941

Returned to Sumburgh checking over replacement Blenheims flown in from the factory at Manchester. Went up in QY/K for test flight over Fair Isle and Sutton Voe (oil field depot) now on routine operations.

Leave Card 8/2/1941 - 10/2/1941

Program for Boxing Competition at RAF Sumburgh dated March 29th 1941

April 1941

Still in Shetlands. Short of crew. Mechanics went on flight tests etc.

April end 1941

Went on first low level flight test for one hour. Just above waves. Scared stiff and froze stiff.

Message slips used in flight

254 Squadron Aircraft and crew list May 1941

(Transcribed from a faint typed list difficult to read in places)
Aircraft Letter. QY Crew
T P/O. Sise
P/O. Poynter
Sgt. Wright
Sgt. Rosier
A P/O. Rose
P/O. Holder
Sgt. Thomas
A.C. Hoppell
A.C. Preedy
G Sgt. Stringer
Sgt. Dixon
Sgt. Cox
L.A.C Edwards
L.A.C. Ranger
D F/L.t. Randall
Sgt. Foster
Sgt. Tyson
Sgt. Smith
A.C. Whitmore
F Sgt. Haco
Sgt. Ramsey
Sgt. Brown
A.C. Cochrane
A.C. Brooke
G Sgt. Holton
Sgt. Harker
Sgt. Scrogge
A.C. Lugsden
A.C. Elms
H Sgt. Moorhouse
Sgt. Narracott
Sgt. Lewis
A.C. Johnson
A.C. Connel
J Sgt. Wright
Sgt. Wheat
Sgt. Blank
A.C. ??itton
L.A.C. Carr
K P/O. Warner
Sgt. Shaw
Sgt. O'Donnell
A.C. Myerscough
L.A.C. Oborn
L P/O. Ward
Sgt. Taylor
Sgt. Thomson
A.C. Magill
A.C. Yorke
W S/Ldr. Hoskins
Sgt. Draycott
Sgt. Po?k?
F/O. Darker
Cpl. Mooson
B Sgt. Aspinall
Sgt. Snashall
Sgt. Carnall
Aircarft will be dispatched on authority of C.C. Sumburgh as circumstances permit.

May 28th 1941

Left Sumburgh for Aldergrove in QY/K. Returned after take off with engine trouble. Delayed one and a half hours. Then flew at low level down The Caledonian Canal to Prestwick. Then to Northern Ireland RAF Aldergrove.

June 1941

At Aldergrove. 12th was Orange Day in Belfast, all confined to camp in case of Riots.

June 23rd 1941

QY/K overshot the runway. Ground crew digging out of bank most of night. In charge was Sgt. Bosence of Lyme Regis - A Shoe Shop.

The Rooster South Shetland Station Magazine Vol.1 No. 1 May 1941

Leave pass form 295 dated 4.6.41 covering June to October 1941

Engine Plate from Blenheim Mercury XV showing operational limitations, and Bristol Engine number S4178 certified has passed endurance and final tests 30 Jul 1940

July 18th 1941

254 Squadron QY/K crashed through Maintenance Hanger and N.A.A.F.I. Many killed including three N.A.A.F.I. girls. Entire Squadron on Role Call to see who was missing.

July 27th 1941

On leave - Larne to Stranraer by boat - then train Stranraer to Carlisle - Lancaster - Crewe - Hereford - Exeter St Davids - then bus to Sidmouth. My parents met bus in. Not recognise me due to having a mustache. (on a Shetland tour of duty, all of us got a skin disease, were allowed to grow a beard). On return to Dyce, they were shaved off, but a lot of us kept a mustache for a lark. Gerald (brother) also on leave.

Family at Bluff Cottage August 10th 1941 left to right William Leonard, Stanley, Gerald and Alice.

Family photo on leave August 1941 Devon
Left to right: Gerald Oborn, William (Bill) Wilkins mechanic at grandfather's Oborn's Garage , Stanley Oborn, William (Len) Oborn.

August 11th to 12th 1941

Return to Aldergrove.

September 6th/11th 1941

254 Squadron stood down for rest period. We did bus trips to Bangor - Carnalea - Broadly etc.

September 12th 1941

QY/K has New Zealand Air Crew

September 28th 1941

254 Squadron moved to RAF Carew Cheriton near Tenby, S. Wales for combined operations with 316 Blenheim Squadron. Flew by the Isle of Man, PO (Pilot Officer) Roche our Pilot, a motorcycle racer in New Zealand, flew low over TT Course.

Blenheim QY K B flight crews - Myerscough airframe - Stanley (2nd right) engines - Brooks arms

Navigation Log for Blenheim QY K for September 28th 1941

Navigator's Log for Blenheim QY K for September 29th 1941

October 1941

Returned to Aldergrove. QY K. Returned to Manchester works for reconditioning. Sundays Church Parade with crews, to Antrim Church.

December 8th 1941

Leave Aldergove for Dyce. Weather closed in. To C.O. crashed into mountain in QY C. We flew low down the main street of Stirling. Used Castle to get bearings. Three attempts to land at Dyce, PO Roche not been there before.

December 15th 1941

First Vaagso, Norway Raid completed (Island south of Lofoten Islands). Ground Crews flew back to Shetlands with spare parts etc.

December 27th 1941

Second Vaagso Raid. 'K' shot down, PO Roche - PO Halsall - Sgt Silk killed.

January 1942

Snowed in at Dyce.

February 1942

To Carew Cheriton again, Wales. Squadron short of aircraft. Mechanics flew as observers, around inland waters and Irish Sea. U Boat patrols 6 in a day extra pay each day we flew.

March 1942

QY K shot down on the St. Nazaire Raid, no replacement available. Used QY D

Emblem presented to 254 Squadron by the King of Norway at RAF Aldergrove September 1941

Leave pass form 295 dated 2.11.41 covering November/December 1941

Blenheim QY/D with unknown crew member but may be one on list for QY/D

April 5th/12th 1942

To De Havilland Factory on Beaufighter Course with which our Blenheims are to be replaced. Lodged at Staples Corner, Cricklewood, London.

April 20th 1942

Replacement QY/K arrived.

April 21st 1942

On first Test Flight brakes failed on landing, crashed into rubbish dump at end of runway. Rode down on fire tender, to help get crew out. All of us soaked with spraying 100 octane petrol. But did not catch fire.

May 1942

Throughout May all of us suffered from eye trouble and recent vaccination poisoned by the 100 octane.

May End 1942

Had operation on poisoned arm, also needed new glasses. Some of us affected by the 100 octane fuel, were sent to RAF Angle for recovery. Then sick leave.

June 1942

Failed second medical - now unfit for operational duties. Transferred from 254 Squadron to Workshop Duties.

Unknown group at Beaulieu

Form 260 Royal Air Force Route Carew Cheriton to Cricklewood dated 4th April 1942.

August 19th 1942

Posted to Workshops as Fitter, at RAF Beaulieu. Runway not yet completed, plane returned.

August 20th 1942

Left Tenby by train 7am. Then Bristol - Bath - Salisbury - West Moors - Wimborne - Broadstone - Poole (supper). Then next train to Bournemouth - Brockenhurst - 12 midnight.

Rest of 1942

Getting organised at RAF Beaulieu. Few duties as Airfield still being completed.

Unknown group at Beaulieu

January 1943

Snowed in. Went to Holmsley South Airfield, for snow plough parts.

May 10th to 15th 1943

On leave.

May 30th 1943

To East Dereham, Norfolk on engineering course.

June 11th 1943

Left East Dereham 7pm arrive Liverpool Street Station 2.30am. Slept in YMCA Hostel. Dep. Waterloo 11.30 am, Brockenhurst 2pm.
Also June 1943, Promoted to Corporal

June 26th 1943

Engineering course at Newcastle. Dep. Brockenhurst 5pm, Waterloo 8.30pm, Dep. Kings Cross 10.25pm, Arr. Newcastle 6.30. Billeted at RAF Usworth.

July 20th 1943

Test Drive Norton s/c Reg. No. 15572 Camp & Beaulieu area.

RAF form 557 Permanent Pass 1943 Brockenhurst and RAF Form 1250 Identity Card

Engineering course Exam Results

Stanley in uniform (Corporal)

RAF form 656 Application for Mechanical Transport for Duty Journey - Front

RAF form 656 Application for Mechanical Transport for Duty Journey - Back

Stanley on motorcycle reg. no RAF2759

Frances at RAF Beaulieu workshops

Czechoslovaks Fight To Rebuild, published by the Inspectorate-General of the Czechoslovak Air Force December 1942

August 24th 1943

New W.A.A.F. mechanic posted to workshop LACW 2009258 Frances Santer from Whitstable, Kent.

September 1943

Czech Squadron arrived with Liberator Aircraft.

September 26th 1943

Working late...

October 8th 1943

Collected Bedford Reg. no. 40724 from Branksome Carriage and Motor Works, Poole Road, Bournemouth West.

October 9th 1943

To ENSA Concert with Frances.

Late meal order

October 24th 1943

To Slough on Engineering course. Also tour of factories - Zwelly Pumps - O'Cedar Mops - and new Power Station.

November 20/26 1943

On leave.

December 25th 1943

To Station Christmas Party with Frances.

Collection note

Frances Santer

February 1944

Advised of preparations for 2nd front.

5th February 1944

Late breakfast order to NCO i/c Airmans Mess from NCO i/c MT Workshops

17th February 1944

Frances and I became engaged.

20th February 1944

Frances posted to RAF Langham, Norfolk.

25th February 1944

Posted to Chigwell Depot - then to White Waltham, but cancelled (Failed eyesight test ex Carew Cheriton injuries 1942).

Late Breakfast

RAF Personnel Railway ticket

31 Dreve des Tumuli

M.S.U. 5337 workshops and billets at 169 Chausee de la Hulpe

Residential pass for Brussels

March 1944

Eventually passed medical and sent to RAF White Waltham.
Then Mechanic on convoy runs Uckfield - Bagshot - Aldershot - Midhurst - Chichester etc. On delivery of convoys - always returned to White Waltham by train.

April/May 1944

Convoy runs allover the South of England to various parts. Service Record shows postings to Netheravon and Tangmere.

June 6th 1944

D Day Invasion of Europe.

June 17th 1944

Unit moved to camp out in woods at the back of Arundel Castle to wait embarkation.

August 1944

Attached to RAF new maintenance unit.

August 12th to 20th

Embarkation Leave. Frances also got leave from Langham. Spent first half of leave at Frances' home at Whitstable. Then second half at Beer.

September 1944

Embarkation delayed again. Still camped in Arundel Woods.

October 1944

Left Arundel for Tilbury Docks. Trucks and equipment loaded on landing ship tanks.
Unloaded at Ostende beach under cover of darkness. Then to Passchendaele (as father in 1915) - o/c misread route - entered village still occupied by German Troops, but able to reverse out, under cover of an artillery battle that was going on.
Then via Courtrai (Kortrijk) - Oudenaarde to outskirts of Brussels, then to Boitsfort. On arrival lived in trucks by waters edge at Port de Brussels.
Occupied the Chateau Foret de Soigne 'The Forest of Swine'
Now with B.L.A. (British Land Army), M.S.U. (Mobile Signals Unit) 5337 and set up HQ in the chateau at 31 Dreve des Tumuli, Chausee de la Hulpe, Boitsfort.

November 1944

Normal routine, free trams to Brussels + call at Waterloo Battle site Wellington - Napoleon.
Visits to Malcolm (later Montgomery) Club.

Malcom Club Advert

December 1944

Snowed in. Christmas, Germans caught the Americans napping, pushed in towards us from the Ardennes. We had to prepare to blow up trucks and equipment.

Malcom Club Postcard

Christmas Greetings card B.L.A. 1944

M.S.U. 5337 group photograph November 1944 Stanley back row 2nd from right beside a local.
Signature of others on rear rear: Bill Jackson, P (Paul) Batting, L? Sheppard, J. Wise & J. Bost?t

January 1st 1945

Montgomery rushed in Canadian Troops, and pushed the Germans back. We had to do patrols thereafter, around the forest, on the look out for infiltrators and Belgium agents. Caught one, shot six.

February 1945

No notes. Following Air Raid, appeared to have gone missing. After first aid in a Convent in the Ardennes road, ended up eventually in a hospital somewhere.

March 1945

Returned to unit. No notes other than a 'statement as requested' regarding a suspicious incident transcribed as follows:
From: 977244 CPL OBORN S. NCO. i/c M.S.U. Workshops
To: F/LT Barker 111 Wing HQ
Date 12-3-45
Ref: statement as requested

At approximately 22.30 hrs on the 12-3-45, I was notified by the Duty Fitter, 1104738. L.A.C. DABBS H. That he had found a civilian standing between the vehicles parked near the workshop buildings in the grounds of 169 Chause de la Hulpe. On interrogation, I found the man to be extremely agitated, and it was apparent that he had been drinking. I was not able to understand what his excuse was for being in the grounds of 169 Chause de la Hulpe, but he repeatedly offered me a number of Franc notes for which he wanted to buy a revolver in order to shoot himself. In view of the fact that he was not in a bad state of intoxication, and that when he found that we were beginning to understand him while he spoke in French, he immediately changed to Flemish. I became suspicious of his story, and with L.A.C. DABBS escorted him to the M.S.U. Guard Room for interrogation by the Orderly officer.

S. Oborn

Photo of Jean and greeting to Stan March 1945

April 1945

Routine. Germans now driven well away from area.
Visit to Brussels. Met Jean De Casembroot motorcycle trials rider. A good friendship developed with both exchanging correspondence, much on motorcycle sports theme, until at least the year 2000. Jean made several visits to England when they met up.

May 25th 1945

To Brussels for the day, to get present for Frances, also to buy Wedding Ring from Jewelers Shop, off Grande Place. Joseph Dalmoite 'La Ancienne Maison' 28 Rue Au Beurre'.

June 1945

Joined Operation 'Terminal' attached to the British Army of the Rhine (B.A.O.R.). The move of 5337 M.S.U. from Brussels to Berlin. Object was to take over and run Gatow Airport, Berlin.

June 25th 1945

07.35 depart Boitsfort - Brussels - Louvain - Diest - Hasselt - Maastrich crossed into Holland (noon).
Then on to follow Army Route Signs (240 up) Roermond - Venlo - Crossed German Frontier at Goch. Saw an Autobahn Motorway for the first time. Then on to Geldern - Wesel - crossed Rhine over a 'Bailey' Bridge - Munster - Telcte - Rheda - Reichweld Forest. At Buckeberg - Billeted in Farris village Germans very friendly. Later further north in the ruins of the big cities. Had hostile reception. Bricks etc. thrown at our windscreens.

28 Rue Au Beurre, Brussels taken 28th February 2004

5337 M.S.U.


Route plans from Brussels to Berlin, page 1

Route plans from Brussels to Berlin, page 2

War Map of the Western Front - route from Ostende to Berlin marked in red ink

Luftwaffe College

June 27th 1945

Leave Buckeburg. To Hanover - Celle - Belsen (Concentration Camp) - Bergen - To Hamburg Airport. Short stay.
Then to Third Stage (Slept in Churches - barns etc. on route, under guard) - Melbeck - Bienbuttez - Saltzwedz - Dolle - Magdeburg.

Crossed over River Elbe - Russian Sector - now with Russian Army - Ziesar - Brandenburg - Potsdam - Spandow - Berlin - Gatow Airport. Arriving July 1st at 1600 hrs. Total mileage for who journey approx 755 miles. Now stand down. Living in Luftwaffe Officers Training College, Gatow Airport. For some reason, the Germans left Gatow Aerodrome mostly undamaged although there was evidence of hand to hand fighting.

Our RAF unit occupied part of the Luftwaffe Training College at the end of Operation 'Terminal'. After cleaning up and unblocking the stairway to the underground area, we found a vast library of Invasion directions of many Northern Europe Countries.
There were packs of waterproof material containing a guide book, maps, magnifying glass etc. Each long corridor of shelving was clearly marked, and we collected kits of the areas to which we belonged.
We were informed later, that during the 1930s the photos and plans were gathered by German agents, who mostly passed as tourists, or by those living in that particular country, who were sympathetic to the Nazis.

Luftwaffe Crew at Gatow Airport

Captured German aircraft at Gatow Airport

Reich Chancery, Berlin

July 1945

Off duty visits to Berlin. Met up with Russian Soldiers, went with them in their truck, into Russian Zone, to see Hitler's Bunker, in the Chancery, where he comitted suicide (or was supposed to have).

July 26th 1945

Service Record shows move to 55124 M.S.U.

August 1945

Return to previous base at Buckeberg, via Brunswick and Hanover.

Qualified to receive 1939-45 Star, France & Germany Star, and Defence Medal

5337 M.S.U. Writing on rear 'The Survivors'
Left to right : back row Johnny - Ted - Bill - Pat
bottom row left to right Harry - Stan (Jun) - Stan (Sen.) - Jim.

Buckeberg HQ

August 21st 1945

Service Record shows move to 55124 M.S.U.
Marriage Leave. Depart Buckeberg by the midnight train. Minden - Munster - Goch - Tennep to Antwerp - to Belgium. Bringes (Brugge?). Billeted at The Continental Hotel, Blankenburg until 24th August.

August 24th 1945

By truck to Ostend, then by S. S. Ben - My - Chree (same ship I travelled to Shetlands on in 1941, when 254 Squadron grounded by snow). Arrive Dover 2200 hrs. Spent night in Dover Castle Army Camp.

August 25th 1945

Unit left Dover - arrive Northolt Airport at 1300 hrs. Collect leave documents etc. Return to London. Spent night at Toch H Club, Westminster.

August 26th 1945

Left Victoria Station for Whitstable and Wedding arrangements. August 28th Mother and father arrived from Beer.

August 29th 1945

Frances and I married at All Saints Church, Whitstable, Noon. No photographer available and no one present had a camera so no Wedding Photographs were taken. Leave for Beer with mother and father.

August 31st 1945

Call and see Mrs Annie Agland about renting No. 2 Belmont, Beer when demobilised.

September 8th 1945

Stanley and Frances depart Axminster station 8.06. Waterloo 12.30. Liverpool Street 1300. Frances depart for RAF Langham, now L.A.C.W. Oborn. Stanley to Transit Camp, Northolt.

September 9th 1945

To Transit Unit, Endsleigh Hotel, Regents Park.

Stanley and Frances at Bluff Cottage, Beer after their Wedding

RAF Form 1629 Identification Card

September 10th 1945

To Tilbury Docks, boarded S.S. Invicta 1800hrs. Stood off Southend to 0530

September 11th 1945

Arrive Ostende 1300, Blankenberg 1500. Stayed two nights at Staging Post Hotel de la Puise.

September 13th 1945

To Brugge for train to Antwerp - dinner at Jennays. Arrive Buckeberg HQ 0245.

Rest of September 1945

Various journeys i/c Munden. Bad Enzhaison (Bad Oeyhausen? ) in Jeep and Hanover to collect a Mercedes, for the Officers use. Locals generally hostile. Used acid from old car batteries to throw Servicemen's faces after dark.

Personnel Occurrence Form recording details of marriage and change of address of next of kin, included other RAF personnel.

Family Allowance and Pay Allotment

October 11th 1945

Posted to Number 92 Forward Staging Post, out in the country near Bad Eilsen. Locals friendly here, in this remote spot. Billeted with German farmer and his family. We all exchanged our Corned Beef for the farmer's eggs.

October 23rd 1945

Issued with pre-demob paperwork

October 25/26th 1945

Journeys to Hanover for spare parts and to the Continental Tyre Company Factory (staff hostile).

October 30th 1945

Getting cleared for release. Usual route to Dover by Staging Posts.

November 2nd 1945

Last day of service in the RAF 2nd November 1945

November 1945

RAF Cardington for demob. clothes.

December 1945

Stanley and Frances lived at Bluff Cottage until move to No. 2 Belmont, Beer.

RAF Form 2520A Service and Release Book

Certificate of Service and Release

London Gazette notification

January 1st 1946

Stanley mentioned in dispatches as a result of fight on the 'Bridge de Soignes' Belgium Christmas 1944. Published in The London Gazzette.

January - September 1946

Working in Garage.

October 22nd 1946 into 1947

Stanley admitted to RAF Hospital Whitchurch, Cardiff, following a mental breakdown as a result of wartime experiences.

1947 -1977

Run the family business Townsend Garage until retirement in 1977 when it was sold. Subsequently moved to East Dorset.

Letters of congratulations on announcement of mention in dispatches

Medals awarded to Stanley Oborn

Medals awarded to Frances Oborn

50 Years After D-Day....

November 2nd 1994

As part of its commemoration of the 50th Anniversary year of D-Day, the Forestry Commission installed an information board on each of the Second World War airfields on the Crown Lands of the New Forrest, namely Beaulieu, Holmsley and Stoney Cross. Each board gives details of the operational part the airfield played and the squadrons who served there. Stanley and Frances attended the unveiling ceremony of the Beaulieu Airfield sign.

Information Board in New Forest

Group photo 2nd November 1944. Photo taken by Stanley, Frances to right of sign