Spit/Hurr 1943 - 1945 (4)

permitted; ARTY R’s, Photo R’s and TAC R’s into the Po Valley and Naval Base at Spezia and others. In November our second in command, Sqn Ldr Peter Bezancenet, was shot down. We heard he had escaped, but was shot in the leg by an American soldier as he was coming back through the front line. I visited him in hospital in Rome later on and

he seemed quite cheerful. I completed my tour of ops on 11th January 1945 doing an ARTY R south of Bologna.

On the lighter side I must tell you about the Squadron Mascot – Ferdinand the Bull! We bought him as a calf in the south of Italy for 2 shirts, and he came with us all the time. He was still there when I left the Squadron in January, and by this time he had become quite large! He had his own tent and truck and was well looked after. His favourite drink was Marsala. Occasionally he became quite legless and we had to manhandle him – he remained a famous mascot, especially in the RAF hotel in Florence; he became an honorary member of the nightclub there!

I would like to pay tribute to the ground staff – the fitters, the riggers, the armourers and all the others who had to carry out their duties in, sometimes, terrible conditions in the open air. Some had to put up with sandstorms in the desert. In Italy it was either very hot or very cold, wet and windy. In my time with them we never had an engine failure on take-off or, as far as I know, at any other time, which showed how well they carried out their duties. I owe my life to them!

Finally, I am sure the Squadron has maintained the spirit, the comradeship, and the professionalism that it had many years ago, and will be FOREVER VIGILANT.

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Spit / Hurr 1943 - 1945

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Spit / Hurr / Lys 1943 - 1945 (3)
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