Tuesday, 16 September 2008

RAF Volunteer Reserve group photograph (Update 2)

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

In April I posted an article with images of a large group photograph (shown above) of some 250 odd members of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, taken by W.W. Winter Ltd. in 1939 at Highfields, near Derby. Peter Kirk, Peter Felix and Nigel Aspdin provided details the location and date of the photograph, as well as information about one of the men in the photo, whih was discussed in a later update.

I recently received an email from Paul McLocklin of Derby with some interesting information about another airman in the photograph.

Image © & collection of Brett Payne
Image 5 - Upper central group of 47 men
Apart from the general historical significance and interest in the picture I have a slightly more personal interest relating to an individual who is featured on image 5 bottom row 3rd from the right. His name was James Frances Bassett and he and his family were friends of my father and grandparents.
His career in the RAF was fairly exceptional in that he completed two operational tours as an Observer/Navigator and was awarded both the DFM and DFC. Not being allowed to embark on another tour as an Observer he retrained as a Bomber pilot and flew heavy bombers in India. After the war he moved to Canada and then to America where he remained until his passing last year. He was a truly exceptional man. I hope this is of interest to you and offers a small insight in to one of the men featured on the photograph. Jim also had a copy of this photograph and poignantly remarked that virtually all of those personnel were lost during the war.
Many thanks to Paul for getting in touch and for the information he has provided.


  1. I love the stories within the stories that photos can tell. So sad that so many young men in the photo died. Thank you for sharing this additional information with us Brett.

    Thanks for visiting my blog too, and commenting on my Great Aunt's hat. :)

  2. Hi,

    Do you have a list of the people in the photo?

    I'm trying to trace my wifes Fathers service history he was an RAF volunteer but we don't know his regiment or area but do have a photo of him in his uniform but can't make out his insignia.


  3. Hi globby, Sorry, no I don't, but wish you all the best with your search. Regards, Brett


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