R.A.F. Pilot's Log Book

Contributed by Bramley

R.A.F. Pilot's Log Book

My uncle, Flying Officer Henry THWAITE, was stationed at Thornaby in 220 Sqn. R.A.F. Coastal Command. When piloting a Hudson on an 8 hour Recce Flight on 16 Feb. 1940, this log book shows his sighting of the German auxiliary tanker ALTMARK which had acted as prisoner ship for the survivors of British merchant ships sunk by the German pocket battleship GRAF SPEE. As a direct result of his radioing its exact location, the Royal Navy managed to intercept the ALTMARK & release 299 British prisoners of war.

(Henry was later asked to speak on a BBC Home Service broadcast about this but he was far too shy & as I understand he got his best friend & fellow R.A.F. officer Mike Fleetwood to speak on his behalf. Mike was the father of Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac.)

Two months later on 15 April 1940 he never returned from his flight & was posted 'Missing. Presumed Dead.' He was just 23. His name is inscribed just above his co. pilot F/O Tulloch on that last flight on the R.A.F. Memorial in Runnymede.

It makes me think with grief of Henry's undone years & those of his fellow 20,000 R.A.F. servicemen with no known grave.

Comments are closed for this object

Most of the content on A History of the World is created by the contributors, who are the museums and members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC or the British Museum. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site’s House Rules please Flag This Object.

About this object

Click a button to explore other objects in the timeline


Thornaby on Tees




View more objects from people in London.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.