William Reginald Booker

Also known as: Reg.


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My husband died on the 14th of December 2009 aged 91. He served in the RAF in World War 2 and while remembering him, I would also like to remember the crew he was part of who were known as the Yorkshire Crew.

The Yorkshire Crew were members of 10 Squadron which was in 4 Group. They were based at Melbourne in the Vale of York and flew in Halifax bombers.

“During eight months of their extensive war service they were together as a crew and took part in 35 consecutive operational flights from Melbourne RAF station Yorkshire to Germany, Holland and France and back without one of them receiving a scratch or even catching a cold.”
(Taken from a newspaper article)

“They had many narrow escapes when the ‘plane was hit and engines damaged, but by good fortune they always managed to come through unscathed.” On one occasion an engine caught fire.

“All the men were high in praise of their ground crew for keeping the ‘plane in excellent trim.”

Apart from Joe Skolnyk who was a Canadian, they were all Yorkshiremen. This obviously helped them to form strong bonds with each other which continued after the war.

When World War 2 ended, 10 Squadron became Transport Command and moved to Brize Norton.

In later years, the surviving members of the crew and their wives met together for 10 Squadron Association Reunions at Brize Norton. The highlight for all of us was being flown in a VC10 to Melbourne and circling the old airfield. It was heart-warming to watch them reminiscing, and hear them talking so animatedly about the good times and the inevitable scary times.

Another very moving time was the unveiling of the Memorial to 10 Squadron in Melbourne, and watching and hearing a lone VC10 fly so low and so slowly, right over the Memorial at the exact moment that it was unveiled by Air Chief Marshal Sir Gus Walker. During the war, Sir Gus Walker was the crew’s Squadron Leader, and incidentally also a Yorkshireman!

Reg’s memories of his time in the RAF, and particularly with the Yorkshire Crew, remained with him all his life. He was always very mindful of all those who didn’t come back.

I feel very privileged to have known this crew, and I am so very grateful to them, and all the many others who served in the RAF, for helping to keep our country free.


The photos are of the Yorkshire crew during the war:

Jack Andrews – Air Bomber – DFC
Johnny Beech – Flight Engineer – DFM
Norman Bennett – Wireless Operator – DFM
Reg Booker – Rear Gunner – DFM
George Cartwright – Pilot – DFC
Joe Skolnyk – Navigator – DFC
Jimmy Witter – Mid Upper Gunner – DFM

And of a reunion in 1987 of surviving crew members:

(left to right) Reg Booker, Joe Skolnyk, George Cartwright, Jimmy Witter

Added by: Shirley Booker on 21st April 2010.

 

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Picture of William Reginald Booker
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Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund
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Registered Charity No. 1081009