WANTED: FRED KNIFTON OF 617 SQUADRON
My Grandfather spent his whole life not talking about his career in the Royal Air Force and he spoke even less about his experiences as an aircrew member of Bomber Command in the Second World War. Anecdotes about the japes he and his friends got up to in their early days, or escapades while on training flights, were always great stories but I noticed that he would only very rarely talk about operational missions in any detail. This isn’t surprising given how important security was in the Royal Air Force at this time. Trying to get him to talk about D-Day was completely out of the question, even sixty years later.
I have been researching the history of the squadrons he served in, but I would really like to make contact with any of his friends who may still be alive, or any of their relatives.
My Grandfather, Fred Knifton (possibly nicknamed “Jack”), trained at RAF Lossiemouth (20 OTU) for operational training before serving with 103 Squadron at RAF Elsham Wolds. He then transferred to 617 “The Dambusters” Squadron where he was a wireless operator in Lancasters. He told me that he had been involved in operations against the Tirpitz, U-boats, U-boat pens and V1 and V2 missile sites in Northern France and Germany. His hobbies included flying, playing football for the base team, Lancasters, going to the pub, watching the Northern Lights and reading poetry (particularly about flying).
Were you, or was one of your relatives, either aircrew, groundcrew or a WAAF at RAF Elsham Wolds, RAF Scampton, RAF Coningsby, RAF Woodhall Spa or RAF Waddington?
If you think that you may remember this man, or have come across his picture in a private collection, please do get in touch with me using the following form. I will get back to you ASAP.
P.S. If you are an ex-Luftwaffe pilot who recognises this man (and perhaps argued with him), then don’t be shy. I would like to hear from you too.