The First Pathfinder VC

Although a bomber crew’s ‘tour’ was 30 operational sorties, many volunteered to fly additional mission; one such pilot was Ian Bazalgette, who was lost on his 54th trip

Ian Willoughby Bazalgette was born to English parents living in Calgary, Canada on October 19, 1918 but nine years later the family returned to Britain. At the age of 13 Bazalgette was diagnosed with tuberculosis but at the outbreak of war in 1939 he was deemed fit enough to enlist. He initially joined the Royal Artillery, serving in the Searchlight Section, but in 1941 he applied for a transfer to the RAF Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR). In September he was sent to RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire for basic training and soloed after just a week of instruction.

Upon completing his basic training on January 24, 1942 he was promoted to the rank of Pilot Officer and passed through 15 OTU at RAF Finningley, Yorkshire before being declared ready for operations and allocated to 115 Sqn at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk to fly Vickers Wellingtons on September 16.

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