Monday, 26 August 2013

18. Les Hofert

In October 2012 Simon Sommerville posted information about Sgt Les Hofert who was with the squadron from January to June 1945 (http://75nzsquadron.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/contact-with-somebody-new/). He had been contacted by Paul Reay, Les's grandson, and was struck by the coincidence that both his father and Paul's grandfather had flown in RF127 AA-W on numerous occasions. This was the aircraft in which my dad and his crew had been photographed on the Bad Oldesloe operation of the 24th April, 1945 (see post AA-W 'Willie' RF127)  but the coincidences don't end there. Simon also published a zoom picture of Les taken from the March 1945 squadron photograph that my dad somehow missed, probably because it was taken in the week when the crew were at RAF Feltwell.

Les Hofert is 3rd from the right
In June 2012 I visited the museum on the Lancaster Business Park at Witchford to see the collection of memorabilia from the RAF stations at Mepal and Witchford and there was a picture on display that answered a question that had been troubling me since I started this blog. It was a picture that we had at home and Bob was there on the back row, but no-one I had spoken to had been able to work out why the picture had been taken - there were 37 airmen in the picture and Bob was the only one from his crew. The caption alongside the picture in the museum solved the riddle - it said "Pilots and Flight Engineers, May 1945". Bill Mallon wasn't on the picture because he had left the squadron by this time.

The picture displayed in the museum at Witchford. Bob is on the back row, 2nd from the right

There is a better copy in my very first post "The War Years" and when I took another look at it I saw someone I recognised, apart from my dad - take a closer look at the two characters on the right of the back row.
Bob Jay and Les Hofert
I realise that Paul spotted this coincidence way back in 2012 but it has taken me this long to get round to pulling together the pieces.

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