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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. B M Bush

 

Basil Martin Bush joined the RAFVR in Cambridge in July 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot. He carried out some flying training at 22 E&RFTS there before being called to full-time service on 1st September 1939.


He completed his training at 8 FTS Montrose and after converting to Hurricanes at 7 OTU joined 504 Squadron at Castletown in early July 1940.

 

 


On 7th September Bush made a forced-landing at Eastchurch after a cannon shell went through his cockpit hood and petrol tank during a combat over the Thames Estuary with Me109's.


On 12th September he destroyed a Me110, on the 17th a Me109 and on the 30th he damaged a He111. On this day Bush was shot down in an action over the South-West coast and crash-landed near Yeovil. Both incidents were in Hurricane P3021.


Commissioned in July 1941, Bush went with 'A' Flight of 504 when it was formed into 81 Squadron and posted to Leconfield. The personnel were kitted out for an unknown overseas destination. They flew to Abbotsinch in Harrows and embarked for Russia on the aircraft carrier HMS Argus, which carried crated Hurricanes. On 1st September 1941 the squadron flew off in flights of six for Vaenga airfield, near Murmansk.


The squadron began operations, including bomber escorts, and carried on until mid-November when 81's pilots started converting Russian pilots to Hurricanes.


They left Russia on 29th November, leaving all equipment behind, and returned in HMS Kenya, landing at Rosyth on 7th December. After returning to the UK Bush spent a period instructing Army glider pilots. He then converted to Mosquitos and joined 139 Squadron at Upwood.


He was later with a Spitfire Flight, training Lancaster crews to cope with attacking fighters.


Bush was awarded the DFC (gazetted 23rd March 1945) serving with 128 Squadron in 8 (Pathfinder) Group, Bomber Command, in Mosquitos.


Bush was released from the RAF in late 1945 as a Flight Lieutenant.

He died in 2002.


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