The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. E W Cranwell
Edward William Cranwell was born on 25th September 1915. His father worked in the chemical industry and served in the Royal Marine Light Infantry in the First World War.
In the 1939 register EW Cranwell is shown as a Transport Clerk, living in Romford, Essex. He joined the RAFVR in August 1938 and did his weekend flying at 21 E&RFTS Stapleford Abbots.
He was called up in late 1939, went to 3 ITW Hastings and then to 11 EFTS Perth. On 15th June 1940 Cranwell went to 15 FTS Brize Norton on No. 10 Course, which moved in August to Chipping Norton and ended on 23rd September.
On the 24th he was posted to 7 OTU Hawarden and after converting to Spitfires joined 610 Squadron at Acklington on 6th October.
Cranwell was detached from 610 to RAF Acklington on 14th December 1940 when the squadron moved to Westhampnett.
In early 1941 he was injured in a crash and spent several months in hospital, after which he was posted to No. 1 AACU, initially at Weston Zoyland and later at Aberporth.
In June 1942 Cranwell volunteered for Bomber Command and did some training on Oxfords at Little Rissington.
In July he converted to Wellingtons at 15 OTU Harwell and in October he joined 102 Squadron at Pocklington, operating Halifaxes.
Cranwell was commissioned from Warrant Officer in February 1943, finished his tour in July and was awarded the DFC (gazetted 13th August 1943).
Targets Cranwell had flown to in Bomber Command included Frankfurt, Mannheim, Lorient, Essen, Dusseldorf, Duisburg, Wuppertal, Genoa, Turin and Le Creusot.
From July 1943 until February 1944 he was at 82 OTU Ossington as a Flight Commander on fighter affiliation. In March he moved to 26 OTU Wing on similar duties.
In February 1945 Cranwell went to 17 OTU Turweston to convert to Wellingtons. In May he went to 1652 Heavy Conversion Unit Acaster Malbis to convert to Halifaxes and in June to the Glider Towing Training Unit at Matching.
From July to October 1945 he served with 190 Squadron at Great Dunmow, flying Halifaxes on general transport duties.
Cranwell was released from the RAF in late 1945 as a Flight Lieutenant.
He died on 12th October 1993 in Wimborne, Dorset.