The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. P C P Farnes
Paul Caswell Powe Farnes was born at Boscombe, Hampshire on 16th July 1918 and joined the RAFVR in April 1938 as an Airman u/t Pilot. His flying training was carried out at 19 E&RFTS Gatwick.
In July 1939 he took the opportunity of spending six months with the regular RAF and was posted to the 11 Group Pool at St. Athan, where he converted to Hurricanes.
On 14th September 1939 Farnes joined 501 Squadron at Filton. The squadron flew to Betheniville in France on 10th May 1940. Farnes destroyed a He111 and shared another on the 12th and shared a Do17 on the 14th and got a possible He111 on the 27th.
After being withdrawn on 17th June the squadron regrouped at Croydon and Middle Wallop and on 26th July moved to Gravesend.
L to R
Standing: F/O S Witorzenc, F/Lt. GE Stoney, Sgt. A Glowacki
In chairs: Sgt. P Farnes, P/O K Lee, P/O JA Gibson
On ground: P/O RC Dafforn, P/O H Adams
On 12th August Farnes claimed a Ju87 destroyed, on the 15th two more, on the 18th a Do17, on the 28th a Me109, and on the 30th he damaged a He111. He damaged two Me109's on 2nd September, damaged a Me110 on the 3rd, damaged Do17's on the 14th and 27th, destroyed a Ju88 on the 30th and got probable Me109's on 29th October and 8th November.
He was awarded the DFM (gazetted 22nd October 1940).
Commissioned in November 1940, Farnes was posted to 57 OTU Hawarden on 13th February 1941 as an instructor. He went out to 73 OTU Aden on 9th November 1941, from where he was posted on 27th February 1942 to 229 Squadron at El Firdan as a Flight Commander.
The squadron went to Hal Far, Malta in late March 1942. While there, on 2nd April Farnes damaged a Ju88, on the 4th and 8th damaged two unidentified enemy aircraft, on 6th May damaged a Ju88 and on the 9th damaged a Me109.
The squadron had been officially disbanded on 29th April 1942 and Farnes and other pilots of 229 returned to Egypt on 27th May. Farnes was posted to Air HQ Iraq, Habbaniya on 3rd July 1942 and apart from seven months spent in Baghdad in 1943 he remained there until 19th January 1945 when he returned to the UK.
After a short refresher course at 53 OTU Kirton-in-Lindsey Farnes went to 124 Squadron at Hawkinge for a month. He spent two months at the CFE Tangmere and then took command of 611 Squadron at Peterhead on 7th July 1945.
He was given command of 164 Squadron at Turnhouse on 14th August and led the squadron until 31st August 1946 when it was disbanded and renumbered as 63 Squadron.
Farnes stayed in the RAF postwar, holding a series of appointments prior to his retirement on 27th June 1958 as a Squadron Leader, retaining the rank of Wing Commander.
He died on 28th January 2020.