The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. B M Bush
Basil Martin Bush was born on 14th July 1914 and
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 Me109s.
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 Squadron 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 Squadron'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 married Margaret Honor Steventon in October 1943 in Nantwich.
He was later serving 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 July 2002 in Lincoln.