1070621 Leading Aircraftman THOMAS McCUTCHEON [1910-1974]

Royal Air Force Voluntary Reserve [RAFVR]

Personal Details 

  • Married: 1932 Norah Maughan
  • Children: George born 1933; Mary born 1934 & Brian born 1948.
  • Occupation: general labourer, after the war Tom worked at Randolph Cokeworks

Service Details: Summary

  • Enlisted: 03/01/1941
  • Full Time service: until 12/12/1945
  • Arm/Asst – armourer’s assistant
  • Overseas: 10/11/1942 – 15/11/1945
  • Departure from Dispersal Centre [Hednesford]: 13/12/1945
  • Reserve [G1]: until 15/03/1946
  • Awarded: 1939-45 Star, Italy Star, Africa Star+North Africa 1942-43 clasp, War Medal 1939-45

Overseas Service: 10 November 1942 to 15 November 1945

In November 1942, 114 squadron moved to Algeria to take part in the invasion of North Africa, remaining in the Mediterranean until the end of the war. While in North Africa, the Blenheims were replaced by Boston bombers, with which the squadron moved to Sicily in August 1943 and then to mainland Italy later in August 1943, where it remained until September 1945, attacking German communications and airfields behind the front line.


April 1939-September 1942: Bristol Blenheim IV

September 1942-April 1943: Bristol Blenheim V
March 1943-July 1944: Boston III, IIIA
July 1944-May 1945: Boston IV
January 1945-May 1946: Boston V


19 July 1941-15 November 1942: West Raynham
15 November-2 December 1942: Blida
5 December 1942-12 February 1943: Setif
12 February-13 April 1943: Canrobert
13 April-31 May 1943: Kings Cross
31 May-3 August 1943: Grombalia
3-8 August 1943: Gela
8 August-7 October 1943: Comiso
7 October-30 October 1943: Brindisi
30 October 1943-1 May 1944: Celone
1 May-21 June 1944: Marcianise
12-25 June 1944: Nettuno III
25 June-18 July 1944: Tarquinia
18 July-13 October 1944: Cecina
13 October-21 October 1944: Perugia
21 October 1944-7 March 1945: Falconara
7 March-12 May 1945: Forli
12 May-15 September 1945: Aviano


November 1942-August 1943: North Africa
August 1943-October 1943: Sicily
October 1943-September 1945: Italy

 The Bristol Blenheim [1]

A British light bomber aircraft designed and built by the Bristol Aeroplane Company (Bristol) which was used extensively in the first two years and in some cases throughout the Second World War. The aircraft was developed as Type 142, a civil airliner, in response to a challenge from Lord Rothermere to produce the fastest commercial aircraft in Europe. The Type 142 first flew in April 1935, and the Air Ministry, impressed by its performance, ordered a modified design as the Type 142M for the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a bomber. Deliveries of the newly named Blenheim to RAF squadrons commenced on 10 March 1937.

By July 1941, it had been recognised that, in response to the increasing intensity of combat in North Africa and in the Middle East theatres, additional squadrons were urgently required.  In the latter half of 1941, several Blenheim squadrons were flown out to Malta, many being stationed there into early 1942 before mainly being absorbed in the Western Desert air operations.[31] As Bomber Command gradually took Blenheims out of the Northern Europe theatre, they were often dispatched to other areas such as North Africa.  Upon the outbreak of the Pacific War in December 1941, some Blenheim squadrons in the Middle East were relocated from the theatre to the Far East in response to the new threat from Japanese forces.

  • Blenheim Mk I 
  • Three-seat, twin-engined light bomber, powered by two 840 hp (630 kW) Bristol Mercury VIII radial piston engines, armed with a 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machine gun in the port wing, plus a 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers K gun in the dorsal turret, maximum bombload 1,000 lb (450 kg). 1,552 built. Company designation Type 142M.
  • Blenheim Mk IF 
  • Night fighter version, equipped with an AI Mk III or Mk IV airborne interceptor radar, armed with four 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machine guns in a special gun pack under the fuselage. About 200 Blenheim Mk Is were converted into Mk IF night fighters.
  • Blenheim Mk II 
  • Long-range reconnaissance version with extra fuel tankage. Only one Blenheim Mk II was built.
  • Blenheim Mk III 
  • Blenheim Mk IV 
  • Improved version, fitted with protective armour and extended nose, powered by two 905 hp (675 kW) Bristol Mercury XV radial piston engines, armed with a 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machine gun in the port wing, plus two 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machine-guns in a powered operated dorsal turret, and two remotely controlled rearward-firing 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machine gun mounted beneath the nose, maximum bombload 1,000 lb (450 kg) internally and 320 lb (150 kg) externally. 3,307 built.
  • Blenheim Mk IVF 
  • Long-range fighter version, armed with four 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machine guns in special gun pack under the fuselage. About 60 Blenheim Mk IVs were converted into Mk IVF fighters.
  • Blenheim Mk V 
  • High-altitude bomber version, powered by two Bristol Mercury XV or XXV radial piston engines.

Illustration of the Bristol Blenheim [2]

The Douglas A-20 Havoc [3]

It was a light-bomber, attack and night-fighter and one of the first American aircraft to serve in World War II. First built during the late-1930s, the majority of Havocs served with the Soviets, with the next biggest operator being the US Army Air Force (USAAF), followed by Great Britain. Other operators included Canada, France, Australia, South Africa, and the Netherlands. It also served in the post war years with Brazil until the 1950s.  It was also known as the DB-7 (Douglas Bomber 7) and as the Boston or Ranger to the British. It was said to be easy to fly with good handling characteristics during take off and landing. It represented an advance in flight control systems with light handling during high-speed flight, with no overbalance on small control inputs. The tricycle landing gear made take off, landing and ground handling very simple and pilots were able to fly it with a minimum of instructions. It also provided a stable gun platform for night-fighter missions. Handling with one engine out was also said to be very satisfactory, although the prototype crashed while simulating an engine-out procedure.2 It was very durable and was able to withstand extreme battle damage and found a role in every combat theatre of the war. It was a “pilot’s airplane”.

Africa Star+North Africa 1942-43 clasp, 1939-45 Star, Italy Star  &  War Medal 1939-45 [Not shown]