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Flying logbooks of Warrant Officer William Pude Bateson dating back to World War Two discovered in donated furniture
WARTIME papers offering a fascinating glimpse into a pilot’s career have been discovered among a load of items donated to a furniture recycling charity.
The flying logbooks of Warrant Officer William Pude Bateson were found among the contents of a house cleared by the County Durham Furniture Help Scheme.
Officials at the charity, based in Chilton, County Durham, say the papers paint a picture of a highly skilled and experienced pilot and they now hope to reunite the collection with Mr Bateson’s family.
Steve Mitton, business development manager, said: “It might just fill in a gap in someone’s family history, someone who thought granddad just quietly sat in the chair might learn all sorts.
“We think he was only occasionally dropped into operations as his expertise was too valuable to lose.
“Unfortunately we cannot trace which house the items are from, they probably came in around February but were put aside for sorting and we only noticed them a while later.”
Mr Bateson trained at Perth, in Scotland, and was based at RAF Feltwell, in Norfolk, with 487 Squadron Royal New Zealand Air Force which was under the RAF’s command.
His air force career spanned the Second World War as he joined on September 17, 1935 and was demobbed on November 5, 1945.
The logbooks detail countless hours flying Ventura and Blenheim twin engine bombers, delivering and testing aircraft, training new pilots and on aerial reconnaissance missions ahead of bombings.
He was a trained electrician and his release papers describe him as ‘an efficient and reliable warrant officer, who applies himself with diligence to any duties entrusted to him’ who was decorated with a 1939 to 45 Star service medal.
Identity cards suggest he married a Mary A Bateson and lived in South Shields after the war.
Chris Palmer, managing director of the charity, said: “He must have been resourceful, kept his cool when everything was getting nasty, will have seen his mates shot down but kept going and survived.”
Mr Mitton said: “There are blocks of time when he doesn’t note what he has been doing but it has been signed off, maybe it was sensitive information so couldn’t be written down in case it fell into the wrong hands.
“We can only imagine what had been happening then.”
For more information about Mr Bateson’s documents or the charity, which provides furniture and household goods to the disadvantaged, recycles bulky waste and runs training schemes, call 01388-721509.
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