Commemorative cover produced to mark the 60th Anniversary of the formation of the Pathfinder Force, which later became No 8 Group. The cover artwork shows the four initial Pathfinder squadrons; No 7 Squadron with equipped with Short Strilings, No 35 Squadron with the HP Halifax, No 83 equipped with the Avro Lancaster and No 156 Squadron with the Vickers Wellington. The artwork shows No 7, 83 and 156 Squadrons on the first Pathfinder Raid on their way to mark and bomb Flensburg on the 18/18 August 1942, while the bottom half of the artwork shows a Halifax of No 35 Squadron being prepared.
Although the initial raid was not a great success, given the very limited preparation and training of the newly formed force, however the Pathfinder Force was to prove an extremely important part of Bomber Command during the remainder of the war.
Each cover bears a British Forces Post Office special handstamp, dated the 17 August 2002, which shows the Pathfinder Badge and No 8 Group logo to and commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the formation of the Pathfinder Force. Furthermore the covers have been flown in Lancaster PA474 of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in a flypast over RAF Wyton, the Pathfinders HQ.
Hand signed by Squadron Leader Walter Wing MBE DFM
150 Signed, Numbered and Certified
Sergeant Walter Wing joined No 35 Squadron as a Wireless Operator / Air Gunner on Halifax aircraft in August 1941 having previously served with No 58 Squadron which was equipped with Whitley bombers. He took part in Bomber Command efforts during the Channel Dash in February 1942, both low level attacks on Tirpitz during April 1942 and all three 1,000 Bomber Raids which led to the awarded of the Distinguished Flying Medal in August 1942. He left No 35 Squadron in January 1943 having completed a second tour and joined the Bomber Development Unit for the remainder of the war. He took part on the Flensburg Raid on the 18/19 August 1942.