7 Squadron Short Stirling signed Warrant Officer Douglas Purdy DFC
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In August 1942 a elite unit was created for the purpose of marking targets more accurately by using highly trained crews and with the aid of radar navigation, this force was to become known as the Pathfinder Force and upon creation was made up from Nos 7, 35, 83 and 109 Squadrons. Gradually more squadrons joined the Pathfinder Force and it became one of the wars highly respected units, with incredibly accurate marking and often operating as Master Bombers.
No 7 Squadron was equipped with Stirling bombers which it later swapped for Lancasters and was based at RAF Oakington - it was also the first of the Stirling Squadrons. We have selected Stirling 'MG-C' to appear in the artwork and it is shown being loaded with bombs in preparation for the evenings raid.
The cover is cancelled with BFPS 2695 postmark for the 60th Anniversary of the formation of the Pathfinder Force dated 15 August 2002.
Hand signed by Warrant Officer Douglas Purdy DFC
150 Signed, Numbered and Certified
Douglas Purdy joined the RAF in August 1940 and was then posted to Flight Engineers Training School at St Athan in February 1941. He joined 15 Squadron at Bourne and after 13 missions the crew was selected for training as Pathfinders and he was posted to 7 Squadron at RAF Oakington. He completed 25 further missions on Stirlings before being converted to Lancasters. He was Mentioned in Despatches.
He flew on Lancasters with the same crew for a further 18 missions with 7 Squadron and 97 Squadron and on completion of 56 missions was given a job as Instructor.
He arrived in Bombay at the end of 1944 and left for Burma the net day to join 353 Dakota Squadron and he carried out 52 Supply drops to the 14th Army as Flight Engineer / Co pilot.
He flew as Flight Engineer on Lord Louis Mountbatten's York aircraft and returned to the UK in 1946 for demobilisation. He was awarded the DFC. In 1947 he was recalled into the RAF to take part in the Berlin Airlift and was de-mobbed again in October 1948.