During March 1944, changes in 8 (Pathfinder) Group saw the larger squadrons reduced to two flights, which resulted in the formation of two new squadrons, 582 and 635. At the same time 8 Group acquired three new stations, Upwood, Downham Market and Little Staughton, the latter being the home of the newly formed No 582 Squadron. The Squadron came into being on the 1 April 1944 equipped with Lancasters, being disbanded on the 10 September 1945 following the end of the war. In its short history the Squadron left its mark with its aircrew earning 4 DSOs, 69 DFCs with 20 bars, 29 DFMs, numerous foreign decorations and most notably the posthumous Victoria Cross awarded to Captain Edwin Swales DFC.
The cover is cancelled with BFPS postmark for the 60th Anniversary of the London Gazette entry for the Victoria Cross award to Captain Swales - the last VC given to a member of Bomber Command.
Hand signed by Air Commodore G.W. Bennington DFM MIMgt
150 Signed, Numbered and Certified
Gerald Bennington often flew Lancaster '60-M' shown on the cover with Captain Edwin Swales DFC SAAF (later awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross), and was the Flight Engineer on board Swales' aircraft on the night of the 23 February where they were tasked as Master Bomber to attack the railway junction at Pforzheim. The aircraft was heavily hit by both flak and night fighters and having successfully performed their task the crippled aircraft began to lose height and after ordering his crew to bail out Swales lost his life when his aircraft crashed and exploded, his bravery leading to the award of the Victoria Cross. Having enlisted in April 1943, he only saw service with No 582 Squadron PFF completing 43 Operations (34 of them with Captain Edwin Swales VC DFC) and also being Mentioned in Despatches. He had a distinguished post war career with staff positions in the Air Ministry, Middle East Air Force (MEAF) and Far East Air Force (FEAF) and also at the Pentagon.