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© 2013 Trinity United Reformed Church - Milton Grove, Wigan, WN1 2PG  

Welcome to Trinity United Reformed Church, Wigan

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© 2013 Trinity United Reformed Church - Milton Grove, Wigan, WN1 2PG  

WORLD WAR 2

George Hartley’s Story

Back

As a teenager I lived in Southampton and Liverpool and have memories of the Battle of Britain and the May blitzes.  Most of my memories start in 1942 when I joined the RAF.  

After training I was posted to a squadron in Suffolk where I stayed until the end of 1943.  I was then posted to India.  I sailed on a troop ship ‘Otranto’ and remember sailing down the Suez Canal.

In India I was put on a train and arrived in Calcutta.  Our squadron used a plane to transport VIPs to various commands in India, mostly at weekends, so I went to Sunday services in places like Simla, Delhi, and Calcutta. Other times dropping supplies to troops in Burma.

Lanky - Lancaster Bomber

VIP Transport

Towards the end of the war, I was posted to RAF Ambala in the Punjab.   It was the last airfield before Simla and the Himalayas for independence and partition meetings.

Ambala Team


I was in close contact with a number of VIPs, namely, Lord Mountbatten,

Sir Stafford Cripps and the Indian leaders Jinnah (architect of the birth of Pakistan) and Nehru (first Prime Minister of Independent India)

It was also an army base and we used to play football against each other, which was a welcome break from daily routines.


Ambala 1946

Lord Loui’s Dakota

Crew at the Taj Mahal

I saw some wonderful places and sights – the Taj Mahal in moonlight and at sunrise, also Mount Everest from the air. The best memory was riding in a howdah on the back of an Indian elephant.

George Hartley