I am very sorry to have to pass on the news that ‘Jock’ died peacefully in his sleep on Good Friday at the age of 97. I would normally write a little bit about Jock but I think the following letter from his son-in-law to the Association Secretary in 2011 sums Jock up much better than I can. This is reproduced by kind permission of the family:
“My father-in-law, Flt Lt Allan “Jock” Richardson, started WWII as a Sgt Weapons Operator/Air Gunner on Wellingtons at RAF Marham. During the war he was commissioned, went through pilot training and ended up flying Lancasters on a Pathfinder squadron. He and his wife, Triss, live in Swaffham. During a party at Swaffham Golf Club to celebrate Allan’s 90th birthday in 2009, Dicky James, representing the Stn Cdr presented him with a signed print from all at RAF Marham. It was a personal touch that was much appreciated.
For a number of years we have been trying to get Allan to visit RAF Marham on the afternoon of the IX(B) Sqn reunion so that he could re-acquaint himself with the Lanc. He has steadfastly resisted. However, this year Viv, my wife, had driven down to Swaffham from our home in Cheshire to collect her parents and bring them back to stay with us for a week. We were due to return them to Swaffham on the day of the reunion. So, a little bit of subterfuge was called for! During the week prior to the reunion I was in contact with Dicky and he kindly arranged for me to bring my vehicle on to the Sqn HAS site (subject to a tyre FOD check) and drive up close to the Lanc.
As we drove my in-laws back towards Swaffham I told Allan that we needed to call in at RAF Marham to see someone about the reunion dinner that evening and he said that would be fine. As we drove towards the Sqn HAS site I tried to sound surprised when I said to Allan “Oh look, there’s the Lanc parked up”; “So it is” he replied. We drove up and parked near the aircraft and I said “come on out and have a closer look”. As we approached the Lanc there was clearly some dust in the air as Allan’s eyes got a little misty!
I was able to get him on board where he was treated with great affection by the BBMF crew. He also displayed great nimbleness for someone in his 90s as he scrambled over the main spar. Coming backwards down the ladder at the end of his visit Allan found a little more difficult. When he finally got his feet back on the concrete he declared “that was worse than going on Ops!”
As the Lanc started up prior to the wonderful display Allan said “T, M, P, F, G, G, C, B, P”.
“What was that Dad?” said Viv.
“The Lanc pre-take off checks, of course” came the reply.
“Can you remember them?”
“Yes! Trim, Mixture, Pitch….” and he ran through the whole lot to the last P, saying “Power – leading with the port throttles for take off”.
Allan’s verdict on the display? “Bloody marvellous!”
After the display we repaired to the Sqn HQ, where Allan was clearly interested in the many pictures on the wall. After a while in the corridor upstairs he suddenly shouted “bloody hell, that’s me!” Sure enough there is a picture of a Wellington with a group of aircrew in front of it, Allan is in the group and he can still remember many of the other names. It was taken after return from the first bombing raid on Berlin mounted by RAF Marham. Allan has since looked in his logbook and found details of the mission.
As we drove them home later in the afternoon Allan said “If I die tomorrow I’ll die a happy man”.