Wing Commander James ‘Jim’ Bazin, DSO, DFC
Written by Fenella and Michael Bazin.
Published: 6th April 2023
From the publisher:
It was Tuesday, 17 October 1939. Britain had been at war with Germany for more than a month and for only the second time the Luftwaffe had dared to enter British airspace – and at last James ‘Jim’ Bazin’s chance had come.
After joining the RAF in 1935, Jim was an experienced pilot when war broke out and he was eager to test his skills against the enemy. This first combat was the start of a career which saw Wing Commander Bazin, as he was to become, being posted to France with 607 (County of Durham) Squadron. He fought there until the last days of the Battle of France. In the course of the campaign, Bazin had battled his way to becoming an ace. He was also shot down behind enemy lines, but successfully evaded capture to return to his squadron and resume the fight.
There was no respite for Bazin as he was once again in the air defending Britain’s skies in his trusty Hurricane as the Luftwaffe sort to destroy Fighter Command in the summer of 1940. With ten ‘kills’ to his name, Jim Bazin was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in October that year. But merely driving off the Luftwaffe was not enough for him. He was posted to Inverness where he served as a Controller in 14 Group’s Operations Room, which gave him a taste for offensive operations.
In time, Bazin volunteered to move to Bomber Command. He duly undertook a conversion course in 1943, eventually joining 49 Squadron as a Lancaster pilot to take the war to the very heart of the enemy.
After commanding 49 Squadron, including taking part in Bomber Command’s support of the D-Day landings, Bazin was promoted to Wing Commander, leading 9 Squadron on many attacks on special targets such as U-boat pens, viaducts, refineries and, most notably, operating with the famous Dambusters against Hitler’s great battleship Tirpitz.
Unrelenting in his efforts against the enemy, Jim Bazin was involved in operations against targets in Poland and Germany right up until the end of the war. This culminated in the last major RAF operation of the Second World War when, on 25 April 1945, Bomber Command attacked the Berghof, Hitler’s Alpine retreat, and other targets in Berchtesgaden. Jim Bazin was awarded the DSO in September 1945 – rightful recognition for a man who had done so much to bring about the defeat of the enemy.