Squadron Leader R.A.V. James RAF, DFC, PFF

106 and 97 squadron

This site is dedicated to my father Rodney Arthur Vincent James.

Like thousands of other young men, he volunteered to join Bomber Command to defend his country and freedom.

After being sent to Canada and the U.S. for training to become an Observer (navigator/Air Bomber), he returned to Britain and joined 106 Squadron. In the spring and summer of 1943, his Squadron was sent on many operations over the Ruhr Valley and other major targets on the continent. He flew 23 sorties with 106 Sqn in 1943. This is how he was awarded his DFC.

In May 1944, my father was posted to 97 Squadron Pathfinder Force. On his fifth raid with 97 Sqn (Bois de Cassan 6 Aug/44) his Lancaster was shot down just north of Paris. The petrol tanks exploded and threw him clear of the a/c at a low altitude. Sadly the rest of the crew went down with the aircraft. With the help of the local French people he was taken to Paris and hidden until Paris fell one month later.

In June 1945, he was posted to Headquarters Allied Command South East Asia and Headquarters Burma. I have been unable to get any information about him during this time because, I think, he was in an administrative role.

One of his roles was to interview freed Dutch prisoners of war in Batavia. My mother spent 3 1/2 years in the Japanese concentration camp Tjideng and this is how they met. My mother's father was a Dutch import-exporter in Batavia when the Japanese invaded.

After the war, My father went back to Tunbridge Wells, Kent where he lived with his Aunt as a child. My mother returned to Holland with her parents

My parents married in 1947 and after a short time in West Africa decided to imigrate to Vancouver B.C. Canada in 1950. My father worked for a company associated with Safeway Grocery Stores. In 1958, my father was transferred to Oakland, California to head Safeway's import department.

Sadly my father passed away of sudden heart failure 13 days before his 45th birthday. My family moved back to Vancouver.

I have spent three years researching my father's RAF years with wonderful help from historians in England and Canada.

Every time I think it has come to a close, something else pops up, some new connection. It's wonderful !!

Service Record
Crew of
106 Squadron

106 and 97 Sqn

Memorial to the Crew of 97 squadron
Training Pictures
Canada and the U.S.
Operations Record Book
Escape/Evasion report


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