George Hogarth was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in September 1921 and grew up in Edinburgh. He left school in the summer of 1939 and went up to the University of Edinburgh in October 1939. Having won a History prize (and a Latin verse prize) at school, he chose to read for an Honours Degree in History. He spent two academic years at the University before starting his RAF service in August 1941.
In October 1939, George joined the OTC and then, in June 1940, the Local Defence Volunteers. The RAF started the University Air Squadrons at Edinburgh, Oxford and Cambridge and George joined the squadron in early 1941. He enlisted in March 1941 and was called up in August.
Within ten days of leaving a pre-deployment centre in West Kirby on September 14th George arrived in Halifax, Canada. Travelling by train he arrived in Toronto where the cadets were issued with grey flannel suits and the RAF uniform. (As America had not yet entered the war the strict neutrality laws meant cadets had to enter the country as civilians.)
On 2nd October 1941 George arrived at Riddle Field, Clewiston with twelve other cadets from Edinburgh. He joined Course 3 which was the first to start the course at Riddle Field. Conditions at the time were primitive but food was plentiful. Eight cadets slept in a room and the cadets had to organise their own leisure activities.
In order that the cadets felt “at home” in Florida, arrangements were made for them to link up with a family. Ed and Ruth Simpson, from Fort Myers, were George’s American family for his stay in the USA along with three other cadets, Bill Cooper, Sandy Manson and Johnny Penman.
His first flying lesson was a week later in a Stearman PT-17. After nine hours dual instruction, George made his first solo flight and in December undertook night flying. In December he trained in the BT-13A Vultee – an aircraft that proved difficult to fly. He then moved on to Advanced Training and in February flew an AT-6 Harvard at night.
In total he completed his course having flown 179 hours and 17 minutes, 55% solo flights. He graduated on 12th March 1942 and the Air Ministry decided all who graduated should become pilot officers.
George returned to the UK in May 1942, having travelled through New York and the dispersal camp at Monkton, Nova Scotia. In June he served at No. 6. Advanced Training Unit where he got his twin rating and in July No. 54 OTU at RAF Charterhall. He was given a substantive commission as a flying officer and was posted to 25 Squadron at RAF Church Fenton, North Yorkshire.
In January 1943 he changed from flying Beaufighters to Mosquitos. He flew a rare dual controlled aircraft, Mosquito No.878, as a demonstration trip. He then flew intruder patrols over airfields over Europe flying a total of 467 hours mostly as part of a defensive patrol. Nearly half of his flying time was at night.
George then moved on to Defford, Gloucestershire, flying the Firefly, Barracuda, Hellcat, Anson, Wellington and Brigand. Also recorded in his log book were the Proctor, Auster, Martinet and Magister.
He flew the Lancaster Mark lll to test the automatic gun-laying turret in February 1944. He then tested a range of radar systems; Lucero, H2S and Monica.
Towards the end of the war in March 1945 he returned to operational flying attached to 219 Squadron. He flew night fighter patrols.
At the end of the war he returned to Defford and tested radar equipment. His last flight was in a Wellington on May27t 1946 and he was de-mobbed the next month.
Altogether George had flown 1044 hours 30 minutes in at least 43 different types of aircraft. After leaving the RAF George never again piloted an aircraft.
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|Riddle Field||2 October 1941 - 12 March 1942|
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