RAF_Elsham_Wolds_Banner_left
Slava

Menu

RAF Elsham Wolds

Notices and News

..........

Airfield History

The Zeppelin Terror WW1

Diary 41/45

Sqns of Elsham Wolds

Aircraft of Elsham Wolds

..........

RAF Goxhill

RAF Kirmington

RAF North Killingholme

Other Local Airfields

..........

Brigg Cemetery WW2 RAF Register

Kirton-in-Lindsey Cemetery WW2 Register

North Cotes Cemetery WW2 Register

Misc RAF Burials N Lincs

Local Crashes

..........

Coastal Command - Lincolnshire - WW2

Fighter Command - Lincolnshire - WW2

Lincolnshire Aircraft Production - WW1

..........

Profiles

..........

Articles and Misc

Resources.

 

Northlincweb.net new logo
Baba Yaga

Check out active NAFO Ukrainian fundraising campaigns here

A of A
IWM logo
Logo_récent_de_la_CWGC
Thorpe Camp
[RAF Elsham Wolds] [Profiles] [F R D " Ferdy" Swain]

Air Commodore Francis R D "Ferdie" Swain CB CBE AFC

RAF Elsham Wolds - F R D Swain

A very prominent airman with Elsham Wolds connections is “Ferdy” Swain who was OC 13 Base at the end of the war and immediately afterwards.

Swain was born on 31st August 1903. He grew up in Portsmouth, Hampshire and joined the RAF in 1922, becoming a member of 2 Sqn as a pilot. He was transferred to 11 Sqn and later 23 Sqn and 6 Sqn as a Flight Commander, commanding the Cairo-Rhodesia Flight in 1933. In 1935 Swain was transferred to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough as a test pilot. On the 26th Sept 1936 S/L Swain flew the Bristol Type 138 experimental aircraft from Farnborough and established a world altitude record of 49,967 ft. Quite an achievement for the time. He wore a very early pressure suit for the flight and was forced to puncture the helmet with a knife on descent when his oxygen ran out and landed safely at Netheravon. This achievement was widely publicised at the time and interestingly Swain featured on an early BBC TV programme and also on a cigarette card !

In 1937 Swain left the RAE to command 1 Sqn. In 1938 he attended the RAF Staff College.

Throughout WW2 Swain undertook a number of RAF Staff positions. In 44/45 he was OC 13 Base at Elsham Wolds.

He continued in the RAF post war as AOA No 219 Group, AOC No 205 Group and AOC No 28 Group. His last appointment was SASO/Deputy Head of the Air Staff, British Joint Services Mission, Washington, D.C.

He retired from the RAF in 1954 having achieved the rank of Air Commodore. Swain and his American wife lived out their retirement in the USA and he died in 1989 in Florida.

Swain in high altitude pressure suit

 

RAF Elsham Wolds - GC McIntyre, GC Baxter, AC Swain and GC Lingard 45

 

Photos - Top. S/L Swain pictured with his pressure suit and the Bristol Type 138 in the background. Bottom - A/C Swain, second from the right, with - G/Cs McIntyre, Baxter and Lambert at an Elsham Wolds boxing event after the war.

Ferdy Swain became something of a national hero as a result of his altitude record. Pathe news item on the link below

Pathe Video of Swain altitude record 1936

Written by David Fell from various sources.

.....................

Sources and Book Page

Contact - D W Fell at  e mail on the link below

 RAF Elsham Wolds Airfield

www.rafelshamwolds.org.uk

Privacy Policy

©️ David Fell - Northlincsweb.net  All rights reserved

Member of Cross and Cockade and Air Britain

Cross and Cockade logo smallRAF Elsham Wolds UKWA and RAFA BannerAir Britain Historians Logo small

RAFA Cleethorpes

          

13 Base RAF Website Logo Banner

Contact - D W Fell at  e mail on the link below

 Contact Me

For privacy matters see

Privacy Policy

For latest updates see the

 Notices and News Page.

For sources etc see the

  Sources and Books Page

For site search see

RAFEW Google Website Search

Other Websites in the 13 Base - RAF Series.

Click Links Below

103 Squadron - RAF

576 Squadron - RAF

Featured Page of the Month

RAF Waltham/ RAF Grimsby

Latest Additions to this site

1st June 2024 - Robey and Co Ltd

1st June 2024 - Curtiss H16 K38 Crash Page

1st June 2024 - RAF Mertheringham

* 1st May 2024 - Lincolnshire Aircraft Production - WW1

1st May 2024  - Ruston Proctor Lincoln

1st May 2024 - Duncan Crash Page

1st May 2024 - Hocking Crash Page

*1st April 2024 - 255 Squadron RAF Fighter Command

1st April 2024 - Boddy Loss Page

1st April 2024 - Bracebridge Heath

1st April 2024 - Pinnock Crash Page

1st April 2024 - Ross Crash Page

* 1st March 2024 - 22 Squadron RAF Coastal Command

1st March 2024 - West Common

1st March 2024 - Chalmers Crash Page

* 1st February 2024 - Menthorpe Gate

1st February 2024 - Rebbeck Crash Page

* 1st January 2024 - RAF Skellingthorpe

1st January 2024 - Jago Crash Page

Bomber Command interest are the

166 Squadron website

and the

550 Squadron and North Killingholme website.