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Two Pints Tim

The Bird in Hand, West Row, Mildenhall - 17th October 2018

Tim Harris at pub Mildenhall.jpg
Tim Harris in Bird in Hand

Tim Harris, son of the late Squadron Leader P. I. Harris DFC (1939) embarked on a pilgrimage to his father’s wartime watering hole, The Bird in Hand near Mildenhall Airbase in Suffolk.


He recalled that his mother was the perfect air force wife: “She used to have two pints on the bar ready for when my father returned from his many bombing missions in the dark days of World War Two’.


© Jack Waterfall 2018

© Jack Waterfall 2018

Paul Harris portrait.jpg

Portrait by Don Inman 1985       ©Don Inman 1985

Paul Harris photo.jpg

Farnborough Airshow 1984  ©T.Harris

On the 4th September 1939, the day after war was declared against Nazi Germany, Harris led 149 Squadron to Brunsbüttel, at the entrance to the Kiel Canal, in Mk1 Wellington L4302.

On the way he ordered that the guns of his aeroplane be tested, only to make the horrifying discovery that not one of them worked. He was flying to Germany in an aircraft that was completely defenceless. Not wanting to turn back on the first raid of the war he made the decision to press on regardless.

Brooklands Wellington.jpg

N2980 after restoration at Brooklands Museum. Weybridge

The ‘Harris Luck’ continued through his long career in the RAF and it is certainly evident when you look at Paul Harris’ record. He was never shot down, wounded and didn’t ever have to deploy his parachute. He survived into old age and sadly passed away just months after he witnessed his old war-bird, N2980, being recovered from the bottom of Loch Ness.

© Jack Waterfall 28/7/19

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