The famed 92 Squadron, for which there are now hundreds of pilots here on allspitfirepilots.org thanks to the nephew of F/L Roy Mottram
, has seen continuous additions (pilots, serials, bios) on a weekly basis which will in turn allow other relatives to come along and add details.
That's how this site works, and Adrian has done a great service to the memory of these pilots. As a result of his additions, after having found the almost bare listing on this site (brief stats on a log book being held by IWM along with a name/rank), Ade Mottram (nephew) has not only filled in a brilliant tribute to his uncle, but dozens of other 92 / 54 Squadron pilots.
In a pattern we've seen before, one person takes on the task of researching dozens of squadron mates, and this seeds the database for others to find these 'stub' listings and fill in more, including perhaps their own story of how they came to find out so much.
Click for 92
squadron pilots, and, the page for F/L Roy Mottram
So here is a summary of how it all unfolded, in Ade's own words, his 40 year journey which continues to this day honouring not only his uncle Roy, but all of them in 92 and many in 54. Ade says "Roy died on 31st August 1941, I was born 8 years later on the same day, something I never new about until that day in 1979 when I was shown his pilots logbook for the first time."
"Ade Mottram “ My 40 year journey”
Growing up as a child, there was a photo of an airman on the mantelpiece in the front room. Uncle Roy, dad’s brother, he was killed in the war, shot down, a pilot with 92 squadron.
In 1979 I was sat at home when my wife Jan, who was reading the Daily Telegraph Magazine, asked me, what was uncle Roy’s Squadron? It turned out that there was an article about Battle of Britain pilots ( it was mid-September ) and there was a picture of 92 squadron including Roy. I couldn’t ask dad about it (he had died 2 years earlier) so I took it to show Uncle Eric on our next family visit. He was well chuffed!
He told me to go to the bureau in the front room and fetch a book out. The book turned out to be Roy’s Pilots log book, folded up in the back was Roy’s Commission. Then out came Roy’s own photograph album, so there it was, the inspiration to find out more about Roy’s war.
Visits to the Public Records Office at Kew. Squadron records, combat reports. in 1983 I took the logbook to the RAF museum at Hendon to be copied onto microfilm. I visited the Imperial War Museum in search of more photos. The visit to the RAF museum meant they had my contact details for returning the logbook so about 10 years ago the museum contacted me on behalf of a publisher for permission to publish a letter Roy had sent to a young WAAF officer. She had deposited a collection of letters sent to her after 92 squadron had transferred from Pembrey to Biggin Hill in September 1940.
But, what had happened to Roy. The family new that he had been shot down and was buried at Merville in North France near the city of Lille. I visited the grave in 1982, cousin Jane also in 1982, my brother Keith, over from Canada, in 2015. But where did he die? What happened to him. In 1983 I wrote to the International Red Cross, they say he had died at Neuf Besuin on 31st of August and buried on 8th September at the CWGC cemetery in Merville.
I could not find Neuf Besuin but Neuf-Berquin was near Merville, was it there. Over the years searching for Roy Mottram RAF on the internet has thrown up many and varying results (including one of his ghost haunting the RAF chapel at Biggin Hill! Then this summer (2019) “Eureka”.
A search found a 2005 blog where this was posted ...
“I’m looking for details about Flight Lieutenant Roy MOTTRAM, 42870, killed in action on 31 August 1941 and buried in Merville, France. He was then a Flight commander with No. 54 Squadron since mid June 1941, and had previously served with No. 92 Squadron.”
This was posted by a French air crash enthusiast who lives in the area between Merville and Lille who was able to confirm the crash site and from eye witness accounts, an idea as to the events leading up to the crash.