The Pathfinders

benton crewMuch of the focus of this website is on the later stages of the Air War from the creation of the Path Finder Force (generally known as the Pathfinders) in August 1942 until May 1945 when VE Day signalled the end of Bomber Command’s campaign in Europe.

The Path Finder Force was a highly specialised elite force, dedicated to target-marking for the rest of Bomber Command which was known as Main Force. Pathfinder crews acted not only as target-markers, but as guides and leaders to the Main Force bombers on the long routes to the targets.
Only the best crews were offered the chance of becoming Pathfinders, and all were volunteers. They were drawn from the same backgrounds and training camps as Main Force crews, and often served with Main Force squadrons before joining the Pathfinders.

Pathfinder aircrew were both representative and unrepresentative of Bomber Command as a whole.

Above: the Benton crew, 97 Squadron. With thanks to Eric Rimmington (third from left). Below: AOC of the Pathfinders, Donald Bennett, with aircrew.



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