Dakota Mk III KG363
I was first contacted by Mr Joel Zelikovitz in via the RAF Blakehill Facebook page in November 2017.
His father, Bill Zeilikovitz, pictured here, flew from RAF Blakehill and took part in many key operations. Many conversations have taken place over social media between Joel and myself and I am so very grateful to now be able to share some of his fathers memories and photographs here as a permanent record of his proud service.
His father served on a number of Dakota's and each have been listed in seperate articles to assist anyone researching these aircraft by number.
I think Joel’s last statement regarding his fathers memories of the liberation of the concentration camps speaks for us all and underlines the true horror of the Nazi regime.
We must never forget.
Joel takes over the story of his father;
Bill Zelikovitz R135160 passed his first Wireless badge on October 26 1942 one month before his 21st birthday.
One log book I have called "The Flying Log Book" contains all of Bill's action time at Blakehill Farm. The Log actually starts off before he gets to Blakehill. It starts March 2nd 1943. Bill was part of Ferry Command and flew Nassau to Trinidad to Brazil to Ascension Island to Accra and More as part of the Ferry Command route. He did this circuit a lot according to his flight log. I counted 23 times in this book. He logged 769 hours until Feb 6 1944 when He went from Gander to To Prestwick to Hendon. On Feb 25 1944 he was the radio operator for some Glider Tugs. March 1944 was all about Night Formations He went out 23 times with W/O Clegg as the pilot. KG-380 seemed to be the Dakota he mainly went out in. The last flight in this log was July 11 1945 also with Clegg. I counted 244 times he flew out on some sort of mission in that time frame. 1566:09 flight hours consisting of 40 hrs of training and 346hrs as a passenger.getting to and from "work" and 1178:49 hrs in OPS in 15 different types of aircraft.
Here are some highlights that I could recognize as noted in his log:
April 22nd 1944 KG 363 F/L Bollington, Bill's duty was "Dispacher" "Nickel" Op -St. Lô "France" (dropping leaflets - but really acting as cannon fodder he told me)
June 5 1944 he was the Jump Master on KG-380 w/o Clegg "Invasion of Europe" " Night Flight 3.45hrs
June 6 Supply drop to Paratroupers in Normanday Night Flight 3.2 hrs
Sept 12 1944 KG- 615 w/c Jefferson "co-Pilit in Glider Killed before arrival Arnhem. He flew in 4 times that day.
Sept 17 1944 KG-615 s/L Jefferson "Dropped first glider at Arnhem. Led other Squadrons in.
Sept 18 1944 KG-615 "Second Glider Lift to Arnhem. "6th one in"
Sept 23 1944 KG-422 w/o Glegg "Resupply at Arnhem- Lost half squadron"
March 24 1945 KG-669 w/o Clegg "Gliders Crossing" Invasion of Germany- Rhineairdorne
July 8 1945 KG- 694 p/o Clegg Lord Ha ha's Secretary
July 11 1945 last log entry.....completed operational tour in Transport Command in the Army Air Support Role signed by J.A. Spoule
Later in life Bill spoke a fair bit about his operational tours. He joined his comrades in arms on a few renuions.
He rarely mentioned all his war medals. (" I did'nt do it for the medals")
".....His duties included transporting some of the first concentration camps prisoners brought back to England to be treated and what he witnessed with his own eyes what was done to his co-religionists, of all the things that he witnessed in his war efforts, he spoke of this the most………"
Editors note - Included in the photo archive here is Bill’s return to the airfield in 1994 where he is photographed next to the memorial carin for 437 and 233 Squadrons at the original airfield entrance alongside other veterans and during the parade down the main Cricklade High Street.