Battle of Britain London Monument – Sgt. T C Iveson

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Privacy Statement The Airmen’s Stories – Sgt. T C Iveson

 

Thomas Clifford Iveson, of York, was born on 11th September 1919. He was educated at Archbishop Holgate’s Grammar School and joined the RAFVR around September 1938. Called up on 1st September 1939, he completed his training at 5 FTS Sealand and went on to 7 OTU Hawarden to convert to Spitfires. He joined 616 Squadron at Kenley on 2nd September 1940.

 

 

On 16th September, just after the squadron had moved to Coltishall, he and two other pilots were scrambled to intercept a Ju88 off Cromer. His Spitfire, L1036, was damaged and lost fuel, forcing him to ditch. He was resued by a MTB and landed at Yarmouth. Iveson was posted to 92 Squadron on 11th October 1940. He spent two years as an instructor in Southern Rhodesia before returning to the UK and being commissioned in May 1942.

He was posted to Bomber Command and converted to Lancasters at No. 5 Lancaster Finishing School, Syerston. In July 1944 he joined 617 Squadron and went on to complete nearly thirty operations with them. These included three attempts to sink the battleship Tirpitz. While it was moored in Kaafjord within the Artic Circle it could not be reached by UK-based aircraft so a joint 9/617 Squadron operation was mounted from the Russian airfield at Yagodnik, the Lancasters flying there on 11th September 1944.

On the 15th 23 Lancasters launched their attack and one of the Tallboy bombs hit the bows of Tirpitz causing considerable damage. The bombers then flew on to Scotland. The battleship was moved south to Tromso for repairs, bringing her within range of Scottish airfields. On 29th October a second attack was mounted but poor weather and a smoke screen hindered bombing and just one near miss resulted.

On 12th November in clear weather 32 Lancasters achieved two direct hits and one very near miss, Tirpitz capsized and was out of the war.

On 12th January 1945 617 attacked the submarine pens at Bergen in Norway. Iveson’s Lancaster was attacked by two Fw190’s. An engine caught fire and the rear gun turret, tailplane and the rudders were badly damaged. Three of his crew bailed out, surviving as prisoners. The aircraft was further damaged by flak but Iveson brought it back to an airfield in the Shetland Islands. He was awarded an immediate DFC (gazetted 16th March 1945) for his “great skill, courage and determination”.

Later that year Iveson was seconded to BOAC, flying converted bombers to the Far East. He retired from the RAF on 12th July 1949 but in the 1950’s served in a Field Squadron of the RAF Regiment in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force.

Iveson went on to enjoy a long career in television and public relations, including work for the British Airport Authority, the Rank Organisation and more recently Disneyland Paris.

He was prominent in the Bomber Command Association and the campaign for the Bomber Command Memorial in London, eventually unveiled in July 2012.

Iveson, always known as Tony, died on 5th November 2013.

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