WW2 Log Book reveals details of Ravilious's final flight
Kent resident Carol Lockwood recently got in touch with us regarding her father’s log book which contains records of the flights he piloted during the Second World War- one of which was the fateful mission in 1942 on which Eric Ravilious was a passenger. Carol tells us about her father, Alfred Charles Culver or‘Ginge’ as he was known, and how she came to discover that the passenger ‘Cpt Revilliers’ as written in the log book was in fact the War Artist Eric Ravilious…
“Flt Lt Alfred Charles Culver was a career pilot, forging his age by 6 months and was released from his apprenticeship with a local garage early so he could go into the Civil Flying School, RAF Hatfield in 1935 so he was very experienced. He was posted to Iceland in February 1942 and flew virtually every day on convoy patrols and U Boat searches as well as searching for lost fellow pilots of 269 Sqn and Americans.
I was born on 1st July 1942 and Ginge's plane was lost on 2nd September, so I was just 8 weeks old. It took a year for the War Ministry to confirm his death - up until then he was "missing, presumed dead". Money was tight and we grew a lot of our own fruit and veg in the back garden. Very few holidays, trips on the trolley bus for a treat, and walks in the local countryside learning the names of birds and flowers and trees etc. I can remember being flung under the bed very early on when the planes came over (we lived in Kent, in "Bomb Alley").
Ginge's Log Book has always been in the house. But it was not until after Ma’s death that I began to look more closely at his log book and his amazing career. On the local news one evening there was a piece about the famous War Artist Ravilious who was lost in action off the coast of Iceland in early September 1942. On the last page of Ginge’s log book it listed the crew and the name Cpt Revilliers. I suspect Ginge wrote down his name phonetically.
Ginge was born in India (his father was in the Royal Artillery) on 12th January 1917, so he was 25 when he was killed. He had ginger wavy hair, and he was very sporty, winning several medals whilst in Training School. He continued with sport throughout his Air Force career, and played badminton in Iceland. He was good with his hands, and tried hard to improve the living conditions in his billet, making himself cupboards and arm chairs to make things more comfortable.
It would seem very likely that my father and Mr Ravilious would have got on very well together even though they may only have spent a few hours together. Although I am sure they would have imbibed a drink or two in the Officers Mess!"
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