OxCMC Small Logo

Past Meeting

Ken Frere - 2000ft Over Arnhem in 1944!

Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle
Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle

Ken Frere was a glider tug pilot in World World II whose operations included both Arnhem and the crossing of the Rhine. The famous raid on Arnhem in 1944 is just one topic covered in Kens talk about Airborne Forces in World War II. Arnhem was a very large action but there were also many small-scale actions involving SAS or commandos.

Horsa Glider towed by a Halifax
Horsa Glider towed by a Halifax
We heard all about:
Operations in Italy, Crete, Norway & Sicily.
Whitleys, Stirlings, Albemarles & Halifaxes.
Bruneval Raid, Merville Battery & Pegasus Bridge.
Calcutta – via Marseille, Egypt, Iran & Karachi!

There has been far less publicity about airborne troops than fighter and bomber commands. The talk covered these famous, and not so famous, operations from someone who was very much in the hot seat!

Ken Frere

Handley Page Halifax B.III
Handley Page Halifax B.III
Ken left school at 16, worked in a bank for two years and was then sponsored by the RAF and the Royal Engineers to study maths and physics at Aberdeen University, where he flew in the University Air Squadron.

After ten hours on Tiger Moths at Cambridge he joined a convoy to the USA where his training progressed to the Harvard. Back in Britain he learnt to fly the Albemarle aircraft, towing the Horsa glider, and later converted to the Halifax.

Horsa Glider
Horsa Glider
Besides Arnhem and the Rhine crossing he was involved in a number of operations dropping SAS and other units as far away as Norway (8 hour flight with one pilot!).

When hostilities ended he was flying to India from 1945 to 1947. From 1957 to 1983 he worked at Harwell, rising to the post of Chief Admin Officer. He also served as a County Councillor.

Click for more information on the location of this meeting.


1  Next Meeting

No meeting planned at present.

2  Next Event

No events planned at present.

3  Recent Meeting

Date:14 April 2016

Place:Chemistry Research Laboratory (CRL), South Parks Rd, Oxford, OX13TA

Sqn. Ldr. A. Garretts MBE (retd) - The Berlin Air Lift 1948-1949

…more information…

4  Recent Event

Cars to the Claydons - 70 ml run

Date:3rd September 2016

Place:OX18 4JP

…more information…

Blackthorn Classic Car Show

Date:4th September 2016

Place:OX25 1TG

…more information…


Air Ambulance Logo

BloodhoundSSC Badge