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Thread: To the Skies

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    To the Skies

    We are sad to report that Flight Lieutenant Joy Douglas died yesterday at the age of 94. Her son Ian has sent the following obituary. Rest in Peace Joy.

    'Flight Lieutenant Joy Douglas (nee West), who has died aged 94, was one of the last surviving meteorological office Observers credited with providing ‘Bomber’ Harris the vital weather forecast for the first 1,000-bomber raid on Cologne on the 1st May 1942 and the ‘actuals’ for the D-Day landings on 6th June 1944.

    Her meteorological section based in Lincolnshire with the Wellington force personally assessed the weather conditions between home and their targets.

    The weather report she personally handed to ‘Bomber’ while laying on the floor! Due to his attendance at the station the building had received a thorough clean with all floors polished. Joy, on arriving at speed in the operations room, slipped and slid to his feet and offered the report. While humorous at the time, the solemnity followed the next morning with many of the fleet not returning.

    In 1944, having moved to RAF St Mawgan, her section provided the essential weather key to ensuring the close air-support for the forces at the D-Day landings and subsequently throughout the next few days of operations.
    Joyce Carol West was born in London on 8th February 1924 and educated at St George’s Grammar School, Harpenden, Hertfordshire and St Cyprian’s School, Capetown, South Africa. She initially served in the WAAF from 1941-1945 in the Meteorological Branch, and then after the war she attained her degree at St Andrew’s University in 1949. On completion Joy joined the WRAF with a commission in the Secretarial Branch to eventually lead the Cipher Unit at Middle East Command, before finally leaving the Service to start her family in 1954.

    Married to the late Sqn Ldr Jimmie Douglas, her association with the Royal Air Force remained strong even after he retired in 1964, with her son, Flt Lt Ian Douglas also serving between 1985-2006 as an Air Traffic Controller and Operations Officer.

    After their spells within the RAF, Joy & Jimmie moved to the quiet of North Cornwall and founded the ‘Treetops Leisure Cabins’ holiday site in the village of Week St Mary. However, with the passing of Jimmie in 1974 she then returned to Harpenden to be with her mother, the late Mrs Carol West (wife of the late Col Reg West) before eventually retiring to the West Midlands. She is survived by her three children, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

    All are welcome to attend her funeral to be held at Rowley Regis Crematorium at 4pm on Tuesday 24th July at which the RAFA will be in attendance to pay their respects'.

    International Bomber Command Centre

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    Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
    Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
    Of sun-split clouds, --and done a hundred things
    You have not dreamed of --Wheeled and soared and swung
    High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
    I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
    My eager craft through footless halls of air...
    Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
    I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
    Where never lark or even eagle flew --
    And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
    The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
    Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

    High Flight
    John Gillespie Magee, Jr

    Last edited by Keith at Tregenna; 13th July 2018 at 04:06 PM.
    "Our veterans did not forget about us .... Let's not forget about them." From Michael Levesque

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