Goodbye, Last of The Few and Wing Commander Roger Morewood [1916-2014]



One of the last surviving RAF pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain [collectively known as The Few] Wing Commander Roger Morewood recently passed away at the old age of 98. The Royal Air Force pilot left an amazing collection of war photographs in his death — photos he had snapped with his own hands.

Roger Morewood was at first a very enthusiastic photographer and had, in fact, attended the Edinburgh College of Art because of his passion to capture the beautiful things around him. However, as per advise of an uncle, he joined the Royal Air Force in 1935 at the very young age of 19.

Described by his daughter, Rowena Buck, as the stereotypical RAF pilot with his blond crop which got a bit too long at times, blue eyes, handlebar mustache and with collar always flying up, Roger Morewood had once described flying British war planes as “less colorful”. However, he did clock up over  5,000 of flight hours inferring that though he found his main work less variegated compared to what he wanted to do in his life, he, nevertheless, liked flying.

Furthermore, being a RAF pilot did not stop Roger Morewood from stopping his passion. What’s more, he took that up into the air. During his service in the RAF, Mr. Morewood snapped and amassed a large collection of photos — snapshots of various war planes and his comrades while they were up and engaged in the air.

The Start

Roger Morewood flew a Tiger Moth biplane for his training. Eventually, he was posted with the elite 56 Squadron way back in 1937 and flew several open-cockpit Gauntlet fighters. He moved on to flying the Royal Air Force’s last biplane fighter, the  Gloster Gladiator, shortly after that. When WWII rolled in, Roger Morewood had gained a lot of experiences as a flier. During the war, he was able to helm the new Hurricane fighter which, according to him, was more superior compared to the Spitfire.

Transferring to the newly reconstituted 248 Squadron as a flight commander, Roger Morewood went on to fly Bristol Blenheims, described by many as “bombers dressed up as fighters”, for three years while he fought in the Battle of Britain.

It was during these times that the RAF pilot took the daring feats of his flying career undertaking dangerous long-range fighter sweeps over Holland as well as the French coast. 1944 saw the pilot being promoted to the rank wing commander.

Along with his promotion came the assignment that took him Castel Benito which was located near Tripoli in Libya. It was his time here that he thoroughly enjoyed the most. Roger Morewood was, then, sent to Naples as a station commander a year after and stayed in this post until WWII ended. He left RAF in 1947.

However, the RAF pilot couldn’t seem to resist the call of flying as he returned to service in 1951, finally retiring six years after his re-entry into the Royal Air Force — in 1957.

Flying Experiences

His daughter, 62-year-old Rowena, recounted how her father came across a “few skirmishes” on air. At one time, she said, his father came home with a limp while his Blenheim had been described as looking like a cheese grater due to the many bullet holes riddled on its body. She described her father’s, Roger Morewood, survival while in the plane nicknamed by many pilots as “the flying coffin” as miraculous considering that many RAF pilots flying the said aircraft perished and never made it through the end of the war.

His Legacy

Aside from the bravery he so displayed during the years he spent as a RAF pilot in WWII, Roger Morewood also left behind his collection of photos taken by his own hands.

The snapshots consist of his wing-mates and their planes and were frequently taken while they were in flying formation or were engaged in combat missions.

The images were released by his family following the death of the RAF pilot in honor of the legacy he left behind.

Goodbye, Wing Commander and enthusiastic photographer Roger Morewood! [1916-2014]

Heziel Pitogo

Heziel Pitogo is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE