George Hogarth picture in uniform

George Hogarth was born in Edinburgh on September 12, 1923, and ‘handed in his logbook’ on August 23, 2011. He was a member of Course 3, #5BFTS at Clewiston from October 7, 1941, to March 12, 1942.

Course 3 was unusual in three ways:

  • It was the first course to undertake Primary, Basic and Advanced training at Riddle Field, Clewiston. Courses 1 and 2 undertook their Primary training at another Embry-Riddle Field in Florida (Carlstrom Field, Arcadia) because Riddle Field wasn’t ready for occupation until the end of September 1941.
  • It was called the ‘University Course’ because all the cadets had been a member of University Air Squadrons at the Universities of Edinburgh, Oxford and Cambridge, and were able to go straight to #5BFTS without the need for preliminary training in Britain. George was at Edinburgh University.
  • One cadet on Course 3 was killed in a plane crash, but 46 of the remaining 49 cadets graduated as pilots, the highest graduation rate at 5BFTS. All 46 were immediately commissioned as Pilot Officers, the only time this happened at #5BFTS.

After Clewiston, George was posted to several airfields in the UK. One of these was RAF Defford, in Worcestershire, a ‘secret station’ providing experimental and test facilities for the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE) based in Malvern which developed new radio and radar equipment. RAF Defford was a joint station with RAF and Naval personnel working alongside each other, and it was here that George met Wendy Jones, a Radio/Radar Mechanic Wren, in February 1944. They married in September 1944 and their daughters, Jenifer and Louise were born in 1948 and 1954 respectively, and their son Alasdair in 1950. George and Wendy’s WW2 uniforms are now on display at RAF Defford Museum located at the National Trust’s Croome Court, Worcestershire.

After WW2, George returned to RAF Defford until he was demobbed in August 1946. He joined the engineering company Guest Keen and Nettlefolds (GKN) and remained working for them in various roles until he retired. After retirement, George could often be found listening to music, especially classical music and musicals. He and Wendy enjoyed being with the family, gardening, walking, travelling, visiting National Trust and other historic places, and they joined various organisations such as u3a.

George became a founder member of the 5BFTS Association in the 1960s and was the archivist until 2002, when ill health forced him to hand over to another 5BFTS Association member, Gordon Newsham (Course 24). George also founded the Midland Branch of the Association and, with Wendy, organised meetings and visits for Midland members from 1973 to 2005 ably supported by Gordon who took over the organisation from 2006. George was present at the very first No.5 BFTS Reunion in 1967 at the Royal Aero Club in London and unless prevented by ill-health, George and Wendy attended all the No. 5 BFTS Association National Reunions in the UK and two in Florida (in 1973 and 1989).

George’s daughter, Jenifer, has written a book, ‘George Hogarth – Clewiston and Beyond’. Memoirs of George Hogarth, Course 3’, detailing George’s time at Clewiston, his RAF career until demob in 1946. It includes information about No.5 BFTS Association and can be found at:


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