Basil’s father was Basilius Petrides who had Greek Ancestry (his relatives originated from the Island of Symi) and was educated at Dulwich College in England, the same school that Basil attended. He was a businessman who worked in Nicosia, Cyprus before retiring to run a small holding in East Sussex, England. Basil Petrides initially joined the RAF as a Sgt and served a tour of duty with No.50 Squadron, at RAF Waddington, as a Wireless Operator – Airplane Gunner (WoAG) in Handley Page HP.52 Hampden twin-engine bombers. He flew his first mission, a mine-dropping mission known as “Gardening” in RAF slang, during the night between 18/19 May 1941, joining P/O Abbot's crew manning the AD.852. He flew his second operational sortie 13 days later, on 2/3 June, targeting Dusseldorf. The bomber reached its target and dropped the bombs from 13,000 ft with poor visibility. The flak was heavy and accurate, and shrapnel destroyed the center panel of the pilot’s windscreen. Petrides and the rest of the crew were lucky this time and headed for their base, landing almost 7 hours after their takeoff. Basil flew 17 more missions till the end of August, flying with various bombers and occasionally with different crews. On 27 August 1941 Basil and his crew were scheduled for a bombing mission, flying the Hampden X.2991 but they crashed on take-off, however without anyone injured. It was a close call considering that the bomber was fully armed with bombs. Meanwhile, the No.50 Squadron had already moved to Swinderby on the 19th of July 1941. September was going to be quite intense for Basil.  The month began with a Gardening mission during the night between 6/7 September 1941 and one day later he flew a bombing sortie against Kassel, attached to P/O Smith's crew. Despite excellent weather conditions with no clouds, good visibility, and a bright moon, the primary target ...


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