Son of former RAF Feltwell pilot returns to Norfolk

It was more than 70 years ago when Arthur Mobley flew on missions across Europe from a Norfolk airbase.

But a chance discovery by his son, who realised a Wellington bomber found at the bottom of Loch Ness in Scotland some years ago was the plane his Dad had flown in world war two, has led to his past being re-discovered.

Terry Mobley has visited his father's old base at RAF Feltwell twice and this week took the chance to speak to a group of pupils about Arthur's experiences.

Mr Mobley, 71, spoke to year five children at Feltwell Elementary and revealed how he discovered the plane his father flew in 1939-1940 from Feltwell was that discovered on the bottom of Loch Ness in 1976.

'When I realised the plane they'd recovered was the same one my Dad flew I took more of an interest in it,' he said. 'I knew he flew the Wellington and when it came to Brooklands [Brooklands Museum in Weybridge, Surrey] it was in the paper and I suddenly realised it was the same one.

'It's amazing really because I never thought I'd get to see Feltwell.'

What became known as the 'Loch Ness Wellington' crash-landed in the Highlands loch during a training flight on the December 31, 1940, following engine trouble.

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All the crew escaped but the rear gunner was killed when his parachute failed to deploy.

Arthur Mobley, who lived in London Road, Brandon, during his time with 37 squadron at Feltwell, was not on board but his son, who has visited and sat in the Wellington, which is now displayed at Brooklands Museum in Weybridge, Surrey, identifies his father with the aircraft he flew all those years ago.

A retired finance worker and pilot himself, Mr Mobley, 71, who now hails from Wimborne in Dorset, said: 'My Dad would have been in there for eight hours at a time with noisy engines, having shots taken at him by the Germans, and that was his job. It was quite something to put up with that.

'It's only really in the last six months I've learnt more about my Dad's base and have learnt more about him because of having access up here. The first time was quite emotional because we were taken all around the places I'd seen in my Dad's photos and they looked very much the same.'

Flight Lieutenant Arthur Mobely, who joined the RAF in 1937, sadly died at the age of 36 when his plane entered a spin and crashed to the ground in 1950 at Castle Bromwich, near Birmingham, where he was deputy chief flying instructor at Castle Bromwich Reserve Flying School,

His wife, Rita, and son, who was 10 at the time, were watching.

'My father's crash was very similar to the recent Red Arrows crash,' Mr Mobley said. 'It was a couple of days before the air show and my mother and myself were watching.

'He'd finished for the day and he came over to where we were sitting in the car and he said 'I've got one more student to give some experience to'.

'He went off and went into a loop and it looked like he was spinning and he dropped to the ground.'

Mr Mobley, who is married with a daughter, has also joined the Mildenhall Register Squadron Reunion, a group dedicated to bomber squadrons and their support staff at RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath during world war two.

Joe Kroziar, grade four teacher at Feltwell Elementary said: 'We study history all the time but to have somebody who can speak first hand is very rare so we're always very thankful when somebody like him come in. 'It tells the students history is real and personal and not something in a book. It's something people lived and experienced and it can and it can happen to anybody.'

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