The truly exceptional and rare Second World War Bomber Command Path Finder Force Triple Tour and 114 Operational Sortie Mosquito 1945 Distinguished Flying Cross and Second Award Bar, and 1941 to 1942 Greece, Middle East and North Africa Operations Wellington Bomber Pilot’s Distinguished Flying Medal and flying log book group awarded to Flight Lieutenant A.P. Mountain, D.F.C. and Bar, D.F.M., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Mountain was one of only a small number of aircrew to complete over 100 operational sorties during the Second World War, however this very almost became a non-starter, when with No.15 Operational Training Unit flying as a second pilot in a Wellington on 9th March 1941 and engaged in a solo test, his aircraft was shot up by a Junkers 88 during an approach to the airfield. Then on 7th May 1941 whilst still under training, he flew his first mission, a leaflet dropping raid to Rennes. On his joining No.37 Squadron out in the Middle East, he then flew Wellington’s on some 35 operational sorties on objectives in Cyrenaica, Syria, Greece and the Dodecanese Islands; during which he flew in the final sortie of the campaign in Syria, and also participated in a raid on the Corinth Canal area. His first tour over, he was posted home in February 1942, and awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal. Mountain then became an instructor with No.22 Operational Training Unit at Wellesbourne Mountford and sometimes Gaydon, and during this period as an instructor training up pilots and crews for operations, he flew a further three operational sorties, all of which were significant in the history of Bomber Command, namely the first and second of the three Thousand Bomber Raids, when targeting Cologne on 30th May 1942, and then Essen on the night of 1st to 2nd June 1942. He then flew in the heavy attack on Dusseldorf on 10th September 1942, of which he would record in his log book that his aircraft had its tanks holed, elevator damaged, and wings riddled by shrapnel. This raid resulted in some 100,000 bombs with a total tonnage of 700 tons being dropped on the target in less than an hour, and was a record up until that point. Having instructed for two years between April 1942 and April 1944, he returned to operations as the pilot of a Mosquito aircraft in July 1944, when flying with No.109 Squadron as part of No.8 Group Path Finder Force. Mountain went on to complete a further 74 operational sorties amounting to two near enough back-to-back tours, mostly over France, Holland and Germany, during which period he had a number of close shaves. Of these 74 sorties, some 55 were flights in which he was employed as a target marker, and because of his exceptional operational experience, he was often chosen to open the more important heavy raids by marking the aiming points. He never allowed the enemy’s anti-aircraft fire - normally uncomfortably accurate - to affect his bombing run. Recommended for his first Distinguished Flying Cross in March 1945, and his second award bar in June 1945, his awards were announced in July and October 1945 respectively. Mountain then flew post-war in Mosquito’s with No.162 Squadron as part of the Air Delivery Letter Service, and with No.98 Squadron as part of the British Air Forces of Occupation in Germany, with whom he was killed when performing a training flight on 23rd September 1946, and becoming this Squadron’s first post-war casualty.
Group of 7: Distinguished Flying Cross, GVI 1st type cypher, reverse dated 1945, with Second Award Bar dated 1945; Distinguished Flying Medal, GVI 1st type bust; (944424 SGT. A.P. MOUNTAIN. R.A.F.); 1939-1945 Star; Air Crew Europe Star; Africa Star; Defence Medal; War Medal. Mounted court style for wear
Condition: light contact wear, Good Very Fine.
Together with the following:
Royal Air Force Pilot’s Flying Log Book, front cover inscribed to ‘P/O Mountain A.P.’ and with additional inscribed service number ’217714’ and ‘Vol 1’, covering the period from 10th February 1944. through to 29th August 1945.
Royal Air Force Pilot’s Flying Log Book, front cover inscribed to ‘F/L Mountain. A.P.’ and with additional inscribed service number ’217714’ and ‘Vol 2’, covering the period from 21st August 1940 through to 10th February 1944.
Path Finder Force badge, together with the award certificate for the same, this issued to: ‘Flight Lieutenant A.P. Mountain. D.F.M. 129770’, dated 19th May 1945, and signed in ink by Don Bennett, Air Officer Commanding the Path Finder Force.
Hand coloured photograph of the recipient when an officer.
Allan Percival Mountain joined the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, and was posted as a Aircraftsman 2nd Class (No.944424) to No.4 Initial Training Wing at Bexhill and then Paignton, being posted there on 22nd June 1940, he was then selected for flying training and posted to the No.4 Elementary Flying Training School at Brough from August 1940, and there flew for the first time on 21st August, when training to become a pilot. Flying in Blackburn B.2 aircraft, he first flew solo on 31st August. Rated as an ‘average’ pilot and considered for twin engined aircraft, he moved on to No.10 Service Flying Training School at Ternhill on 28th September, and there underwent further flying training in Anson aircraft as a part of ‘B’ Flight, before being posted for further flying training across the Atlantic in Canada when he joined No.32 Service Flying Training School at Moosejaw in Saskatchewan from 13th November 1940, and continuing to fly in the Anson, flying his first solo on this type on 16th December when part of ‘X’ Flight. Mountain was awarded his pilot’s flying badge on 1st February 1941, and promoted to Sergeant.
Posted back home across the Atlantic, he was then posted to No.15 Operational Training Unit at Hampstead Norris from 5th March 1941 where he underwent flying training in Wellington bombers as part of ‘C’ Flight. It was whilst was on a night flying training mission on 9th April during a solo test with a Flying Officer Dawes at the controls, that his aircraft was ‘shot up by Junkers 88’ however there was no damage, and the flare path to the airfield was also bombed. In mid April his unit moved to operate from Harwell, where he then formed part of ‘A’ Flight, and on 7th May he flew his first operational sortie at night, this being a leaflet dropping raid on Rennes in France. During this sortie he saw an aircraft shot down in flames. During this mission he flew as the second pilot to a Sergeant Vallance, and would note in his log book that ‘Mac had argument with oxygen’ at 15,000 feet, as presumably this crew man’s oxygen supply had failed. By the 9th May 1941 he was deemed ready for operations.
Mountain was then posted operational to join No.37 Squadron, a Wellington bomber unit which was then a part of Middle East Command, and as such flew out there as second pilot to Sergeant Vallance. On 1st June he departed for Gibraltar and on the way out his aircraft encountered an electrical storm during which ‘Les’ the front turret gunner panicked, and as Mountain recall’s in his log book ‘Gib. landing carried out by Almighty - not me.’ On 3rd June they flew on to Malta, and the pilot ‘Ray’ Vallance ‘landed amongst dispersals. 10 yds further and we would have had it’. The following day they flew on to Abu Sueir. Flying in formation enroute to Egypt, one of the aircraft force landed in the desert. Mountain then teamed up with a first pilot by the name of Sergeant Robinson, and as part of ‘A’ Flight, on 16th June he flew in his first sortie, targeting Benghazi. He flew in a second sortie to Benghazi on 26th June, and in a third on 4th July, followed by a fourth on 8th July. All with Robinson as the first pilot.
Mountain then found himself flying aa second pilot to a Sergeant Smith, and took part in what would become the last operational sortie of the Syrian campaign when in his fifth sortie he targeted Aleppo, bombing the railway yards there. As he notes in his log book, the Vichy French ‘packed up the next day’. He then turned his attention to Greece, and bombed Rhodes on the 12th July and Eleusis on 14th July. Returning to North African targets, he bombed Derna on the 16th July, and then Benghazi on 22nd July, in this sortie he was second pilot to a Flying Officer Benbow, and he then flew once again with Smith in another sortie to Benghazi on 31st July. Two more night sorties followed as the second pilot to Smith, one to Martruba on 3rd August, and one to Derna on 11th August. On 13th August he began flying as the first pilot.
Having corrected his own entry in the log book on 13th August, later that same day he then details a sortie to the Corinth Canal during which the starboard engine failed some 80 miles from the target and the bombs had to be jettisoned, and he then came back on one engine to the Egyptian coast. He flew another sortie to Eleusis on 28th August. On the 6th September he flew another sortie to Benghazi, and on 11th September he attacked Bari. On the 20th September whilst returning from a sortie to Benghazi, his aircraft’s undercarriage collapsed during the landing at the advanced landing group No.9. Then on 29th September he bombe Benghazi again. Returning to Greece on the 6th October he bombed Piraeus port at Athens, and on 31st October he once again bombed Benghazi.
Mountain was promoted to Flight Sergeant on 1st November 1941. On 6th November he bombed Derna aerodrome, and machine gunned motor transport on the return journey. On the 11th November he once again bombed this target, and on 15th November bombed an unidentifiable target. Then on the 17th November he bombed Derna again. On 25th November he bombed Benghazi, and targeted it again on 30th November during which he dropped bombs on Barce aerodrome, with one aircraft believed destroyed.
On 3rd December he bombed El Adem aerodrome, and on 6th December he bombed motor transport and troop concentrations in the El Adem to Gazala area. On 4th December he attacked ’target X’ with no other details being given in his log book. Then on 9th December he flew to Derna and bombed Gazala North. During this sortie it was raining hard and ‘bumpy as Hell!’ This was his 30th operational sortie. On 12th December he bombed Derna, and on the 30th December he flew his final mission of the year, bombing Salamis, and being ‘held in searchlights all along island’
Having been scheduled for a sortie on the 1st January, his aircraft did not takeoff owing to a ‘high oil consumption’. On the 8th January, he flew a local flight to Lydda and back, noting ‘consumption (orange run). Test’. He then further notes ‘ran off runway and banged a/c (aircraft).’ On the 13th January he flew to El Adem and ‘hunted for souvenirs’. Then that evening he flew from El Adem in a sortie to Aghelia. On 25th January he flew a sortie between Aghela and Agedabia and attacked a motor transport and a troop concentration etc. On 30th January he flew a sortie between Aghela and Agedabia, noting this as being a ‘very annoying trip’ as he could not synchronise the airscrews. This was his 35th operational sortie, and having completed his first operational tour he was taken off active operations at the end of this month, being noted as an ‘above the average’ pilot.
The recommendation for his award of the Distinguished Flying Medal was made about this time, and reads as follows: ‘This airman has carried out 34 long distance sorties, involving 393 hours flying. These raids include attacks on objectives in enemy occupied territory in France, Cyrenaica, Syria, Greece and the Dodecanese Islands; he has also participated in a raid on the Corinth Canal area. Throughout he has displayed a high standard of skill and determination and he is regarded as one of the best captains.’
Mountain’s award of the Distinguished Flying Medal would be published in the London Gazette for 7th April 1942.
Having been taken off active operations and posted out of the squadron on 14th February, he was then posted home two days later, and as such flew in a troop transport Dakota aircraft of Pan American Airways. Travelling from Egypt to Sudan, and then across to Lagos in West Africa, before boarding a ship for home and sailing as part of a convoy.
After what would have amounted to a very brief period of leave, Mountain was posted to join No.1653 Conversion Flight on 23rd March 1942, but did not fly again until after his posting to No.22 Operational Training Unit at Wellesbourne Mountford on 11th April 1942 and training crews for No.6 Group. Here he flew in Welllington’s as part of ‘A’ Flight, before being posted to the Central Flying School at Upavon from 25th April, and flying in Oxford’s, and qualified as an instructor on multi-engine aircraft on 16th May 1942, on which date he took and passed his Flight Commander’s and Central Flying Instructor’s Test. Mountain was then posted back to No.22 Operational Training Unit at Wellesbourne and re-joined ‘A’ Flight again on 21st May 1942, where he brought future pilots and crews up to readiness in Wellington bombers. Mountain now found himself training crews for as a part of what was officially known as the No.91 Operational Training Unit Group.
It was whilst he was there with No.22 O.T.U. that Mountain flew as lead pilot of a crew on a night mission to bomb Cologne in Germany on 30th May 1942, this being described by him in his log book as the ‘biggest blitz ever’ and additionally noting ‘no trouble trip uneventful’ but also noting that ‘A Flt. lost 3.’ and ‘over 1000 a/c on target’. in fact during this raid some 868 aircraft bombed Cologne during the first 1000 bomber raid (1,047 aircraft), laden with over 3,000 tonnes of ordnance.
Bomber Command Commander in Chief, Arthur Harris, had proved very cautious with his squadrons following his appointment in February 1942. The introduction of the Gee navigation aid was a major step forward and the recent operations against Lubeck and Rostock had been very successful. Bomber Command was slowly building up strength with the new generation of 4 engined heavy bombers coming into service but there was still a question mark over the future of the Command in some quarters. Harris firmly believed in the role of Bomber Command as a potential war winning weapon and was determined to silence the critics. To this effect he and his staff devised a plan for a thousand bomber raid on a major German city. At that time Bomber Command had about 400 front line aircraft available. To make up the numbers Harris drew on all his reserves. Aircraft and crews from No 91 and No 92 Operational Training Unit Groups were included together with substantial contributions from Coastal Command and Flying Training Command.
New tactics were developed for the operation in which the force would fly a common route and at the same speed to the target and back. Each aircraft would fly at an allotted height and in a certain time slot to minimise the risk of collision. This was referred to as the “ bomber stream “. The Gee navigational aid made it easier for the bombers to fly within these limits. By flying the same route within a tight time frame the bombers would be able to swamp the German night fighter command and control system which was organised into boxes and could only handle 6 interceptions per hour per box. It was also planned for the whole bombing force to pass over the target within a 90 minute period. The intention of this was to overwhelm the flak defences although it was anticipated that there would be a high risk of collisions over the target. The raid was to be led by experienced crews from No 1 Group and No 3 Group whose aircraft were all equipped with Gee. They would carry all incendiary bomb loads and were allowed a 15 minutes period over the target to identify and mark it with incendiaries before the main force arrived.
The plans received a serious setback when the Admiralty withdrew permission for the use of the Coastal Command aircraft. They were concerned that the operation would jeopardise the build up of their long range anti submarine aircraft force. This was probably correct. It was also found that only 4 of the aircraft from Flying Training Command were suitable for such an operation. Harris was determined that the original planned figure of a thousand aircraft should be assembled. Bomber Commands own training units provided most of the balance committing more crews from the bottom half of their courses. This was a big risk and every effort was made to provide each crew with at least an experienced pilot. 49 of the crews, however, flew with pupil pilots. In addition to the Cologne operation aircraft from No 2 Group, Fighter Command and the Army Co-operation Command were to fly intruder operations against German night fighter airfields on the route of the bomber stream.
The plan was ready and the aircraft and crews available as the end of May approached. The first choice target was Hamburg which was a prime target because of its large port and ship and U boat building facilities. The weather forecast for the period of the full moon was not good in Northern Germany therefore it was decided to attack the second choice target which was Cologne. in all some 257 aircraft from No.91 (OTU) Group would participate in this first 1000 bomber raid and as mentioned by Mountain in his log book, three aircraft from ‘A’ Flight of No.22 Operational Training Unit would be lost.
In total 1,103 sorties were flown that night and 43 aircraft lost. This was thought to be an acceptable loss in view of the perfect weather conditions and was well within the casualty figure of 100 that Winston Churchill was prepared for. F/O Manser, a pilot of 50 Squadron, was killed on this night and was awarded the Victoria Cross for sacrificing his own life to enable his crew to bale out of his seriously damaged Avro Manchester bomber. Contrary to expectations the crews from the training units had fared surprisingly well on this raid and had a lower proportion of casualties than the regular crews.
For Cologne the raid had proved a harrowing experience with over 450 dead and 5000 injured. 2,500 separate fires were started with 12,840 properties destroyed or damaged including 2,560 of an industrial or commercial nature. The infrastructure of the Cologne was seriously disrupted and in the days that followed between 135,000 and 150,000 people left the city. The tactics used during this operation had proved very successful and the “bomber stream” was used to great effect throughout the rest of the war. In Britain the raid proved an immense propaganda success making headline news and proving a great morale booster for the British and Commonwealth peoples and also those in Occupied Europe. It clearly showed that the Royal Air Force was capable of taking the war right into the heart of Germany and that Bomber Command was now becoming a force to be reckoned with.
The success of the training unit crews in the raid on Cologne led on to Mountain participating in a second operational sortie whilst with this training unit, namely the 1000 Bomber Raid to Essen on the night of 1st to 2nd June 1942. This the Second thousand-bomber raid, eventually led to 956 aircraft being dispatched but the target was obscured and bombing was not effective. Mountain would record in his log book ‘2nd biggest Blitz 1000 a/c. taking part. Weather moderate, effect spoiled, no incident.’ Sadly Mountain would not be involved in the third and final 1000 Bomber Raid which occurred to Bremen on the night of 25th to 26th June 1942. Once again weather conditions would upset the full effect of this raid. In fact between 10th and 26th June Mountain was not flying, and he may well have been either on leave or sick.
Mountain was commissioned as a Pilot Officer (No.129770) into the General Duties Branch of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve on 26th July 1942, and after a further period spent with No.22 O.T.U. he was posted to join No.1501 Beam Approach Training Flight at Abingdon on 2nd August 1942 for a course, where he flew in Oxford’s, and five days later passed the course. Posted back to No.22 O.T.U. on 11th August, he returned to his duties as an instructor, and as such was posted to the satellite airfield of his unit which was located at Gaydon, being moved there with ‘A’ Flight on 10th September. He remained there until posted back to Wellesbourne on 16th November, and during this period flew an operational sortie at night to bomb Dusseldorf on 10th September. On this occasion the mission was not an uneventful trip and he would record in his log book ‘Tanks holed. Photo taken (2) elevator damaged. Wings riddled.’ This would also go down in RAF Bomber Command history as a significant raid, when some 100,000 bombs with a total tonnage of 700 tons were dropped on the target in less than an hour.
Unable to find the resources to launch a ‘Second Front’ in Europe, Churchill had promised Stalin that he would mount ever more ever more devastating attacks on Germany from the air. The operations of RAF Bomber Command were still subject to a number of variables, including the weather and the ability to navigate accurately to the target. The Pathfinder target marking force was just getting established and was developing its techniques. Founded in August 1942 this was a group of Squadrons dedicated to accurately finding the target and marking the bomb aiming point for the ‘Main Force’ that would follow. The Gee navigation system was now being disrupted by German countermeasures so they fell back on visual system. When the weather and moon conditions were right, the target was marked correctly and the bomber stream was concentrated on the target in a short period of intense bombing the results could be devastating.
All of these factors came together for the raid on the 10/11th September, causing more destruction than had ever been achieved before, apart from one of the experimental 1000 bomber raids. Bomber Command was beginning to have the impact that was hoped for. At Dusseldorf, 360 aircraft dropped 700 tons of bombs. Though a large part of the attacking force concentrated its effort on the main objective, starting a number of extensive fires. scattered fires were also seen west of the target, and some bombs fell at Krefeld, Munchen-Gladbach and adjacent towns. Thirty bombers are missing, five crashed and three came down in the sea.
The post raid assessment would recall that ‘measured by the extent of destruction to industries and communications, this attack was the most profitable of all our bombing raids, with the exception of that on Cologne on 30th/31st May. Large areas were devastated in both Rostock and Lubeck but this did not result in more than a fraction of the industrial damage done in Dusseldorf.’ In Dusseldorf 380 acres of complete devastation no less than 30 factories and important works were either completely destroyed or so damaged that output must be seriously curtailed. Among them were six factories making steel products or machinery, two factories making steel tubes, one making machine tools and magnetic mines, two chemical works and many other factories producing a variety of commodities such as enamel, paper, boilers, wire, insulating materials, railway wagons and harvesting machinery. The estimate of 380 acres of complete devastation mentioned above does not include innumerable isolated incidents of bomb and blast damage throughout the city and its suburbs.
As seen from his notes in the log book, Mountain’s aircraft had clearly suffered extensive flak damage but limped successfully home, no doubt a testament to his skill as a pilot.
On his return to duties at Wellesbourne, Mountain joined the Target Towing Flight of No.22 O.T.U., and operated as such until he was transferred to ‘D’ Flight there on 24th January 1943. During his period with the Target Towing Flight he flew in Lysander and well as Wellington MkIII aircraft. On 4th February he pranged an aircraft on the runway. Mountain would the remain with ‘D’ Flight through to 16th May 1943 and continuously flying in Wellington aircraft. Having been promoted to Flying Officer on 26th January 1943, he was then appointed to Acting Flight Lieutenant on 25th May 1943.
On 16th May 1943 Mountain had found himself posted to Bristol to the Aero Engine School there, before returning to No.22 O.T.U. at Wellesbourne on 23rd May. Back with ‘D’ Flight, he flew in an air-sea rescue mission on 23rd June, when he conducted a sweep over the North Sea. He was then posted to joined ‘B’ Flight at the satellite aerodrome at Gaydon on 10th August, and on 16th August he conducted another Air Sea Rescue sweep. He would remain as an instructor at Gaydon through into April 1944. During another ASR sweep over the sea off Skipsea in West Yorkshire on 30th September he would note ‘nothing sighted save a dead fish and lots of seagulls’. By the end of his time with No.22 Operational Training Unit, Mountain was classed as ‘an excellent instructor’ and as a multi-engine pilot was noted as ‘well above average’, these remarks being made on 10th April 1944 on which date he left the unit, and was posted to join No.1655 Mosquito Training Unit at Warboys, gaining his first flight in this aircraft on 18th April. As of 30th May 1944 he was rated as an ‘average’ Mosquito pilot, and he was then posted back to operations on joining No.109 Squadron at Little Staughton in Bedfordshire on 3rd June 1944, just three days prior to the invasion of Normandy and North West Europe. Mountain found himself serving in Squadron Leader R.C.E. Law’s ‘B’ Flight.
No.109 Squadron had been the very first unit to experiment with the Mosquito, this being back in July 1942, when it had also been the first to experiment with and then equip with OBOE sky-marking equipment, this being first used in operations during a raid on Dusseldorf on 1st January 1943. The use of Oboe equipped Mosquitos to mark targets was crucial to the success of the RAF's campaign against the Ruhr during 1943 and into 1944. The squadron then continued performing marking duties till the end of the war, and it moved to Little Staughton in April 1944, from where it would carry out some 5,421 operational sorties up until the end of the war, suffering the loss of 18 aircraft. The squadron flew as part of No.8 Path Finder Force Group.
Mountain’s first sortie the pilot of a Mosquito with No.109 Squadron and the Path Finder Force occurred on the night of 13th June, when he carried a 4,000 lb bomb to Munchen Gladbach. The 4,000 lb bomb was nicknamed the “Cookie”. He flew his second sortie in the Mosquito on the night of 17th June, this being to Allnoye. Then on 1st July he flew a night sortie Homberg, being bombed up, his aircraft was as he would record in the log book ‘coned on run in and hit by one small piece of Flak which entered in through nose passed between Freddie and I and disappeared through roof over my head.’ Freddie was Mountain’s other crew member and navigator, namely Flight Lieutenant F. Davy. On 3rd July he flew a sortie to Scholven during which his aircraft was ‘hit again by Flak in odd places.’ On 5th July he dropped a cookie from 30,000 feet on Duren, and on 8th July he again bombed Scholven. On 12th July he attached to ‘Buzz Bomb Site’ at Bremont, dropping red target indicators for the main bomber force. On 20th July he flew in his first daylight sortie and dropped target indicators at L’Hey, before marking Courtrai at night on the 20th July, and flying as the reserve bombing aircraft during the daylight raid on the V-weapons launch site at Foret de Croc on 23rd July. He being the reserve Mosquito target marking aircraft for a formation of 8 Lancaster’s. This would be Mountain’s 50th operational sortie of the war. Mountain was promoted to war substantive Flight Lieutenant on 26th July 1944.
On 1st August he flew a daylight marking sortie to Anderbelck, with another similar to the Foret de Nieppe on 2nd August when acting as the reserve formation leader. Another daylight sortie to the Foret de Nieppe occurred on the 4th August. Two night sorties followed, one to the Foret de Lucheux on 8th August, and one to the Foret de Croc on 9th August. On 10th August he flew a daylight sortie to Oeuf de Ternois, and at night on the 14th August he flew a sortie to Sterkrade, experiencing searchlights but no flak. At night on 17th August he flew a sortie to Dortmund. This was his final sortie for that month.
All but two of his raids during September 1944 were flown in daylight. On 6th September he flew as a marker during a raid on Le Havre, with two others to the same location on the 8th, 9th and 10th respectively. He then flew a marking mission to attach the synthetic oil plant at Nordstern in the Ruhr on 11th September, with another to a similar target at Sholven in the Ruhr on 12th September. His night mission involved a marking trip to Moerdyjk on the 16th, during which the target was the flak batteries and the Scheldt Bridge. Back to daylight sorties, he flew as a marker to attack the troops and defences at Boulogne on the 17th, and then operating in support of Operation Market Garden and the airborne landings at Arnhem, he flew in a daylight sortie to Domburg when acting as a marker during the sortie to attack gun sites there. On 23rd September he flew in a raid at night to Bochum, marking the target there which was the steelworks. Then on the 25th and 25th September he flew daylight marking missions for raids to attack the troops at Calais, and flew in a similar role for the raid on Cap Griz Nez on 26th September. Having attacked the synthetic oil plat at Sterkrade on the 27th, he was back over Cap Griz Nez on the 28th when targeting the large guns there. His final raid of that month was to Bottrop on 29th September, when marking and operating as the formation leader.
Similar to September, all but two of the raids during October 1944 would be completed in daylight. On 3rd October was marking for a raid on the sea wall at Westkapelle. He participated as a marker during the raid on the synthetic oil plant at Homberg. He then flew as reserve marker for the raid on Cologne on the 28th October, and marked during the raid on Walcheren on the 29th, when troops and guns were attacked. As night on the 30th he flew reserve marker for the raid on Cologne, and was then marking for the night raid on Cologne on the 31st October. This was his 80th operational sortie.
All of his raids during November 1944 were flown as night. On the 2nd he dropped a “Cookie” on Hallendorf, and then on the 6th he dropped another on Herford. On the 11th he dropped red target indicators over Kamen, and on the 16th dropped similar during the troops advances at Julich, with more being dropped on Wanne Eickel on the 18th, and he then flew in the operation to Essen on the 28th. Then on the 30th he bombed Duisburg
In December 1944 all but one of his raids would be flown at night. On the 2nd he attacked Hagen, and on the 3rd he attacked the dam at Heimbach. Then on the 5th he attacked the railway yards at Soest. On the 8th December he flew as the formation leader for the raid on Duisburg; and he flew similar during another raid to Duisburg on the 11th December. He dropped target indicators over Essen on the 12th, and performed similar to Duisburg on the 17th, before performing similar during a raid on Bonn on the 28th. His daylight sortie came to Coblenz on 29th December when he dropped a “Cookie”, and he then dropped red target indicators during a raid on Cologne on the 30th. This his 97th operational sortie was the last for 1944.
January 1945 would see three more night sorties including his all important 100th sortie. Still flying with Davy as his navigator, he dropped target indicators over Dulmen on the 14th, and dropped similar over Gelsenkirchen on the 22nd, following this with his 100th sortie being to Stuttgart when he dropped more indicators on the 28th January. This would mark the end of his second operational tour, and he would then be rested from operations, but not taken off the squadron strength, having volunteered to continue operations after his rest period was over.
During February 1945 he flew three local flights, but by the beginning of March was back on operations. All sorties for this month were flown as night. On the 3rd he marked for a raid on Kamen, and then on the 6th dropped as “Cookie” on Wesel. He performed sky marking during a raid on Essen on the 11th, and performed similar during a raid on Dortmund on the 12th, and a raid on Wuppertal on the 13th, before performing proximity marking for a raid on Arnsberg on the 14th, before taking part in a raid on Witten on the 18th, this being his final sortie of the month, and his 107th sortie
It was in the aftermath of the 105th sortie, though dated for the 20th March, that he was recommended for the non-immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Cross. The recommendation reads as follows: ‘Flight Lieutenant A.P. Mountain has flown a total of 105 sorties in Bomber Command. In his first tour he did 39 sorties on Wellingtons. Since then he has put a further 66 operational flights in the Path Finder Force on Mosquitos. Of these, 49 were as a target marker, the remainder consisting of bombing attacks on small targets or as a leader of bombing formations. Most of his trips were done against heavily defended German strategical or tactical targets. F/Lt. Mountain has always shown a most commendable sense of devotion to duty and has coolly pressed home his attacks under the most difficult of conditions. He has taken off and landed when weather conditions have been atrocious, and has generally shown a splendid example. I am strongly recommending him for a non-immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.’
Mountain’s award would be further approved by Air Vice-Marshal ‘Don’ Bennett on 27th March, and would be announced in the London Gazette for 17th July 1945.
For April 1945 all but one of his sorties was at night. On the 3rd April Mountain bombed Plaven, noting his log book that this was the ‘deepest penetration yet. Czechoslovak border. Landed Bourne out of petrol.’ On the 8th April he finally got the attack the Big City, when he dropped bombs and target indicators over Berlin and noting in his log book that this was the ‘first Oboe marker to drop on Berlin. No defences. Good photograph. Landed Brussels-Melsbrock short of petrol.’ On the 10th he attacked Leipzig and dropped markers, noting that it was a ‘good night’. He then attacked Cuxhaven on the 14th April. On daylight on the 18th April he marked the route for an attack on Heligoland, and then dropped a “Cookie” over Bremen on the 22nd followed by target indicators over Schlesheim-Munich on the 24th April. This was Mountain’s final operational sortie, his 114th to date. He however then flew a mission in daylight to feed the Prisoner’s of War, and as such performed a Manna Operation to The Hague, noting in his log book that he was ‘marking for Grocery Boys’. Then occurred on the 2nd May. He then notes “VE” Day 8th May 1945. All of his operational sorties with 109 Squadron had been completed when flying alongside Flight Lieutenant ‘Freddie’ Davy. Mountain was awarded his Path Finder Force Badge with its Certificate by Air Vice-Marshal ‘Don’ Bennett on 19th May 1945.
On 6th June 1945 Mountain was recommended for a non-immediate second award bar to his Distinguished Flying Cross. The recommendation reads as follows: ‘Flight Lieutenant A.P. Mountain has flown a total of 113 sorties, comprising three operational tours. The first tour was flown on Wellingtons in the early days of the war. The second and third tours were completed in this Squadron and consisted of 74 sorties. Of these, 55 were flights in which he was employed as a target marker. Because of his exceptional operational experience, he was often chosen to open the more important heavy raids by marking the aiming points. F/Lt. Mountain held a consistently high record of successful sorties and produced outstandingly good results; he never allowed the enemy’s anti-aircraft fire - normally uncomfortably accurate - to affect his bombing run. F/Lt. Mountain was a fine captain and has been an invaluable asset to the Squadron. I strongly recommend him for the award of the Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross.’
Mountain’s award would be further approved by Air Vice-Marshal ‘Don’ Bennett on 13th June, and would be announced in the London Gazette for 26th October 1945
As of 29th June he was rated as an ‘exceptional’ Oboe light bomber pilot, and on the following day he was posted out of 109 Squadron. Mountain was then posted to No.162 Squadron at Blackbushe in Hampshire on 10th July 1945, once again flying the Mosquito as part of the Air Delivery Letter Service, and as such would spent the rest of that month making a number of flights to Brussels and back when part of ‘B’ Flight. Continuing as such, he would fly to Copenhagen and back during the beginning of August, and in the following month would perform similar duty in flight to France, Greece and Italy, with similar during October through December 1945, Malta being added to the list of destinations. Throughout this period his navigator was a Flying Officer King. 1946 was much quieter, and whilst still with No.162 Squadron, he only flew a small number of flights until April, when he then began more postal delivery flights to Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Italy and Greece. As of 1st July 1946 he was rated as an ‘exceptional’ Mosquito pilot.
On 20th July 1946 he was posted to No.22 Personnel Dispersal Centre at Hornchurch pending leaving the service, however this was then reversed, and on 26th July he was posted to No.139 Wing and the following day to join No.98 Squadron out in Germany at Wahn airfield at Cologne, when he once again flew in the Mosquito. This squadron formed part of the British Air Forces of Occupation in Germany, and was a light bomber unit. As such whilst flying in a light bombing training sortie on 23rd September 1946, Mountain was killed in an aerial accident. He is buried in Hanover War Cemetery. He was the Squadron’s firs peacetime casualty.