“Men of the Battle”: new material

The third edition of Men of the Battle of Britain by Kenneth G Wynn was published by Frontline Books in association with the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust in 2015. The Trust has owned all rights to the book since 2010.

Research into the lives of the Few is ongoing, and the Trust plans to publish new information, updates and corrections on this website from time to time. The information below was added in January 2017.  

Please note: THE COPYRIGHT IN ALL MATERIAL RELATING TO MEN OF THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN IS OWNED BY THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN MEMORIAL TRUST CIO.

Updated/new information:

William Radclyffe Assheton died on November 4 2009.

Henry Collingham Baker died on July 3 2013.

Percival Harold Beake died on June 25 2016.

Henry William Beggs was born on September 6 1915 at Irvinestown, County Fermanagh.

Owen Valentine Burns died on June 30 2015.

Nigel George Drever died on July 16 2016.

Hubert (not Herbert) Luiz Flower (known by the first name of “Luiz”) died on April 15 2015.

Dennis Humbert Fox-Male retired to and died in Alderney, not Guernsey.

William James Green died on November 7 2014.

Allan Richard Wright died on September 16 2015.

Denis Norman Robinson died on July 28 2015.

Henry Arnold Sprague died on April 30 2015.

Tony Garforth Pickering died on March 24 2016.

Keith Ashley Lawrence died on June 2 2016.

Terence Michael Kane died on August 5 2016.

Martyn Aurel King’s date of birth is shown in RAF records as October 15 1921. If correct, this would make him very young among Battle of Britain pilots and would mean that the age at death (19) given on his CWGC headstone and in Men of the Battle of Britain is incorrect.

Martyn Aurel King

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ronald Mackay (not MacKay) was born on June 26 1917. He ran the family travel business in Scotland for many years.

Norman Taylor was in 1941 presented with a gold cigarette case by his former colleagues at the Standard Motor Company as a mark of respect for his participation in the Battle of Britain.

 

New images

Neville Charles Langham-Hobart

Maurice Equity Leng

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extended entries:

CHARLES PATRICK IGGLESDEN

39086 FO Pilot British 234 Squadron

Born on March 9 1918, in Eastbourne, Sussex, Igglesden joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his ab initio course on June 29 1936. He was posted to 8 FTS, Montrose on September 5, and with flying training completed, he joined 23 Squadron at Wittering on April 24 1937 and went to 64 Squadron at Church Fenton on May 15 1939.

Igglesden moved to 234 Squadron at Leconfield on February 20 1940. His logbook records on August 7, “Adverse flying report, temporarily taken off flying duties.” This may be linked to the comment  for the same date in the squadron ORB, “Three interception scrambles by four aircraft. One Blenheim intercepted.” However, even if a Blenheim was mistaken for an enemy aircraft, the Spitfires did not open fire. Igglesden resumed operations on October 22. He was posted to No 2 Delivery Flight, Colerne on June 28 1941. He resigned his commission on September 27 1941 and joined the Royal Navy, as an Able Seaman. He became a fighter controller and served in at least two convoys to the Russian port of Murmansk

Commissioned in February 1943, Igglesden was released in Australia on March 30 1946 from HMS Golden Hind, having served as a Fighter Director Officer. He stayed in Australia for some years, returned to the UK and then emigrated to Canada. There he worked as a pharmaceutical salesman for the Rexall company. Later he was Regional Manager for H&R Block, a company which advised clients on preparing income tax returns. He died on December 19 2002 in Calgary.

APO 24.8.36 PO 29.6.37 FO 24.10.39 Acting Sub-Lt 19.2.43 Sub-Lt 19.8.43 Lt 30.12.43

 

ROBERT JAMES BAIN ROACH

42263 PO Pilot British 266 Squadron

Roach was born on October 25 1919 in Shanghai, where his father was a director of the Shanghai Power Company. R J B Roach attended Palmer’s School, Gray’s, Essex. He was an outstanding athlete, footballer (scoring a hat trick for the Public Schools Xl) and swimmer. Roach joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his ab initio course on May 1 1939, as a pupil pilot. He moved on to 8 FTS, Montrose, for No 12 Course, which ran from July 10 to December 9 1939. He joined 266 Squadron at Sutton Bridge on December 10.

He shared in the destruction of a He 115 floatplane and damaged a Bf 109 on August 15 1940, probably destroyed a Bf 109 on the 16th and shared a Do 17 on September 7. After being hit by return fire from a He 111 on the 11th, Roach baled out over Billericay, from Spitfire N 3244, unhurt. On this day he probably destroyed a He 111. 

In 1946 Roach represented Great Britain, as a sprinter, at the European Championships in Norway.

Roach retired from the RAF on October 25 1965, as a Flight Lieutenant, retaining the rank of Squadron Leader. He became Secretary of Newquay Golf Club in Cornwall, acted as a youth athletics coach in the area and lived at St Columb Minor.  He died in Newquay on September 11 1994.

APO 24.6.39 PO 9.12.39 FO 9.3.41 FL 9.3.42 FL 1.9.45 

 

ALEXANDER HENDRY THOM

114075 Sgt Pilot British 79 and 87 Squadrons

Thom was born on May 25 1919. He began training as a quantity surveyor and joined the RAFVR on June 24 1939, as an Airman u/t Pilot (754243) and began his weekend flying at 11 E&RFTS, Perth.

Called to full-time service at the outbreak of war, he was posted to 3 ITW, Hastings on October 2, moved to 15 EFTS, Redhill on April 29 1940 and then to 15 FTS on June 15, firstly at Brize Norton and later at Chipping Norton.

On September 22 Thom went to 6 OTU, Sutton Bridge and after converting to Hurricanes, he joined 79 Squadron at Pembrey on October 6, moving to 87 Squadron at Exeter on the 30th. He made his first sortie with 87 on November 10 1940.

Thom was still with the squadron during 1941. On July 21 he and Flying Officer G L Roscoe shared in the destruction of a He 111 which crashed into the sea off the Scillies.

On October 20 1941 Thom probably destroyed a He 111 and on the 21st he shared in the destruction of another He 111, this time with Flying Officer E G Musgrove, SE of the Isles of Scilly.

Commissioned in early December 1941, Thom was appointed ‘B’ Flight Commander on July 10 1942 and awarded the DFC (14.8.42).

In November 1942, 87 Squadron went to North Africa. Thom shot a Me 210 down into the sea off Tunisia on April 19 1943. He was posted away on May 7 1943, to be a flying control officer at Bone.

He returned to 87 Squadron, then at Tingley, and took command on June 27 1943. He was again posted away on September 27, this time to return to the UK.

On November 17 Thom became an instructor at 55 OTU, Annan. He moved to 53 OTU, Kirton-in-Lindsey on March 12 1944.

He was appointed Flight Commander, Fighter Affiliation Flight at 84 (Bomber) OTU at Husbands Bosworth on May 19 1944 and remained there until October 10, when he went to RAF Peterhead, as adjutant.

Thom’s final posting was to HQ 13 Group, Inverness on May 8 1945, as a staff officer. He was released from the RAF on December 4 1945, as a Flight Lieutenant.

He qualified as a quantity surveyor and remained in that profession until retirement in the 1980s, eventually holding a senior post with the Western Regional Hospital Board in Scotland. Thom died on January 10 2016.

PO 3.12.41 FO 1.10.42 FL 27.9.43 

 

ROBERT TUDOR THOMAS

754426 Sgt Pilot British 247 Squadron

Thomas joined the RAFVR in June 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot (754426). Called up on September 1, he completed his elementary training at 10 EFTS, Yatesbury and moved on to 3 FTS, South Cerney on No 34 Course, which ran from April 28 to August 3 1940. Thomas arrived at 5 OTU, Aston Down on August 3, converted to Gladiators and then joined 247 Squadron at Roborough on the 14th.

He wrote off Gladiator N 5901 on August 27, after becoming lost while returning to St Eval (which the squadron used at night) from a night patrol over Plymouth. Low on fuel, he attempted to land in fields at Werrington, near Launceston. On the approach the aircraft struck trees, crashed and caught fire. Thomas escaped unhurt.

Returning to St Eval after a night patrol on November 21, Thomas lost his bearings, flew into High Willhays, Dartmoor, well north of his intended course, and was fatally injured, aged 22. He died before rescuers arrived on the scene and found the burnt out remains of the aircraft, with his body nearby. He is buried in St Stephen’s churchyard, Bodfari, Flintshire.