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 and is planning to publish a supplement to the third edition in 2019.
Research into the lives of the Few is ongoing, and the Trust publishes new information, updates and corrections on this website each month.
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 – 18th update, September 2018:
RAYMOND CHARLES ANDRE AEBERHARDT
Updated to show his date of birth, October 22, 1920.
FRANCIS VICTOR BEAMISH
Family details added to show that Beamish’s father was the headmaster of Dunmanway Model School and an author, although his antecedents were in farming. He later became a schools inspector.
JOHN CONNEL FREEBORN
Additonal details of 1939 Court Martial added to show that Freeborn’s ‘Officer’s Friend’ was the barrister Sir Patrick Hastings, KC, who was serving at the time as an intelligence officer at Fighter Command HQ. Sir Patrick attacked the evidence given by the Flight Commander, Flight Lieutenant Malan and later wrote that Freeborn had been “very properly acquitted”.
EDWARD MAURICE GUNTER
Updated to show that his paternal grandfather had been a Royal Navy Chaplain.
BERNARD WALTER HOPTON
Updated to show that he was born in 1920 in Forest Hill, south east London. His father had served in the Royal Sussex Regiment and was shown in the 1939 register as a Solicitor’s Managing Clerk. Details of his grave also added, revealing that Hopton was buried in Ladywell Cemetery, Lewisham, London, in the same grave (section C, grave 720A) as his brother, Clifford Gilbert Hopton (1914-1921). Hopton’s home address at the time of his death was 328 Malden Way, New Malden, Surrey. Probate was granted to his father.
WILLIAM LAURENCE KING
Updated to show that King was born on October 11 1911 in Watford, Hertfordshire. It appears that although his second name was registered as “Laurence”, he and his family later spelled this “Lawrence”. His father was a solicitor.
JOHN CHARLES NEWBERY
Family details added to show that Newbery was born on August 23 1915 at Edmonton, Middlesex. His father, also John Charles, had served in the Royal Flying Corps in the First World War. The 1911 census shows him as a carpenter and joiner in the building trade and in the 1939 register his occupation is recorded as Builder and Contractor. John Charles Newbery’s date and place of death – April 1987, Hertfordshire – also added.
PAUL CLIFFORD WEBB
Post-service details added: After retirement Webb lived at Knighton, Radnorshire. He was a keen fisherman and a member of the Leintwardine (Herefordshire) fishing club. He also was an enthusiastic shot and a member of a local syndicate. He remained extremely fit to the end of his life and was a prominent deer stalker.
ALEXANDER NELSON ROBIN LANGLEY APPLEFORD
42736 PO Pilot British 66 Squadron and 421 Flt
Appleford was born on September 16 1921 near Murree, then in India, now in Pakistan. His father was a Flying Officer in the RAF and had previously served in the RFC. He later served in the Pioneer Corps and was a Major when he died in 1941.
Among Battle of Britain Spitfire pilots with a confirmed date of birth, A N R L Appleford is the youngest.
As a candidate for a short service commission he began his ab initio training at 12 E&RFTS, Prestwick on August 8 1939.
After a short induction course at No 1 RAF Depot, Uxbridge he was posted to 11 FTS, Shawbury on September 26.
With his training completed Appleford joined 66 Squadron at Duxford on May 13 1940.
He was shot down over the Thames Estuary on September 4 and baled out, slightly wounded. His Spitfire, P9316, crashed near Howe Green Farm, Purleigh, Essex. He was sent on seven days sick leave.
Appleford was occasionally attached to 421 Flight. On October 17 1940 he carried out a W/T test and on November 9 he flew a patrol with 421.
Posted from 66 Squadron on December 13 1940, Appleford went to 8 FTS, Montrose for an instructor’s course, after which he was posted to Southern Rhodesia, to instruct at 22 SFTS, Gwelo.
He was hospitalised on November 3 1941, firstly in Nairobi and then Durban until mid-April 1942. Appleford went north and joined the Aircraft Delivery Unit, Cairo on June 2, staying with it until January 10 1943, when he was posted to 274 Squadron, Benghazi, to fly Hurricanes on coastal defence.
His tour completed, Appleford was posted to 71 OTU, Ismailia, as an instructor. After six weeks he returned to the Aircraft Delivery Unit and on November 15 1943 he went south again to the Central Flying School, Bloemfontein. From early February 1944 until May 1945 Appleford instructed at Air Schools in South Africa. He returned to Britain on July 1 1945 and joined 587 Squadron at Weston Zoyland on August 24.
Robin Appleford was released from the RAF in August 1946 as a Flight Lieutenant. He later worked as a sales manager and lived in Henley-on-Thames.
Appleford died on April 17 2012 in Shiplake, near Henley-on-Thames.
His brother, Sergeant Alexander Horatio Nelson Appleford, RAFVR, a u/t pilot, died on September 8 1940, aged 24. He was serving at 10 FTS, Ternhill and was receiving low flying dual instruction from Sergeant J M Cockburn,in Anson N5244, accompanied by another u/t pilot, Sergeant V C Brooke. The aircraft crashed at Springfield Farm, Ercall Heath, Shropshire, with no survivors.
According to the findings of the Court of Enquiry: “The aircraft was seen to be flying very low. It made a sudden steep climb to about 300 feet and as it flattened out it fell into a steep turning dive and struck the ground vertically. The aircraft was too badly wrecked to ascertain whether any structural defect had occurred in the airframe or engines.”
The court found that the crash occurred “due to the instructor either allowing one of his pupils or himself to stall the aeroplane at a height from which normal recovery was not possible without striking the ground”.
An eye witness suggested that the steep climb was attempted to avoid a tree.
APO 9.10.39 PO 18.5.40 FO 18.5.41 FL 18.5.42
EDWARD CHRISTOPHER DEANESLY
90251 FL Pilot British 152 Squadron
Deanesly was born on January 27 1910 in Wolverhampton, son of a surgeon. The family name had been Sly but his grandfather (who served as Mayor of Wolverhampton) disliked it and when he married Miss Deane the names were combined. E C Deanesly was educated at Wellington College. He was commissioned in the 6th Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (TA) on December 31 1930, as a 2nd Lieutenant.
He resigned this commission and joined 605 Squadron, AAF in early 1937 and he was then commissioned on March 18.
Embodied on August 24 1939, Deanesly was posted to 152 Squadron, when it was reformed at Acklington on October 1. He was still with the squadron in early July 1940.
On the 25th he shared a Do17 and a Ju87. His Spitfire, K9901, was damaged by return fire from a Ju87, which punctured his glycol tank. He ditched in the Channel S of Portland, was picked up by the SS Empire Henchman, landed at Lyme Regis and admitted to hospital, wounded. He was operational again by August 25. He was put in charge of the committee of adjustment established following the death in action of Pilot Officer R M Hogg (qv). Deanesly handed over Hogg’s car to his father who came to Warmwell to collect it.
Deanesly was shot down again on September 26, during a combat with Bf 109s twelve miles S of the Needles and baled out wounded. He was rescued by a Royal Navy launch and landed at Swanage. His Spitfire, K 9982, crashed into the Channel.
After a spell in hospital and convalescence at the Palace Hotel, Torquay, Deanesly arrived at St Eval Fighter Sector HQ on December 15 1940 from 152 Squadron at Warmwell, on temporary duty as a Fighter Controller.
On November 23 1940, 256 Squadron had been reformed at Catterick as a night-fighter unit and Deanesly joined it in early 1941, as a Flight Commander.
Over the Birmingham area during the night of April 10/11 1941, Deanesly, with Sergeant W J Scott as his gunner, destroyed a He111, on May 3/4, they shot down a Ju88 over Merseyside and a Do17, which crashed in North Wales and on May 7/8 they downed a He111 over Manchester, which fell at Hazel Grove, Cheshire, on the edge of what is now Stockport Golf Club, with the crew baling out and becoming PoWs. Deanesly was awarded the DFC (30.5.41) and Scott the DFM. They were decorated by the King in October.
Deanesly took command of 256 in September 1941 and led it until April 1942. He commanded RAF Castle Camps until October, being then posted to West Africa, where he was involved with maintaining the aircraft ferry route from Takoradi to Egypt.
After commanding 298 Wing in the Middle East from January to August 1943, Deanesly took over 114 Wing until March 1944, when he was posted back to the UK. He became CFI at 107 OTU, Leicester East, training pilots on Dakotas, for paratroop and glider-towing operations.
Deanesly took command of 575 Squadron in December 1944, a Dakota unit. He took part in the Rhine crossings in March 1945, towing a glider. He was released from the RAF in September 1945, as a Wing Commander. He began a plastics company in Birmingham and eventually employed around 150 people. Deanesly’s interests included skiing (sometimes with his former 152 comrade, Roger Hall), sailing, squash and reading. In his last years he was badly affected by arthritis.
Christopher Deanesly died on February 19 1998. He was a big man for a fighter pilot and was given the nickname “Jumbo” on 152 Squadron. At his funeral the comment was made, “Some of us wondered how so large a man could tuck himself into the comparatively small cockpit [of a Spitfire], perform so well and then extricate himself after landing in the sea.” He had met his wife to be at Warmwell. She was a WAAF officer.
PO (AAF) 18.3.37 FO (AAF) 21.11.38 FO 24.8.39 FL 3.9.40 SL 1.12.41
HENRY ALGERNON VICKERS HOGAN
26181 SL Pilot British 501 Squadron
Born on October 25 1909, Hogan was educated at Malvern College and entered RAF College, Cranwell in January 1929, as a Flight Cadet. He represented the College at cricket, association football, athletics, hockey and squash. He graduated in December 1930, with a Permanent Commission, and joined 54 Squadron at Hornchurch.
In March 1932 Hogan was posted to the Fleet Air Arm at Leuchars. On November 9 he joined 404 (Fleet Fighter) Flight at Netheravon, operating at sea from HMS Courageous.
On May 2 1933 he moved to 800 Squadron. In July 1934 Hogan was posted to CFS, Upavon for a course, after which he went to No 1 FTS, Leuchars, to instruct Naval and Army officers. He returned to CFS on August 31 1936, to join the staff there.
On January 3 1938 Hogan was posted to No 1 Bomber Group Long Range Development Unit and took part in the RAF Long Distance Flight to Australia in November 1938, flying one of the three Wellesleys.
He joined ‘P’ staff at the Air Ministry in January 1939, then became CFI at 15 FTS, Lossiemouth, when it was formed on May 1 1939, and moved with it to Middle Wallop in May 1940.
Hogan went to 6 OTU, Sutton Bridge on June 6, for a refresher course and to convert to Hurricanes. He went to 501 Squadron at Croydon on June 25, as a supernumerary Squadron Leader, and assumed command of the squadron on the 29th.
He claimed a Bf109 destroyed on July 20, damaged Do17s on August 12 and 16, damaged a Bf110 on the 18th, shared a Do17 on the 27th and destroyed a He111 on the 30th. Hogan claimed a Bf109 probably destroyed on September 17 and next day he was himself shot down in combat with He111s and Bf109s over West Malling. He baled out, unhurt and his Hurricane, V6620, crashed near Charing.
On the 27th Hogan shared a Bf110, on October 5 destroyed a Bf110, on the 7th shared a Bf109, on the 12th and 15th destroyed Bf109s and on the 27th probably another. He was awarded the DFC (25.10.40).
On November 6 1940 Hogan went to Grangemouth, to form 58 OTU but the airfield was not ready, so he went to Church Fenton on the 25th, to form 54 OTU, returning to Grangemouth on December 29 1940.
Hogan went to the USA in June 1941, to set up pilot training there. In August 1942, in Washington with the RAF Delegations, he was made Director of Flying Training RAF in the USA, as a Group Captain.
He returned to the UK in late 1943 and in December was made Chief Instructor at the Empire Central Flying School, Hullavington. In April 1945 he became CO of 19 FTS, when it was formed at Cranwell.
He went to RAF Staff College at Haifa in April 1946. He served at the Air Ministry, was Senior Personnel Staff Officer, Middle East Air Force, OC, RAF Wattisham, AOC Northern Sector, Fighter Command, AOC No 81 and No 83 Groups, SASO at HQ Flying Training Command and held posts in Ghana. He was made CB (1955), Hogan retired on April 29 1962 as an Air Vice-Marshal. His portrait was drawn by Cuthbert Orde. His name is on a memorial plaque at Malvern College.
Hogan died on June 28 1993.
PO 20.12.30 FO 20.6.32 FL 1.4.36 SL 1.12.38 WC 1.3.41 GC 1.1.44 GC 1.7.47 AC 1.7.53
LAURENCE ROBERT KARASEK
581460 Sgt Wop/AG British 23 Squadron
He was born Laurence Robert Karesek on October 1 1916 in Wandsworth. His father worked in engineering. His paternal grandfather had been born in Bohemia, then part of the Austrian Empire. By the time of the 1938 electoral register and the 1939 register members of the family were using the spelling “Karasek”.
Karasek joined the RAF about July 1939, as a direct-entry Airman u/t Observer. He went to 7 B&GS from ITW on November 25 1939. He was withdrawn from No 2 Air Observer Course on December 30 1939, after failing on navigation training.
Since direct-entry Airmen u/t Observers received their wireless training before B&GS, Karasek would have remustered as a Wop/AG. He joined 23 Squadron at Collyweston in June 1940.
On June 18, during a major Luftwaffe attack, an element of He111s from KG4 crossed the Norfolk coast near Wells-next-the-Sea and 23 Squadron Blenheims were ordered to engage. From a standing patrol Sergeant A C Close with his gunner, LAC Karasek, headed east in Blenheim L1458 and intercepted a He111, caught in a searchlight beam, in the vicinity of King’s Lynn. The Blenheim was also caught in the beam and hit by return fire as it attacked the bomber. Close was fatally wounded.
Karasek managed to bale out just before the aircraft crashed and he and Close were rushed to the sick quarters at RAF Sutton Bridge, where Close was pronounced dead.
Karasek was a member of the crew of Blenheim L8639 on September 25. The Captain, Pilot Officer E Orgias, was manoeuvring to land at Middle Wallop, with flaps and undercarriage lowered, when the aircraft stalled and crashed near Broughton, Hampshire and all aboard were killed, Karasek, Orgias and AC 2 R I Payne, radar operator.
Karasek was 23. He is buried in St Peter’s churchyard, Over Wallop, Hampshire.
The official report into the crash that caused his death stated, “ From the trail of evidence on the ground – namely a battered cylinder, then a frayed steel cable, and finally the crashed engine with these items missing – we came to the conclusion that for some reason the bolts holding the top cylinder of the radial Mercury engine had become lose. Then the pounding of the piston in the loose cylinder eventually broke the steel cable at the front of the motor allowing the huge top and bottom cowlings to open out suddenly forming an overpowering brake on one side of the aircraft, altogether beyond the control of the pilot. The cowlings of the Mercury were held on by steel cables clamped tightly around at the front and the rear of the motor.”
KENNETH WILLIAM MACKENZIE
84017 PO Pilot British 43 and 501 Squadrons
Born in Belfast on June 8 1916, Mackenzie was educated at the Methodist College. He started an engineering apprenticeship at Harland and Wolff. He studied for an engineering degree at Queen’s University, Belfast.
In 1935 Mackenzie learned to fly at the North of Ireland Aero Club at Newtownards and in early 1939 joined the RAFVR as an Airman u/t Pilot (745455) and did his flying at 24 E&RFTS at Sydenham.
Called up at the outbreak of war, Mackenzie was sent to 3 ITW, Hastings on December 28 1939. He moved to 5 EFTS, Hanworth on February 25 1940 and then to 3 FTS, South Cerney on May 25.
With his training completed, Mackenzie was posted to 6 OTU, Sutton Bridge on August 30, to convert to Hurricanes. He joined 43 Squadron at Usworth on September 21. After sixteen training flights and two operational patrols, Mackenzie was posted to 501 Squadron at Kenley on the 29th.
He shared in the destruction of a Ju88 on October 4, claimed a Bf109 destroyed on the 5th and another destroyed and a second shared on the 7th. The Bf109 destroyed on this day was attacked by Mackenzie with no apparent result. He followed it down to almost sea level and when it did not ditch he struck the tailplane with one of his wings and the enemy fighter crashed into the sea. Mackenzie then made a forced-landing at Hope Farm, west of Capel-le-Ferne, outside Folkestone, in Hurricane V6799, with slight facial injuries.
On October 25 Mackenzie claimed a Bf109 destroyed, another shared and another damaged. In a later patrol that day he was in collision with Pilot Officer V Goth of 501, as he manoeuvred his section to attack a formation of Bf109s.
Mackenzie was awarded the DFC (25.10.40). On October 27, 29 and 30 he claimed Bf109s destroyed, on November 8 a Bf109 destroyed, on the 12th a Ju88 shared and on the 15th a Bf109 destroyed and another damaged.
Mackenzie was posted to 247 Squadron at Predannack on June 19 1941, as a Flight Commander. He destroyed a Ju88 at night on July 6/7 and a He111 at night over a convoy on the 12/13th.
On September 29 Mackenzie led a strafing attack on Lannion airfield in Brittany. Mackenzie’s aircraft was hit by heavy flak from the ground defences and ditched in the sea. He took to his dinghy, paddled to the shore and was captured.
On his way to a PoW camp, Mackenzie gave his guard the slip on a crowded Paris railway station but was soon recaptured. At Oflag VIB at Warburg, northern Germany, which was predominantly an army camp, escape attempts were a major industry and Mackenzie joined the tunnelling team. Working 24 hours a day they reached the perimeter wire but flooding prevented further work until the spring. On the resumption in April 1942, Mackenzie was fortunate not to be buried alive when a ton of clay fell from the roof. He just managed to scramble clear. When rumours were circulating that the PoWs were to be transferred to another camp, the prisoners decided to risk breaking open the tunnel early. As the first prisoner crawled from the tunnel exit a guard spotted him.
Mackenzie and a colleague decided to build a one-use tunnel from a ditch close to the perimeter fence. A diversion was set up and the two men reached the ditch unseen. Hiding under blankets they waited for nightfall when they planned to dig a shallow tunnel under the wire.
As darkness arrived a guard was seen taking a close interest in the area so another diversion was created and the two men were recalled into the compound. A few weeks later, Mackenzie was transferred to Stalag Luft III at Sagan.
Over a long period he feigned madness and developed a severe stammer for the purpose, which he never completely lost.
Mackenzie was repatriated to the UK in October 1944, arriving at Liverpool on the 10th.
He was posted to 53 OTU, Kirton-in-Lindsey on December 19, as an instructor. On June 17 1945 Mackenzie went to 61 OTU, Keevil, as a Flight Commander.
In July 1951 he was posted to command the Meteor fighter wing at Stradishall, Suffolk, where he was also the chief instructor. He was awarded the AFC on January 1 1953.
In 1965 he was serving in Kenya when Ian Smith declared UDI in Southern Rhodesia. The following year the RAF mounted a major airlift of fuel into Zambia and Mackenzie served in the hastily-created headquarters in Lusaka where he remained for three months.
Mackenzie retired from the RAF on July 1 1967 as a Wing Commander. He was invited to join the Zambian Air Force as the deputy commander, a post he held until April 1970. He was then Managing Director of Air Kenya until his retirement in 1973, when he moved to Cyprus before returning to the UK in 2000.
He died on June 4 2009.
PO 24.8.40 FO 24.8.41 FL 24.8.42 SL 1.8.47 WC 1.1.54
ROBIN JOHN McNAIR
112522 Sgt Pilot British 3 and 249 Squadrons
McNair was born on May 21 1918 in London and he was educated at Gaveney House School, Hampstead and Douai School in Berkshire. He was an outstanding cricket and rugby player. In later life he would be President of the Douai Society.
He joined the RAFVR in March 1939, as an Airman u/t Pilot (745416) and he began his flying training at 16 E&RFTS, Shoreham.
Called up on September 1 1939, he completed his training and arrived at 5 OTU, Aston Down on July 7 1940. He converted to Spitfires and joined 3 Squadron at Wick on July 28, where he flew Hurricanes.
On September 28 McNair was posted to 249 Squadron at North Weald. He went to 96 Squadron when it was formed at Cranage on December 18. He destroyed a He111 over Liverpool on March 12 1941. With his tour completed, McNair was posted to a night-fighter OTU as an instructor.
He was commissioned in November 1941. In early 1942 McNair joined 87 Squadron at Charmy Down and flew with the squadron in the Dieppe operation on August 19.
He was awarded the DFC (22.9.42). In October he was posted to 245 Squadron at Middle Wallop and became a Flight Commander in early 1943.
McNair was given command of 247 Squadron at Merston in January 1944 and led the squadron to Normandy in June. Whilst leading it on an armed reconnaissance in July, his Typhoon was hit by flak and his engine failed. McNair glided over enemy lines through intense fire and landed in a field. He was posted away in August, became CFI at 55 OTU, Aston Down and was awarded a Bar to the DFC (26.9.44).
In 1945 McNair converted to Meteors and was in command of 74 Squadron, when he was released from the RAF in January 1946. He worked briefly for the Ministry of Civil Aviation and then joined BEA, being based initially in Frankfurt and then Geneva. He moved to the head office in London in 1951. From 1967 to 1977 he was Sales and Services Manager and a Deputy General Manager. He retired in 1979 after two years as Ground Services Manager covering southern and western Europe.
He died on May 18 1996.
PO 26.11.41 FO 1.10.42 FL 26.11.43
GEOFFREY CHARLES MATHESON
39363 FL Pilot British 222 Squadron
Matheson was born on June 22 1912 in Bushey, Hertfordshire. His father, Charles George Matheson, reached the rank of Commodore in the Royal Navy.
On March 12 1917 Lieutenant Commander C G Matheson was commanding Q 19, HMS Privet (the former merchantman, Island Queen), when it engaged and sank a U-boat with gunfire. A number of decorations were awarded to the crew of Privet. The citation for Matheson’s DSO stated that: “The gallant manner in which he fought and handled his ship under great difficulties was most praiseworthy. The action reflected great credit on everyone concerned. Their Lordships’ appreciation expressed to Lt Commander Matheson, officers and men for the manner in which they carried out their duties.” In the 1939 register Commodore Matheson was shown as a Master Mariner (retired) living in Fleet, Hampshire. Sir Charles George Matheson, KCG, DSO died on May 24 1948.
A brother of Charles George, Arthur Harold Matheson, became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1908. The Institution’s list of members for 1916 shows his address as Admiralty Works Department, RN Air Station, Cranwell, nr Sleaford, Lincs.
G C Matheson was described as a student (motor engineering) when he obtained a flying certificate (flying a Miles Hawk) at the Phillips & Powis School of Flying, Woodley, Berkshire on January 17 1935. His address at that time was Yew Gate, Remenham Hill, Henley-on-Thames.
He joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his ab initio course on October 12 1936. Matheson was posted to 10 FTS, Ternhill on January 16 1937 and with the course completed, he joined 41 Squadron at Catterick on August 7 1937.
On March 20 1939 Matheson joined 19 Squadron at Duxford from 41. On February 1 1940 he went to the Photographic Development Unit at Heston but rejoined 19 Squadron one week later.
Matheson was with 222 Squadron at Hornchurch by June 3 1940, as ‘A’ Flight Commander, with the rank of Acting Flight Lieutenant. He claimed a Bf 109 destroyed on August 30 but was then shot down himself and made a crash-landing near Sittingbourne, in Spitfire P9443, injured.
His next sortie was made on September 21. On September 30 he was again shot down, crash-landing near Sittingbourne. The aircraft later exploded but he was unhurt.
On August 24 1943 Matheson was killed, as a Squadron Leader with 418 Squadron, operating in Mosquitos from Ford. He failed to return from a night intruder sortie to Orleans and Chateaudun. His navigator, Sergeant Laurence Wortley Bush, was also lost. Both are remembered on the Runnymede Memorial on Panels 118 and 144 respectively.
G C Matheson had two brothers, Ian H Matheson, who was an RAF officer during the Second World War, and Bryan A R Matheson who was an actor during the war. His career in that field developed again late in life and he appeared in such TV programmes as Tales of the Unexpected, The Bill, Casualty, Brookside, Poirot and Midsomer Murders. He died in 2017.
APO 6.1.37 PO 12.10.37 FO 12.7.39 FL 3.9.40 SL 1.12.41
WILLIAM RONALD NOWELL
Sub-Lieutenant (FAA) Pilot British 804 Squadron
Nowell was born on March 26 1916 in Richmond, Surrey. His father, at the time of his marriage in 1908, was a Commercial Traveller. He served in the Army in the First World War. W R Nowell carried out his elementary flying training at 23 E&RFTS, Rochester. He moved on to No 1 FTS, Leuchars for No 5 Course, which ran from September 4 1939 to January 13 1940.
He joined 804 Squadron at Hatston on June 16, flying Sea Gladiators on dockyard defence. On July 14 Nowell was told to be at Abbotsinch on the 20th, with tropical kit. He embarked on the carrier HMS Argus on the 20th and it sailed from Greenock on the 23rd, with twelve Hurricanes and two Skuas aboard, heading for Gibraltar.
From there, on the 31st, the carrier sailed for Malta, heavily escorted. At dawn on August 2, the Hurricanes took off in two groups of six, each led by a Skua, flown by an RAF pilot and navigated in one case, by a marine pilot and in the other by a naval pilot, Nowell. His Skua crashed on landing at Luqa but both he and his pilot were unhurt.
Nowell and the marine pilot, Captain K L Ford, were attached to 431 Flight, to crew the undamaged Skua on reconnaissance sorties but it proved unsuitable for the task.
Nowell returned to Gibraltar in mid-November. He led another six Hurricanes off the Argus on the 17th, again in a Skua but this time as pilot. Two of the Hurricanes were lost en route, when their fuel was exhausted.
In 1943 Nowell was with 820 Squadron, in 1950 he was SO (Air) in HMS Daedalus, in 1953 he was in HMS Eagle and in 1954 was in 750 Squadron at Culdrose.
He retired on July 29 1958 as a Lieutenant-Commander. Nowell died on December 2 1976.
Actg Sub-Lt 13.3.39 Sub-Lt 14.3.40 Lt 13.9.41 Actg Lt-Cdr 1944 Lt-Cdr 13.9.49
STANLEY HEWITT SKINNER
90210 FL Pilot British 604 Squadron
Skinner was born in 1911 in Finchley, Middlesex. His father would later be the proprietor of the firm publishing Skinner’s trade directories. In 1968 the father became Sir (Thomas) Gordon Skinner, third Baronet. He had served as an officer in the RAF in the last months of the Great War. S H Skinner joined 604 Squadron, AAF in 1934 and was commissioned. He was called to full-time service on August 25 1939 and was appointed ‘A’ Flight Commander on March 28 1940. He served with 604 throughout the Battle of Britain.
On August 19 1942 Skinner, now an Acting Wing Commander, was serving as RAF Observer at Combined Operations Headquarters.
He was aboard the Hunt class destroyer HMS Berkeley when it gave supporting fire for troops ashore during the raid on Dieppe. The ship was turning away when it was hit by a bomb from a German aircraft and badly damaged. There were a number of deaths including Skinner. Berkeley could not be saved and was torpedoed and sunk by another Hunt class destroyer, HMS Albrighton (which would serve as a training ship in the West German Navy between 1957 and 1968).
Skinner’s body was not recovered. He was 31 and his name is on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 64.
PO (AAF) 24.7.34 FO (AAF) 16.3.36 FO 25.8.39 FL 12.3.40 SL 1.6.41
Updated/new information – 17th update, August 2018:
DOUGLAS ROBERT STEUART BADER
Additional information added regarding his sporting achievements:
Bader was an outstanding sportsman. At St Edward’s he played in the rugby union 1st XV at scrum half in 1925 and at centre in 1926 and 1927. The history of the school, published in 1962, described him as “one of the outstanding boy players” of the era. He also appeared in school teams at cricket, showing ability as a batsman, bowler and fielder.
At Cranwell he represented the college at cricket, rugby union (captain), athletics, shooting, boxing and hockey. He played rugby for Harlequins, Surrey and the RAF, with the 1962 St Edward’s history commenting that “he was considered to be well in the running for a cap [for England] when he met with his tragic accident”.
After the war he achieved a golf handicap of two.
WILLIAM JOHN NEVILLE
Updated to show that Neville was born in Shepperton, Middlesex on January 7 1914. His father (born 1874) is shown in the 1939 register as a retired engineer. Father and son were both shown as living at Cinder Ash, Gaston Bridge Road, Sunbury on Thames, Middlesex, with the son’s occupation shown as “licensed ground engineer”.
WILLIAM GETHIN OWEN
Updated to show that Owen was born on June 23 1910 in Birmingham. His father is listed in the 1911 census as an electrician (railway carriage works) and in the 1939 register as a foreman electrician. W G Owen gave his address for the 1939 electoral register as 84 Rushmore Road, Moseley, Birmingham. Also updated with details of his death on December 2 1987 at Little Silver, Monmouth County, New Jersey, USA.
44458 PO Pilot British 235 Squadron
Coggins was born in 1913 in Barnet, Hertfordshire. His father is shown in the 1939 register as a butler. John Coggins went to Nacton Voluntary School, Suffolk. He joined the RAF, as an Aircraft Apprentice, in September 1929 (563631) and passed out on August 19 1932 as a Fitter, Aero Engines.
He later applied for pilot training and became a Sergeant Pilot. Coggins served in Palestine in the 1930s and was awarded the DFM (22.11.38) and Bar (14.4.39) for gallant and distinguished services there.
He joined 235 Squadron on June 2 1940 and was commissioned in August. In September an aircraft carrying a full load of bombs crashed among other aircraft and burst into flames. Coggins, Flying Officer J H Laughlin (qv) and another officer immediately ran to these aircraft, started the engines and taxied them away. During this time two of the bombs exploded. Three aircraft were taken to safety without damage and a fourth sustained only minor damage. The courage of Coggins and Laughlin was recognised with an MBE each (21.1.41). Coggins would never receive his.
On December 16 1940 he was captain of Blenheim Z5754 on a minesweeper escort operation. He and his crew, Pilot Officer N A Sadler, observer, and Sergeant P R Prosser, air gunner (qv), were lost when the aircraft crashed into the sea, cause unknown.
Coggins was 27 years old. He is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 7. His name is also on the war memorial at Nacton, where it is recorded that he was one of The Few.
His brother, Flying Officer William Roger Coggins, RAFVR, is also on the Nacton memorial. He died on December 16 1943 (the third anniversary of the death of John Coggins) while serving with No 255 Squadron, and is buried in Bari War Cemetery, Italy.
EDWARD CHRISTOPHER HATTON
930965 Sgt Air Gunner British 604 Squadron
Hatton was born on May 7 1910 in Streatham. His father appears in the 1911 Census as a commercial traveller for a brewery. E C Hatton was educated at Whitgift School, Croydon. He enlisted in the RAFVR in early 1940.
He was with 604 Squadron by June 6 1940, as an LAC Air Gunner. He flew one operational sortie during the Battle of Britain, on October 11, by which time he held the rank of Sergeant.
With the advent of Beaufighters and airborne interception, many air gunners were posted away to bomber squadrons. Hatton’s name last appears in the 604 ORB on October 26 1940.
He joined 149 Squadron at Mildenhall at some later date, to operate in Wellingtons. Hatton failed to return from an operation to Berlin on September 8 1941, in Wellington X 9705. He and five other crew members are buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany. Hatton is remembered on a memorial plaque at Whitgift School.
The other members of the Wellington’s crew were: Sergeant S D Chamberlain, Sergeant J M Dixon, RCAF, Sergeant G W Fenton, Sergeant M McL Keswick, RCAF, Sergeant W R Malkemus, RCAF.
90257 FO Pilot British 605 Squadron
Born in Kings Norton, Worcestershire on July 18 1913, Hope was related, on his mother Bertha’s side, to Joseph, Austen and Neville Chamberlain. The 1939 register shows Bertha Hope as having private means. She was a member of a local education authority and an organiser for the Women’s Voluntary Service.
Ralph Hope’s father, Henry Donald Hope (known as Donald), was managing director of Henry Hope & Sons Ltd, manufacturer of window frames and other metal components, based in Smethwick, Staffordshire.
Ralph Hope was educated at Eton and New College, Oxford. He won his rowing blue in 1935. He was at bow in the University Boat Race that year when Cambridge won comfortably, the official distance being four and a half lengths.
In 1936 Hope joined the family firm. He went to the firm’s subsidiary in Jamestown, New York in September 1937. Hope started flying there and returned to the UK in 1938 with his pilot’s license.
Hope joined 605 Squadron, AAF, at Castle Bromwich soon after his return. He was called to full-time service on August 24 1939 and on September 11 he was detached to 11 Group Pool, St Athan, for further training and conversion to Hurricanes.
On May 9 1940 Hope shared in destroying a Do17 off Dunnet Head. He was shot down on September 28 by Bf 109s over Ticehurst, Sussex and baled out. His Hurricane, P3828, crashed at Bewl Bridge, Lamberhurst, Kent. He was sent on a week’s sick leave and flew again on October 11.
On October 14 Hope flew into the Inner Artillery Zone during a patrol. He crashed and was killed, either by striking a balloon cable or as a result of anti-aircraft fire. His Hurricane, P3107, crashed in Tennison Road, South Norwood.
Hope was cremated at St John’s Crematorium, Woking. His name appears on the war memorial in the cloisters at New College.
Hope’s sister, Bertha Margaret (born 1902, known as Margaret) married in 1921 John Henry Godfrey, who was a Royal Navy officer who had served in the Gallipoli campaign. He commanded the battle cruiser HMS Repulse in the Mediterranean (1936-1938), including protection of international shipping from aggressive actions by both sides in the Spanish Civil War. At the end of this appointment he was made CB earlier than was considered usual.
From 1939 to 1942 Godfrey was Director Naval Intelligence. From 1943 to 1946 he was Flag Officer Commanding Royal Indian Navy and retired from the Royal Navy with the rank of Admiral. His wife headed the Indian Women’s Voluntary Service. While he was at Naval Intelligence one of Godfrey’s subordinates was Commander Ian Fleming. It is sometimes claimed that Godfrey was a model for the spy chief “M” in the “James Bond” novels subsequently written by Fleming.
PO (AAF) 12.6.38 PO 24.8.39 FO 10.12.39
IAN ROBERTSON PARKER
90335 WC Pilot British 611 Squadron
Parker was born in Aigburth, Lancashire, now a Liverpool suburb, on October 27 1902. His father, one of whose brothers married into the Bowes-Lyon family, is shown in the 1911 census as a West India Merchant.
I R Parker was educated at Eton. He was awarded Aero Certificate 8515 at the Liverpool & District Aero Club on February 27 1929, his occupation being recorded as sugar planter & merchant. He qualified for the certificate flying an Avro Avian Mk lV. At that time his address was 3 Cook Street, Liverpool. Parker also flew with the RAFO in the early thirties and took part in the King’s Cup Race in 1930.
He was commissioned in Class ‘AA’ (section ii) of the RAFO in October 1931, transferred to Class ‘C’ on October 9 1932 and transferred back to Class ‘AA’ on May 1933.
When 610 Squadron, AAF, was formed at Hooton Park on February 10 1936, he was given command. The squadron was then a light bomber unit, flying Harts. Parker relinquished his commission in the RAFO and was commissioned in the AAF.
On January 1 1939, 610 was transferred to Fighter Command and Parker continued to command until January 7 1940, when he was promoted and posted away to be Station Commander at RAF Digby, as an Acting Wing Commander. At the outbreak of war his home address had been Oak Cottage, Brookhouse Road, Bromborough, Cheshire.
When 611 Squadron was at Digby in August 1940, Parker flew an operational sortie with it on the 21st and thus qualified for the Battle of Britain Clasp. He flew with Green section to patrol Mablethorpe at 11,000 feet. A He 111 was intercepted ten miles NE. Green 2, Pilot Officer C H MacFie and Green 3, Sergeant S A Levenson, both opened fire and damaged the enemy aircraft.
Parker was released from the RAF in 1945, as a Group Captain, and made OBE (1.1.46). In December 1947 he was appointed Honorary Air Commodore in the AAF, immediately before it was renamed RAuxAF.
He had inherited Little Cumbrae, a 684 acre island in the Firth of Clyde with a lighthouse, in 1936, although he retained the Bromborough address. He died on Little Cumbrae on December 23 1959 and is buried on the island.
PO (RAFO) 9.10.31 FO (RAFO) 9.4.33 SL (AAF) 10.2.36 SL 24.8.39 WC 1.1.40 GC 1.7.43 Hon AC (AAF) 8.12.47
PETER KENNETH WALLEY
819018 Sgt Pilot British 615 Squadron
Walley was born in Barnes, Surrey on November 29 1919. His father had served in the Machine Gun Corps and then the Royal Tank Regiment in the First World War. He died in 1933 and some family members believed this might have been as a result of being gassed.
P K Walley attended Wandsworth School in Sutherland Grove, Southfields. His home was in the same street. He became an apprentice toolmaker.
He joined the AAF in March 1938, as an Aircrafthand and Air Gunner. In August he transferred to 615 Squadron at Kenley and by the time he was called up at the outbreak of war he had been selected for pilot training.
When the squadron moved to Croydon at the outbreak of war, Walley remained at Kenley. He was formally posted from 615 to RAF Kenley on October 3 1939 and from there to 5 EFTS, Meir on the 21st, for his elementary flying training.
Walley did his intermediate and advanced training at 3 FTS, South Cerney on No 33 Course, which ran from March 25 to July 11 1940. He rejoined 615, then back at Kenley, on July 13 and was immediately detached to 5 OTU, Aston Down. After converting to Hurricanes he rejoined 615 Squadron on July 27.
He was again detached, this time to RAF Uxbridge on the 30th, for a short course on R/T procedure, rejoining 615 on August 6. Walley was briefly attached to the Kenley Sector Training Flight and was then assigned to ‘A’ Flight of 615 on August 8.
He shared in damaging a Do17 on the 14th and shared in the probable destruction of a He111 on August 16. Two days later Walley was shot down and killed by Bf109s of JG 3.
He was 20 and is buried in St Luke’s churchyard, Whyteleafe, Surrey. There is a memorial plaque to Walley at Merton Technical College.
A letter was written by the Morden Lodge of the The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes to the Secretary of State for Air and forwarded to Walley’s mother. In it Walley was praised for avoiding what could have been a “terrible calamity” in that “By what must have been to this gallant airman a super human effort, he managed to lift his crashing ‘plane sufficient to miss by what seemed inches, the homes of the men maimed in the last war.” These men were living in what are now known as Haig Homes, established as a memorial to Field Marshal Earl Haig.
A letter written to Walley’s mother by the CO of 615, Squadron Leader J R Kayll, included the words: “Although your son had not been with the squadron very long he succeeded in making himself very popular and was a keen and willing pilot. I had intended to recommend him for a commission as soon as he had got a little more experience.”
Updated/new information – 16th update, July 2018:
MINDEN VAUGHAN BLAKE
Amended to show correct spelling of place of birth – Eketahuna, a rural town at the foot of the Tararua Ranges in the North Island of New Zealand. Additional information added to show that “Mindy” Blake was an accomplished golfer, although he did not take up the game until he was 34. He wrote Golf Swing of the Future, a book published in 1972.
JOHN WILLIAM BROADHURST
Early life details added to show that Broadhurst was born in Woolwich, south east London in June 1917. His father appears in the 1911 census as a “Fitter (Government Dockyard)” and in the 1939 register as “Inspector Engineers”. At that time he was living in Mayplace Road East, Dartford, Kent.
THOMAS FRANCIS NEIL
Date of death, July 11 2018, added.
GEOFFREY HARRIS AUGUSTUS WELLUM
Date of death, July 18 2018, added.
HUGH RICHARD ADEN BERESFORD
37150 FL Pilot British 257 Squadron
Born at Ampthill, Bedfordshire in 1915, Beresford was the son of the Rector of Hoby, Leicestershire.
He joined the RAF on a short service commission in February 1935 and, after completing his training, was posted to 3 Squadron at Port Sudan on March 6 1936.
Beresford returned to the UK with the squadron in August 1936 and on April 1 1937 he was posted to the staff of No 1 Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit at Biggin Hill. On October 4 he was appointed Personal Assistant to the AOC 11 Group.
On May 14 1940 Beresford was posted from 11 Group. He was briefly attached to CFS for a short refresher course, after which he joined the newly-reformed 257 Squadron at Hendon, as a Flight Commander, on May 17.
Beresford probably destroyed a Bf 110 on August 12, shared in destroying a He 111 on the 18th and claimed a Bf 110 on the 31st.
In Hurricane P 3049, Beresford was shot down in combat over the Thames Estuary on September 7. The aircraft crashed at Elmley, Spitend Point, Sheppey and he was reported ‘Missing’.
Excavations in 1979 revealed that his remains were still in the cockpit. At an inquest held in Sittingbourne the pathologist gave evidence of a bullet hole in Beresford’s back but could not say if this had been fatal. The coroner described Beresford as “One of our national heroes”. He also said: “There were those who with undoubted courage and determination were prepared to sacrifice themselves for their country.”
Bereford was buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery on November 16 1979 with full military honours, including an escort from the Queen’s Colour Squadron, RAF.
Beresford was 24 when he was killed.
APO 16.4.35 PO 16.4.36 FO 16.1.38 FL 16.1.40
RONALD JOHN WALKER BROWN
44925 PO Pilot British 111 Squadron
Born on March 9 1914, Brown went to John Ruskin Central School, Croydon. He joined the RAF, as an Aircraft Apprentice (563611), in September 1929 (No 20 course, RAF Halton) and passed out in August 1932. After an Engine Fitter course, he was posted to the Flying Wing at RAF College, Cranwell, as an AC 1.
He received many ‘unofficial’ hours dual training on Tutor and Atlas aircraft there. He applied for pilot training and was selected in late 1935.
In December 1935 Brown joined 10 (Bomber) Squadron at Boscombe Down, solely on the strength of his soccer prowess as an RAF football representative. He went to 9 E&RFTS, Ansty in May 1936, then to 9 FTS, Thornaby in July, received his wings in November and joined 111 Squadron at Northolt on February 22 1937. The squadron was the first to be equipped with Hurricanes, in December 1937, and was used a great deal in tactical trials. On January 18 1938 Brown became the third pilot on the squadron to fly a Hurricane.
In May 1940, 111 Squadron carried out daily patrols over France, sometimes operating from French airfields, returning to Northolt in the evening. On May 31 over Dunkirk, Brown got a probable Bf109.
On June 6 he was shot down by a Bf109, when escorting Blenheims in the Abbeville area. He baled out and luckily was picked up by a Guards unit moving south, taken to a field hospital, put on a train and then sent in a hospital ship back to England.
Brown rejoined his squadron on August 15 1940. Three days later he shared a Do17, which crashed and burned out at Leaves Green, near Biggin Hill. This was the aircraft claimed inaccurately at the time by the Home Guard, members of which fired at it with rifles. On August 24 he damaged a Bf109 and on September 2 he shared in destroying a He111 and damaging another Bf109.
Commissioned in September, Brown was posted to 260 Squadron at Castletown on December 7 1940, to train new pilots. On February 2 1941 he went to the AFDU at Duxford, where he flew enemy and American aircraft.
In October 1941 Brown was posted to the Ministry of Aircraft Production and transferred to the RAF Engineering Branch, closely involved with aircraft development and much later with the Martin Baker ejector seat.
Brown retired from the RAF on May 12 1947, as a Squadron Leader, retaining the rank of Wing Commander. He joined Percival Aircraft as Technical Sales Manager.
He had flown 38 types of aircraft including the Bf109 and Fiat CR 42.
In 1962 he moved to BAC and retired from British Aerospace in April 1979, as Executive Director (Marketing and Sales). He was made MBE for services to exports.
He died on November 9 2003.
PO 26.9.40 FO 25.4.41 FL 25.4.42 SL 22.4 45 SL 1.7.45
84920 PO Pilot British 601 and 238 Squadrons
McInnes was born on July 31 1919. He joined the RAFVR in 1938, as an Airman u/t Pilot (745802). Called up on September 1 1939, he completed his training on August 30 1940 and was commissioned the next day.
He arrived at 7 OTU, Hawarden on September 2 and after converting to Hurricanes, he joined 601 Squadron at Exeter on September 17. His first flight was made on the 18th, circuits and landings.
McInnes moved to 238 Squadron at Chilbolton on October 8.
He was on board HMS Victorious during the hunt for the Bismarck. He eventually flew a Hurricane from the deck of the ship to Egypt via Malta. From April 1941 McInnes was in action in North Africa. In November that year he was shot down by a Bf 109 and lost his left arm.
McInnes was declared fit to return to flying and joined 691 Squadron at Roborough, flying Hurricanes on affiliation exercises with the Royal Navy. He then flew target tugs at Tangmere and at the Fighter Leaders’ School, West Raynham.
He was released from the RAF in 1946 as a Flight Lieutenant.
PO 31.8.40 FO 31.8.41 FL 31.8.42
BERTRAM WILLIAM MESNER
745987 Sgt Observer British 248 Squadron
Mesner’s parents were Charles and Adelaide Alice Meiszner (nee Pritchard). Mr Meiszner is shown in the 1911 census as a “Motor Cab Driver” and in the 1939 register as a “Taxi Cab Driver”. The couple had five children. The first four received their parents’ surname, but Bertram William, the youngest, born in 1911 in East Ham, then in Essex, was registered with the surname “Mesner”.
Mesner joined the RAFVR in March 1939, as an Airman u/t Observer. Called up on September 1, he completed his training and probably joined 248 Squadron at Gosport in late March 1940. He was attached to No 1 (C) OTU, Silloth on May 31 and he rejoined 248 on June 29.
Mesner was in the crew of a Blenheim, which failed to return from a reconnaissance of the Fye-Stadlandet sector of the Norwegian coast on September 13 1940. The pilot, Sergeant W J Garfield, was killed and the gunner, Sergeant A Kay, and Mesner were both reported ‘Missing’. Mesner was 29. His name is on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 17.
His home address at death was 63 Prestbury Road, Forest Gate, Essex and administration was granted to his widow, Jessie (nee Brenchley). When Charles Meiszner died in 1955 he was still using that name. Administration was granted to Charles Henry Mesner, a civil servant and presumably a relative, but not one of Mr Meiszner’s children, according to the names they received at birth.
WILFRID THOMAS PAGE
65992 Sgt Pilot British 1 Squadron
Wilfrid Thomas Page was born on July 13 1914. He was born to a family in Epsom, Surrey and attended the Epsom County School for Boys (now Glyn School). Page joined the RAFVR in January 1938, as an Airman u/t Pilot (741246). He began his training at the Scottish College of Aviation at Prestwick. In April that year he moved to 15 EFTS Redhill, going on to 33 EFTS Whitchurch near Bristol in May 1939.
Called up on September 1, he was assessed as suitable for service as a bomber pilot and went on to fly multi-engine trainers back at Redhill with detachments to Middle Wallop and a tented camp at Chipping Norton.
On July 31 1940 he was posted to 11 OTU Bassingbourn to convert to Wellingtons. On September 2 1940 he went to 5 OTU Aston Down to convert to Hurricanes. He passed out and was posted to No 1 Squadron.
He made his first flight with the squadron on the 29th, flying practice.
In an engagement with a Do17 on October 29, in Hurricane P3318, the glycol system was damaged by return fire and Page made a forced-landing at Orton, near Peterborough, writing the aircraft off. In the action he shared in the destruction of a Do17.
The squadron moved back to Northolt in December, then to Kenley in January 1941 and Croydon in April 1941. Pages’s tour ended in May 1941 when he was commissioned and posted to 59 OTU at Crosby-on-Eden as an instructor.
Page went back on operations in December, serving with 32 Squadron as ‘B’ Flight Commander. He flew a sortie on February 12 1942 as part of the Channel Dash incident when three major German warships, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen, heavily escorted, sailed through the English Channel in daylight.
In May 1942 Page was posted to 174 Squadron (newly-formed from a nucleus of 607 Squadron). Page was awarded a Mention in Despatches (gazetted June 11 1942) for his work with 32 Squadron, one of two Mentions he received.
Shortly after the Dieppe operation in August 1942 Page was posted as an instructor to at 56 OTU Tealing, near Dundee.
In June 1943 Page was appointed to command 126 Squadron at Safi, Malta, then operating offensive sweeps with Spitfires. Following the invasion of Sicily the squadron moved to Gerbini. As the Germans retreated, the squadron advanced to Grottaglie, Italy.
On November 16 1943 Page was leading the squadron on an operation over Albania when his Spitfire Vc, JK 950, was hit by flak. He decided to try to bring the aircraft back, but over the sea his engine failed. He was seen to bale out but his parachute had not fully deployed when he hit the water.
He was 29 and is remembered on the Malta Memorial, Panel 6, Column 1.
PO 1.5.41 FO 18.3.42 FL 5.8.42
JAMES MURRAY STRICKLAND
39581 PO Pilot British 213 Squadron
Strickland was born in Iloilo, Philippines, where his father was working, on October 23 1918. He was educated at King’s School, Bruton. While there he and his brother spent holidays with a school friend of their father’s Captain W S Harvey, MC and family, who lived at Ivybridge, Devon. Strickland was an able sportsman and played in the school first teams for rugby, hockey and tennis. He joined the RAF on a short service commission and shortly afterwards married Captain Harvey’s daughter.
Strickland began his ab initio course on December 21 1936. He was posted to 5 FTS, Sealand on March 20 and with training completed, he joined 213 Squadron at Church Fenton on October 23 1937.
He was still with 213 in 1940. On May 16 he flew one of six Hurricanes of 213 from Wittering to Lille/Marcq, to reinforce 87 Squadron, which was operating from there. There were no available 87 pilots to fly these aircraft, so Strickland and the other five pilots elected to stay and fight with 87. Only Strickland and one other pilot survived and they rejoined ‘A’ Flight of 213 at Biggin Hill on May 18.
The flight flew to France daily on the 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd, to operate during the day from French airfields and to return to Biggin Hill each evening. Strickland was shot down by Bf109s on the 19th and baled out, wounded in one arm. He sustained a leg wound when he was fired at by French troops as he floated down. He did not fly again with 213 until July 11.
On August 11 Strickland destroyed a Ju88. On the 12th he assumed command of ‘B’ Flight and was promoted to Acting Flight Lieutenant on the 19th. He destroyed a Bf109 on August 12, destroyed a Bf110 and a Ju87 on the 15th, destroyed a Bf109 and damaged another on the 25th, probably destroyed a Ju88 on September 18 and shared in the destruction of a Bf110 on September 27. In this engagement his Hurricane, P3979, was damaged by return fire and he made a crash-landing at Horne, near Redhill, unhurt.
Strickland made another crash-landing on October 15, after a combat with a Bf109 over the Swanage area, injured. It was his final sortie with 213. He was awarded the DFC (22.10.40).
On December 17 1940 Strickland was posted to 56 OTU, Sutton Bridge, as an instructor. On August 14 1941 he was involved in a flying accident, as a Flight Lieutenant with 130 Squadron, operating with Spitfires from Portreath. He struck the roof of a dispersal hut there and was killed when his Spitfire crashed.
Strickland was 22. He is buried in Ivybridge Cemetery. His daughter was born a month after his death and named Geraldine, abbreviated to “Gerry”, as a tribute to her father who was often known as “Jerry” or “Jimmy” in the family.
Strickland’s brother, Flying Officer John Strickland, RAFVR, was lost on October 23 1943, serving with 261 Squadron (Hurricanes) and, with no known grave, is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial, as well as on the memorial at Ivybridge.
APO 8.3.37 PO 21.12.37 FO 21.9.39 FL 21 .9.40
RUFUS ARTHUR WARD
740193 Sgt Pilot British 19, 616 and 66 Squadrons
Ward was born in Croydon on February 15 1917. “Rufus and “Arthur” were both recurring names in his family. He was known as “Rufus” by his parents, but his wife would later prefer to address him as “Arthur”. His father, also Rufus, became an NCO in the 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen’s Bays) and was awarded the DCM. The 1911 census shows him resident at Aldershot as a “Private (Armed Forces)”. R A Ward was educated at Stanley Technical School and became an aircraft engineer. He joined 600 Squadron AAF on March 3 1936 (800386) and transferred to the RAFVR in December 1937, as an Airman u/t Pilot.
Called up at the outbreak of war, Ward completed his ab initio training at 15 EFTS, Redhill. He was at 5FTS, Sealand for No 47 Course, from April 29 to July 25 1940. He was awarded his flying badge on May 20. He completed his training and arrived at 7 OTU, Hawarden on August 12.
After converting to Hurricanes, he joined 19 Squadron at Fowlmere on September 2 1940. Ward went to 616 Squadron at Coltishall on September 5 and moved to 66 Squadron at Gravesend on the 29th.
On October 5 he probably destroyed a Bf109 and damaged two others. Over North Kent on October 8, 1940 Ward was shot down and killed by Bf109s. His Spitfire, N3043, crashed near Valley View Road, Borstal, near Rochester.
Ward is buried in Mitcham Road Cemetery, Croydon. In 1990 his grave was one of a number in the Croydon area renovated by Co-operative Funeral Services, without charge, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Battle.
Updated/new information – 15th update, June 2018:
BARRY WILLIAM JESSE D’ARCY-IRVINE
Additional material added related to his death on August 8 1940:
After D’Arcy Irvine’s death the squadron IO, Pilot Officer Geoff Myers, wrote in his notes that Pilot Officer A C “Jimmy” Cochrane (qv) had said: “Poor D’Arcy boy. He yelled out to me over the RT, ‘There’s a Gerry on your tail,’ and they must have got him just at that moment. I swung round, got on the tail of the Gerry and beetled off after him. I’m buggered if he didn’t go splosh in the drink without me firing a shot at him. But poor old D’Arcy boy! And to think he warned me just before they shot him down! That shook me.”
D’Arcy Irvine was a talented artist, much of his work depicting birds and aeroplanes. He had been taught by his friend, Peter Scott, later Sir Peter, CH, CBE, DSC (and bar), naturalist, painter, broadcaster and son of Robert Falcon Scott, Antarctic explorer.
D’Arcy Irvine displayed his artistic talent on 257 Squadron by devising a camouflage scheme intended to confuse German air gunners as to the direction in which a Hurricane was flying.
DORIAN GEORGE GRIBBLE
Early life details added to show that Dorian George Gribble’s family came from the Isle of Wight and that he was educated at the Cliff School Shanklin and Ryde School.
DOUGLAS KENNETH ALFRED WORDSWORTH
CHARLES JOHN ARTHUR
42090 PO Pilot British 248 Squadron
Arthur was born in Radyr, Glamorgan, in 1918. His mother, Margaret Elizabeth, had been born in Bridgetown, Barbados. She was listed in the 1911 census as a teacher at The Girls’ High School Monmouth. She died in 1922. She had married James Fitzgerald Arthur in Canada. He was a mechanical engineer who rose to a senior position with the Cardiff Railway, which became part of the Great Western Railway in 1923. He died in 1962.
C J Arthur joined the RAF on a short service commission.
He began his elementary flying training on March 13 1939, as a pupil pilot. With his training completed, Arthur joined 248 Squadron on October 30 1939, at Hendon, where it was reforming.
Arthur was attached to 92 Squadron on January 10 1940, to convert to Blenheims.
A Coastal Command squadron, 248 was seconded to Fighter Command for part of the Battle of Britain.
Arthur was lost on August 27 1940, when his Blenheim failed to return from a reconnaissance flight to the South Norwegian coast.
The aircraft is known to have crashed into the sea. The body of the gunner, Sergeant R C R Cox, was washed up on the Swedish coast. The bodies of Arthur and his observer, Sergeant A E Ringwood, were never found. Their names are on the Runnymede Memorial, Panels 7 and 22 respectively.
Arthur was 22 years old.
APO 13.5.39 PO 6.11.39
CYRIL FREDERICK BABBAGE
89298 Sgt Pilot British 602 Squadron
Babbage was born in Ludlow, Shropshire on June 25 1917. He joined the RAFVR in October 1938, as an Airman u/t Pilot (742134).
Called up on September 1 1939, he finished his training and was with 602 Squadron at Drem by June 1940.
On August 18 Babbage claimed a Ju87 destroyed, on the 19th he shared a Ju88 and on the 25th destroyed a Do17 and a Bf110.
After probably destroying a Bf109 on the 26th over Selsey Bill, Babbage was himself shot down by Hauptmann Mayer of 1/JG 53. He baled out, was picked up by the Bognor lifeboat, transferred to a rowing boat and then admitted to Bognor Hospital, where shrapnel in one leg was removed. His aircraft, Spitfire X4188, crashed into the sea. He was visited on the 28th by the 602 CO, Squadron Leader Johnstone and the MO who found that he was fit to be discharged. As Babbage’s clothes were still damp he borrowed an overcoat from a hospital porter before being driven by his visitors back to Westhampnett.
Babbage was in combat with Bf110s over Selsey Bill on September 11. He shot one down and returned to Westhampnett, in Spitfire X4269, with a damaged starboard wing.
On the 15th Babbage damaged a Do17, on the 26th he shot down a He111 and on the 27th, after destroying a Ju88 off Dungeness, he returned to Westhampnett, in Spitfire X 4160, after himself being damaged by Bf109s. In another engagement on the 27th, Babbage claimed a Bf109 as being probably destroyed.
Over the Channel on October 12, Babbage shared in destroying a Ju88. His Spitfire, X4541, was damaged by return fire and he overturned when he made a forced-landing at Iford Farm, near Lewes. He was unhurt.
Babbage was awarded the DFM (25.10.40) and commissioned in late November. In June 1941 he was posted to 41 Squadron at Merston, which began ‘Rhubarb’ operations over the Continent. On September 18 Babbage shot down an unidentified aircraft, now known to be an early model FW190. Its pilot, German ace Hauptmann Walter Adolph, was killed. On October 14 1941 Babbage damaged a Bf109.
Later in the war Babbage did an operational tour on Mosquitos, during the course of which he was twice shot down. He remained in the RAF after the war and was a Qualified A1 Instructor, having completed the course at CFS.
Babbage retired from the RAF on June 25 1964 with the rank of Wing Commander.
He died in 1977.
PO 29.11.40 FO 29.11.41 FL 29.11.42 SL 1.8.47 WC 1.7.55
ROBERT FINDLAY BOYD
90165 FL Pilot British 602 Squadron
Born in East Kilbride, Scotland on June 8 1916, Boyd joined 602 Squadron, AAF in 1935 and was commissioned in November. He was called to full-time service in early September 1939.
On November 30 Boyd was on an afternoon flight from Markinch when he saw an enemy aircraft going into cloud. He closed and fired a two second burst from 400 yards but the enemy aircraft disappeared with no apparent sign of damage.
On May 20 1940 Boyd was attached to RAF Turnhouse from 602 for Ops Room duties. He rejoined the squadron on June 3.
On July 7 1940 he shared in destroying a Ju88 off St Abb’s Head. The squadron moved south in August to Westhampnett. On the 15th Boyd shared a Do17, on the 16th he shot down a Ju87 and shared a He111 and on the 18th he destroyed a Bf109, a Ju87 and damaged another.
Boyd shared a Ju88 on August 19, destroyed two Bf109s on the 25th, another Bf109 and a Do17 on September 4, got a Bf109 on the 11th and damaged another. On the 21st he shared a Ju88, on the 26th shot down a Bf109 and probably another, on October 2 he shared a Ju88 and on November 13 he shared a Ju88. Boyd was awarded the DFC (24.9.40) and a Bar (25.10.40).
On December 21 1940 Boyd took command of 54 Squadron at Catterick. He destroyed a Bf110 on April 17 1941, probably destroyed a Bf109 on June 22, shot down a Bf109 on the 26th, destroyed one and damaged another on July 8 and destroyed two more on July 10 and 17.
Soon afterwards Boyd was posted to 58 OTU, Grangemouth, then moved to 57 OTU, Hawarden in October, remaining there until December 1941, when he was appointed Wing Leader at Kenley.
Boyd was flying with Victor Beamish on February 12 1942, when they spotted the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in the Channel. On February 19 Boyd damaged a Bf109, on the 28th he got a probable FW190 and on April 12 he damaged two FW190s.
The citation for Boyd’s DSO (10.4.42) stated that he had destroyed a total of twenty-two enemy aircraft. In June 1942 Boyd was posted to the Far East and at some time commanded 293 Wing in Burma.
Boyd received a Mention in Despatches (1.1.45). He was released from the RAF in 1945 as a Group Captain. His portrait was done by Cuthbert Orde in October 1940.
In the post-war years Boyd flew charter flights for Scottish Aviation, later tried pig farming and herring fishing and then moved to Skye, where he kept the Ferry Inn at Uig. Boyd died suddenly on February 22 1975 at the home of his old RAF friend George Pinkerton.
PO (AAF) 2.11.35 FO (AAF) 2.5.37 FL 3.9.40 SL 1.12.40 WC 1.3.42
PETER EDWARD GEORGE CARTER
41375 PO Pilot British 73 and 302 Squadrons
Carter was born in 1919 in Croydon, Surrey. His parents had long careers as school teachers and his paternal grandfather had followed the same profession. In the 1939 register his father is shown as headmaster of an elementary school and his mother as an assistant school mistress. P G E Carter joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his flying training on October 6 1938, as a pupil pilot. He completed his training and joined No 1 Squadron at Tangmere in mid-1939.
He went to 43 Squadron, also at Tangmere, on August 24 1939. He was later with 605 Squadron at Wick. On April 10 1940 he shared in destroying a He111 over the North Sea.
Carter was posted to France on May 16. He joined 73 Squadron at Gaye on the 21st. On the 24th he destroyed a Bf110 SW of Cambrai. The squadron was withdrawn to Church Fenton on June 18. Carter flew from Nantes to Hawkinge in Hurricane P 3351. In 1943 this aircraft crashed in Russia. It was rebuilt between 1992 and 2000 and is now kept in France.
Carter was posted to No 1 RAF Depot, Uxbridge on July 13, for service abroad. He arrived there to find the posting was cancelled and that he was temporarily attached to RAF Uxbridge for Special Duties.
He rejoined 73 Squadron on July 23 and on August 15 1940 he claimed two Ju88s destroyed and probably another, off Flamborough Head.
Carter was attached to 302 (Polish) Squadron at Leconfield on August 24, as a Section Leader. He went to Duxford with a 302 detachment on September 18, to operate from there with the Bader Big Wing. The attachment ceased on the 25th and they returned to Leconfield.
Carter was with a squadron patrol on October 18 1940. It became lost over the Surrey hills because of fog. The leader caught a glimpse of Kempton Park racecourse and ordered his pilots to make forced-landings.
Carter was one of four pilots killed in the attempt, when he left the aircraft very low. His Hurricane, P3931, crashed on the racecourse. Flying Officer J Borowski was killed nearby, attempting a forced-landing on the racecourse. Pilot Officers S Wapniarek and A Zukowski were also killed, crashing in other places.
A 10-year-old girl was a witness to what happened and many years later wrote: “I was sent on an errand by my mother to collect 1lb of sausages ……. The first plane [Borowski] came down very fast and blew up on impact setting the fence and trees alight.
“Then a second plane came [Carter] and was breaking up, bits seemed to fall in the field nearby and as I stood there a pilot fell from the sky landing 25-30 feet in front of me in the road. There was no movement but his parachute had been deployed as it came down over his body ……. I was so shocked at what I had seen I was rooted to the spot.
“Then the bullets started to explode and were firing in all directions. A warden then picked me up to remove me from the danger. Once he put me down I ran home ……..
This account conflicts with the Squadron ORB which states that Carter jumped at 50ft without his parachute.
Carter was 21 and is buried in Queen’s Road Cemetery, Croydon. The squadron was represented at his funeral by Flight Lieutenant J A Thomson and Flight Lieutenant J N W Farmer. In 1990 Carter’s was one of a number of graves of Battle of Britain aircrew in the Croydon area to be restored without charge by Co-operative Funeral Services to mark the 50th anniversary of the Battle. Permission was obtained from a cousin, the nearest living relative to be traced.
APO 14.12.38 PO 3.9.39 FO 3.9.40
ARTHUR CHARLES COCHRANE
42915 PO Pilot Canadian 257 Squadron
Cochrane was born in Vernon, British Columbia on April 27 1919 and was educated at Vernon High School. He began an ab initio course at 3 E&RFTS, Hamble on May 1 1939, as a pupil pilot and a candidate for a short service commission.
With training completed at 8 FTS, Montrose and 14 FTS, Kinloss, Cochrane joined 263 Squadron at Filton on April 13 1940.
He did not go to Norway with the squadron on April 20. He was posted from RAF Filton on May 20 and joined 257 Squadron at Hendon on the 23rd, where it was being reformed after returning from France.
The squadron became operational on July 1 and moved to Northolt. On August 8 Cochrane claimed a Bf 109 destroyed. He reported that he had chased the 109 and it had hit the sea without him firing. He believed that it had just shot down Flying Officer D’Arcy-Irvine (qv). On the 12th Cochrane damaged a He111, on the 18th he probably destroyed a Do17 and damaged another, on the 31st shot down a Bf110, on September 7 he claimed a Do17 destroyed and on the 15th he destroyed a Do 17 and shared a He111.
On September 15 Cochrane was badly injured in a car accident and he was posted away to RAF Debden on the 16th, as non-effective sick. He spent some months in hospital.
Cochrane joined 87 Squadron at Charmy Down in August 1942, as a Flight Commander. He went to North Africa with the squadron in November 1942. On January 22 1943 Cochrane was scrambled from Djidelli in the early morning. Although it was still dark, he found and shot down a SM 79 into the sea.
Awarded the DFC (30.3.43), Cochrane failed to return from a patrol on March 31 1943 and was reported ‘Missing’. He was 24 years old and is remembered on the Malta Memorial, Panel 6, Column 1.
APO 24.6.39 PO 10.4.40 FO 10.4.41 FL 10.4.42
EDWARD WILLIAM CRANWELL
141532 Sgt Pilot British 610 Squadron
Cranwell was born on September 25 1915. His father worked in the chemical industry and served in the Royal Marine Light Infantry in the First World War. In the 1939 register, E W Cranwell is shown as a Transport Clerk, living in Romford, Essex. He joined the RAFVR in August 1938 (741969) and did his weekend flying at 21 E&RFTS, Stapleford Abbots.
He was called up in late 1939, went to 3 ITW, Hastings and then to 11 EFTS, Perth. On June 15 1940 Cranwell went to 15 FTS, Brize Norton on No 10 Course, which moved in August to Chipping Norton and ended on September 23.
On the 24th he was posted to 7 OTU, Hawarden and after converting to Spitfires, he joined 610 Squadron at Acklington on October 6.
Cranwell was detached from 610 to RAF Acklington on December 14 1940, when the squadron moved to Westhampnett. In early 1941 he was injured in a crash and spent several months in hospital, after which he was posted to No 1 AACU, initially at Weston Zoyland and later at Aberporth.
In June 1942 Cranwell volunteered for Bomber Command and did some training on Oxfords at Little Rissington.
In July he converted to Wellingtons at 15 OTU, Harwell and in October he joined 102 Squadron at Pocklington on Halifaxes.
Cranwell was commissioned from Warrant Officer in February 1943, finished his tour in July and was awarded the DFC (13.8.43). From July 1943 until February 1944 he was at 82 OTU, Ossington, as a Flight Commander, on fighter affiliation. In March he moved to 26 OTU, Wing on similar duties.
In February 1945 Cranwell went to 17 OTU, Turweston, to convert to Wellingtons. In May he went to 1652 Heavy Conversion Unit, Acaster Malbis, to convert to Halifaxes and in June to the Glider Towing Training Unit at Matching.
From July to October 1945 he served with 190 Squadron at Great Dunmow, flying Halifaxes on general transport duties. Cranwell was released from the RAF in late 1945, as a Flight Lieutenant. He died on October 12 1993 in Wimborne, Dorset.
Targets Cranwell had flown to in Bomber Command included Frankfurt, Mannheim, Lorient, Essen, Dusseldorf, Duisburg, Wuppertal, Genoa, Turin and Le Creusot.
PO 6.2.43 FO 1.8.43 FL 1.2.45
PETER CECIL HUMPHREYS
85272 PO Pilot British 32 Squadron
Humphreys was born in Marylebone, London on February 26 1916. His parents were both actors. Credits for Cecil Humphreys (1883-1947) included Judge Linton in the 1939 film Wuthering Heights. His mother, Gladys Mason (1884-1954) starred in the film The Queen Mother (1916) as the Princess of Saxonia. Aged about six their son, accompanied by a governess, spent a year in Australia, where they were touring. P C Humphreys attended Arnold House School, St John’s Wood, London and Canford School, Dorset. He joined his parents’ profession and worked with various repertory companies. He was appearing in Bath when war broke out.
Humphreys joined the RAFVR about April 1939, as an Airman u/t Pilot (745610). Called up on September 1, he completed his elementary training at 18 EFTS, Fair Oaks and his intermediate and advanced training at 5 FTS, Sealand.
He was commissioned at the end of the course and arrived at 5 OTU, Aston Down on September 26 1940. After converting to Hurricanes, he joined 32 Squadron at Acklington on October 18.
Humphreys was posted to 73 Squadron at Castle Camps on November 5 1940 and went with it to the Middle East.
At some point he made a forced-landing in the desert suffering a bad gash to his face. He was found by Bedouin, sympathetic to the Allies, who made and applied a poultice to the wound. They took him to an RAF base where the MO, apparently conscious of his acting career, left the poultice in place and the wound healed without a scar.
After recovery Humphreys was tasked to fly Noel Coward on a tour of North Africa, Palestine and Iraq from July to October 1943. They became friends and Coward later recalled “…In the afternoon I was flown to Baghdad in an archaic machine that looked as though it had never quite recovered from triumphantly flying the channel in 1910. My pilot was a fine-looking young man who turned out to be Cecil Humphreys’ son. There is certainly a good deal of Wardour Street blood coursing through these desert sands.”
MARK TYZACK KIRKWOOD
39287 FL Pilot British 610 Squadron
Kirkwood was born in 1915 in Worksop, Nottinghamshire. His father was an articled law clerk who qualified as a solicitor. He died in 1945 but his former wife who had remarried (M T Kirkwood’s mother, born in 1897) lived until 1993. M T Kirkwood was their only child. He attended Sherborne School from 1929 to 1932 and was in Abbeylands House. He became a cadet in the Merchant Navy and went on to join the RAF on a short service commission.
He began his ab initio course on October 12 1936, as a pupil pilot. Kirkwood was posted to 10 FTS, Ternhill on January 16 1937, completed his training and then joined the staff at 3 Armament Training Station at Sutton Bridge on May 4 1938.
He was with 4 Ferry Pilot Pool, when he went to 7 OTU, Hawarden on September 6 1940. He converted to Spitfires, joined 610 Squadron on the 22nd and moved to 603 Squadron at Hornchurch on November 4 1940.
On the 7th Kirkwood shared in the destruction of a Bf110. He was reported ‘Missing’ on November 8, when he failed to return from a combat with Ju87s and Bf109s E of Deal, in Spitfire P7285. Probate records show his private address at that time as Moorings, West Chobham, Surrey.
A notice in the Daily Telegraph on May 26 1941 announced, “Kirkwood – Missing since November 1940, now officially presumed killed in action, Flying Offr Mark Tyzack Kirkwood, beloved son of Victoria Morgan, Bramber St, St George’s Hill, Weybridge.”
Kirkwood is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 4.
Today, on the Friday closest to Remembrance Sunday, Sherborne School staff and pupils pause for 10 minutes, surrounded by members of the CCF, to remember Shirburnians past and present who have served and died in the forces.
APO 21.12.36 PO 12.10.37 FO 12.7.39 FL 3.9.40
DENYS EDGAR MILEHAM
77678 PO Pilot British 610 and 41 Squadrons
Mileham, an only child, was born in Hertfordshire in 1920. His paternal grandfather was the artist Harry Robert Mileham (1874-1957), who graduated from the Royal Academy Schools in 1897, painted in oil and produced stained glass for churches. An exhibition of his work was held by the National Gallery in 1995 and toured the UK.
D E Mileham joined the RAFVR about July 1938, as an Airman u/t Pilot (741902).
Called up on September 1 1939, he completed his training, was commissioned on February 1 1940 and then went to No 1 School of Army Co-operation, Old Sarum.
By May 17 1940 Mileham was with 26 Squadron at Authie in France, flying Lysanders on army co-operation duties.
Mileham later volunteered for Fighter Command and was posted to 7 OTU, Hawarden on August 21. After converting to Spitfires, he joined 610 Squadron at Acklington on September 3 1940. He moved to 41 Squadron at Hornchurch on the 29th and destroyed a Bf109 on October 5, another on November 17. He was killed on April 15 1942 as a Flight Lieutenant with 234 Squadron, aged 22. Mileham is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 66.
Mileham’s family home was Old Fishery House, Boxmoor, Hertfordshire. His father, Edgar Charles Mileham, a solicitor, died at that address in 1951.
PO 1.2.40 FO 1.2.41
THOMAS ROBERT VERNER PARKE
Sub-Lieutenant (FAA) Pilot British 804 Squadron
Parke was born in 1920. Orphaned when he was 10, he was brought up by an aunt and uncle in Llandudno and was a keen golfer. He entered the Air Branch of the Royal Navy on May 1 1939, as a Midshipman (A). He did his elementary flying training at 14 EFTS, Elmdon. He moved on to No 1 FTS, Leuchars for No 6 Course, which ran from November 6 1939 to April 21 1940.
Parke joined 804 Squadron at Hatston on July 4 1940, flying Sea Gladiators on dockyard defence.
On Christmas Day 1940, a little after 2pm, six Martlets of 804 Squadron were scrambled over Orkney in pursuit of a Ju88 engaged on photo-reconnaissance. The raider was intercepted by Parke and Lieutenant Carver and several hits were made on the machine, damaging the starboard radiator, port engine oil pipe and the tailplane. The Ju88 crash landed with an air gunner badly wounded.
The German crew was prevented from setting fire to the aircraft by armed Home Guard members, Thomas Harcus and his son Leslie, who were local farmers.
Parke remained with the squadron when it reformed for service on the fighter catapult ships in March 1941.
In the early days many difficulties were experienced with launchings. On July 7 1941 Parke was launched in a Fulmar from HMS Pegasus. It was a day of low cloud, poor visibility and rain and no enemy aircraft was engaged. Parke failed to return to land. Later in the day it was learned that he had crashed into high ground S of Campbeltown, on the Mull of Kintyre. Both he and Leading Airman Edwin Francis Miller, aged 19, were killed.
Parke was 21. He is buried in Campbeltown (Kilkerran) Cemetery, as is Miller.
Midshipman 1.5.39 Actg Sub-Lt 2.7.40
STANLEY HEWITT SKINNER
90210 FL Pilot British 604 Squadron
Skinner joined 604 Squadron, AAF in 1934 and was commissioned. He was called to full-time service on August 25 1939 and was appointed ‘A’ Flight Commander on March 28 1940. He served with 604 throughout the Battle of Britain.
On August 19 1942 Skinner, now an Acting Wing Commander, was serving as RAF Observer at Combined Operations Headquarters.
He was aboard the Hunt class destroyer HMS Berkeley when it gave supporting fire for troops ashore during the raid on Dieppe. The ship was turning away when it was hit by a bomb from a German aircraft and badly damaged. There were a number of deaths including Skinner. Berkeley could not be saved and was torpedoed and sunk by another Hunt class destroyer, HMS Albrighton (which would serve as a training ship in the West German Navy between 1957 and 1968).
Skinner’s body was not recovered. He was 30 and his name is on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 64.
PO (AAF) 24.7.34 FO (AAF) 16.3.36 FO 25.8.39 FL 12.3.40 SL 1.6.41
JOHN GRAHAM THIELMANN
37701 FL Pilot British 234 Squadron
John Graham Theilmann was born on April 2 1912 at Sculcoates, Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire. He carried out training under the RAF expansion scheme at 1 RFTS Hatfield in 1935 and joined the RAF on a short service commission on January 27 1936. Further training followed at 3 E&RFTS Hamble and 9 FTS Thornaby before he joined 41 Squadron at Catterick on October 11 1936.
When 234 Squadron was reformed at Leconfield on October 30 1939, Theilmann joined it, as ‘A’ Flight Commander.
He relinquished this post when he was posted to RAF St Eval on August 7 1940, as non-effective sick, suffering from asthma.
When he recovered he took up instructing duties at 10 SFTS Tern Hill, 2 CFS Cranwell, 13 EFTS Peterborough and 21 EFTS Booker before going in 1941 to 4 Air School (SAAF) Benoni, South Africa and then 6 Air School (SAAF) at Potchefstroom in 1942.
His last posting before he returned to the UK in May 1944, was to 45 Air School (SAAF) at Oudtshoorn.
He went to 529 Squadron, which was developing the early helicopters at Halton. Theilmann was released from the RAF in March 1946, as a Squadron Leader.
After his release he carried on this work at Air Contractors Ltd. He was appointed Chief pilot at the BEA experimental helicopter unit, operating the Bell 47 and Sikorsky S-51 until June 1953, when he emigrated to Canada.
He remained in the helicopter field with Spartan Air Services, a Canadian surveying company, until retirement in 1961.
Theilmann died in Canada on February 2 1985.
APO 23.3.36 PO 27.1.37 FO 27.7.38 FL 27.7.40 SL 1.12.41
Updated/new information – 14th update, May 2018:
ROBERT CLIFFORD VACY ASH
Additonal opening paragraph added: “Ash was born in 1909 in Dunfermline, Fife. His father (a medical practitioner who had studied at the University of Edinburgh) had been born in South Africa and his mother in Indonesia.”
GEOFFREY THEODORE BAYNHAM
Early years information added to show that Baynham attended Tonbridge School and went on to be an articled clerk in the legal profession. At the same time he joined the 4th Battalion of the Welch Regiment (TA) and was commissioned. He resigned the commission and joined the RAF on a short service commission, beginning his his ab initio course on October 6 1938 as a pupil pilot.
Also updated to show that Baynham’s ashes were scattered on Table Mountain following his death from cancer in South Africa.
Details of his DFC citation included: “This officer has shown great keenness and skill in combat against the enemy. On a recent occasion he pursued an enemy aircraft thirty miles out to sea and finally destroyed it. He has destroyed at least seven hostile aircraft and shared in the destruction of others.”
Also updated to show that Curchin Close, Biggin Hill was named in his honour.
PETER KENNETH DEVITT
Early details added to show that Devitt was born on June 4 1911, grew up in Kent and was educated at Sherborne School.
DOUGLAS NORMAN FRANCIS
Year of birth added as 1919 and entry updated to show that Francis died on January 7 1961 in Basingstoke, Hampshire. His address at that time was 3 Oaklands Way.
PETER HARRY HUMPHREYS
Early details added to show that Humphreys was born in Lymington, Hampshire on May 1 1920 and attended Peter Symonds School, Winchester.
DAVD WALTER HUNT
Updated to include his personal recollection of what happened after he was shot down and landed at Brook Farm, Margaretting, Essex: “Then people started to arrive. Someone shouted ‘Keep Back’. I gave my name and asked them to ring the aerodrome to say what had happened. Someone offered me brandy and I said: ‘All I want is a nice drink of clear cool water’, which soon arrived and of which I drank a little. I was trying to explain to them how to undo my parachute harness. Someone else held up the parachute canopy to shield me from the sun and someone said: ‘Don’t move him. He may have bullet-wounds.’ The ambulance came and I parted with a reminder to them to ring my wife.”
JOHN VICTOR WADHAM
Updated to add his date of birth, May 14 1919.
SIDNEY RICHARD ERNEST WAKELING
Updated to show that Wakeling was born in Paddington, London, and was an only child.
RICHARD GEORGE ARTHUR BARCLAY
74661 FO Pilot British 249 Squadron
Born at Upper Norwood, Surrey on December 7 1919, Barclay grew up at the rectory at Great Holland, near Frinton-on-Sea, Essex, where his father, the Rev G A Barclay, was the incumbent until 1939, when he moved to the living at Cromer, Norfolk. They were related to the banking family. C T Studd, maternal grandfather of R G A Barclay, had played cricket for Middlesex and England.
Barclay was educated at Stowe School and then went to Trinity College, Cambridge to read Economics and Law.
In October 1938 he joined the University Air Squadron and enlisted in the RAFVR in June 1939 (754320), as an Airman u/t Pilot.
Called up in October, he went to 3 ITW on November 8. He began his flying training at RAF College FTS, Cranwell on January 1 1940.
The course completed, he was then posted to No 1 School of Army Co-operation, Old Sarum on June 2 1940. Eight days later he went to 5 OTU, to convert to Hurricanes, and on June 23 he joined 249 Squadron at Leconfield.
On September 2 1940 Barclay damaged a Bf110, on the 7th he shot down a Bf109 and damaged a Do17 and a He111, on the 15th he shot down a Do17, probably destroyed two others and damaged another, on the 18th probably destroyed a He111, on the 19th shared a Ju88 and on the 27th claimed a Bf109 and a Ju88 destroyed. During an attack on Ju88s on that day Barclay, in Hurricane V6622, was shot down S of London and made a forced-landing at West Malling.
He probably destroyed Bf109s on October 14 and 15, achieved two probable Bf109s on November 7, shared a He59 destroyed on the 11th and shared another Bf109 on the 14th. He was awarded the DFC (26.11.40).
On November 29 1940 Barclay was shot down by a Bf109 and wounded in the ankle, legs and elbow. He spent two months in hospital and did not return to 249 until March 1941.
In describing the events of November 29 he wrote that he had landed in an apple orchard and wen on: “The usual crowd came running up and put me in a car. I was taken to Pembury Hospital [near Tunbridge Wells] in high spirits and very excited. Nasty hole in ankle whence came nose of cannon shell.” He was operated on that evening.
He was posted to 52 OTU, Debden on May 7, as an instructor.
Three months later he joined 611 Squadron at Hornchurch, as a Flight Commander. During a sweep over St Omer on September 20 1941, Barclay was attacked by Bf109s and his engine was damaged. He made a forced-landing at Buyschoeure, after breaking high tension cables. With the help of the French Resistance, he crossed the Spanish frontier, arriving in Barcelona on November 7. He reached the British Embassy, left for Gibraltar on December 7 and arrived back in the UK two days later.
After a short attachment to HQ Fighter Command, Barclay was posted to HQ 9 Group, as Tactics Officer. On April 4 1942 he was given command of 601 Squadron, then about to go to the Middle East. The squadron embarked at Liverpool on April 10 in HMT K6 (SS Rangitata) and reached Port Tewfik on June 4, having gone via South Africa.
Barclay did not get a chance to lead 601. He went to command 238 Squadron at Amriya on July 2 1942. On the 16th he shot down a Bf 109.
During the afternoon of the 17th he destroyed a Ju87. In the evening 238 was on a patrol of the Alamein area, acting as top cover for 274 Squadron. As 238 went for some Ju87s, it was jumped by Bf 109s and Barclay was shot down and killed, possibly by Leutnant Werner Schroer of III/JG 27.
Barclay is buried in the El Alamein Cemetery and he is remembered on a plaque in Cromer Parish Church, where his father was vicar until 1946. R G A Barclay was commemorated in a service of remembrance at the church on August 23 1942.
His portrait was done by Eric Kennington. Barclay’s diary was published in 1976 as Battle of Britain Pilot. It has appeared in revised editions since then.
Barclay’s elder brother, Lieutenant G C Barclay, died on May 5 1944 serving with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Norfolk Regiment. He is buried in Kohima War Cemetery, India.
PO 3.10.39 FO 3.10.40 FL 3.10.41
DAVID WALTER BAYNE
26077 SL Pilot British 257 Squadron
Born on April 17 1908, Bayne went to Haileybury. He entered RAF College, Cranwell, as a Flight Cadet, in September 1926. On graduation, he was granted a Permanent Commission on December 15 1928 and posted to 12 Squadron at Andover.
On January 21 1930 Bayne went overseas to 5 (Army Co-operation) Squadron at Quetta, India, flying Bristol Fighters. He moved to 20 (Army Co-operation) Squadron at Peshawar on September 1 1933. In 1935 Bayne crashed in a Bulldog while attempting to land at Duxford in thick fog and, as a result, lost a leg. He was non-effective sick at RAF Depot, Uxbridge for a long period.
On July 1 1937 Bayne was appointed to the staff at Uxbridge and moved on to the HQ staff at Kenley on August 8 1938. He was Squadron Leader Admin on January 1 1939 and by November 1 1939 he was Sector Controller at Kenley. He was detached to No 1 RAF Depot, Uxbridge on January 28 1940 but returned to Kenley three days later.
Although he had an artificial leg, he was given the task of forming 257 Squadron at Hendon from May 17 1940. According to the personal notes kept by the squadron Intelligence Officer, Pilot Officer Geoff Myers, Bayne used a stick and “scarcely limped”. He was posted away on July 22 1940 to HQ Fighter Command but he had flown at least one operational sortie. Myers wrote of the respect in which Bayne was held and that he was “determined, conscientious and brave”.
No details are known of Bayne’s service during the remainder of the war. In 1948 he was Military and Air Attaché in Rio de Janeiro. He retired from the RAF on August 29 1955, as a Group Captain.
He died in Dorset on June 11 1986.
PO 15.12.28 FO 15.6.30 FL 15.2.35 SL 1.8.38 WC 1.12.40 GC 1.7.43 GC 1.7.47
GLENDON BULMAR BOOTH
748586 Sgt Pilot British 85 Squadron
Booth was born in Sydenham, south London in 1920. His father, Henry T B Booth, had served in the RNAS and RAF in the First World War and, in 1939, was employed as a gas fitter. G B Booth was educated at Brockley County School and worked for the County of London Electricity Company. He joined the RAFVR in May 1939, as an Airman u/t Pilot. He was called up on September 1 1939.
With training completed, he joined 85 Squadron at Debden from 7 OTU on July 15 1940.
He damaged a Bf109 in combat on August 29. The pilot managed a forced-landing at Pevensey and was captured.
On the 30th, Booth damaged a Bf110 and on the 31st he probably destroyed another. On September 1 Booth was shot down by Bf109s over Tunbridge Wells. He baled out, with burns and his parachute alight, and was further injured in a heavy landing. His Hurricane, L2071, crashed at Kingswood, Sanderstead, Surrey.
Moira Mogford, nee Holt, who was eight years old at the time, later described to the BBC how Booth landed in her family’s garden in Littleheath Road, Selsdon, Surrey. She wrote in part, “My father shouted, ‘It’s one of ours, but it’s coming down too fast!’
“Several neighbours joined us, all staring anxiously at the dishevelled figure fast descending towards us. He only had one shoe on and his flying jacket was hanging off one shoulder. Someone had the good sense to run and fetch a mattress, because the airman struck a telegraph pole on the way down and he was clearly badly injured. With the help of the neighbours my father and brother laid him on the mattress and called an ambulance.”
Booth was able to talk to those helping him, but he proved to be paralysed. Moira Holt wrote to him regularly until his death.
Booth died of kidney failure as a result of his injuries on February 7 1941 and was buried six days later in Crystal Palace Cemetery. He was 20 years old. The gravestone contains the words, “In proud and loving memory of our dear only son Glen, Sgt. Pilot G. B. Booth, Fighter Command, RAF”. Booth’s mother, Margaret Harriet (died 1960) and his father (died 1972) were both buried in the grave.
CECIL HENRY HIGHT
41924 PO Pilot New Zealander 234 Squadron
Born in Stratford, North Island of New Zealand on September 6 1917, Hight was educated at the Technical High School there. After leaving, he worked as a car salesman.
Hight obtained his ‘A’ Licence at the Western Federated Aero Club in August 1937. Early in 1938 he worked his passage to England, to join the RAF. Unable to reach necessary educational requirements, he took a cramming course in mathematics, applied again and was accepted for a short service commission.
On February 6 1939 Hight began his ab initio course at 9 E&RFTS, Ansty. He went to 6 FTS, Little Rissington on April 29, completed the course and joined 234 Squadron on November 6 1939, then reforming at Leconfield with Blenheims. In March 1940 the squadron began to re-equip with Spitfires.
On August 15 1940 the Luftwaffe made an early evening raid on Bournemouth. The enemy aircraft were met by 234 Squadron, then based at Middle Wallop. In the action, Hight was shot down, in Spitfire R6988.
Witnesses saw Hight’s aircraft go into a dive from about 5,000 feet. He baled out but his parachute did not open and he fell into the garden of ‘Hambledon’, a house owned by Mr and Mrs Hoare in Leven Avenue. Canon Hedley Burrows, Vicar of St Peter’s, arrived just before Hight’s body was found and he said a prayer for the dead pilot, where he lay in the garden. The Spitfire crashed nearby, at the corner of Leven Avenue and Walsford Road. Hight is believed to have been badly wounded and may have been unable to pull his ripcord.
He was buried with full military honours in Boscombe Cemetery on August 19. The coffin was draped with the Union flag and a New Zealand flag sent to the town of Christchurch, Hampshire in 1938 from Christchurch, New Zealand. A memorial service was held at St Peter’s on April 7 1943 and a plaque to Hight’s memory was unveiled by the High Commissioner for New Zealand. This memorial took the form of RAF wings, carved from Kauri wood by the pupils of Hight’s old school in New Zealand.
Mr and Mrs Hoare planted a Garden of Remembrance on the spot where Hight’s body was found. On November 14 1940 Mr Hoare was killed when the house was bombed and Mrs Hoare was buried in the debris. The Garden of Remembrance was later tended by local people.
Hight was the only Allied airman to die in action over Bournemouth during the war. Later a road in Kinson, North Bournemouth was named Pilot Hight Road in his honour. In August 2015 a memorial stone was placed at the crash site.
APO 15.4.39 PO 6.11.39
Updated/new information – 13th update, April 2018:
HERBERT WILLIAM COUSSENS
Updated to show that Coussens was educated at Catford Boys’ Central Council School in south east London. Further updated to show that he died in March 1996 in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.
ALFRED ERNEST MARSHALL
Information added to show that he was awarded the DFC on October 6, 1942.
MAURICE PETER DAVIES
119872 Sgt Pilot British 1 and 213 Squadrons
Davies was born on April 6 1914 and joined the RAFVR about April 1939, as an Airman u/t Pilot (748026). Called up on September 1, he completed his training and went to 5 OTU, Aston Down on August 17 1940.
After converting to Hurricanes, he was posted to No 1 Squadron at Northolt on September 1. On October 9 he damaged a Ju88.
Davies moved to 213 Squadron at Tangmere on October 14 1940. On the 17th he damaged a Bf109.
Commissioned in January 1942, Davies was released from the RAF in 1946, as a Flight Lieutenant. In early 1953 he was serving with Leeds UAS as a Flight Lieutenant and was in the process of taking exams with a view to promotion to Squadron Leader. On May 4 he was attached to Queen’s UAS (Belfast) for QFI duties, returning to Leeds UAS on May 22. He was killed on July 22, in a Chipmunk of Leeds UAS that crashed at Park House Farm, Birkin, near Knottingley, Yorkshire, having failed to recover from a spin. Cadet Pilot Diaper baled out and survived with serious injuries. The aircraft caught fire and was destroyed. Diaper was able to give evidence at the inquest on August 13 at which a verdict of death by misadventure was recorded on Davies.
“Gus” Davies is buried in the churchyard at Kirkby Wharfe, near Tadcaster.
PO 13.1.42 FO 1.10.42 FL 13.1.44
ATHOL GORDON McINTYRE
36257 PO Pilot New Zealander 111 Squadron
Born in Auckland on January 4 1917, McIntyre was educated at New Plymouth Boys’ High School. He went to work for an insurance company in Wellington.
In August 1938 he applied for an RNZAF short service commission, but as there were no immediate vacancies he did not begin his elementary flying training at the Wellington Aero Club until June 26 1939.
McIntyre was commissioned and went to No 1 FTS, Wigram on September 12. He was awarded his flying badge on November 23 and sailed for the UK in early March 1940 in the SS Remuera, arriving there on April 13.
McIntyre transferred to the RAF at Uxbridge and went to 12 OTU, Benson in May, to convert to Battles. On June 3 he was carrying out a night cross-country exercise. At one point he was engaged by searchlights and fired on by anti-aircraft guns, in spite of having given the correct signals for the day. Later on the same flight, he ran out of fuel and baled out, landing safely but suffering concussion.
On July 15 McIntyre moved to 7 OTU, Hawarden, to convert to Spitfires but afterwards joined 111 Squadron at Croydon on July 29. On the 30th he was detached to the Kenley Sector Training Flight, probably to convert to Hurricanes. He rejoined 111 on August 6 and made his first flight with the squadron on that day and became operational on the 10th.
On the 13th he destroyed a Do 17 and on the 15th he was shot down by a Bf 110 over Thorney Island. A telegram sent by the Air Ministry to McIntyre’s parents stated (spelling and punctuation as in original):
“The Commanding Officer of 111 Squadron, Squadron Leader J.M. Thompson [qv], wrote the following report, which is dated 17 August 1940: ‘At approximately 1845 hours on 15th August, 1940, No.111 Squadron took off and were ordered to patrol SHOREHAM at 15,000 feet. Pilot Officer A.G. McINTYRE, in Hurricane R.4188 was flying No.2 in Red Section. At 19.15 hours the Squadron engaged a formation of Ju.88, Me 109 and 110. After the engagement it was discovered that P/O A.G. McINTYRE was missing but later it was discovered that his aircraft had been damaged by enemy gunfire and he had forced landed near TANGMERE. He sustained injuries due to shrapnell in the right foot and thigh.’ Mcintyre was initially admitted to Chichester Hospital, but then moved to the RAF Hospital at Halton, and was reported as still there on 7 October 1940. It is stated that he was shot down over Thorney Island.”
McIntyre rejoined 111 on October 24 and made his first flight since August 15 on October 25.
On March 1 1941 McIntyre was posted to 485 Squadron, then being formed at Driffield. With his tour completed, he went to 51 OTU, Cranfield on October 7 1941, for Controller duties, and did not return to operations until November 1942, when he joined 488 Squadron at Ayr.
McIntyre was made a Flight Commander in February 1943 and in May went on attachment to Rolls Royce at Derby, where he became Senior Service Instructor on the Fighter Pilots’ Engine-Handling Course.
McIntyre was posted away in October 1944 and in January 1945 went to 83 GSU, Aston Down, to convert to Typhoons and Tempests.
He joined 3 Squadron at Volkel in March 1945 and was with it until July, when he was posted to RAF Sealand, as a maintenance test pilot. McIntyre was awarded the AFC (1.1.58) and retired from the RAF on January 30 1959, as a Squadron Leader.
He went to work for Rolls Royce and eventually became Military Representative in the Aero Division. He retired in 1981 and died in Cornwall in December 2011.
APO 12.9.39 PO 13.4.40 FO 13.4.41 FL 13.4.42 FL 1.9.45 SL 1.7.56
PETER WOOLRIDGE TOWNSEND
33178 SL Pilot British 85 Squadron
Townsend was born in Rangoon, Burma on November 22 1914. His father was a civil servant in the country and had previously attended the Royal Military College, Sandhurst and served in the Bengal Staff Corps. Part of Peter Townsend’s childhood was spent in Devon and his first school was in the village of Northam, near Bideford. Later education was at Wychwood Preparatory School, Bournemouth and Haileybury College, where his father had also been a pupil. P W Townsend entered RAF College, Cranwell in September 1933, as a Flight Cadet. He was a Prize Cadet in that year.
On graduation on July 26 1935, with a Permanent Commission, Townsend joined No 1 Squadron at Tangmere. He was posted to 36 (Torpedo-Bomber) Squadron in Singapore in January 1936 but was posted back to the UK for health reasons.
Townsend joined 43 Squadron at Tangmere on June 27 1937. Later in the year he was sent for a course to the School of Navigation, Manston and he was afterwards posted to 217 Squadron at Tangmere, a general reconnaissance unit. He became ill, threatened to resign and after a long sick leave he rejoined 43 Squadron in September 1938.
Townsend was appointed ‘B’ Flight Commander on August 31 1939. He shared in the destruction of a He111 on February 3 1940. It crashed near Whitby, the first enemy aircraft to fall on English soil during the war. He claimed He111s destroyed on February 22 and April 8, and on the 10th he damaged another. Townsend was awarded the DFC (30.4.40).
On May 23 1940 he was posted to Debden, to command 85 Squadron, which had just returned from France. On July 11 Townsend was shot down into the sea three miles off Southwold during an attack on a Do17, in Hurricane P2716. He was rescued by the Cap Finisterre, and landed at Harwich. The Do17 was damaged. Townsend received a Mention in Despatches (11.7.40).
On August 11 he destroyed a Do17 and damaged a Bf110, on the 18th destroyed two Bf109s and a Bf110, on the 26th he shared in the destruction of two Do17s, on the 28th and 29th destroyed two Bf109s, on the 30th damaged a Bf110 and on the 31st he probably destroyed a Bf109.
On this day Townsend was shot down by a Bf 110 over Tunbridge Wells. He baled out, wounded in the foot, landed at Cranbrook Road, Hawkhurst and was admitted to Hawkhurst Cottage Hospital and later transferred to Croydon. He later recorded that, while waiting for transport to Croydon he and two other pilots were entertained by locals in the Royal Oak pub and they all drank to the “damnation of the enemy”. His Hurricane, P3166, crashed at Bedgebury Park, near Badgers Oak, Goudhurst.
Townsend was awarded a Bar to the DFC (6.9.40) and rejoined 85 at Church Fenton from sick leave on September 21. After the Battle of Britain 85 Squadron went over to night fighting.
On February 25/26 1941 Townsend destroyed a Do17, 85’s first night victory, on April 9/10 he probably destroyed a Ju88 and on April 10/11 he damaged another. He was awarded the DSO (13.5.41) and posted to HQ 12 Group, as Wing Commander Night Operations.
In April 1942 Townsend was made Station Commander at Drem and in June he took command of the reformed 605 Squadron at Ford. He went to RAF Staff College in October and in January 1943 he took command of RAF West Malling. Later in the year he commanded 23 ITW and then went to 2 FIS, Montrose for an instructor’s course.
In mid-February 1944 Townsend was appointed Equerry to the King. He was created CVO in 1947 and served until the King’s death in February 1952, continuing then as Comptroller to the Queen Mother until July 1953, when he was appointed Air Attaché in Brussels. This posting followed a period when the possibility of Townsend marrying Princess Margaret was being openly discussed. Townsend later wrote of “an unnatural move to an obsolescent post in which my RAF career was to end”. On October 31 1955 Princess Margaret issued a statement in which she said, “I have decided not to marry Group Captain Townsend” and referred to his status as a divorcee and the Church of England’s attitude against such a marriage.
Townsend retired from the RAF on November 18 1956 as a Group Captain. He wrote an autobiography, Time and Chance, which appeared in 1978. He was a Commander of the Order of Orange Nassau, an Officer of the Légion d’Honneur and a Chevalier in the Danish Order of Dannebrog.
He died on June 19 1995.
PO 27.7.35 FO 27.1.37 FL 27.1.39 SL 1.9.40 WC 1.12.41 WC 1.7.47 GC 1.1.53
JAMES IAN BRADLEY WALKER
NZ40211 Sgt Air Gunner New Zealander 600 Squadron
Walker was born in New Plymouth on February 20 1920 into a family which farmed at Koru, in the Taranaki region of the North Island of New Zealand. He was named “James” after an uncle who had been killed in action at Gallipoli. “Ian” Walker attended Kowhai Junior High School, at the same time as the future New Zealand Prime Minister, (Sir) Robert Muldoon. Family finances forced Walker to leave school at 13. He worked in grocery stores and boot makers’ shops before finding a job working in a butcher’s shop, where he remained for several years. He served in the shop and delivered orders by push bike.
Walker joined the Manukau Cycling Club and competed successfully in races. He volunteered for aircrew duties at the outbreak of war and after initial rejection he was accepted as a trainee Air Gunner.
He reported to the Ground Training School at Weraroa on January 15 1940, moved to the Air Observer’s School, Ohakea, for a gunnery course in February and sailed for the UK on March 23 in the SS Akaroa.
He arrived in the UK on May 9 1940 and went to No 1 RAF Depot, Uxbridge, to wait for a posting.
On June 3 Walker was posted to 264 Squadron at Duxford, for further training. He did no flying with 264 and was posted to 5 OTU, Aston Down at the end of the month. After nine hours on Blenheims, he was awarded his air gunner’s badge; he was promoted to Sergeant and joined 600 Squadron at Manston on July 10 1940.
In September the squadron began to convert to Beaufighters and by the end of the year the air gunners were doing little flying. In early 1941 Walker asked for a transfer to Bomber Command and on February 6 he was posted to 11 OTU, Bassingbourn.
After crewing-up and converting to Wellingtons, Walker was posted to 115 Squadron at Marham in mid-April. He flew his first operation on the 25th, as rear gunner on a seven hour flight to raid Wilhelmshaven. On May 3 he escaped unhurt when his Wellington crashed at Oakington.
On the night of August 5/6 1941 Walker’s crew was detailed to attack Cologne. On the way back, the Wellington was caught in searchlights and one engine put out of action by flak. This caused Walker’s turret to be inoperable, with guns unable to fire. The aircraft lost height and when the second engine failed, it crashed into a wood near Louvain, Belgium.
Walker’s leg was broken below the knee. The crew were taken to a village by the Belgians, where they were taken into custody by the Germans. Walker spent three months in hospital in Louvain, Brussels and Antwerp. After a month in Frankfurt for interrogation, he was sent to a PoW camp, the first of several he was to be in during his captivity. In 1942, at a time when his leg looked extremely unsightly, Walker was seen by Swiss medical observers from the International Red Cross and recommended for repatriation.
Having heard nothing by mid-1943, Walker escaped with another prisoner and they were at liberty for eight days before being caught and returned to the camp. After being threatened with shooting, they got off with a sentence of fourteen days solitary confinement.
In August 1943 his repatriation came through. The repatriates went on a train to Marseilles, then in an Italian ship to Barcelona, where the man-for-man exchange of prisoners took place on the wharf.
Walker went to Alexandria and a month later boarded a Dutch hospital ship at Port Tewfik. The voyage to New Zealand was made via Australia and Walker landed at Wellington on December 13 1943.
He took the option of release from the RNZAF and was discharged on March 15 1944, as a Warrant Officer. In civilian life he took an apprenticeship in furniture upholstering. He resumed competitive cycling and took part in trials for the New Zealand Empire Games team. One of his daughters, Angela, became a gymnast, and in 1990, at Auckland, won a Commonwealth Games (as the Empire Games had become) Gold medal and three bronze medals. She was also the only gymnast to represent New Zealand at the Olympic Games of 1988 in Seoul, South Korea.
Ian Walker died in 2009. A biography, From Battle of Britain Airman to PoW Escapee, written by Angela Walker, appeared in 2017.
Updated/new information – 12th update, March 2018:
ALBERT GEORGE CURLEY
Updated to show that Curley was born on September 30 1907 at Ballincollig, County Cork, Ireland. His father, Major John Curley served in the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry and the Scottish Horse, as well as in other units. His service included spells in South Africa during the 2nd Boer War, India, Egypt and Ireland. In 1939 the family home was at 63 Aldenham Road, Bushey, Hertfordshire.
JOHN FRASER DRUMMOND
Final paragraph added to point out that In the 2010 TV movie, First Light (based on the book by Geoffrey Wellum, qv, of 92 Squadron) Drummond was portrayed by the actor Alex Waldmann.
RICHARD POWELL FREEMAN
Details of his early life added:
Freeman was born on August 21 1912 in West Ham, Essex. In 1939 he was living at the family home in West Ham. His occupation is shown as “concrete traveller hanger”. His father, who had been to sea as a fireman, was working as a “steel worker labourer, heavy”.
ARTHUR JAMES BEAUMONT HITHERSAY
Photograph added and name of satellite station amended from ‘Brighton’ to Breighton.
Additonal material added at the end of the entry:
Lowe was commissioned on September 13 1944. He remained in the RAF after the war. He relinquished his commission on April 22 1950.
Lowe died on October 8 1973 while serving as a Sergeant at RAF Sealand. He is buried, with a CWGC headstone, in the churchyard of St. Deiniol at Hawarden.
ALLAN EDWARD MARSH
End of entry amended and extended:
Marsh held a series of appointments as Lieutenant Commander Flying, on HMS Rajah from January 3 to December 16 1944, on HMS Khedive from December 31 1944 to June 11 1945 (which included the action on May 15/16 1945 in which the Japanese cruiser, Haguro, was sunk in the Strait of Malacca) and at RNAS Trincomalee from June 12 to November 21 1945.
He returned to the Royal Marines in January 1946 and served in 42 Commando in Malta and in Germany. Marsh retired on September 30 1953. In civilian life he was a motor engineer, retiring again in 1977.
Nickname of “Minnie” also revealed.
MICHAEL ROBERT MUDIE
Reference to the BBC’s Charles Gardener’s commentary on the action in which hs was killed is added at the end of the entry:
The engagement in which Mudie was shot down was witnessed from the nearby cliffs by the BBC correspondent, Charles Gardner. His controversial (because of its excitement) live commentary referred to Mudie taking to his parachute but suggested that he was German.
In part Gardner said:
“There’s one going down in flames! Somebody’s hit a German and he’s coming down with a long streak – coming down completely out of control – a long streak of smoke. And now a man’s baled out by parachute! The pilot’s baled out by parachute! He’s a Junkers eighty-seven and he’s going slap into the sea. And there he goes – SMASH! A terrific column of water and there was a Junkers eight-seven. Only one man got out by parachute, so presumably there was only a crew of one in it!”
Mudie’s brother, Flight Lieutenant Arthur Frederick Mudie, died in action on November 11 1940, aged 22. He was serving with 84 Squadron in operations against the Italians in Albania. He is remembered on the Alamein Memorial.
The words on M R Mudie’s grave are:-
In proud and loving memory of Pilot Officer Michael Robert Mudie RAF, Killed in Action at Dover July 14th 1940.
Aged 24 Years
Also his Brother, Acting Flgt Lieut, Arthur Frederick Mudie RAF, Killed in Action in Albania Nov 14th 1940
Aged 22 Years
Per Ardua Ad Astra
Another brother and a sister survived the war.
JOHN ALFRED POTTER
Additional information on memorial added:
On February 28 2018 a memorial to Potter was unveiled at Seacombe Promenade, Wallasey and the stretch of promenade where the memorial stands was named Jack Potter Walk. Present at the ceremony were family members including Jack Potter’s son.
EVERETT BRYAN ROGERS
Additional information added to point out that he was Mentioned in Despatches (27.3.45) while flying with Bomber Command.
JOHN EDWARDS SULMAN
Photograph added to replace Orde portrait.
Extra information added : He appears on the Roll of Honour of Coutts & Co, private banker, and presumably worked for the organisation before the war.
GEORGE HENRY ETTRICK WELFORD
Information added on what happened after he was shot down on September 17, 1940:
A letter written by Welford states that Mr Adams and Mr Curwen took a farm gate off its hinges and carried him on this emergency stretcher to Mr Adams’ farm where his injuries (lacerations to left eyebrow and below his left knee) were treated by Mrs Weston and Mrs Doreen Smith, prior to him being taken to hospital.
In the next field to where Welford came down there was another fighter wreck, smoking, on the edge of a wood. Welford was told that the aircraft was German and that the pilot was still inside, dead. However, it appears likely that this would have been the Hurricane of Sergeant E J Egan of 501 Squadron. Egan’s remains were not found until 1976.
DESMOND GORDON WILLIAMS
Attendance at Victoria College, Jersey, added, plus additional information at the end of the entry:
His name is on the war memorial for the parish of St Clement, Jersey and his name appears in Victoria College’s The Second Book of Remembrance, covering the Second World War, the first volume having paid tribute to those lost in the Great War.
JOHN WILLIAM EDWARD ALEXANDER
42178 PO Pilot British 151 Squadron
Alexander was born on January 28 1915 in Newcastle upon Tyne. He Joined the RAF on a short service commission and began as a pupil pilot on May 1, 1939 at 13 E&RFTS, White Waltham. He moved on to 10 FTS, Ternhill on July 10, on No 12 Course, and completed his training on December 9 1939.
Alexander arrived at 11 Group Pool, St Athan on December 28 and went to 2 Ferry Pilot Pool on January 26 1940. He was posted to No 1 Air Armament School at Manby on March 2, as a staff pilot. He went to 7 OTU, Hawarden on June 17, converted to Hurricanes and then joined 151 Squadron at North Weald on July 1 1940.
Flying from North Weald on August 28, Alexander’s aircraft was set alight in a combat over the Thames Estuary and he baled out, badly burned. The burning Hurricane, L 2005, crashed into a bungalow at Millthorpe, Godmersham at 4.30 pm. Alexander was admitted to hospital and was later transferred to the RAF Hospital at Halton.
He returned to 151 Squadron, then at Digby, on November 21 and then seems to have been given two periods of sick leave before finally rejoining 151 on December 27 1940.
Nothing further is known of Alexander’s service career but it would appear that he went on to the Reserve at the end of 1942 and was released from the RAF in 1945 as a Flight Lieutenant.
He died on June 9 1993, aged 78, at 2 Lesbury Avenue, Stakeford, Choppington, Northumberland.
APO 24.6.39 PO 27.12.39 FO 27.12.40 FL 27.12.41 FL (RAFO) 1.1.43
LEONARD HAROLD BARTLETT
102959 Sgt Pilot British 17 Squadron
Bartlett was born in Muswell Hill, Middlesex on June 20 1916 and educated at Woodhouse Secondary School, Finchley, and Northampton Institute, Islington. He worked in a London wholesale meat market as a buyer and salesman. He joined the RAFVR in May 1939, as an Airman u/t Pilot (745808).
Called up on September 1, he completed his training and went to 7 OTU, Hawarden on July 1 1940. After converting to Hurricanes, he joined 17 Squadron at Debden on July 15.
On August 21 Bartlett shared in the destruction of a Ju88, on September 5 he shared a He111 and on the 19th he shared a Ju88.
On October 28 he damaged a Do 17, on November 8 he destroyed a Ju87 and probably a second and on the 11th he shot down a Ju87 and probably another. On March 17 1941 Bartlett was shot down over Chiddingly, Sussex, in Hurricane Z 2704. He baled out. The aircraft crashed at Stream Farm.
Commissioned in July 1941, Bartlett was posted to 137 Squadron at Matlask in February 1942. On July 6 he damaged a Ju88 off Yarmouth in a Whirlwind.
In September 1942 he was given command of 253 Squadron at Hibaldstow. The squadron went to North Africa in November. Bartlett destroyed a Ju88 on January 10 1943. The squadron moved to Monte Corvino, Italy in October. Bartlett was posted away in January 1944 and he was awarded the DSO (3.3.44).
Bartlett was appointed military commander of the island of Vis, in the Adriatic, where an airfield had been constructed. He was given the US Legion of Merit, for organising the rescue of USAAF crews, who had ditched in the Adriatic Sea.
In 1945 Bartlett became Personal Staff Officer to the AOC Middle East. He later commanded 2 Squadron, flying Spitfires in the PR (photo reconnaissance) role, was the air defence specialist at the School of Land/Air Warfare, served in Aden and commanded the air defence early warning radar station at Bawdsey, Suffolk.
In 1965 he was one of the still serving Battle of Britain veterans, all Group Captains, who took part in Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral procession. He retired from the RAF on June 20 1966 as a Group Captain and went to live in Australia. He died there on February 11 2017.
PO 31.7.41 FO 11.5.42 FL 31.7.43 SL 30.4.44 SL 1.9.45 WC 1.7.53 GC 1.1.60
78538 PO Pilot British 603 Squadron
Berry was born in Hull on May 3 1917. His father was a Cargo Superintendent for Royal Mail at Hull Docks. The family (Ronald had two sisters and a brother) lived at 28 Kelvin Street, Hull.
Ronald Berry was educated at Riley High School and Hull Technical School. After leaving, he worked for St Andrew’s Engineering in the docks and was then employed in the department of the City Treasurer.
Having seen a newspaper recruitment advertisement, he joined the RAFVR (740170) in April 1937 and did his weekend flying training at 4 E&RFTS, Brough. He joined the Hull Aero Club to gain additional practice.
In February 1939 he spent three weeks with the RAF. He was attached to 66 Squadron at Duxford, to fly Spitfires.
Called up at the outbreak of war, Berry spent a short time at a Gunnery School before joining 603 Squadron at Turnhouse on October 17 1939.
In November he was one of a detachment sent to Montrose to protect the airfield there. On December 7 the 603 pilots drove off a formation of He111s and damaged at least two. On June 30 1940 Berry damaged a Ju88, on July 3 he shared a Ju88, on the 23rd and 30th shared a Do17 and a He111 respectively, on August 28 probably destroyed a Bf109 and damaged another and on the 31st he destroyed three Bf109s. On September 2 he destroyed a Bf109, on the 11th damaged a Bf109, on the 15th probably destroyed two Bf109s and shared a Do17, on the 17th he probably destroyed a Bf109 and on the 27th he destroyed two Bf109s, probably a third and shared a probable fourth. On the 29th Berry probably destroyed a Bf109 and damaged another, on the 30th destroyed a Bf109 and shared another, on October 8 probably destroyed a Bf109 and on the 27th and 28th he damaged Bf109s.
He was awarded the DFC (25.10.40). On November 7 Berry shared a Bf110, on the 8th damaged a Bf 09, on the 17th destroyed a Bf109 and on the 23rd he shot down an Italian CR42 and probably another. These biplane fighters were escorting bombers attacking coastal shipping.
By January 1941 Berry was ‘A’ Flight Commander, as an Acting Flight Lieutenant. When his operational tour ended in April, Berry went to Turnhouse on the 25th, as a Fighter Controller.
In January 1942 he was given command of 81 Squadron. The pilots had just returned from Russia, leaving their aircraft there. In October the squadron sailed for Gibraltar, where it picked up tropical Spitfire Mark Vcs.
On November 8 1942, the day of the landings in North Africa, 81 put in at Maison Blanche, probably the first Allied squadron to land. Next day Berry destroyed a Ju88 and shared in destroying a Ju88 and a He111, on the 11th he damaged another Ju88, on the 14th damaged a Mc200, on the 26th damaged two Bf109s and on the 28th shared another.
Berry shared a FW190 on December 3, destroyed another on the 6th and shot down a SM79 on the 10th. He was promoted and appointed Wing Leader, 322 Wing on January 23 1943. The Wing was made up of 81, 152, 154, 232 and 242 Squadrons.
He destroyed Bf109s on January 31 and February 25, got a probable Bf109 on March 2, damaged a FW190 on April 3, damaged a Ju87 on the 5th, probably destroyed a Bf109 on the 13th, damaged Bf109s on the 25th and 26th, destroyed a Ju52 on the ground on May 6 and six Bf109s on the ground next day.
He was awarded a Bar to the DFC (2.3.43), took command of 322 Wing on March 13 1943 and at the end of his operational tour he was awarded the DSO (1.6.43).
Berry returned to the UK and on June 29 1943 he joined 53 OTU, Kirton-in-Lindsey, as OC Training Wing. He went to HQ ADGB in April 1944 and later took a course at the Army Staff College at Camberley. He commanded RAF Acklington in 1945/46, graduated from the Joint Services Staff College in 1955 and held a series of staff appointments in Fighter and Bomber Commands before his retirement on January 29 1969 as an Air Commodore.
“Ras” Berry was made OBE (1.1.46) and advanced to CBE (1965). In retirement he lived in Hornsea, north east of Hull and then in a nursing home. He died, aged 83, in September 2000. Berry Close on the site of RAF Hornchurch is named in his honour. In 2009 a biography, Ronald Berry Hull’s Spitfire Ace, was self- published by the author, Don Chester.
PO 1.12.39 FO 1.12.40 FL 1.12.41 SL 23.2.43 SL 1.9.45 WC 1.7.52 GC 1.7.59 AC 1.1.66
GUY RAWSTRON BRANCH
90137 FO Pilot British 145 Squadron
Branch was born on October 27 1913. His father, Charles Churchill Branch, was a barrister and Alpine mountaineer. Educated at Eton, like his father, G R Branch then went up to Balliol College, Oxford. He joined 601 Squadron, AAF in late 1936 and was commissioned in May 1937.
On February 11 1938 he was on an instructional cross-country flight in a Demon, with Flying Officer Aidan Crawley (who became well known as a journalist, broadcaster, Kent county cricketer and Member of Parliament). After refuelling at RAF Netheravon, they took off in poor weather, just missed the hangars and crashed in flames on the road nearby. Branch extricated himself from the wreckage, but finding Crawley still trapped, he went back into the flames and pulled him out. For this act he was awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal (25.3.38).
Branch went to France with ‘A’ Flight of 601Squadron on May 17 1940. Later on this day AA fire separated him from the rest of the patrol and he became lost, eventually setting his Hurricane N 2435 down, out of fuel, near Aire, SE of St Omer.
On May 20 he was shot down by return fire from a Do17. He baled out from Hurricane P2699 and came down at Izel-les-Equerchin, west of Douai. Records show that a Do17P of 3(F)/10 was lost in this area, the crew baling out and it may have been the one that Branch attacked.
That evening the remainder of 601 was withdrawn, only leaving as German patrols crossed the airfield perimeter. How Branch returned to the UK has not been established.
Branch was posted to 145 Squadron, also based at Tangmere, on June 1. On July 15 1940 Branch shared in the probable destruction of a Do17 and on August 8 he claimed the destruction of two Ju87s. He failed to return from a combat south of Swanage on August 11. His Hurricane, P2951, crashed into the sea and his body was later washed up on the French coast.
He was 26 and is buried in the churchyard at Quiberville, Normandy. On September 23 1939 his sister Bridget had married Flying Officer (later Squadron Leader) T E Hubbard at Boxgrove Priory, Sussex. G R Branch had married Lady Prudence Mary Pelham, daughter of the sixth Earl of Chichester, on March 25 1939.
JOHN ALLISON GEORGE CHOMLEY
84668 PO Pilot Rhodesian 257 Squadron
Chomley was born on June 6 1920 in Southern Rhodesia. His father was Major G G F Chomley, who had served with the (Australian) Victorian Contingent in the Second Boer War. The son entered RAF College, Cranwell on April 27 1939, as a flight cadet, with a Dominion nomination from Southern Rhodesia. College records show that his guardian in England at the time was Captain the Hon M J Pelham of Hinton, Woodford Halse, near Rugby. The records also indicate that Chomley’s father was a farmer at that time.
As J A G Chomley had not completed his course at the outbreak of war, he was enlisted in the RAFVR on September 7 1939, as an Airman u/t Pilot (581693).
He was disciplined for low flying and therefore did not graduate with a commission. Instead, on May 22 1940, he was transferred to 12 SFTS, Grantham to complete his flying training, with the recommendation that he pass out as a Sergeant-Pilot.
He was commissioned in the RAFVR on June 8 1940.
He arrived at 6 OTU, Sutton Bridge on June 8 and, after converting to Hurricanes, he joined 257 Squadron at Northolt on July 7. He crashed on landing at Hendon on the 23rd, in Hurricane P 3641, but was unhurt.
Chomley was reported ‘Missing’ after a combat with enemy aircraft off Portsmouth on August 12 1940. His Hurricane is believed to have crashed into the sea.
He was 20 and his name is on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 7.
EDWARD MORTLOCK DONALDSON
30243 WC Pilot British 151 Squadron
Donaldson was born at Seremban in Negri Sembilan, Federated Malay States on February 22 1912. His father (who died of a heart attack in 1918) was a judge in that area and his mother a former “Norland Nurse” (nanny/nursery nurse) who had worked for the Donaldson family. Two brothers would serve in the RAF in the Second World War and each was awarded the DSO. A cousin, Olivia Thelma Exley Edwards, known as “Thelma”, became the first wife of D R S Bader (qv) and was portrayed in the film Reach for the Sky by Muriel Pavlow.
E M Donaldson went to England at the age of six and was educated at King’s School, Rochester, Christ’s Hospital and McGill University, Canada.
He joined the RAF on a short service commission on June 26 1931 and did his flying training at 2 FTS, Digby. On June 20 1932 Donaldson was posted to 3 Squadron at Upavon. He won the Brooke-Popham Air Firing Trophy in 1933 and 1934 and led the aerobatic displays at Hendon in 1935 and 1937 and at the International Rally at Zurich in 1937.
Donaldson went to No 1 Squadron at Tangmere (Hawker Fury) on July 2 1936, as a Flight Commander. He was granted a Permanent Commission on March 29 1938. In August he joined the staff at 7 FTS, Peterborough and on November 14 he took command of 151 Squadron (Hawker Hurricane) at North Weald.
In May 1940, 151 took part in the fighting in France, using Vitry as an advanced landing ground. On the 17th Donaldson destroyed two Ju87s, the next day a Bf110 and on the 22nd a Ju87 destroyed and probably a second. Over Dunkirk he shared a Ju88 on May 29, probably destroyed a Ju88 on June 1 and destroyed a Bf110 on the 2nd and two Bf109s on the 8th. He was awarded the DSO (31.5.40).
On July 14 Donaldson claimed a Bf109 destroyed. He was appointed Acting Wing Commander and posted from 151 on August 5 to be CFI at 5 FTS, Sealand. In 1941 he went to the USA to organise gunnery schools and teach combat techniques. He was awarded the AFC (30.9.41).
In 1944, after a period at the Empire Central Flying School, Donaldson was given command of RAF Colerne, the first permanent base for jet fighters in the UK. He later commanded RAF Milfield.
Donaldson took command of the RAF High Speed Flight in early 1946, and on September 7 he gained the World’s Speed Record in a Meteor at 616 mph. He was awarded the Britannia Trophy and received a Bar to the AFC (12.6.47) and the US Legion of Merit (1948). Later he was Deputy Commander, British Forces, Arabian Peninsula.
His final RAF appointment was as Commandant of the RAF Flying College, Manby. He retired from the RAF on March 21 1961, as an Air Commodore. He was made a CBE (1.6.53) and CB (1.1.60). After his retirement, he was Air Correspondent for the Daily Telegraph until 1979, being known at the paper as “the Air Commodore”. He enjoyed fast cars and sailing and moved around London on a scooter, wearing a bowler hat (and equipped with a rolled umbrella) until legislation demanded protective headgear.
“Teddy” Donaldson died on June 2 1992 in the Royal Naval Hospital, Haslar and is buried in St Andrew’s churchyard, Tangmere. A biography, RAF Top Gun by Nick Thomas, was published in 2008.
PO 26.6.31 FO 26.6.33 FL 1.4.36 SL 1.12.38 WC 1.3.40 GC 1.1.44 AC 1.7.55
HENRY MICHAEL FERRISS
78538 PO Pilot British 603 Squadron
Born at Lee, London on February 27 1918, Ferriss was known as “Michael” in his family, as his father, a pharmacist, was also “Henry”. Michael attended St Joseph’s Academy, Blackheath. He was then at Stoneyhurst College, Lancashire from September 1930 to July 1934. He was in the Corps of Drums, the choir and the orchestra.
He became a medical student at St Thomas’s Hospital and was a member of the London University Air Squadron from January 20 1936 to July 4 1937. The money to continue his medical studies was not available and he joined the RAF on a short service commission.
Ferriss began his ab initio training on July 12 1937 as a pupil pilot. He went to No 1 RAF Depot, Uxbridge on September 5 for a short induction course, after which he went to 6 FTS, Netheravon on the 18th. With training completed on May 7 1938, Ferriss joined 111 Squadron at Northolt.
He shared in the probable destruction of a He111 on April 8 1940 and shared another on the 10th. During squadron patrols over France in May, Ferriss destroyed two Bf110s and damaged two others on the 18th, a Bf110 damaged on the 19th, a Bf109 destroyed on the 31st, a Bf109 destroyed and probably another on June 2 and another two Bf109s destroyed on the 6th. Ferriss was awarded the DFC (21.6.40).
He destroyed a Bf109 and damaged a Do17 on July 10 and shared a He59 on the 28th. He was appointed ‘A’ Flight Commander on August 7 1940, destroyed a Do17 and damaged another on the 13th, was promoted to Acting Flight Lieutenant on the 14th and probably destroyed another Do17 on the 15th.
In a head-on attack over Marden on August 16 (a technique of which 111 was a pioneer), Ferriss collided with a Do17 of 7/KG 76 and was killed. He crashed in an orchard at Sheephurst Farm, in Hurricane R4193. The Do17 crashed at Moatlands, Paddock Wood. A witness reported seeing the Hurricane plummeting to the ground with the pilot slumped in the cockpit. The farmer later planted a memorial apple tree, which became known as “The Ferriss Tree”.
Ferriss is buried in St Mary’s churchyard, Chislehurst, Kent. In modern times some members of the family spell the surname “Ferris”.
APO 5.9.37 PO 12.7.38 FO 12.1.40
WILLIAM NAIRN GARDINER
121234 Sgt Pilot British 3 Squadron
Gardiner was born in Perth, Scotland on January 26 1921. He joined the RAFVR about August 1939, as an Airman u/t Pilot (754858). Called up on September 1, he completed his flying training and served with 3 Squadron at Castletown during the latter part of the Battle of Britain. He flew his first operational sortie with the squadron on October 27 1940.
Gardiner was posted away to 96 Squadron at Cranage, Cheshire on December 25 1940. The squadron had been recently formed from 422 Flight for night-flying operations with Hurricanes.
He was commissioned from Warrant Officer in March 1942. No other service postings traced.
Gardiner died on November 5 1998. At that time he was living in Burghmuir Road, Perth. A local newspaper death notice described him as, “hydroelectric engineer, former town councillor and RAF Fighter pilot.”
PO 22.3.42 FO 1.10.42 FL 22.3.44
PHILIP WILLIAM DUNSTAN HEAL
90220 FL Pilot British 604 Squadron
Heal was born on January 15 1912. His family owned a construction firm and his father served as a fitter in the RFC during the First World War. P W D Heal joined 604 Squadron, AAF in 1936. He obtained a commercial pilot’s licence and qualified as a flying instructor. In the months before the outbreak of war he was involved in night flying, reconnaissance and target interception training, and in February 1939 completed the Instructor’s Course at the Central Flying School, Upavon.
He was called to full-time service on September 24 1939. On April 11 1940 he was detached from 604 to RAF Farnborough for No. 8 Oxygen Course. He flew night patrols, including over Dunkirk during the evacuation.
He was posted away to 5 OTU on August 15 1940, for instructor duties. He crashed at Aston Down on September 4, in Hurricane L 1658, unhurt, when an undercarriage leg sheared off. His logbook shows involvement in the testing of AI radar.
In early 1941 Heal was posted to Southern Rhodesia as an instructor. He commanded RAF Thornhill, near Gwelo (now Gweru in Zimbabwe).
Heal was awarded the King’s Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air (1.1.43) and AFC (8.6.44) as an Acting Wing Commander.
In 1945 he was posted back to the UK, first to RAF Andover and then to Biggin Hill and Kenley, continuing instructing and training on the Harvard, Proctor and Cygnet among others. He received a permanent commission in the RAF in April 1946.
From 1946 to 1949 Heal served on the Joint Planning Staff of the Chiefs of Staff Committee and for the next two years as Staff Officer in charge of Group Administration. In 1949, after pressing for a flying appointment, he was posted for a refresher course at Finningley.
Between 1951 and 1953 he was based at the RAF Flying College, Manby. He then went on to the Handling Squadron, responsible for composing Pilot’s Notes on all aircraft being brought into service. He was retained on the Staff to command the Flying Wing.
In 1951 Heal led a number of long distance Arctic flights which were part of the RAF Flying College training experience. In July 1951 he and Wing Commander R T Frogley headed a team in Avro Lincoln Aries III which staged from Manby to Keflavik, Iceland then Keflavik over the North Pole to Eilsen Field in Alaska. Heal was made an honorary chieftain of the Algonquin tribe.
He was posted to the Central Flying School at Little Rissington, when it became CFS (Advanced), as Chief Instructor. Subsequently he became Acting Commandant and from 1953 to 1954 he commanded the Station. In 1954 his flying ability was assessed as Exceptional and he attained his Master Green rating.
Among the many aircraft he flew, including for aerobatic displays, were the Venom and Hunter. He also qualified as a helicopter pilot.
From 1955 to 1957 Heal was lent as Air Advisor to the Iraqi Government to re-form the Iraqi Air Force, then in difficulties.
In 1957 he went to the Air Ministry as Deputy Director of Air Staff Policy. He did not enjoy “flying a desk” and in 1962 was appointed Deputy Captain of the Queen’s Flight. King Hussein of Jordan sat beside him on a number of occasions and Heal became one of many people surprised to be addressed as “Sir” by the King.
He retired on February 24 1962 with the rank of Group Captain. He subsequently worked as Chief Welfare Officer for the Blue Circle Cement Group but later returned to Whitehall, working for the Government Hospitality Fund as a Senior Escort Officer, conducting visiting dignitaries and their spouses around London and other cities. He continued to do some escort work until he was 80. In retirement he lived at Inkpen, west Berkshire.
Heal died in December 1997, aged 85.
PO (AAF) 24.3.37 FO (AAF) 24.9.38 FO 24.8.39 FL 3.9.40 SL 1.12.41 WC 1.10.46 GC 1.1.53
DOUGLAS WILLIAM HOGG
77977 PO Pilot British 25 Squadron
Hogg, of Thornliebank, Renfrewshire, must have already had some flying experience when he joined the RAF on February 1 1940, with a direct-entry RAFVR commission. He joined 25 Squadron at Martlesham Heath on February 11. Hogg shared in destroying a Ju88 on August 12.
He was killed on September 3 1940, when he was shot down over North Weald in daylight by an RAF Hurricane of 46 Squadron, flown by Flight Lieutenant A C Rabagliati. His gunner, Sergeant E Powell, baled out, unhurt. The Blenheim, L 1512, crashed near Greenstead Green, Essex. Powell reported that Hogg had been shot and killed in the air. The doctor who examined the body agreed.
Hogg was 23. He is buried in Eastwood Cemetery, Glasgow.
THOMAS EDWARD HUBBARD
90138 FL Pilot British 601 Squadron
Hubbard was born on December 27 1911 and educated at Eton. He joined 601 Squadron, AAF in 1937 and was commissioned on May 7. He was called to full time service on August 25 1939.
He took part in an attack on the Luftwaffe seaplane base at Borkum on November 28 1939. Twelve Blenheims took off from Bircham Newton; six from 25 Squadron and six from 601 Squadron.
All aircraft returned safely to Debden. Three Heinkel 115s were destroyed and three more damaged. It was the first fighter attack of the war on a target in Germany.
On May 16 1940 Hubbard went with ‘A’ Flight of 601 to France, to reinforce 3 Squadron. On the 19th he destroyed a He111 and was then himself shot down. He made a forced-landing at Noyelles, S of Arras, set his Hurricane on fire and then made his way back to 601 at Merville.
On the 27th he destroyed a Bf110 west of Dunkirk. The flight was withdrawn to Middle Wallop on June 1. On the 7th, on a patrol over France, Hubbard shot down a Bf109 and was himself shot down and reported ‘Missing’. Next day he was reported safe by No 8 Port Detachment.
When Max Aitken took command of 601 on June 7, Hubbard was made ‘B’ Flight Commander and promoted to Acting Flight Lieutenant. He reverted to Flying Officer when Flying Officer W H Rhodes-Moorhouse took over ‘B’ Flight.
He shared in the destruction of a Ju88 off St Catherine’s Point on July 16 and shared in destroying a He59 and damaging a Do17 off Selsey Bill on the 20th. Hubbard, in company with Pilot Officers M D Doulton and T Grier, had attempted to escort the floatplane back to land but it was abandoned by its crew of four, who baled out too low for their parachutes to open. The aircraft went into the sea.
Hubbard transferred to the Administrative and General Duties Branch on September 24 1941. He was released from the RAF in mid-1943 as a Squadron Leader. He worked as factor (Estate Manager in Scotland) for Sir John Buchanan-Jardine, Bt. Hubbard died in 1985. Between 1939 and 1974 he was married to Bridget, sister of Flying Officer G R Branch, EGM .
PO (AAF) 7.5.37 FO 25.8.39 FL 3.9.40
FRASER BARTON SUTTON
41962 FO Pilot British 56 Squadron
Sutton was born in Witney, Oxfordshire on January 28 1919 and spent some of his early life in Jersey, where there were family connections. His first job was as a reporter on a Northampton evening newspaper. He joined the RAFVR in October 1937, as an Airman u/t Pilot (740761).
He began his weekend flying at 6 E&RFTS, Sywell. When he went to work for a Nottingham paper, he continued his flying training at 27 E&RFTS, Tollerton.
He joined the RAF on a short service commission in February 1939. After completing his training at 2 FTS, Brize Norton, he joined 56 Squadron at North Weald on August 2 1939, direct from 2 FTS.
On May 16 1940 ‘B’ Flight of 56, Sutton included, flew to Vitry-en-Artois in France. He shared in the destruction of a Do 17 on the 18th and later on this day he was jumped by a Bf 109, soon after taking off, and wounded in the foot. Sutton managed to return to Vitry. He was sent back to England on May 23.
Sutton was at No 1 RAF Depot, Uxbridge as non-effective sick until July 7 1940, when he rejoined 56 Squadron, making his first flight next day, local flying.
Sutton claimed a Ju87 destroyed on July 25, a Bf110 on August 13, a Bf109 on the 16th and another Bf110 on the 26th. He was shot down, possibly by a Spitfire, in combat over the Thames Estuary on August 28 1940 and baled out, seriously burned, from Hurricane R4198. Sutton was admitted to Canterbury Hospital and later transferred to the RAF Hospital at Halton.
After a year in hospital, Sutton was posted to the Middle East. He waited in Cairo for a posting and in November 1941 he set out for Burma. He flew with a group of Hurricanes, led by a Blenheim, the first leg being from Cairo to Lydda. They then flew in easy stages to Mingaladon, Burma, where they joined 136 Squadron, Sutton as a Flight Commander. He probably destroyed two Japanese Army 97 Fighters on February 6 1942.
Later in February he took command of 135 Squadron at Mingaladon. He probably destroyed one Japanese bomber and damaged another on the 25th. The squadron was ordered to withdraw on March 5, firstly to Akyab and then to Dum Dum, in India.
In mid-April 1942 Sutton was posted to Air HQ Bengal, as a staff officer. He went to the Air Fighting Training Unit at Amarda Road in early 1943, as CFI, remaining there until November, when he was posted to Command HQ Delhi, as Chief Tactics Officer.
Sutton was appointed to lead a Spitfire Wing in Bengal in April 1944 and at the end of June he became Wing Leader of a Hurricane/Spitfire Wing in the Imphal Valley.
Sutton returned to the UK in 1945. He was awarded the DFC (17.8.45).
“Barry” Sutton was Personal Air Secretary to the Secretary of State for Air and commanded the RAF stations Aston Down, North Weald, Horsham St Faith and Bassingbourn. He retired from the RAF on April 23 1966 as a Group Captain and lived in Jersey, where he had a house at Rozel on the island’s north coast. He died on March 16 1988 and is buried in the churchyard extension at Trinity Church, Jersey.
For a considerable time his grave was untended and became covered in vegetation. It was unoffically restored by a Jersey resident.
APO 15.4.39 PO 3.9.39 FO 3.9.40 FL 3.9.41 SL 17.1.44 SL 1.8.47 WC 1.1.53 GC 1.1.59
EDWARD GEORGE TITLEY
86334 PO Pilot British 609 Squadron
Titley was born in Carlton, Nottinghamshire on August 7 1911. He was educated at Uppingham School and Pembroke College, Cambridge. At cricket he was a wicketkeeper and right handed batsman. He played two first class matches for Cambridge University in June 1932, one against Sussex (during which he was dismissed by the future England player, Jim Parks) and the other against the Indian tourists, in which he took two catches as wicketkeeper, one of which was to the bowling of another future England player, Ken Farnes, who would be killed as an RAF pilot in the Second World War.
Titley also played cricket for Free Foresters and was a prominent Eton Fives player.
He went down in 1933 and entered the City of London, becoming a Lloyd’s underwriter in 1934.
In November 1938 Titley joined the RAFVR, as an Airman u/t Pilot (742418). Called up on September 1 1939, he completed his training at RAF College FTS on No 11 Course, which ran from June 8 to September 6 1940.
He arrived at 7 OTU, Hawarden on September 7 and, after converting to Spitfires, joined 609 Squadron at Middle Wallop on September 29, flying his first operational sortie on October 13, patrol base.
Titley apparently blacked out while airborne on a date which is unclear, dropped out of a formation and nearly collided with another aircraft. He was found to have an inner ear problem and was declared unfit for any further high-altitude flying. He became an instructor at CFS.
He was killed on July 17 1943 as a Squadron Leader with 5 (Coastal) OTU when Beaufort JM 514 spun in and was destroyed by fire at Ryefield, near Moira, County Down. Flight Sergeant J W Hoba, RCAF was also killed.
Titley was 31. His wife came from Northam, near Bideford, Devon and he is buried in St Margaret’s churchyard there.
PO 7.9.40 FO 7.9.41 FL 7.9.42
ALEXANDER JAMES WRIGHT
Lieutenant (RM) Pilot British 804 Squadron
Wright was born on October 25 1913 and he joined the Royal Marines on June 19 1934. He was commissioned on January 1 1936. He was attached to the FAA on May 1 1939.
He joined 804 Squadron from 759 (Fleet Fighter School) Squadron on March 21 1940. Wright embarked on the carrier HMS Glorious with a detachment of 804 on April 22. They flew from Glorious to Campbeltown on disembarking on May 7 1940.
In early July 1940 he was with 804 Squadron at Hatston, flying Sea Gladiators on dockyard defence. Wright embarked on HMS Furious by air with ‘A’ Flight of 804 on September 5. The flight disembarked and returned to Hatston on September 8.
By October 10 1940 Wright had left 804 Squadron and then served on HMS Argus, flying Skuas.
On November 24 1940 Wright went to 803 Squadron for HMS Formidable, operating in the Mediterranean, covering Malta convoys and searching for the Italian fleet. In late May 1941 Wright was posted to 805 Squadron at Dekheila, Egypt, to fly Martlets in the Naval Fighter Wing.
After instructing at the Fighter School at Yeovilton, Wright took command of 809 Squadron on August 7 1943, which embarked on HMS Unicorn for the Salerno landings on September 9 to 12, as part of Force V under Admiral Vian. The squadron flew Seafires in the umbrella over the landings, a total of 713 sorties.
Wright later served as Lieutenant Commander Flying on HMS Patroller and then on HMS Arbiter, which was used as a back-up carrier in operations against Japan in July and August 1945. He was Air Group Commander of 16 CAG (Carrier Air Group) on HMS Glory. He then spent two years on the staff of Flag Officer Air Home.
He returned to duty with the Royal Marines on August 15 1949 and retired on July 26 1958, as a Major. He received a Mention in Despatches (2.12.41) for service in 805 Squadron and another (19.5.44) for Salerno.
2nd Lieutenant 1.1.36 Lt 1.2.38 Capt 12.8.43 Major 30.6.51
Updated/new information – 11th update, February 2018:
ALFRED BERNARD CUMBERS
RAYMOND JOHN KITCHELL GENT
Updated to show that Gent was born in 1916 at East Preston between Littlehampton and Worthing. In the 1911 census his father gave his occupation as railway clerk.
RONALD JOSEPH GOULDSTONE
Additional information to show that Gouldstone was born in 1921 at Malling, Kent.
Additional information to show that Hardie was born on April 26 1921 in Levenshulme, Manchester. His father was a commercial traveller, working in the cocoa business.
Mc Phee’s date of death – January 14, 2018 – added, along with a photograph.
HERBERT ROBERT CASE
83272 PO Pilot British 64 and 72 Squadrons
Case was born on July 9, 1916, the son of a farmer at Withycombe, Somerset, and was educated at Minehead Grammar School. He lived in digs in Thirlmere Avenue, Stretford, Lancashire, while with Metropolitan Vickers at nearby Old Trafford, completed a four year apprenticeship with the company and became an electrical engineer. He had studied part time at Manchester Municipal College of Technology. Supported by his employer, Case enlisted in the class ‘F’ Reserve, as an Airman u/t Pilot, about June 1936 (700690). He was called to full-time service on September 1 1939 and completed his flying training at 2 FTS, Brize Norton, on No 47 Course, which ran from April 28 to August 3 1940.
Case was commissioned and he went to 7 OTU, Hawarden on August 10 and, after converting to Spitfires, joined 64 Squadron at Leconfield on the 28th.
He flew his first operational sortie on September 3 and his last on the 14th.
He moved to 72 Squadron at Biggin Hill about September 15. Case was killed on October 12, when he fell out of formation and crashed in a field off Winehouse Lane at Capel-le-Ferne, near Folkestone, in Spitfire P9338.
An Army officer’s wife wrote to Case’s mother saying that she had witnessed his aircraft being attacked by Bf109s immediately before he crashed. Other witnesses gave similar accounts. Soldiers of The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) guarded Case’s body until it was collected by the RAF.
He was buried in St Nicholas’ churchyard, near his home in Withycombe, where a small display in the church now commemorates him. Case was 24 years old.
JOHN REYNOLDS COCK
40674 FO Pilot Australian 87 Squadron
Born in Renmark, South Australia on March 3 1918, Cock was educated at Renmark High School, Prince Alfred College, Adelaide and Roseworth Agricultural College. He learned to fly privately and went to England in early 1938 and joined the RAF on a short service commission in March.
He began his ab initio flying on March 7 1938, as a pupil pilot. He completed his training at 6 FTS, Little Rissington, after which he joined 87 Squadron at Debden from 6 FTS on December 17 1938.
Cock went to France with the squadron at the outbreak of war. On April 10 1940 Cock destroyed a He111 off Le Touquet. On May 10 he shared a He111 and damaged two Do 17s, on the 12th destroyed a He111, on the 13th destroyed a Bf 109, on the 16th probably destroyed a Ju88, on the 18th destroyed a Ju87 and damaged another and on the 19th he shared a Hs 126.
The squadron was withdrawn to Debden on the 24th, moving to Church Fenton a few days later to refit. On July 5 1940, 87 Squadron moved to Exeter. Soon after midnight on the 26th Cock shot down a He111, which crashed at Smeatharpe, near Honiton.
On August 11 he shot down a Ju88 and a Bf109 and probably shot down a Bf110 and another Ju88. In this engagement Cock’s Hurricane, V7233, was hit by a Bf109 and he baled out, slightly wounded. A Bf109 fired at him under his parachute, but was shot down by Pilot Officer Dennis David of 87. Cock landed in the sea off Portland Bill, swam ashore at Chesil Beach and was admitted to hospital.
Cock rejoined 87 on September 11 1940. On the 26th he claimed a Ju88 destroyed and a Bf109 damaged, on the 30th a Ju88 destroyed and probably a Bf109 and on October 10 he claimed another probable Bf109.
After his engine cut out on patrol on October 24, Cock was unable to avoid colliding with Pilot Officer D T Jay. Cock managed to make a forced-landing but Jay was killed while attempting to bale out.
Cock suffered shock in this incident and was posted to RAF Exeter on November 24, (w.e.f. October 24), as non-effective sick. He rejoined 87 Squadron on December 3 1940. Awarded the DFC (25.10.40), Cock was posted away from 87 to 2 CFS on December 8, for an instructors’ course.
In September 1941 he was instructing at 9 FTS, Hullavington. On July 15 1942 Cock was posted to 453 Squadron, recently reformed at Drem, as a Flight Commander. Cock left the squadron on August 30, for a course as a pilot gunnery instructor.
After a short attachment to 222 Squadron at Ayr in November, he returned to Australia, where he was attached to the Spitfire Wing at Darwin, as a supernumerary. Cock later went to the Gunnery School at Mildura and lectured at various units.
In April 1944 he returned to the UK and did a tour with 3 Squadron in France, flying Tempests, after which he went back to England. Cock was released from the RAF in February 1948, as a Squadron Leader. Later for a time he was the Secretary of what was then the Australian Division of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association
He returned to the UK, to be present when the wreckage of Hurricane, V 7233, in which he had been shot down on August 11 1940, was salvaged from the sea on August 30 1983.
He died in Australia on August 20 1988.
APO 7.4.38 PO 7.3.39 FO 3.9.40 FL 3.9.41 SL 1.1.44
JAMES BAIRD COWARD
39412 FL Pilot British 19 Squadron
Coward was born in Teddington, Middlesex on May 18 1915, and educated at St John’s School, Leatherhead. He was an apprentice bookkeeper before joining the RAF as a candidate for a short service commission and began his ab initio course on November 16 1936, at 9 E&RFTS, Ansty.
He did his intermediate and advanced flying training at 2 FTS, Digby from mid-February to September 1937. With training completed, he joined 19 Squadron.
On November 6 1939, Coward was posted to 266 Squadron, then reforming at Sutton Bridge, as ‘A’ Flight Commander.
Over Dunkirk on June 2 1940 he probably destroyed a Bf 109. Coward rejoined 19 Squadron, at Fowlmere, from hospital on June 27. He flew his first sortie on July 6. He fell ill soon afterwards and did not fly operationally again until August 28.
On August 31 he was shot down during an attack on Do 17s ten miles E of Duxford. He baled out, badly wounded, and landed near the Royston-Newmarket Road. A farm worker who had watched his descent stopped a passing car which proved to contain a doctor. Coward was taken to Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, where his left leg was amputated below the knee. During his descent, Coward had taken off his helmet and used the radio lead as a tourniquet for the leg.
Fit again, Coward was posted to Mr Churchill’s personal staff, in charge of roof-spotting at Chequers and Chartwell. In early January 1942 he went on a three month refresher course at Hullavington, after which he was posted to 52 OTU, Aston Down, to command a squadron. In October 1942 Coward went as CFI to 55 OTU, Annan. On November 21 1943 he took command of No 1 ADU at Croydon.
Coward was sent on a course at RAF Staff College on June 17 1944, following which he was posted to the Air Ministry, in charge of Fighter Operational Training.
He stayed in the RAF after the war, serving as air attaché in Oslo and at the RAF College Cranwell before being given command of an advanced flying training school equipped with Meteor jets. He carried out many test flights investigating the spinning characteristics of the aircraft and for this work was awarded the AFC (1.1.54).
In 1957 Coward took command of RAF Boulmer in Northumberland. Three years later he went to Australia, serving on the British Defence Liaison Staff. For four years he was the Air Officer Commanding Air Cadets and Commandant of the Air Training Corps before being appointed, in 1966, defence attaché in Pretoria, South Africa.
He retired from the RAF on September 8 1969, as an Air Commodore and went to live in Australia. He died in Yass, New South Wales on July 25 2012.
APO 28.1.37 PO 16.11.37 FO 16.6.39 FL 3.9.40 SL 1.12.41 SL 1.8.47 WC 1.7.52 GC 1.7.58 AC 1.7.62
HENRY LA FONE GREENSHIELDS
Sub-Lieutenant (FAA) Pilot British 266 Squadron
Greenshields was born in 1918. His father served in the Royal Artillery, reaching the rank of Major. Henry Greenshields was turned down by the RAF because of defective eyesight, but joined the RNVR and was called to full-time service in September 1939.
Greenshields was attached to the RAF and sent to 7 OTU, Hawarden on June 17 1940. He converted to Spifires, joining 266 Squadron at Wittering on July 1.
He probably destroyed a Bf110 and damaged two others on August 12 and destroyed a Bf109 SE of Dover on the 15th. Next day he failed to return from a combat with Bf109s that he had pursued out over the Channel. He was shot down and killed by Leutnant Müller-Duhe of JG26. His Spitfire, N3240, crashed in the suburbs of Calais on the bank of a canal. Local people were convinced that the pilot had remained at the controls trying to avoid buildings and streets. The Germans mounted a guard which saluted as the body of Greenshields was removed from the wreckage. He was buried in Calais Southern Cemetery beside, and at the same time as, Flying Officer L L Pyman of 65 Squadron, who had been killed on the same day. The two pilots were given a German Guard of Honour.
Greenshields was 22. In October 1996 a commemorative tablet to him was placed in the village church at Hawkchurch, Devon.
JOHN HARVEY HEYWORTH
32079 SL Pilot British 222 and 79 Squadrons
Heyworth was born on March 20 1910 in Belper, Derbyshire and educated at Rugby School. He was an outstanding sportsman, particularly at rugby and cricket, and gained a place at Edinburgh University to study medicine, his father’s profession. However, Heyworth joined the RAF on a short service commission on September 11 1931 and on the 26th he was posted to 5 FTS, Sealand.
After his flying training was completed in late August 1932, he was posted to 54 Squadron at Hornchurch. In 1934 he was part of the squadron’s aerobatic display team at the Hendon Air Pageant.
On November 22 1934, Harvey Heyworth went to 504 Squadron, AAF at Hucknall, as Officer Commanding ‘B’ Flight. He went on to Class ‘A’ of the RAFO in September 1936, with the Officer Commanding 504 Squadron writing that Heyworth “has completed 1100 flying hours to date. An exceptionally keen and very capable pilot who is particularly good in bad weather. Would make a good test pilot or flying instructor. Flying assessment: Exceptional.”
Heyworth immediately joined Rolls-Royce as a test pilot. One of his projects was fuel management trials with the Fairey Battle.
Recalled to the RAF on August 25 1939, he was posted to No 22 (Army Co-operation) and sometimes acted as personal pilot to the Group’s Commander.
He arrived at 5 OTU, Aston Down for a refresher course on May 21 1940. The next day he soloed on a Spitfire Mk l, but crashed on landing. He was unhurt and the aircraft, P 5916, was repairable. On July 9 he joined 222 Squadron at Kirton-in-Lindsey, as a supernumerary. He took command of 79 Squadron at Acklington on July 12. On August 15 he shared in the destruction of a Bf 110 and a Do 17 and on the 31st he probably destroyed a Ju88.
The squadron went south to Biggin Hill on August 27 1940. On September 6 Heyworth damaged a Ju88, on the 7th he probably destroyed another and on the 27th he shared in the destruction of a He111 and also in the probable destruction of another.
On April 2 1941, flying from Pembrey, he probably destroyed a He111 off Linney Head and on the 9th he shot a He111 down into the sea off St David’s Head, Pembrokeshire.
Heyworth was posted away from 79 Squadron and attached to Rolls-Royce in June 1941, for test pilot duties. He flew many different types of aircraft before testing jets. Heyworth was seconded from the RAF to Rolls-Royce in 1942. He was awarded the AFC (1.1.46).
After release from the RAF in 1945, as a Wing Commander, Heyworth re-joined Rolls-Royce, as a test pilot. He became Chief Test Pilot in 1951.
On January 22 1954 he crashed in Dart Lancaster, N G 465, on Holmwell golf course, due to fuel starvation affecting all four engines. The purpose of the flight was to test de-icing equipment. Three Rolls-Royce staff, acting as flight observers were uninjured. Heyworth’s injuries meant the end of his test-flying career. When he resumed flying in June 1954, it was only in light communications aircraft.
H N D Bailey (qv), a Battle of Britain pilot from 54 Squadron, succeeded him as Chief Test Pilot and Heyworth joined the Aero Division sales staff.
Heyworth’s brother, A J (James), also employed at Rolls-Royce, took over the role of Chief Test Pilot in January 1955, when Mr Bailey was appointed Manager of the Technical Administration at Rolls-Royce. Jim Heyworth had flown Wellingtons and Lancasters in 12 Squadron, Bomber Command and been awarded an immediate DFC after bringing back a Wellington on one engine from an attack on Nuremberg. He received a bar to the DFC after his 60th operation.
In the summer of 1955 Heyworth suffered a severe stroke. The early medical advice was that he would never walk or speak again, but, in fact, he eventually regained his driving licence and returned to work in the Export Sales Department of the Rolls-Royce Aero Engine Division. On October 6 1957 his son, Paul, serving as a Senior Aircraftman in the RAF, was killed in a motor cycle accident, aged 19. Harvey Heyworth had a further haemorrhage on September 21 1959 and died, aged 49. The tribute to him in Rolls-Royce News referred to him as “the first test pilot in the world to complete 1000 flying hours on jets”.
Squadron Leader Jim Heyworth died on June 10 2010, aged 88.
PO 11.9.31 FO 11.3.33 FL 1.4.36 FL (RAFO) 11.9.36 SL 1.3.40 WC 1.3.42
PETRUS HENDRIK HUGO
4i848 FO Pilot South African 615 Squadron
Born on a farm at Pampoenpoort, Cape Province, South Africa on December 20 1917, Hugo went to the Witwatersrand College of Aeronautical Engineering. He joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his ab initio training at 6 E&RFTS, Sywell on January 23 1939, as a pupil pilot.
After completing his flying training at 13 FTS, Drem, Hugo went to the 11 Group Pool, St Athan on October 23 1939. He was posted to No 2 Ferry Pool at Filton on November 17 and he then joined 615 Squadron at Vitry in France on December 17 1939.
On May 20 1940 Hugo destroyed a He111. The squadron was withdrawn to Kenley next day.
On May 23 Hugo was one of six 615 Squadron pilots who were formed into ‘G’ Flight, to fly Gladiators. The Flight went immediately to Manston, where it was attached to 604 Squadron for operations. On May 30 the Gladiators returned to Kenley and ‘G’ Flight was disbanded.
On July 14 Hugo probably destroyed a Ju87, on the 17th he damaged a Do17, on the 20th probably destroyed two Bf109s, on the 25th probably another Bf109 and on the 27th he shared in destroying a He59 floatplane.
Hugo was attached to the Air Fighting Development Unit, Northolt on July 29, for a course. His next operational sortie with 615 was on August 12, during which he destroyed a Bf109.
On the 16th he damaged a He111 in the Brighton area. During this combat, his aircraft was severely damaged by a Bf110 and he returned to Kenley, slightly wounded in both legs.
On the 18th Hugo made a crash-landing at Orpington, after a combat with Bf109s, in Hurricane R4221. He was admitted to Orpington Hospital, with wounds to the face. He was awarded the DFC (23.8.40), returned to the squadron on September 22 and flew his first operational sortie on the 24th.
Hugo was appointed a Flight Commander in September 1941. On October 14 he shared a He59 and he was awarded a Bar to the DFC (25.11.41). In November he was given command of 41 Squadron at Merston. He destroyed a Bf109 and damaged another on February 12 1942 and destroyed two more on March 14 and 26.
Hugo was made Wing Leader at Tangmere on April 12 and on this day he damaged a FW190, on the 16th he damaged a Bf109 and on the 27th he got a probable FW190 and damaged another. He was shot down in this engagement, baled out into the Channel and was picked up by an ASR launch, wounded. He was awarded the DSO (29.5.42).
After a spell at HQ 11 Group, Hugo was appointed Wing Leader at Hornchurch on July 18 1942 but stayed only until August 31, being then posted to lead 322 Wing in North Africa. On November 12 he shared a Do217 over Bougie, Algeria, on the 13th he probably destroyed a Ju88, on the 15th a probable He111, on the 16th and 18th destroyed Ju88s and on the 21st, 26th and 28th Bf109s.
On November 29 1942, Hugo took temporary command of 322 Wing, when the CO was injured in an attack on the airfield. On December 2 he destroyed a SM79 and shared another and on the 14th destroyed a SM79. Hugo was awarded a second Bar to the DFC (16.2.43) and posted to HQ North West African Coast Air Force on March 13 1943.
He took command of 322 Wing again in June 1943. On the 29th he damaged a Bf109, on September 2 destroyed a FW190 and an Arado Ar196 on November 18. Hugo damaged a Bf109 on July 10 and continued to lead the Wing until its disbandment in November 1944, when he was posted to HQ Mediterranean Allied Air Forces.
He was later seconded to Marshal Tolbukin’s 2nd Ukranian Army, then moving from Romania to Austria. After returning to the UK, Hugo was posted to the Central Fighter Establishment.
In addition to his other awards, he received the C de G (Fr) and the DFC (US) (14.11.44). “Dutch” Hugo retired from the RAF on February 19 1950, as a Squadron Leader, retaining the rank of Group Captain.
He ran a cattle farm on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanganyika (now Tanzania) but this was taken by the government in 1971 and he returned to South Africa, where he died on June 6 1986. His portrait was done by Cuthbert Orde in February 1941.
APO 1.4.39 PO 21.10.39 FO 21.10.40 FL 21.10.41 SL 12.7.42 SL 1.9.45
NORMAN LANCELOT IEVERS
37812 FL Pilot Irish 312 Squadron
Ievers was born in Patrickswell, County Limerick, Ireland on March 16 1912. When he was eight the family moved to County Wicklow and he went to a boarding school in Bray, moving to Campbell College in Belfast. There he excelled at rugby, playing in the 1st XV for three years.
In 1930 he took up an engineering apprenticeship with Thornycroft in Basingstoke, Hampshire. He learned the manufacture, fitting and testing of engines. On completion, after four years, he joined the factory workforce and acquired a motorbike. But after a year there were layoffs and he found himself working on a farm near Winchester.
Ievers joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his ab initio course on March 9 1936. He was posted to 10 FTS, Ternhill on May 14, for intermediate and advanced training, and, with the course completed, joined 56 Squadron at North Weald on December 25. He was posted away to 6 FTS, Netheravon on April 24 1939, as an instructor, and moved to 15 FTS, Lossiemouth on September 17. On March 20 1940, whilst out testing a Hawker Hind, Ievers overturned the aircraft, making a forced-landing 2 miles E of Elgin. Both he and his passenger-pupil were unhurt.
From September 17 1940, Ievers was instructing at No 1 FTS, Leuchars. On October 19 he joined 312 Squadron at Speke and he was appointed ‘B’ Flight Commander the next day.
Ievers was posted away to 308 Squadron at Baginton on December 2 1940 and on the 16th he joined the High Altitude Flight at the A&AEE, Boscombe Down. His testing was mostly related to experiments in the development of pressurised cockpits and he recorded many flights at altitudes up to 40,000 feet plus at least one engine failure followed by a forced-landing.
On July 28 1941 he joined 257 Squadron at Coltishall, moved to 19 Squadron at Matlask on September 9 and was posted to the Middle East on November 3.
Ievers took command of 80 Squadron in the Western Desert on the 13th. He was posted to the Air Staff, HQ Middle East on January 23 1942 and sailed for the Far East in mid-February in the SS Orestes, acting as OC Troops.
He served on the staffs at 221, 222 and 224 Groups and on August 20 1942 he was made Acting Station Commander at RAF Kanchrapara. He was posted to 320 MU, Karachi on February 20 1943.
Ievers returned to the UK later in the year and was released from the RAF in 1944 as a Squadron Leader. He returned to Ireland, eventually settling at Mount Ievers, County Clare, a house he bought from a cousin. In the 1980s, with his wife, he began a major restoration programme, assisted by a grant from the Irish Georgian Society. The house was used as a location for the 1997 film, The Serpent’s Kiss.
He died on November 21 1993.
One of his brothers, Major Frederick Robert (“Freddie”) Ievers, Royal Artillery, attached to 3 Lt AA Regiment, Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Artillery died in a Japanese PoW camp on September 17 1943, aged 33, and is buried in Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Thailand.
APO 4.5.56 PO 9.3.37 FO 9.10.38 FL 3.9.40 SL 1.12.41
LESLIE NINIAN LANDELS
84695 PO Pilot British 32, 3 and 615 Squadrons
Landels was born in Durban, South Africa of Scottish parents and, in 1914, moved with them to Haddington, east of Edinburgh and then in Haddingtonshire. He joined the RAFVR in 1936 as an Airman u/t Pilot (740963). He undertook training at the de Havilland School of Flying, Hatfield. Called up on September 1 1939, he completed his training, was commissioned and then sent to No 1 School of Army Co-operation at Old Sarum on August 24 1940, presumably for a course.
He may have volunteered for Fighter Command because he arrived at 6 OTU, Sutton Bridge on September 4, converted to Hurricanes and was posted to 32 Squadron at Acklington on September 21.
Landels moved to 3 Squadron at Turnhouse on the 27th and to 615 at Northolt on October 11.
After destroying a Bf109 on November 8, he was shot down over Maidstone and made a crash-landing at Challock, in Hurricane V7652, slightly injured. Landels was admitted to hospital and was posted to RAF Northolt as non-effective sick.
It is not known where he was after recovery but in late 1941 Landels was in the Far East. He commanded 232 Squadron at Seletar, Singapore, briefly in January 1942, before being killed on the 20th, as an Acting Flight Lieutenant.
On the morning of January 20, 80plus Japanese bombers, escorted by fighters, attacked Seletar airfield. Twelve Hurricanes from 232 Squadron scrambled from the field at 0700. They reached 28,000ft and were ordered by Ground Control to attack the bombers which were around 8,000ft below them. The Japanese fighters were not immediately spotted as they climbed to intercept the Hurricanes. Landels was shot down and killed by a Ki-43 flown by First Lieutenant Yonesaku Hatta. Landels’ Hurricane BM906 struck the mast of a Chinese fishing vessel before crashing into the sea. Hatta was shot down and killed shortly afterwards by Landels’ number 2, Pilot Officer Parker.
Landels is remembered on the Singapore Memorial, Column 411.
In 1948 his widow emigrated to New Zealand. Their son David served in the Royal New Zealand Navy from 1957 until retiring in 1993.
PO 24.8.40 FO 17.8.41
JOHN BAILLIE MILLS
629563 AC1 Radar Operator British 23 Squadron
John Baillie Mills was born in 1921 in Ballyhay, a rural community near Donaghadee, County Down, Northern Ireland. His father had earlier returned from Philadelphia in the USA; his mother died of consumption in 1927.
J B Mills attended Ballyvester, Castle Gardens and Movilla elementary schools, leaving at the age of 14 to become an apprentice electrician.
Mills joined the RAF in December 1938, as an Aircrafthand. After completing his training he was posted to the BEF in France. He was based at Arras as a member of a Lewis Gun crew. During the German advance in May 1940 his unit retreated along the coast through Dunkirk and Cherbourg, eventually being evacuated in one of the last ships out of St Nazaire.
He volunteered for aircrew duties and after a short radar course he was posted to 23 Squadron at Collyweston on June 16 1940.
Mills flew his first operational sortie on July 28. He was posted away on March 21 1941 to join 85 Squadron. The squadron was exchanging its Hurricanes for Havocs and going over to night-fighting.
Mills developed septicaemia and was eventually declared medically unfit to fly. He was then sent to an RAF forward control post preparing for the invasion of France. Some time after D-Day he went ashore at Gold Beach, driving one of the unit’s vehicles. Landing areas were built to be used by Hawker Typhoons. The unit would direct them, using the cab rank system, in close support of ground forces. He remained with the unit till the end of the war in Europe, taking part in the Rhine crossing.
Mills was selected for posting to the Far East, where the war with Japan was still in progress, and he sailed in the SS Uganda to Sydney, Australia in early 1945. He was involved with supply line maintenance to the Pacific theatre. He returned on the RMS Athlone Castle and was demobbed in Northern Ireland in 1946.
Mills lived in Whiteabbey, County Antrim and worked for 30 years in Belfast telephone exchanges, becoming a supervisor. He kept fit at a gym until he was 91 and died of a heart attack, aged 93, on October 30 2014.
A photograph has also been added to this entry.
742128 Sgt Pilot British 43 Squadron
Dennis Noble, who came from Retford, Nottinghamshire, was educated at the Methodist Day School and Sir Frederick Milner School, Retford. He was a member of The Boys’ Brigade and his hobbies included making model aeroplanes and repairing radios and other electrical items. Before the war he was employed by an electrical retailer and then worked as Chief Radio Engineer for Masto Ltd of Watford. He applied for a patent for a shaver power supply unit he designed.
He joined the RAFVR about October 1938, as an Airman u/t Pilot, and was called to full-time service on September 1 1939.
He completed his training at 11 FTS, Shawbury on No 18 Course, which ran from January 31 to June 29 1940. He arrived at 6 OTU, Sutton Bridge on July 6.
After converting to Hurricanes, Noble joined 43 Squadron at Northolt on August 3 1940. On the 13th he made an emergency landing at Tangmere after an operational sortie, with damage to his glycol system and radiator. On the 16th Noble claimed a Ju87 destroyed.
He was shot down and killed by a Bf 109 off the Sussex coast on August 30. His Hurricane, P 3179, crashed near the junction of Portland and Woodhouse Roads, Hove.
Noble was 20. A funeral was held at East Retford Cemetery and a coffin was buried. Rumours persisted at the time that it contained only stones and was tilting to one side when lowered into the grave.
On November 9 1996 Noble’s aircraft was being excavated when it was discovered that human remains were still in the cockpit. Work was halted and the remains were removed. Other items recovered included Noble’s wallet, address book and prayer book, as well as a set of maps.
There was subsequently a memorial service (conducted by the Rev Anthony Martlew who, as a child, had watched Noble’s Hurricane falling) and a burial of remains took place at East Retford, on January 23 1997. On August 21 1998 a new block of flats close to the crash site was named Noble Court. Between 2013 and 2017 a local pub displayed the name Noble House.
P1381 FO Pilot Polish 303 Squadron
Pisarek was born on January 3 1912 at Jasinowo Gorne, in Poland. He was commissioned in the Army in 1934 and, having volunteered for the Air Force, completed flying training at Deblin in 1935. He was posted to 61 Eskadra. After advanced training, Pisarek joined 141 Eskadra at Torun. In the fighting of September 1939, he and another pilot, Stanislaw Skalski, shared in the destruction of a Hs 126 on the 1st. Pisarek destroyed a Hs126 and a Do17 on the 2nd and on the 3rd he was given command of 141 Eskadra. On the 4th he damaged Ju87.
Following Poland’s defeat, He escaped to Romania and travelled to France via Yugoslavia and Italy. He was involved there with the training of Polish airmen and did not fly operationally. Moving from airfield to airfield, as the Germans advanced, Pisarek ended up at Gaillac near Toulouse. He was part of a group of Polish airmen who flew in a Caudron Goeland aircraft to Oran via Perpignan. They moved on via Casablanca and Gibraltar to the UK.
Pisarek arrived in England on June 23 1940. He went to the Polish Wing at 3 S of TT, Blackpool, to await a posting. On August 21 he joined 303 Squadron at Northolt.
He claimed a Bf109 destroyed on September 7. On this day Pisarek was himself shot down by a Bf 109 and baled out, unhurt. His Hurricane, R4173, crashed in the back garden of 40 Roding Road, Loughton, Essex, killing three ARP personnel in an air raid shelter. Pisarek was roughly handled by Home Guard members until they accepted that he wasn’t German.
On September 15 Pisarek destroyed a Bf 109 and on the 28th he was appointed joint ‘B’ Flight Commander. On October 5 he destroyed a Bf110 and damaged another and on the 7th destroyed another Bf109. He was awarded the VM (5th Class) (23.12.40).
Pisarek was posted to 315 Squadron at Acklington at its formation on January 21 1941. He was awarded the KW (1.2.41). On March 30 he was posted to 308 Squadron at Baginton, as a Flight Commander. He took command of the squadron on June 23 1941.
He destroyed Bf109s on July 2 and 17, probably destroyed one on the 22nd and destroyed another four Bf109s on August 14, September 20 and 21 and October 13. Pisarek was awarded three Bars to the KW and the DFC (30.10.41).
He was posted away to HQ 11 Group on December 8 1941, as Polish Liaison Officer. Pisarek was appointed Wing Leader of the Northolt Polish Wing on April 17 1942. He was killed on April 29, leading the Wing over France, in Spitfire MB307, which was shot down by a FW190. He probably crashed into the sea and his body was not found. He is remembered on the Polish Air Force Memorial at Northolt. He was awarded the VM (4th Class) (31.10.47). His portrait was done by Eric Kennington and Cuthbert Orde.
FO 1.3.41 FL 1.9.41
WYNFORD ORMONDE LEONI SMITH
37366 FL Pilot British 263 Squadron
Smith was born in 1915. In 1911 his father was a bank clerk. W O L Smith joined the RAF on a short service commission in October 1935. He was posted to 6 FTS, Netheravon on October 19 and, with training completed, went to the School of Army Co-operation at Old Sarum for a course. On February 11 1937, Smith was posted to the Aircraft Depot, Karachi, moving afterwards to 5 (Army Co-operation) Squadron at Risalpur.
It would appear that Smith was a flying instructor at No 1 FTS, Leuchars in Spring 1940. He joined 263 Squadron at Drem from No 1 FTS on June 20 1940.
On July 13 he was involved in a night flying accident, crashing at Carstairs Junction, Lanark, attempting to land in a built-up area. Smith was unhurt. The Hurricane, P 2991, was written off.
He assumed command of ‘C’ Flight of 263, when it was formed on July 15, to develop the Whirlwind. However ‘C’ Flight was disbanded on August 7 1940, when ‘A’ Flight became non-operational with Whirlwinds and ‘B’ Flight remained operational with Hurricanes. Smith then ceased to be a Flight Commander and joined ‘A’ Flight, commanded by Squadron Leader J G Munro.
Smith was killed on December 29 1940, when he crashed near Bovey Tracey in Whirlwind P 6975. He was 25 and he is buried in Exeter Higher Cemetery, Devon.
Smith’s brother, Hugh Thomas Leoni Smith (born February 6 1911), gained a Royal Aero Club aviators’ certificate through the London Air Park Flying Club on August 23 1939. He was a Pilot Officer in the RAFVR in 1940. The London Gazette for November 11 1947 shows his appointment as a Flying Officer in the RAFVR (General Duties Branch) on September 13 that year. On July 2 1965 the Gazette recorded that H T L Smith, then living at West Horsley, Surrey, and a bank clerk by profession, had changed his name by deed poll on June 28 that year to Hugh Thomas Leoni Leoni-Smith. He died at West Horsley on August 15 1985.
APO 7.10.35 PO 7.10.36 FO 7.5.38 FL 7.5.40
47504 F/Sgt Pilot British 46 Squadron
Tyrer was born in 1915 at Toxteth Park, Liverpool. He joined the RAF on April 27 1932, as an Apprentice Clerk at RAF Records, Ruislip (590612) and passed out on April 24 1934. He later applied for pilot training and was selected.
With training completed, Tyrer appears to have been a staff pilot at No 1 AAS, Manby. He joined 610 Squadron at Wittering from Manby on November 1 1939.
Tyrer arrived at 12 Group Pool, Aston Down on November 10, and after converting to Hurricanes he was posted on December 8, joining 611 Squadron at Rochford on December 16 1939.
He was posted from 611 to 27 MU, Shawbury on April 26 1940 but he was with 46 Squadron by early May and went with the squadron to Norway later in the month. On June 2 Tyrer shared in damaging a Ju 87 near Skaanland. He was evacuated by the Royal Navy on June 8 and he rejoined 46 Squadron when it was reformed at Digby on June 15.
Tyrer damaged a Do17 and a Bf109 on September 7, destroyed a Do17 on the 15th and probably destroyed a Ju88 and a Bf110 and damaged a Bf109 on the 27th. He held the rank of Flight Sergeant at this period of the Battle of Britain.
Commissioned in November 1941, he was released from the RAF in 1945 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant.
On April 1 1946 Tyrer was killed piloting Dragon Rapide G-AERZ, operated by Railway Air Services Ltd, which crashed in dense fog on Royal Belfast Golf Course, Craigavad, County Down, about 200 yards from the club house. Another crew member and four passengers were also killed. The aircraft had been en route from Speke, Liverpool, to Belfast on a scheduled passenger service. It was approaching Belfast City Airport when it hit trees. Heavy rain was also encountered and it was believed that the pilot had reduced altitude to try to retain ground visibility. People associated with the golf club, including the head steward and a bar steward, ran to try to help. One casualty was found outside the burning wreckage and was able to speak, but later died.
At the time of his death Tyrer lived in Allangate Road, Grassendale, Liverpool, with his wife. A daughter was born in 1946.
PO 29.11.41 FO 1.10.42 FL 29.11.43
Updated/new information – 10th update, January 2018:
RICHARD COCKBURN COCKBURN
The following additional paragraph has been added:
As with a number of the aircrew who qualified for the Battle of Britain Clasp in Scotland, Richard Cockburn did not regard himself as one of The Few. However, he visited the National Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne shortly before his death and saw his name on the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall.
ALEXANDER JOSEPH GLEGG
Entry amended to show that Glegg joined 601 Squadron AAF in 1931, NOT 1935.
JERROLD LE CHEMINANT
Early family details revised in first paragraph to read as follows:
Le Cheminant was born on April 24 1918 in Hampshire. His father was a native of Guernsey. Jerrold Le Cheminant joined the RAFVR about January 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot (742864).
WILLIAM HOWARD MACHIN
Updated to show that Machin was born in 1920 in West Bromwich, Staffordshire.
WHITNEY WILLARD STRAIGHT
Post-service career information updated as follows:
When BEA was established in 1946, Straight became its Deputy Chairman and Managing Director. He chaired a government advisory committee on private flying and was Chairman of the Royal Aero Club from 1946 to 1951. In 1947 he became Deputy Chairman of BOAC. He later held Board appointments at Rolls-Royce, Midland Bank and the Post Office.
IAN LEWIS MCGREGOR HALLAM
39730 FL Pilot British 610, 222 and 73 Squadrons
Hallam, the son of a doctor, was born in Edinburgh on November 2 1918. Shortly afterwards the family moved from Morayshire to Yalding, Kent. Hallam was educated at Repton School. He joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his ab initio course on March 15 1937, as a pupil pilot. He went on to No 1 RAF Depot, Uxbridge on May 18, for a short induction course.
He was posted to 2 FTS, Digby on June 5 and with intermediate and advanced training completed, he joined 2 (Army Co-operation) Squadron at Hawkinge in January 1938.
The squadron went to France on September 6 1939 and was withdrawn to England on May 19 1940. Hallam was sent to the PRU at Heston on July 6 1940, for training, following which he joined 225 (AC) Squadron at Tilshead.
In August he volunteered for Fighter Command and arrived at 7 OTU, Hawarden on the 22nd. After converting to Spitfires, Hallam joined 610 Squadron at Acklington on September 3, moving on to 222 Squadron at Hornchurch on the 30th. During the Battle of Britain, Hallam is believed to have claimed one Bf 109 destroyed, another probably destroyed and four damaged.
On October 24 1940 he was posted to 73 Squadron at Castle Camps.
He made a crash-landing on November 3 near Redhill, in a Hurricane.
He did not go with 73 when it left Debden for the Middle East on November 13 but joined 151 Squadron at Digby on the 19th.
Hallam served briefly with 303 Squadron at Leconfield, as ‘B’ Flight Commander, from December 4 until the 23rd, when he went to 213 Squadron, also based at Leconfield.
In 1941 Hallam was posted to No 2 CFS, Cranwell, as an instructor. In early March 1942 he went to South Africa and instructed at 5 (SAAF) Wing at Germiston and later at 21 Air School, Kimberley.
In early July 1942 he was posted to Egypt, to join 208 Squadron, a photo-reconnaissance unit, equipped with Hurricanes. Based in the Western Desert at LG 100, Hallam failed to return on August 24 1942, from a reconnaissance operation over the Alamein area. A month later the Germans broadcast his name as a PoW.
At some time he was held in Stalag Luft 3 at Sagan and Belaria (PoW No 648) and Oflag XXIB at Szubin, Poland. He was freed by American troops in early May 1945.
Hallam stayed on in the RAF. He was killed on May 10 1952, when his aircraft crashed at Haddo House home farm, near Methlick, Aberdeenshire, whilst on a training flight from Dyce. Cadet pilot John Lawrie was also killed. At that time Hallam was a Squadron Leader and CO of the Aberdeen University Air Squadron. He was buried at Dyce Old Churchyard, Aberdeenshre. His widow, a former WRNS communications officer, died in 2002 and her ashes were placed at the grave.
APO 18.5.37 PO 15.3.38 FO 15.10.39 FL 15.10.40 SL 1.12.41 SL 1.8.47
754673 Sgt Pilot British 232 Squadron
Hardie was born in 1921 in Stockport, Cheshire. He joined the RAFVR about July 1939, as an Airman u/t Pilot.
Called up on September 1, he did his elementary flying training at 7 EFTS, Desford. He moved on to 10 FTS, Ternhill for No 20 Course, which ran from May 13 to August 17 1940. He arrived at 6 OTU, Sutton Bridge on the 17th. Hardie made a forced-landing near Holbeach on September 3, in Master N 7969, as a precaution against fuel shortage. He converted to Hurricanes and joined 232 Squadron at Castletown on September 22. Hardie was posted to No 4 Delivery Flight on June 7 1941 but rejoined 232 Squadron on the 19th, going with it to the Far East at the end of October 1941. At some time in January 1942 Hardie was shot down into the sea off Singapore by Japanese fighters. He was picked up. He flew a 232 Squadron Hurricane to Sumatra on February 5 1942 and on the 25th joined 242 Squadron at Tjilitan when 232 was disbanded.
Hardie was commissioned from Warrant Officer on July 26 1943. He died, as a Flying Officer, on April 10 1944 in a flying accident. Master AZ 725 of No 5 (P) AFU crashed on take-off from Chetwynd after hitting the wind-sock. Flying Officer T Rutherford, RCAF was also killed. Hardie is buried in Stockport (Willow Grove) Cemetery, Reddish.
ALISTAIR THOMAS JAMES KINDERSLEY
Lieutenant (FAA) Pilot British 808 Squadron
Kindersley’s father was Lieutenant Colonel A O L Kindersley, CMG, DL, who had served with the Highland Light Infantry and, in the Second Boer War, with the Cameronians (Scotttish Rifles). After diplomatic service he returned to the Army in the First World War and held commands in the Seaforth Highlanders and the Cameronians.
A T J Kindersley, born in 1915 in Edinburgh, had a brother and sister. From 1919, the family lived at Hamstead Grange, Hamstead, near Yarmouth, Isle of Wight. Kindersley joined the Navy as a Cadet and passed out on September 1 1932. He was granted a temporary commission in the RAF for service with the FAA, as a Flying Officer, on January 5 1937. He relinquished this on July 26 1939.
On July 8 1940 he joined 808 Squadron at Wick, flying Fulmars on dockyard defence. He was with the squadron when it embarked on HMS Ark Royal on October 22 1940.
In 1941 the carrier was in the Mediterranean, as part of Force H. On May 8 Kindersley shared in destroying a SM 79 bomber. He was killed on July 25 1941. In an action to protect convoy GM1, bound from Gibraltar to Malta, his 808 Squadron Fulmar was shot down by return fire whilst attacking 12 SM 79 bombers seeking to reach the convoy, 120 miles SW of Sardinia. Petty Officer F A Barnes was also lost in Kindersley’s aircraft. The FAA force was led by Lieutenant R C Cockburn (qv) whose aircraft was also shot down but he and his crew member survived. Cockburn was awarded the DSO.
A recommendation for a posthumous VC was submitted in the case of Kindersley.
When the Second Sea Lord, Admiral Sir William Whitworth, reviewed the decorations recommended for the action he wrote, “I am not sure that there is a strong enough case for giving Kindersley a posthumous VC.
“Kindersley and Cockburn in company achieved the same success in the face of heavy odds: Cockburn survives and is recommended for a DSO, Kindersley is killed and it is proposed to award a posthumous VC. There is no saying that Cockburn was not the more valiant of the two. It is also observed that the FOH [Flag Officer Home Fleet] puts Lieutenant Lewin, another Ark Royal pilot, ahead of Kindersley in his order of merit.
“I feel, therefore, that a Mention for Kindersley would be more equitable unless it is particularly desired to give the Fleet Air Arm a VC.”
Kindersley and Barnes were Mentioned in Despatches.
Kindersley was 26. He is remembered on the Fleet Air Arm Memorial at Lee-on-Solent. There is a plaque in his memory in St Michael’s church, Shalfleet, Isle of Wight.
Midshipman 1.5.33 Actg Sub-Lt 1.9.35 Sub-Lt 23.11.36 FO 5.1.37 Lt 16.1.38
DUGALD THOMAS MOORE LUMSDEN
33545 PO Pilot British 236 Squadron
Lumsden was born on June 27 1920 and educated at Deytheur Grammar School, Llansaintffraid, Montgomeryshire. He entered RAF College, Cranwell in January 1939, as a Flight Cadet. After the outbreak of war, cadets who had not completed their courses were enlisted in the regular RAF on September 7 1939, as Airmen u/t Pilots and each given an Airman number.
Lumsden (581730) graduated on December 23 1939 and was granted a Permanent Commission. He joined the recently-reformed 236 Squadron at Martlesham Heath on January 4 1940.
After operating with Fighter Command until July 1940, the squadron was transferred to Coastal Command and moved to St Eval on August 8. On the 21st Lumsden was detached to Farnborough, for a short High Altitude Flying Course.
On November 9 1940 a He111 was attacked by Lumsden, flying with Sergeant. C M Gibbons and Sergeant E E Miles. It jettisoned its torpedo but crashed into the sea off Brest.
In July 1941 Lumsden was posted to 2 (Coastal) OTU at Catfoss, as an instructor. Whilst there, he converted to Beaufighters and in late May 1942 returned to operations, joining 248 Squadron at Dyce.
On July 11 1942 Lumsden was on a sortie from Sumburgh searching for the German ships Scharnhorst and Tirpitz. While flying low over Ramsoyfjord the Beaufighter was intercepted by Bf 109s from nearby Orland. The aircraft was brought down in the sea off the island of Hitra. Lumsden, injured by shrapnel, and his navigator, Warrant Officer D H Goffee, were able to get out and swim to the settlement of Forsnes on the island, where they later became PoWs. The Beaufighter was claimed by Unteroffizier Erich Koch.
Lumsden spent some months in Trondheim hospital before being transferred to Stalag Luft 3, at first in the East Compound (PoW No 578). He took part in the “Long March”.
Freed in May 1945, Lumsden joined 254 Squadron at Chivenor in September, flying Beaufighters. He went on to serve in Ceylon.
After further postings, including to the Air Ministry, he went to Manby for a conversion course onto the Canberra. He then commanded 17 Squadron at Wildenrath, Germany. The squadron flew the Canberra PR7 in the photographic reconnaissance role. His final posting was as an instructor at the RAF Staff College, Bracknell.
Lumsden was made MBE (1.6.53) and retired on May 16 1964, as a Wing Commander. He died on November 7 1995 in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.
PO 23.12.39 FO 23.12.40 FL 23.12.41 SL 1.8.47 WC 1.7.53
JOHN BASIL RAMSAY
41204 PO Pilot British 151 Squadron
Ramsay was born in India on July 7 1919. He was educated at Bishop’s Stortford College. He joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his ab initio course on July 25 1938, as a pupil pilot at 10 E&RFTS, Yatesbury.
Ramsay went to No 1 RAF Depot, Uxbridge on September 17 1938 for a short disciplinary course.
Ramsay moved on to 9 FTS, Hullavington on October 1, went to 6 Advanced Training Squadron at Warmwell, for the final section of his course, on April 11 1939 and returned to Hullavington on May 5.
On May 14 1939 Ramsay joined 24 (Communications) Squadron at Hendon. The squadron went to France on January 23 1940 and was finally withdrawn to Hendon on May 29.
Ramsay was posted to 7 OTU, Hawarden on July 13 and after converting to Hurricanes, he joined 151 Squadron at North Weald on July 29 1940.
Ramsay failed to return from an engagement with enemy aircraft over Chelmsford on August 18, in Hurricane R 4181, and was reported ‘Missing’. It was his fifth sortie of the day. His name appears on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 9.
However, a post-war excavation of a Hurricane at Deal Hall Farm, Holliwell Point, Essex proved it to be Ramsay’s and his remains were still in the cockpit. Items recovered included a gold signet ring, with the initials “JBR” on it, marking his 21st birthday the previous month, and some of his visiting cards.
He was buried with full military honours at Brookwood Military Cemetery on October 25 1983. A wreath laid by his cousin Joan Worth read: “In affectionate memory of our dearest John who disappeared so long ago and who gave his life freely for us all. One of the few and one of the best.”
APO 17.9.38 PO 25.7.39
NEVILLE DAVID SOLOMON
79731 PO Pilot British 29 and 17 Squadrons
Solomon was born on February 21 1914 in King’s Norton, Leicestershire. His father, Archibald Baron Z Solomon appears in a Freemason membership register of 1919 as a dealer in fine art. N D Solomon joined the RAFVR about September 1938, as an Airman u/t Pilot (742006). He carried out his elementary flying training at 27 E&RFTS, Nottingham.
Called up on September 1 1939, he completed his training at 10 FTS, Ternhill on No 17 Course, from December 9 1939 to May 26 1940. When the course ended, he was commissioned and sent to 5 OTU, Aston Down on May 27.
After converting to Blenheims, Solomon joined 29 Squadron at Digby on June 16. He arrived at 6 OTU, Sutton Bridge on July 16, on attachment from 29 Squadron, for a refresher course but on the 18th his attachment ceased and he was posted to 17 Squadron at Debden. With no Hurricane experience, Solomon returned to 6 OTU on July 25, converted to Hurricanes and rejoined 17 Squadron on August 10. Solomon was reported ‘Missing’ on August 18 1940, after an action with Bf 109s off Dover. He was weaving at the rear of Red Section when he disappeared. His Hurricane, L 1921, crashed into the sea. He was 26 and is buried in Pihen-les-Guines Cemetery, France.
JOHN GRAHAM THIELMANN
37701 FL Pilot British 234 Squadron
Theilmann was born on April 2 1912 at Sculcoates, on the outskirts of Hull. He joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his ab initio course on January 27 1936, as a pupil pilot. He was posted to 9 FTS, Thornaby on April 4 and, with training completed, he joined 41 Squadron at Catterick on October 11 1936.
When 234 Squadron was reformed at Leconfield on October 30 1939, Theilmann joined it as ‘A’ Flight Commander.
He relinquished this post when he was posted to RAF St Eval on August 7 1940, as non-effective sick, suffering from asthma.
When he recovered he became an instructor at 10 SFTS Tern Hill, 2 CFS Cranwell, 13 EFTS Peterborough and 21 EFTS Booker before going in 1941 to 4 Air School (SAAF) Benoni, South Africa and then 6 Air School (SAAF) at Potchefstroom in 1942.
His last South African posting was 45 Air School (SAAF) at Oudtshoorn before he returned to the UK in May 1944.
Theilmann was posted to 529 Squadron, which was developing early helicopters at Halton. After his release from the RAF in March 1946, as a Squadron Leader, he carried on this work at Air Contractors Ltd. He was appointed Chief Pilot at the BEA experimental helicopter unit, operating the Bell 47 and Sikorsky S-51 until June 1953, when he emigrated to Canada.
He remained in the helicopter field with Spartan Air Services, a Canadian surveying company, until retirement in 1961.
Theilmann died in Canada on February 2 1985.
APO 23.3.36 PO 27.1.37 FO 27.7.38 FL 27.7.40 SL 1.12.41
REGINALD ELLIS TONGUE
78551 PO Pilot British 3 and 504 Squadron
Tongue was born on July 17 1912 and educated at Sedbergh School. He made his first flight in 1931, in a Tiger Moth from Barton Airport, Manchester. He went to Exeter College, Oxford, where he read Medicine. He learned to fly with the University Air Squadron.
In July 1935 Tongue left the squadron, did a little more flying in 1936 and then bought his own Leopard Moth in 1937.
Tongue joined the RAFVR in April 1940 with a direct-entry commission. He went to 9 FTS, Hullavington on April 10 and with the course completed, he was posted to 3 Squadron at Wick on July 27.
He was attached to 5 OTU, Aston Down on August 5. Next day he crashed in Master N 7782, unhurt. After converting to Hurricanes, he returned to Wick on September 2. He moved to 504 Squadron on the 28th. He made a forced-landing near Whitchurch on October 16, running into a pond, in Hurricane R 4178.
On November 10 1940 Tongue went to 249 Squadron at North Weald, moving to 46 Squadron there on the 16th. Apart from five weeks attachment to 71 Squadron in March/April 1941, Tongue remained with 46 until May 1. He then went overseas, spent two months at Takoradi and was back in the UK at the end of August.
On October 8 1941 Tongue was posted to 55 OTU, Usworth, as an instructor. He went to Rolls-Royce Ltd on March 7 1942, as Fighter Command liaison officer. He was put on the Special Duties List on November 11 and became a test pilot at Rolls-Royce.
Tongue continued this until October 19 1945. He was released from the RAF on December 14 1945, as a Flight Lieutenant. He died in 1992.
“Reggie” Tongue was a competitor in races and rallies. In 1934 he entered an Aston Martin in the Le Mans 24 hours race. Driving with Maurice Faulkner he finished 10th. He drove a Jaguar Mk 5, with P E Warr, in the 1951 Monte Carlo Rally. Setting off from Glasgow (the event started from various European venues at that time), they were classified 31st.
Tongue died on June 1 1992.
APO 10.4.40 PO 27.7.40 FO 27.7.41 FL 27.7.42
Updated/new information – 9th update, December 2017:
EDWARD ARISS ALEXANDER
While earlier editions assumed that Alexander was from Steyning, the address given by his widow at the time of his death, it has now been established that she did not move to Steyning until some time later. Alexander’s entry has been revised to show Hove as his address. It also adds that he was born on January 6 1919 and attended Brighton Grammar School from 1930.
DOUGLAS NORMAN RAINS
641910 Sgt Wop/AG British 248 Squadron
Rains was born in Great Ouseburn, Yorkshire in 1919. His father was shown in the 1911 census as a salesman of cotton goods. D N Rains was educated at Stockport Grammar School. He joined the RAF on May 2 1939, as an Aircrafthand. He later remustered as an Airman u/t Wop/AG and, with training completed, he joined 248 Squadron at Sumburgh on August 18 1940.
On August 12 1942 Rains was Wop/AG in the crew of Wellington T2919, of 7 (Coastal) OTU at Limavady, Londonderry. The aircraft was on a navigational training flight when the pilot came down through cloud and crashed into high ground in Co Londonderry. Rains and two other members of the crew were killed. He was a Flight Sergeant, aged 22.
He is buried in St George’s churchyard, Poynton, Cheshire. When his father (described as a company director) was granted probate on January 28 1943, the address given for D N Rains was Southfield, London Road, Poynton.
PERCY RONALD SMITH
581477 Sgt Observer British 236 Squadron
Smith was born in Hammersmith, London on September 11 1915. He joined the RAF in about June 1939, as a direct-entry Airman u/t Observer. He completed his training and was with 236 Squadron in early July 1940.
On November 19 Smith’s flight of 236 Squadron was posted to RAF Aldergrove, where it combined with a flight from 235 Squadron to reform 272 Squadron on the 21st. He flew his first sortie with 272 on that day.
Smith was killed on November 24 1940, serving as a Sergeant with 272 Squadron, aged 25. His aircraft was over Germany when it was lost.
He is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 19.
JOHN HENRY SPIRES
121239 Sgt Observer British 235 Squadron
Spires was born on September 27 1920 in Luton, Bedfordshire. The 1911 census shows his father as a traveller in the straw hat trade. J H Spires joined the RAFVR about May 1939, as an Airman u/t Observer (751252). Called up on September 1, he completed his training at 4 B&GS, West Freugh on No 4 Air Observer Course, which ran from January 1 to March 9 1940.
With training completed, Spires joined 235 Squadron at North Coates on March 9. He was flying with Pilot Officer E H McHardy of 248 Squadron as pilot and LAC Heavisides as gunner, when they shot down a Bf 110 three miles off Blankenberge, Belgium.
He served with 235 Squadron in the Battle of Britain and is last mentioned in the squadron ORB on October 20 1940.
In October 1940 Spires was posted to 431 Flight at Luqa, Malta. Formed in the previous August, 431 Flight was equipped with Marylands, operating in the general reconnaissance role. The unit provided the photos used to plan the Royal Navy attack on the Italian fleet at Taranto on November 10 1940.
More Marylands arrived in January 1941 and the Flight was reformed as 69 Squadron. Spires frequently flew with Flight Lieutenant Adrian Warburton and they often engaged enemy aircraft. Spires was awarded the DFM (17.6.41).
His tour ended in January 1942 and he was returned to the UK as an instructor, firstly at No.1 EANS at Eastbourne and then at the Central Navigation School at Cranage. Spires was commissioned in May 1942.
In mid-1943 Spires returned to operations. After converting to the Mosquito he was posted to the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit at RAF Benson in October 1943.
From here he operated in Mosquitos over France and Germany, notably over marshalling yards. He was awarded the DFC (7.11.44) as a Flight Lieutenant.
Spires remained at Benson after his tour ended in August 1945.
On October 20 he was navigator to Wing Commander JRH Merrifield in Mosquito PR34 RG 241 of 540 Squadron which took off from St. Mawgan, Cornwall and landed at Gander, Newfoundland seven hours and two minutes later, an east-west record. The return flight, on October 23, was accomplished in five hours 10 minutes, a record which still stands for a twin piston-engined aircraft crossing the Atlantic.
Spires was released from the RAF in 1946 and commissioned in the RAFVR. He left the RAFVR in 1947.
Having lived in Luton for much of his life, Spires died there on January 5 1984, aged 63. His wartime papers are held by Imperial War Museums.
PO 1.5.42 FO 1.11.42 FL 1.5.44 PO (RAFVR) 1.7.46
90408 FO Pilot British 615 Squadron
Anthony Eyre was born in Lowestoft in 1918 but later lived in Purley, where his father had been appointed manager of a bank. He went to Whitgift School, Croydon, going on to study law. He joined 615 Squadron, AAF in 1938 and was mobilised on August 24 1939.
Eyre was attached to 11 Group Pool on September 18, converted to Hurricanes and rejoined 615 on the 27th. He was detached to RAF Kenley on October 5.
615 Squadron went to France on November 15 1939 but Eyre did not join it there until February 7 1940. He was in action in May 1940 and claimed two Bf109s probably destroyed on the 19th.The squadron was withdrawn from France to Kenley on the 21st and was operational again in early June. On the 11th Eyre claimed a Bf109 destroyed and a Bf110 damaged, on the 22nd a Bf110 destroyed and three damaged and on July 20 a Bf109 destroyed and another damaged. Eyre claimed a Ju87 destroyed and another shared on August 14, on the 15th he shared a Bf109, on the 20th he claimed a Do17 destroyed, on the 26th a Bf109 destroyed and a Ju88 and a Bf109 damaged and on the 28th a Do17 destroyed, a probable Bf109 and another damaged. Eyre was awarded the DFC (30.8.40).
On October 31 1940 he was appointed ‘A’ Flight Commander and on November 5 he was promoted to Acting Flight Lieutenant.
On February 28 1941 he took command of the squadron after the CO, Wing Commander Holmwood, was killed when his parachute caught fire and failed to open. In May 1941 Eyre was posted for a rest and he stayed at HQ 9 Group, Preston until January 1942.
He returned to operations when he was appointed to lead the North Weald Wing in early March. He led his first sortie on the 8th, in Spitfire W3276. Between Gravelines and Dunkirk a lone FW190 dived through the Wing and shot Eyre down. He crash-landed just S of Mardyck aerodrome and was captured.
At some time Eyre was held in Stalag Luft 3 (POW No 4). Freed in early May 1945, he became OC, Fairwood Common.
Eyre was killed on February 16 1946 in a flying accident during a practice flight in Tempest NV787. His engine gave trouble and he decided to land at St Athan as a precaution. On approach the engine cut out and the aircraft struck a large oak tree, killing Eyre instantly.
He is buried in St Cennydd’s Churchyard, Llangennith, Glamorganshire.
PO(AAF) 26.7.38 PO 24.8.39 FO 26.1.40 FL 26.1.41 SL 1.12.41
JAMES EDWARD SAYERS
560204 Sgt Pilot British 41 Squadron
Born on April 10 1910, Sayers was educated at Woolwich Polytechnic. He joined the RAF straight from school in January 1926, as an Aircraft Apprentice. He passed out in January 1929 as a Fitter, Airframe/Engines and was posted to 2 (Army Co-operation) Squadron at Manston.
Sayers did an air gunnery course in April 1930 and became an AG/FAE. He later volunteered for pilot training, was selected and on April 4 1934 was posted to 3 FTS, Grantham.
On passing out as a Sergeant-Pilot on February 27 1935, Sayers joined 65 Squadron at Hornchurch but moved to 41 Squadron at Northolt in September. The squadron was posted to Aden in October 1935 and returned to Catterick in August 1936.
Sayers was admitted to Catterick hospital in October 1938 and remained medically unfit for flying until March 1940. He returned to 41 Squadron and flew his last sortie with the squadron, a convoy patrol, on July 15, . He was re-admitted to Catterick hospital on August 21, later being moved to Halton hospital. On being discharged on October 23 his medical condition (stomach ulcers) seems to have precluded him from further flying as he returned to his previous trade as Fitter, Airframe/Engines.
Promoted to Warrant Officer on November 1 1941, he became a Fitter 2E on September 3 1942. There were further spells in hospital. Sayers was discharged from the RAF on January 5 1953 as a Warrant Officer.
He worked at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich and the MoD Depot at Didcot before retiring in 1975. He settled in Bexhill, moving in 1997 to Huntingdon, where he died on March 13 1998.
CHRISTOPHER JOHN DRAKE ANDREAE
70018 FO Pilot British 64 Squadron
Andreae was born in Chislehurst, Kent on January 20 1917. He was educated at Shrewsbury School from 1930 to 1935 and then went to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he read natural science. He was with the University Air Squadron there, was commissioned into Class ‘AA’ of the RAFO on March 16 1937 and was commissioned in the RAFVR in January 1938.
Andreae was called to full-time service on December 15 1939 and completed his training at RAF College FTS, Cranwell, on No 8 Course, which ran from March 6 to June 22 1940.
He went to 6 OTU, Sutton Bridge on June 22, converted to Spitfires and joined 64 Squadron at Kenley on July 20. On August 11 he returned to base in Spitfire N 3293 with damage caused by cannon fire from an enemy fighter engaged off Dover.
Four days later Andreae failed to return from a combat with Bf 109s over the Channel. He was 23 years old. He was never heard of again and is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 5.
Andreae’s brother Henry served as a Royal Navy officer and survived the war. Their father was in the Auxiliary Fire Service.
PO (RAFO) 16.3.37 PO (RAFVR) 1.1.38 PO 15.12.39 FO 15.12.39
PHILIP PURCHALL NORRIS
740810 Sgt Pilot British 213 Squadron
Norris was born in Burgess Hill, Sussex on September 4 1917, one of six sons and two daughters. Their father worked as the manager and engineer of a gasworks in Burgess Hill and the family lived in a house in Leylands Road, next to the gasworks. P P Norris was a member of the Congregational Church Youth Club, attended Brighton Grammar School and took an interest in boxing. He worked for Lloyds Bank in Brighton after leaving school and joined the RAFVR in about October 1937 as an Airman u/t Pilot. He learned to fly at Shoreham Aerodrome. After completing his flying training he arrived at 12 Group Pool, Aston Down on February 10 1940. He converted to Hurricanes and was posted to 213 Squadron at Wittering on March 9.
Norris was in ‘A’ Flight of 213. On May 17 the flight flew down from Wittering to Biggin Hill and in the afternoon it escorted a Bombay of 271 Squadron across the Channel to Abbeville.
In the afternoon the flight landed at Merville to refuel. It took off again at 17.45 for a patrol and returned to Biggin Hill, having seen no enemy aircraft all day.
On May 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 the flight flew to France from Biggin Hill, mounted patrols from Lille/Marcq and Merville and returned to Biggin Hill each evening. The flight returned to Wittering on the 23rd.
In late May 213 sent a detachment to France for a few days. On the 31st Norris destroyed a BF 109 over Dunkirk.
Norris failed to return from an action over Portland on August 13, in Hurricane P 3348. His body was later washed ashore on the French coast and he is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery.
His brother Leslie served with the Royal Engineers, including in north west Europe, and was awarded an MC. Another brother, Eric, served with the Royal Corps of Signals. Two more brothers, Ken and Lewis (“Lew”), ran an engineering design consultancy and worked for Donald Campbell on “Bluebird” designs for water and land speed record attempts.
ROBERT FERGUSON PHILO
42433 PO Pilot British 151 Squadron
Philo was born in Cambridge on June 21 1911. He joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his ab initio course at 10 E&RFTS, Yatesbury on June 12 1939.
He moved on to 3 FTS South Cerney for No. 29 Course, which ran from September 25. Philo transferred to No. 30 Course, which ended on April 27 1940 and was then posted to the School of Army Co-operation at Old Sarum.
On July 17 Philo was piloting Lysander L 6870 of this unit near Exeter on an air photography sortie when it was challenged by three unidentified Hurricanes. The photographer/gunner, Pilot Officer B S T Brookes, fired off the colours of the day but the flares were not be seen by the Hurricanes, possibly due to intense sunlight. One of the Hurricanes opened fire, mortally wounding Brookes and severely damaging the Lysander. With his aircraft almost uncontrollable Philo carried out a fast crash-landing. The subsequent Court of Inquiry established that the flight had been carried out over part of a prohibited area, although Philo did not realise this. It has been suggested that the Hurricanes identified the Lysander as a Hs126, though these aircraft did not venture over the UK.
Philo arrived at 5 OTU Aston Down on September 4, converted to Hurricanes and joined 151 Squadron at Digby on September 18.
After a night patrol in Hurricane V 7439 on November 24 he struck trees on landing and was admitted to hospital. His subsequent service has not been established. He was released from the RAF in 1945 as a Flight Lieutenant.
It is known that Philo worked for BOAC between 1949 and 1951. He is recorded as going through a divorce in South Africa (having married in 1936) in about 1961 or 1962. His former wife died in the UK in 1990.
APO 5.8.39 PO 28.4.40 FO 28.4.41 FL 28.4.42
CHARLES VIVIAN WINN
40586 FO Pilot British 29 Squadron
Winn was born on April 20 1918 and educated at St Peter’s School, Weston-super-Mare and Wycliffe College. He joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his ab initio course on November 29 1937, as a pupil pilot at 12 E&RFTS, Yatesbury.
He was posted to 7 FTS, Peterborough on March 5 1938, and with training completed he joined 29 Squadron at Debden on September 17. He was detached from 29 to 4 E&RFTS, Brough from October 9 1938 to January 10 1939.
Winn served with the squadron throughout the Battle of Britain and was appointed ‘A’ Flight Commander on October 28 1940 and promoted to Acting Flight Lieutenant. He was shot down on December 24 1940 by a German fighter. His radar operator, Sergeant D J Hunter, spent two weeks in hospital but Winn seems to have been unhurt.
He was posted away on June 21 1941 and joined 1459 Flight when it was formed at Hunsdon on September 20 1941. The Flight was equipped with Turbinlite Havocs and flew in close co-operation with Hurricanes of 253 Squadron.
During the night of April 30/May 1 1942, Winn illuminated a He 111, which Flight Lieutenant D S Yapp of 253 attacked and destroyed.
Later in the month Winn took command of 1459 Flight. On July 28 he probably destroyed a Do 17 near Mablethorpe, with the assistance of Flight Lieutenant J L W Ellacombe of 253.
On August 11 he participated in the probable destruction of an enemy aircraft with Flight Sergeant McCarthy of 253. Winn was awarded the DFC (29.9.42), the citation stating: “This officer has displayed great keenness to engage the enemy, and his skill and leadership have inspired all with whom he has flown. One night in April, 1942, Squadron Leader Winn assisted in the destruction of a Heinkel 111.”
The flight was redesignated 538 Squadron on September 2 and Winn commanded it until it was disbanded on January 25 1943.
He rejoined 29 Squadron at West Malling in March 1943 as a Flight Commander. He moved to 141 Squadron at Predannack on April 24, again as a Flight Commander. On the night of June 21/22 1943 he destroyed a Ju 88 and on July 28 he damaged a Ju 88. On both occasions his radar operator was Flying Officer R A W Scott. Winn remained with 141 until November 18 1943, when he was posted to HQ ADGB.
In early 1944 Winn went to HQ 100 (Bomber Support) Group and on June 3 1944 he took command of 141 Squadron at West Raynham, remaining with it until it was disbanded on September 7 1945.
Winn was awarded the DSO, as an Acting Wing Commander and, with Flight Lieutenant Ray Amherst Winkworth Scott, a bar to his DFC (3.7.45), with the citation stating that: “As pilot and navigator respectively, these officers participated in an attack, by a small formation of aircraft, against the airfield at Munich-Neubiberb. The operation, which had been carefully planned, was brilliantly executed. Hangars and other buildings on the airfield were set on fire and much other damage was caused. By their skill, gallantry and determination, Wing Commander Winn and Flight Lieutenant Scott played a good part in the success achieved. These officers have a fine record of achievement and have set a splendid example to all.”
Winn was posted to West Africa and returned to the UK in October 1946 to attend RAF Staff College.
His post-war appointments included command of the RAF stations at Felixstowe, Weston Zoyland and Laarbruch (West Germany), as well as Chief Plans and Operations, HQ Far East Air Force Command, Air Commander, Malta and Commander Northern Maritime Air Region, as well as being AOC, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Winn was made OBE (1.1.51), received the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery in 1953 (for services rendered during the East Coast floods of that year), was made a CBE (1.1.63) and retired from the RAF on July 1 1974, as an Air Vice-Marshal.
He was Chief Recreation Officer for Anglian Water Authority and from 1982 to 1987 was Chairman of the Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society.
He died in September 1988.
APO 19.2.38 PO 29.11.38 FO 29.8.40 FL 29.8.41 SL 1.7.43 SL 1.9.45 WC 1.7.51 GC 1.1.59 AC 1.7.65 AVM 1.1.72
EDWARD CHATHAM WOLFE
37705 FL Pilot British 219 and 141 Squadrons
Wolfe was born in Hong Kong on June 11 1911, the son of the Hon E D C Wolfe, Inspector General of the Hong Kong Police and Chief Officer of the Hong Kong Fire Brigade. He was educated at Grange School, Folkestone and Tonbridge School. After a pleasure flight over Andover at the age of 16 he became fascinated by flying.
From 1929 to 1932 he was apprenticed in fire engineering at Merryweather & Sons, Greenwich. From 1932 Wolfe was employed at the company’s London branch, as a salesman and Fire Prevention Officer.
On March 4 1935 Wolfe joined Class ‘F’ of the RAF Reserve, as an Airman u/t Pilot (700085) and did his weekend flying at No 1 E&RFTS, Hatfield. He was released from the RAFR on being accepted for a short service commission in the RAF in January 1936.
Wolfe began his ab initio course at 4 E&RFTS, Brough on February 24 1936 as a pupil pilot, and moved to No 1 RAF Depot, Uxbridge on March 23 for a short disciplinary course. He was posted to 9 FTS, Thornaby on April 4 and, with his training completed, joined 64 Squadron at Martlesham Heath on October 11 1936.
He became ‘B’ Flight Commander in May 1938 and in December he was appointed Adjutant. On October 23 1939 Wolfe went to 219 Squadron at Catterick as ‘B’ Flight Commander, with the rank of Acting Flight Lieutenant.
He relinquished command of ‘B’ Flight and assumed command of ‘A’ Flight on May 17 1940. On August 15 he shared in damaging a He 111 and a Ju 88 in the Scarborough/Flamborough Head area.
Wolfe was posted from 219 to 141 Squadron at Biggin Hill on September 13 1940 as a supernumerary Acting Squadron Leader. He took command of the squadron on the 17th and was to convert it to a night-fighting role.
In the early hours of May 7 1941, with Sergeant A E Ashcroft as his gunner, Wolfe shot down a Ju 88. The aircraft crashed and exploded at Newlands, Lennoxtown, Stirlingshire. Two of the crew, one a Staffel Kapitan, were killed and two became PoWs. Wolfe was awarded the DFC (30.5.41) , the citation stating that: “On the night of 6/7th May 1941, S/Ldr Wolfe was on patrol over Glasgow when he sighted an enemy aircraft. He immediately closed to the attack while ordering his air-gunner to withhold fire until they were within 20 yds of their objective. His courage and determination in closing with the enemy to such short-range enabled him to remain ‘in formation’ while the enemy carried out evasive action, thus bringing his combat to a successful conclusion. The enemy aircraft still carrying a full load of bombs crashed to the ground and burst into flames. This officer has completed 174 hours night-flying since the outbreak of war during which time he has carried out no less than 40 operational flights by night. Since assuming command of 141 Squadron in September 1940 he has always shown great determination, skill and courage and his leadership has undoubtedly imbued his pilots with the same characteristics.”
Wolfe reverted to Flight Commander when the command was upgraded to Wing Commander rank.
In March 1942 Wolfe took command of 456 (RAAF) Squadron at Valley as a Wing Commander. Early on July 30, again with Ashcroft, he shot down a He 111 which crashed on to Pwllheli Beach. Wolfe was taken off operational flying in February 1943 and sent to the Eighth War Staff Course at RAF Staff College, Gerrards Cross. He was posted to 62 OTU, Ouston in May, as CFI.
In August 1943 he went to Orlando, Florida, for a short course at AAFSAT, followed by six weeks at the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth. After returning to the UK in November, Wolfe was appointed Operations Staff Officer at HQ 85 Group, TAF at Uxbridge. He moved in May 1944 to HQ 13 Group at Inverness, as Operations Staff Officer and Training Staff Officer.
In May 1945 Wolfe went to HQ 88 Group, RAF Norway. He received a Mention in Despatches in June for staff work and flying at 13 Group and in November he was awarded the Norwegian Liberation Cross for services in 88 Group.
He was released from the RAF in December 1945, as a Wing Commander,
Wolfe renewed his civil ‘A’ licence 9179 in January 1946 and joined Airwork Ltd (Overseas Division) flying passengers to Nice, transferring for an attachment with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company at Abadan in September of the same year. He flew a total of 341 hours in a de Haviland Rapide all over Iran delivering freight and passengers, eventually becoming its most senior pilot.
On September 6 1951, Wolfe returned to the UK as a result of the Iranian nationalisation of the local assets of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, an occurrence which became known as the “Abadan Crisis”.
Wolfe gained his commercial pilot’s licence on May 2 1952, and on June 5 he joined the Iraq Petroleum Company at Kirkuk flying de Haviland Dove aircraft, again delivering freight and passengers all over the country. On April 11 1963 Wolfe took his last flight with the company from Baghdad to Kirkuk, retiring from flying, having flown a total of 11,375 hours in both military and civil aircraft.
Wolfe died on April 19 1994. He is honoured on a plaque at Tonbridge School, unveiled on November 26 2003.
APO 23.3.36 PO 27.1.37 FO 27.10.38 FL 3.9.40 SL 1.12.41 WC 1.7.44
Updated/new information – 8th update, November 2017:
RONALD HENRY SMYTH
103514 Sgt Pilot British 25, 111 and 249 Squadrons
Smyth was born in South Croydon on December 24 1920. His father had served in the Royal Engineers in the First World War. R H Smyth attended Sutton High School and, on leaving, became a civil servant. He joined the RAFVR on May 8 1939, as an Airman u/t Pilot (748579) and was called up at the outbreak of war. He went to No 1 ITW, Cambridge on September 7 and to 10 EFTS, Yatesbury on December 5 1939. Smyth went to 3 FTS, South Cerney for No 34 Course, from April 28 to August 3 1940.
With the course completed, Smyth arrived at 5 OTU, Aston Down on August 3, converted to Blenheims and joined 25 Squadron at Martlesham Heath on August 19.
Two days later Smyth was transferred to 111 Squadron at Debden. He was detached to 5 OTU on August 26, to convert to Hurricanes, after which he rejoined 111, then at Drem, on September 19. He went to 249 Squadron at North Weald on October 2 and then to 615 Squadron on November 19 1940.
Smyth went to CFS, Upavon on May 8 1941, for an instructors’ course. On June 13 he joined the staff at 9 FTS, Hullavington and he was commissioned on August 5.
In October Smyth was posted to No 1 Glider Training Squadron at Thame, a newly-formed Development Unit, allied to the Airborne Forces to train instructors and Army pilots to fly Hotspur gliders. Smyth instructed, as a Flight Commander, at No 1 Glider Training School, Croughton until April 1943.
He was then posted to 3 School of General Reconnaissance at Squires Gate, under Coastal Command, qualified for his 2nd Class Air Navigator’s Licence and moved to 8 OTU, Dyce on June 22 1943 for photographic-reconnaissance training on Spitfires.
Smyth went to the Benson PRU in September and, after returning from a trip to Tunis, he joined 541 (PR) Squadron at Benson, on December 15. His longest PR flight from Benson was to Czechoslovakia and back.
He commanded the PRU in Gibraltar from March 9 to September 12 1944, when the Unit returned to Benson. Awarded the DFC (27.7.45), Smyth ferried communications during July and August between London and Churchill in Biarritz and Atlee in Berlin, for the Potsdam Conference. He left 541 Squadron in September 1945 and his final flying duties were high-level meteorological flights at Tain in October.
Smyth was released from the RAF in January 1946 as a Flight Lieutenant. He spent the rest of his career in the Civil Service, mainly in the Stationery Office. He died suddenly on October 26 2017.
PO 5.8.41 FO 5.8.4 FL 5.8.43
Updated/new information – 7th update, November 2017:
PHILIP ANTHONY LOWETH
42242 PO Pilot British 249 Squadron
Philip Anthony Loweth was born on October 1 1920 in Maidenhead, Berkshire. His father spent part of his career as a civil servant in the Air Ministry. P A Loweth joined the RAF on a short service commission and started his initial training on May 1 1939.
He began his intermediate and advanced course at 11 FTS Shawbury on July 8. He was marked out for bombers, but eventually joined 249 Squadron (Hurricanes) at Church Fenton on May 16 1940, direct from 11 FTS. His last sortie with the Squadron was on September 3.
The squadron ORB recorded on September 7 that Pilot Officers Loweth and Meaker drove to Maidstone hospital to collect the CO, Squadron Leader Grandy, who had baled out wounded the previous day, and continued: “On their return they arrived at Surrey Docks about five minutes before bombing took place and spent a very undignified 40 minutes laying on the pavement at the entrance to the Blackwall Tunnel.”
Loweth was taken off flying duties on September 20 and posted away suffering from appendicitis which became peritonitis.
Later he flew in Wellingtons in the Middle East with 38 Squadron. He returned to the UK, became an instructor and was then posted to Coastal Command. He flew Warwicks on air sea rescue operations, as well as Beaufighters.
He transferred to the reserve on May 1 1945, but appears to have quickly re-joined the RAF. He again went to the reserve in 1950 as a Flight Lieutenant, retaining the rank of Squadron Leader.
The London Gazette of December 31 1954 announced that Squadron Leader P A Loweth’s period of service had been extended for five years from August 15. On August 18 1959 it was announced that Flight Lieutenant Loweth had relinquished his commission in the RAF Reserve of Officers from August 15.
As a civilian, Loweth had a number of jobs. He ran the Thorpe Gardens pub (now the Rushcutters Arms) at Thorpe St Andrew, Norfolk, and hired out cabin cruisers. He also worked for Short Brothers as a delivery pilot. He died on September 7 2017.
APO 24.6.39 PO 11.5.40 FO 11.5.41 FL 11.5.42 FL 1.9.45
GODFREY FREDERICK RUSSELL
Lieutenant (FAA) Pilot British 804 Squadron
Russell’s parents lived in China, where his father was a merchant and where two daughters were born. Mrs Russell returned to the UK for the birth of her third child and G F Russell was born in London in late 1917. His father was still in China at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and, shortly afterwards, Mr Russell was interned in Weihsein detention camp in Shandong Province. He died there in February 1944.
He was attached to the Fleet Air Arm on March 6 1939 and carried out his elementary flying training at 20 E&RFTS, Gravesend. Russell went to No 1 FTS, Leuchars for No 3 Course, which ran from May 8 to November 4 1939.
He moved to 759 (Fighter School) Squadron for deck-landing training on HMS Argus. On February 4 1940 Russell joined 804 Squadron. He was posted from 804 to 803 Squadron on May 23, flying operations over Norway from HMS Ark Royal.
He was wounded flying a Skua. A bullet grazed his right hand, struck his navel and was deflected by his parachute release disc. It then disappeared over his right shoulder, undoing his harness as it went.
Russell rejoined 804 Squadron at Hatston on June 22, flying Sea Gladiators on dockyard defence. He was appointed ‘B’ Flight Commander on June 27. The squadron was under the control of RAF Fighter Command during part of the Battle of Britain.
On September 20 Russell, with BIue Section of 804, embarked on the carrier HMS Furious by air and carried out fighter patrols 100 miles off Trondheim, Norway. The section disembarked by air from Furious and rejoined 804 at Hatston on September 23.
In December Russell was posted to 802 Squadron, forming at Donibristle for HMS Audacity. On a collection flight from Abbotsinch to Donibristle on December 13, Russell crashed into Beinn Bheula between Lochs Goil and Eck and was killed. He was 23.
He is buried in Douglas Bank Cemetery, Dunfermline, Scotland.
On April 25 1945 Russell’s elder sister Sybil married Wing Commander C N Overton (q.v.).
Midshipman 1.5.35 Sub-Lt 16.5.38 Lt 1.5.39
IAN CHARLES COOPER CLENSHAW
745067 Sgt Pilot British 253 Squadron
Clenshaw was born in 1918 in Essex. His father is shown in the 1911 census as “warehouseman for wholesale draper” and his mother’s maiden name was Cooper. I C C Clenshaw joined the RAFVR in February 1939, as an Airman u/t Pilot, and made his first flight in a Tiger Moth on February 19 at 34 E&RFTS, Rochford.
Called up on September 1 1939, Clenshaw went to 3 FTS, South Cerney on November 20 1939, on No 31 Course, which ended on May 25 1940.
In early June 1940 Clenshaw was with 253 Squadron at Kirton-in-Lindsey. On the 7th he crashed in Hurricane N 2436 and was slightly burned. On July 10, flying in bad visibility on a dawn patrol, he lost control and was killed when he crashed near the Humber coast, in Hurricane P 3359.
Clenshaw was 22. He was the first Fighter Command aircrew casualty in the Battle of Britain. He is buried in St Mary’s churchyard extension, Kelvedon, Essex. A memorial plaque was unveiled on July 10 2000, the 60th anniversary of his death, at Clenshaw’s former home in Shaftesbury Avenue, Thorpe Bay, Southend-on-Sea.
CHARLES ALFRED REAM
741907 Sgt Pilot British 235 Squadron
Ream was born on January 21 1916 in Doncaster. His father, Private Alfred Denis Ream, had served with the Yorkshire Light Infantry, but was with the Machine Gun Corps when he was killed in action on the Western Front on February 8 1917. He is buried at Serre Road Cemetery No 1, Pas de Calais.
C A Ream joined the RAFVR about August 1938, as an Airman u/t Pilot. Called up on September 1 1939, he completed his training and joined 235 Squadron at Bircham Newton on August 19 1940.
On November 19 Ream was posted with his flight to RAF Aldergrove, where it was combined with a flight from 236 Squadron to reform 272 Squadron. Ream flew his first sortie with 272 on December 8 1940. After that there are significant gaps in the knowledge of his service.
He appears to have spent time with 92 Squadron, as he was credited by that squadron with a share in the destruction of a Ju 87 which fell just outside Manston airfield on February 5 1941, with both crew members being killed.
Ream is known to have been aboard Beaufighter T 3317 of 272 Squadron which forced-landed in Spain on May 24 1941 while on a ferry flight to Gibraltar. The crew was interned but apparently soon released. Ream is also recorded as being injured on December 27 1941 in a 272 Squadron crash, by which time his rank was Warrant Officer.
Ream died of natural causes on April 26 1947 at 14 Abbey Drive West, Grimsby, Lincolnshire. He is buried in Scartho Road Cemetery, Grimsby. His headstone suggests that he was still serving in the RAFVR.
Ream’s twin, Thomas Edward John Ream, joined the RAFVR at about the same time as his brother. He was one of five Sergeant Pilots posted to 616 Squadron on October 14 1940 from 7 OTU Hawarden and he went on to serve with a number of squadrons and other units in the UK and Malta, being commissioned on July 14 1944. He died in 1980 and is also buried in Scartho Road Cemetery, where the stonework asserts that he “fought in the Battle of Britain & at the siege of Malta”. However, the poorly kept ORB of 616 Squadron does not show an operational flight by T E J Ream by the end of October 1940 and no other evidence has been found that he qualified for the Battle of Britain Clasp, although it is possible that he did.
Sub-Lieutenant (FAA) Pilot British 804 Squadron
Reardon-Parker was born in 1919 in Blackburn, Lancashire and registered with the name John Reardon. His father was shown in the 1911 census as an insurance agent. His mother’s maiden name was Parker. On November 29 1932 Mrs Reardon changed her name by deed poll to Reardon-Parker. Her son adopted the same name, although, on some documents, they both appear as Parker-Reardon.
John Reardon-Parker entered the Air Branch of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve on February 21 1939, rated as a Midshipman. He joined 804 Squadron at Hatston, Orkney on June 11 1940, flying Gladiators on dockyard defence. He was still with 804 on November 3. He was later with 757 Squadron at Worthy Down and in April 1941 he joined 752 Squadron at Piarco, Trinidad. On November 28 1941 Reardon-Parker’s commission was terminated.
He joined the Parachute Regiment and, in September 1943, took part in parachute training course No 81 at RAF Ringway, now Manchester Airport.
On the night of June 5/6 1944 – the start of D-Day – two Stirlings from 620 Squadron at Fairford, EJ 116 and EF 295, were tasked to drop men from parachute units to secure the area around the Orne and Caen Canal bridges. EF 295 carried a troop of 15 engineers from 591 Parachute Squadron, Royal Engineers, ordered to clear wooden poles and other obstructions from landing zones. Lance Corporal Reardon-Parker was in this party.
Both aircraft strayed off course and EJ 116 was shot down by flak near Chateau Grangues in the village of the same name east of Caen. There were no survivors. EF 295 was also hit and this detonated some of the explosives which the engineers were carrying. The pilot managed to bring the aircraft down in the chateau grounds, but eight of those on board were killed and the rest badly injured. The injured were brought to a stable block in the grounds of the chateau by German soldiers.
Eight members of 591 Squadron were taken out and shot by the Germans. On June 7 Reardon-Parker died in the stable block from his injuries sustained in the aircraft.
He was 26 years old and he is buried in the Ranville War Cemetery, France.
Midshipman 21.2.39 Sub-Lt 7.5.40
Updated/new information – 6th update, October 2017:
HUGH JOSEPH RIDDLE
90141 FL Pilot British 601 Squadron
Information on Hugh Joseph Riddle’s birth has been added to the existing entry:
Born at Wycombe, Buckinghamshire on May 24 1912, the son of a doctor.
37594 FO Pilot British 25 Squadron
Bull was born in India in 1916, the only son (along with two daughters) of Louis Albert Bull, a Commissioner in the Indian Civil Service, and his wife, formerly Florence Beatrice Balcombe-Jones. The family returned to the UK in 1926 on the SS City of London. C H Bull attended Imperial Service College. He joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his training on January 6 1936, as a pupil pilot. He was posted to 3 FTS, Grantham in March.
After completing his training, he was posted to No 1 Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit at Biggin Hill on April 26 1937, as a staff pilot. He went on a course at the School of Air Navigation, Manston on November 14 1938. He commanded RAF Flimstone training camp in Pembrokeshire.
At some time Bull joined 25 Squadron at Hawkinge. He was promoted to Acting Flight Lieutenant on April 13 1939 and appointed ‘A’ Flight Commander. He took part in the attack on the Luftwaffe seaplane base at Borkum on November 28. Twelve Blenheims took off from Bircham Newton, six from 25 Squadron and six from 601 Squadron. All aircraft returned safely, landing at Debden. Three He 115s were destroyed and another three damaged. It was the first fighter attack of the war on a German target. Bull received a Mention in Despatches.
In early July 1940 Bull was still with 25 Squadron, then at North Weald. He was killed in a shooting incident near Orielton, Pembrokeshire, close to his wife’s family home, on August 8, whilst on leave. A verdict of accidental death was recorded at the inquest.
Bull was 24 years old. He is buried in St David’s churchyard, Hindleton, Pembrokeshire.
APO 2.3.36 PO 6.1.37 FO 6.9.38
ALLAN ANTHONY BURTENSHAW
745616 Sgt Pilot British 54 Squadron
Burtenshaw was born in Windsor on February 23 1920. The family went to live in Snodland, Kent, where he played cricket for a local team. He attended the Eton College Choir School, making him, on leaving, an Old Chorister, rather than an Old Etonian. He joined the RAFVR in April 1939, as an Airman u/t Pilot. He was called up on September 1 and after completing his elementary flying training at 23 EFTS, Rochester, he was posted to 5 FTS, Sealand on June 16 1940, on No 49 Course.
With training completed, Burtenshaw went to 7 OTU, Hawarden on September 7 and, after converting to Spitfires, he joined 54 Squadron at Catterick on the 29th. He was shot down and killed on March 12 1941, still with 54 Squadron, aged 21. Burtenshaw is buried in Snodland Cemetery, Kent.
742857 Sgt Pilot British 238 Squadron
Gledhill was born in 1921 in Cardiff, the only son (there were three daughters) of Herbert “Jim” Gledhill and the former Mary Hannah Thomas. In the 1911 census Jim Gledhill was shown as a woollen salesman in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire. He later became a surveyor. The family went to live in Harpenden, Hertfordshire and Geoffrey Gledhill attended St Albans Grammar School and was a member of the 3rd Harpenden Troop of The Boy Scouts. He joined the RAFVR in January 1939, as an Airman u/t Pilot. Called up on September 1, he completed his training at 5 FTS, Sealand, from February 1 to June 26 1940.
He arrived at 6 OTU, Sutton Bridge on July 6. After converting to Hurricanes, Gledhill joined 238 Squadron at Middle Wallop on August 4. He was killed on the 11th, shot down in combat during his first operational sortie, two miles E of Weymouth, in Hurricane P 2978.
Gledhill was 19. His body was washed up on the French coast and he is buried in Criquebeuf-en-Caux churchyard. Local people tended the grave. His name appears in the Second World War section of the Harpenden war memorial.
RAYMOND TOWERS HOLMES
68730 Sgt Pilot British 504 Squadron
Holmes was born on August 20 1914 at Wallasey, Cheshire and was educated at Wallasey and Calday Grange School. He was a journalist when he joined the RAFVR in February 1937, as an Airman u/t Pilot (740055) and began his flying training at 12 E&RFTS, Prestwick.
He later flew at 7 E&RFTS, Desford and 17 E&RFTS, Barton. Called up at the outbreak of war, Holmes was posted to 4 ITW, Bexhill on October 29 1939. He went to 5 FTS, Sealand on December 9 and whilst there he was court-martialled and severely reprimanded for low flying. With training completed, he joined 504 Squadron at Wick on June 18 1940.
The squadron moved south to Hendon on September 5 and on the 15th Holmes was one of the pilots involved in shooting down a Do 17 over Central London, probably the best-known German casualty in the Battle of Britain.
As Holmes sought to administer the coup de grâce to the already badly damaged aircraft, it broke up, a large section of wreckage falling on the forecourt of Victoria Station. The pilot, Oberleutnant Robert Zehbe, baled out, badly wounded. He landed in Kennington and was attacked and further injured by an angry mob of civilians. Although rescued by soldiers, he died next day and was buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery. Two members of his crew were killed and the two others were made PoWs.
Holmes’ aircraft was damaged, probably by wreckage from the Dornier, and he baled out, unhurt, and landed in Hugh Street, Chelsea. His Hurricane, P 2725, crashed and burned out outside Fountain Court, Buckingham Palace Road. It was excavated in 2005 and the engine and other parts were recovered. Holmes damaged another Do 17 on September 15 1940.
Holmes wrote in his combat report: “On my fourth attack from the port beam a jar shook my starboard wing as I passed over the E/A and I went into an uncontrollable spin. I think the E/A must have exploded beneath me.”
On September 26, 504 Squadron moved to Filton and on October 16 Holmes and Flying Officer B E G White took off on an interception sortie and were later diverted to Cardiff because of fog. They had breakfast there with Amy Johnson and returned to Filton later in the day.
Holmes was commissioned in June 1941. In late July ‘A’ Flight of 504 was re-numbered 81 Squadron and posted to Leconfield, where the personnel, Holmes included, were kitted out for an unknown destination. They flew to Abbotsinch in Harrows and embarked for Russia on the carrier HMS Argus, which carried crated Hurricanes. On September 1 the squadron flew off in sixes for Vaenga airfield, near Murmansk. Holmes destroyed a Bf 109 on September 26.
Operations were flown until mid-November, when pilots of the squadron began converting Russian pilots on to Hurricanes. 81 Squadron left Russia on November 29, leaving all equipment behind, and returned in HMS Kenya, landing at Rosyth on December 6 1941.
The squadron went to Turnhouse, where it received Spitfire Vbs in January 1942 and was operational again on February 1. On March 1 Holmes was posted to 2 FIS, Montrose, for an instructor’s course, after which he joined the staff at 5(P) AFU at Ternhill. He returned to 2 FIS on September 17 1942, as an instructor, and stayed with the unit until mid-November 1944.
After a short spell with 309 Squadron at Andrews Field in early 1945, Holmes joined 541 Squadron at Benson, a Spitfire photographic-reconnaissance unit. He became a King’s Messenger for Winston Churchill, when he was preparing for the Potsdam Conference, flying mail between London and Biarritz, and Berlin and London when he was at Potsdam.
Holmes left the squadron at the end of August and was released from the RAF on October 4 1945 as a Flight Lieutenant. He worked again as a journalist.
He was the subject of a television documentary in 2005. He was made a Freeman of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, Cheshire on January 24 that year. Holmes died on June 27 2005.
An apartment block, built in 2006 in the Wirral, was named Holmes Court in his memory.
PO 10.6.41 FO 10.6.42 FL 10.6.43
GERARD HAMILTON MAFFETT
80814 PO Pilot British 257 Squadron
Maffett was born in Murree, India (now in Pakistan) on June 11 1916. He was both a nephew and second cousin of the Liberal politician and businessman Cecil Harmsworth, later Lord Harmsworth. Maffett was educated at Imperial Service College, Windsor. He left in 1934 and went to work for the Daily Mail in London, which had been founded by Harmsworth’s older brother, Alfred, who became Lord Northcliffe. On April 30 1938 Maffett joined the RAFVR, as an Airman u/t Pilot (741503), and did his weekend flying on Tiger Moths at 13 E&RFTS, White Waltham. Called up on September 1 1939, he was posted to No 1 ITW, Cambridge in early November.
Maffett went to 12 FTS, Grantham on December 30, completed the course in early June, was commissioned and then sent to No 2 School of Army Co-operation at Andover on the 15th, as a supernumerary.
He went to 5 OTU, Aston Down on June 22 and, after converting to Hurricanes, joined 257 Squadron at Northolt on July 7 1940. Maffett made his first operational sortie on the 19th.
On August 18 he destroyed a Do 17 and damaged a He 111. He was shot down and killed in combat with Bf 110s over Clacton on August 31. His Hurricane, P 3175, crashed at Walton-on-the-Naze.
Maffett is buried in Windsor Road Cemetery, Bray, Berkshire. The orginal IWGC wooden cross was retained at the request of his mother. His family has provided protection from the elements for the cross in recent years. His brother, Wing Commander John Francis Maffett, was killed on February 12 1942 in Beaufighter Ic T 4889 of the OADU, presumed shot down off Malta by Bf 109s on a transit flight to Egypt.
Sgt. Brian Barkley Smith, RAAF, was also lost.
JOSEPH ERNEST SAVILL
740971 Sgt Pilot British 151, 242, 73 and 501 Squadrons
Savill was born on April 16 1911 in Hackney. His father was a teacher for at least part of his career and served with the ASC/RASC during the Great War. J E Savill joined the RAFVR in December 1937, as an Airman u/t Pilot. Called up on September 1 1939, he completed his training and was with 151 Squadron at North Weald by November 8 1939.
Savill destroyed a Do 17 on August 13 1940. He was posted to 242 Squadron at Coltishall on September 21, moved to 73 Squadron at Castle Camps on October 10 and finally to 501 Squadron at Kenley on the 17th.
Savill rejoined 73 Squadron on October 26 and was posted to 213 Squadron at Tangmere on November 3 1940. Savill was promoted to Warrant Officer on October 1 1941. No further service details traced. He died on June 6 1991 in the village of Small Dole, near Henfield, West Sussex
Updated/new information – 5th update, September 2017:
Kenneth Astill Wilkinson died on July 31 2017, aged 99
Geoffrey Harris Augustus Wellum was born on August 4 1921. In 2015 he became Chairman of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association.
Anthony James Rawlence was born on September 23 1913 in Wilton, Wiltshire. He died in Winchester, Hampshire, in 1979.
FRANCIS HEBBLETHWAITE POWELL CONNOR
39857 FO Pilot British 234 Squadron
Connor was born in Maymyo, Burma on October 4 1917. From the age of four he lived in Jersey, attending a prep school and then, as a boarder, Victoria College, Jersey.
He joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his ab initio course on May 10 1937. On July 17 he was posted to 9 FTS, Hullavington and, with training completed, he joined 22 (Torpedo-Bomber) Squadron at Thorney Island on June 12 1938.
In August 1939 Connor was a member of the crew of a Vildebeest which crashed into the sea off the Isle of Wight during an exercise. He was trapped underwater, with a badly injured knee, but managed to escape. The pilot survived without injury. Connor spent three months in Haslar Naval Hospital. The knee troubled him for the rest of his life, increasingly so as he grew older.
Connor went to 5 OTU, Aston Down on June 22 1940, converted to Spitfires and joined 234 Squadron at St Eval on July 6.
He shared in the destruction of a Ju 88 on July 27 and was shot down on August 16 during a combat with Bf 109s off Portsmouth. He baled out and was rescued by a Royal Navy vessel several hours later. His Spitfire, X 4016, crashed into the sea. Connor was given two weeks of sick leave before returning to the squadron. He did not fly operationally again.
On November 3 1940 he was posted to CFS, Upavon for an instructor’s course. From May 14 1941 until the end of the war he was a flying instructor in the UK and Canada. Connor’s final posting was to the Air Staff at HQ 50 Group, Reading.
He was released in July 1946 as a Squadron Leader. He worked as an air traffic controller in Jersey and died there on May 1 1982.
APO 5.7.37 PO 10.5.38 FO 10.12.39 FL 10.12.40 SL 1.9.42
29208 SL Pilot Irish 257 Squadron
Harkness was born on March 28 1911 at his family home, 28 Ardculee Avenue, Belfast. His parents were John Bell Harkness, a carrier and Martha Harkness, formerly Hill.
Hill Harkness joined the RAF on a short service commission in December 1930. He was posted to 2 FTS, Digby on January 10 1931 and, after training, went to 54 Squadron at Hornchurch on December 29 1931.
He joined the staff at the School of Naval Co-operation at Lee-on-Solent on January 6 1935 and at the end of his engagement he went on to Class ‘A’ of the RAFO on December 29 1937.
Recalled in October 1939, Harkness went to 12 FTS, Grantham on November 13, as a Flight Commander of the Intermediate Training Squadron. He arrived at 6 OTU, Sutton Bridge for a refresher course on June 8 1940.
After converting to Hurricanes, Harkness was posted to 257 Squadron at Hendon on July 6, as a supernumerary, and he took command at Northolt on July 22 1940. He probably destroyed a Do 17 on August 12 and shared in the destruction of a Ju 88 on the 13th.
He was posted away on September 12 1940 to the A&AEE, Boscombe Down, for flying duties. He went to 2 FTS, Brize Norton on October 1 1940 and joined 10 FTS, Ternhill on October 24, as OC 2 Squadron. In 1941 he was posted to Canada.
Harkness resigned his commission on December 4 1943. He later lived at various addresses in the London area and died in Chichester, Sussex in April 2002.
PO 29.12.30 FO 29.8.32 FL 1.4.36 FL (RAFO) 29.12.37 FL 16.10.39 SL 1.6.40
MARTYN AUREL KING
42845 PO Pilot British 249 Squadron
King was born on October 15 1921, at West Mersea, Essex. This date makes him one of the youngest pilots in the Battle of Britain, if not the youngest. He was the son of Dr George Edwin King, a medical missionary, and his second wife, formerly Ivy Ethel Wallis. Both G E King’s marriages had taken place in China and he would die there by drowning on September 5 1927.
M A King attended the prep (from 1927) and boys’ (from 1931) schools at Chefoo School in northern China, founded by the China Inland Mission. He was Captain of Boats and a member of the Football Xl. After leaving school in 1938, he returned to the UK and took a business course.
He joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his ab initio course on August 14 1939, as a pupil pilot.
King completed his training and arrived at 5 OTU, Aston Down on May 13 1940. After converting to Hurricanes, he was posted to 249 Squadron at Leconfield on June 9.
King was shot down by enemy fighters over Southampton on August 16, during the action in which Flight Lieutenant Nicolson earned the VC. King baled out but was killed when his parachute collapsed during descent. His Hurricane, P 3616, is believed to be the one that crashed at Toothill, near Lee. He was 18.
King was buried in All Saints’ churchyard, Fawley, Hampshire on August 22. A large crowd witnessed his interment.
Updated/new information – 4th update, July 2017:
R G B Summers died on May 7 2017.
FREDERIC GEORGE PAISEY
78753 PO Air Gunner British 235 Squadron
Paisey, a native of Bath, joined the RAFVR in April 1940, with a direct-entry commission as an Air Gunner. He was on No 12 Air Gunnery Course at 7 B&GS, which ran from May 6 to June 1 1940. With training completed, he was with 235 Squadron at Bircham Newton in early July 1940.
Paisey later retrained as a pilot and was awarded the DFC (17.7.45), as an Acting Wing Commander with 354 Squadron at Cuttack in India. The citation stated that he had shown great skill and courage in low-level attacks on enemy shipping and had been responsible for the destruction of two of the six ships sunk by the squadron.
He was released from the RAF in 1947, as a Wing Commander. He became an insurance agent, lived in the US for many years and was a member of The American Legion. He died on January 5 2006, aged 94, at his home in Sorrento, Florida.
APO 12.4.40 PO 1.6.40 FO 1.6.41 FL 1.6.42 SL 20.6.45
Updated/new information – 3rd update, May 2017:
Richard Stephen Demetriadi attended Eton College.
Peter Douglas Thompson’s final RAF appointment was as Air Attache at the British Embassy in Lima, Peru. After retiring from the RAF he lived in Minorca.
Harold Arthur Cooper Bird-Wilson’s post-war appointments included: command of the Central Flying Establishment’s air fighting development squadron, PSO to the Commander in Chief, Middle East Air Force, service with the British Joint Services Mission in Washington and command of the Central Flying School and AOC, Hong Kong.
Derek Pierre Aumale Boitel Gill – the diary of Dennis Humbert Fox-Male says of Boitel-Gill’s death:
“He was giving practice to the gunners on the gun posts round the airfield – a daily duty which we took in turn.
“Cloud base was about 600 to 800 feet. He was diving on the gun posts, flying low on the runway then climbing up into the cloud where he did a stall turn and came down in a dive again.
“The dive was steep and he flattened out at about five or six feet above the ground but poor Bottle [Boitel-Gill’s nickname] forgot that a Hurricane still sinks after the stick is pulled back hurriedly even if it is in a level or even climbing position. A Spitfire never behaved in this way, but Bottle left his pull out too late, the Hurricane sank and hit the ground.
“He was thrown out and killed.”
Arthur Roy Watson – from the diary of Dennis Humbert Fox-Male:
“Doc [Watson} had bailed out but his parachute had failed to open properly and he was killed when he hit the ground. It was a custom in the squadron if you landed safely by parachute to give the corporal in charge of the parachute packing section the princely sum (in those days) of ten shillings. Our corporal, although he looked rather gormless, had a good reputation and was extremely conscientious. We all admired and thanked him – as we had to.
“He was terribly upset at Doc Watson’s failure to open his parachute and of course there was an enquiry. I have read in a book, and in ….. (the) mess diary that he bungled the opening but from discussions in the squadron, after the investigation, I do not think that this was accurate.
“We were always instructed to check our parachutes first thing every day. The vital thing was to undo the ‘poppers’ over the flap which covered and protected the pin in the back of the parachute. When the rip cord was pulled it jerked the pin out of its metal holder and the parachute unfolded. It was essential to make sure that the pin was straight and not bent.
“I was told that Doc’s pin was found to be bent right back – as far as you can bend your index finger- and in trying to pull the bent pin out he had in the end ripped the whole patch out – too late for the parachute to open.”
(Watson’s nickname, “Doc”, came from the character in the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle.)
Extended and corrected entries:
STEPHEN GERALD BEAUMONT
90319 FL Pilot British 609 Squadron
Beaumont was born on May 2 1910. His father, Gerald Beaumont, joined the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry at the start of the First World War and went on to be awarded the MC and bar. S G Beaumont was at Oundle School and went up to New College, Oxford. He visited Kenya and then joined the family firm of solicitors. He learned to fly at West Riding Aero Club, Yeadon in 1935, becoming the first privately trained pilot to join 609 Squadron, AAF, when it formed at Yeadon on February 10 1936. Beaumont was commissioned in April and was one of the first three pilots trained with 609 Squadron, gaining his wings in August 1937.
He was one of 609’s original Flight Commanders, but in January 1939 he handed over to Flying Officer P H Barran because of business and other commitments. Embodied on August 24 1939, he took ‘B’ Flight over after Barran was killed on July 11 1940. Beaumont served with 609 until he was posted to 7 OTU, Hawarden on August 2 1940, as an instructor. The unit was redesignated 57 OTU on November 1 1940. Beaumont was posted to the newly-formed 59 OTU, Turnhouse on December 22 1940. He was made OBE (1.1.45) and was a Group Captain at 84 Group when he was released in 1945.
Beaumont went on to hold a wide range of civilian appointments including Deputy Coroner for Wakefield, Chairman of the Wakefield Hospital Management Group and Secretary of the Wakefield Chamber of Commerce. In 1967 he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of the West Riding of Yorkshire and, in 1979, High Sheriff of West Yorkshire. In retirement he lived in Devizes, Wiltshire. He died in September 1997.
PO (AAF) 24.4.36 FO (AAF) 24.10.37 FO 24 8.39 FL 12.3.40 SL 1.6.41 WC 1.6.42
Updated/new information – 2nd update, March 2017:
Leonard Harold Bartlett died on February 11 2017.
Bernard Walter Brown died in January 2017.
George Edward Bowes Stoney was born in Dublin on March 24 1911. His father, Edward Bowes Stoney, served in the Great War with the Canadian Expeditionary Force.
Alexander Noel Constantine – replace last sentence of entry with:
Also killed were Constantine’s wife Beryl and Roy Hazlehurst, DFC. In 2016 the Australia Indonesia Association of New South Wales arranged for the graves of the three at Jogjakarta to be properly marked.
Extended and corrected entries:
MERRIK HUBERT HINE (note amended spelling – not Merrick)
745148 Sgt Pilot British 65 Squadron
Hine was born in 1916 and grew up on a farm owned by his father between Penn and Forty Green, Buckinghamshire. In the early 1930s he was employed by the LMS Railway. He learned to fly privately at the de Havilland School of Flying at White Waltham, in Tiger Moths.
He joined the RAFVR in March 1939, as an Airman u/t Pilot. He was called up on September 1, completed his training and went to 5 OTU, Aston Down on August 3 1940. He crashed at Kemble in Spitfire N 3106 on the 11th but was unhurt.
He joined 65 Squadron at Hornchurch on August 19. The squadron flew north to Turnhouse on the 28th. On September 23 Hine crashed on landing after a routine practice flight, in Spitfire K 9904. The aircraft was damaged but repairable.
Hine was lost in an action with a Ju 88 near Selsey Bill on December 12 1940. It is not clear whether he was shot down by return fire from the Ju 88 or whether he collided with Pilot Officer W H Franklin of 65, who was also lost. Hine was 24. He is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 15.
1003621 Sergeant Radar Operator British 25 Squadron
Lamb was born on January 1 1921. He worked as a butcher before joining the RAFVR on June 7 1940, as an Aircrafthand. He volunteered for aircrew duties and was sent on a short radar course, after which he joined 25 Squadron at North Weald on July 21. He was promoted to Sergeant on September 23.
In April 1941 Lamb was involved in an aircraft accident, the details of which are unclear. He suffered third degree burns to his back and legs and was admitted to the RAF Hospital at Rauceby.
The squadron had re-equipped with Beaufighters and Lamb was sent to 54 OTU Church Fenton for advanced night-fighter, including a detachment to 3 Radio School. He went on to 62 OTU Charter Hall on July 24 1942 to prepare for overseas deployment. He then joined a convoy to Takoradi, Ghana, arriving in August 1942 to join 216 Squadron, which ferried men and supplies to Egypt.
His posting was delayed, however, by a bout of ill-health and he was treated at 63 General Hospital, Alexandria, Egypt from October 17 to 29, eventually joining 216 on November 3.
When this posting ended he went to 22 Personnel Transit Camp at Heliopolis, Egypt before joining 272 Squadron on January 10 1943. After two months he joined 46 Squadron.
Lamb is recorded as arriving at 1 Elementary Air Gunners School, in the UK, on September 4 1943, apparently as an instructor.
He must have applied to train as a pilot and his next posting was to a flying school in Rhodesia. He joined an overseas draft on January 14 1944 and arrived in Bulawayo on February 20, having left the ship in South Africa and continued by train.
He began his training at 28 Elementary Flying Training School, Mount Hampden on April 21, going on to advanced training at 23 Service Flying Training School, Heany, Bulawayo on September 15.
Lamb was due for promotion to Warrant Officer but before this came about he was demoted to AC2. This may have been for a low flying offence, possibly over a girlfriend’s house. He qualified as a pilot and arrived back in the UK on May 23 1945. He left the RAF on November 2 1945.
Lamb went on to work as an insurance clerk, but suffered ill health, apparently linked to his war service, and took his own life on January 5 1948. He is buried in West Road Cemetery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
ERIC HUGH THOMAS
39138 FL Pilot British 19, 266 and 222 Squadrons
Born in Tunbridge Wells in 1917, Thomas joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his ab initio course on July 10 1936, as a pupil pilot. He was posted to 6 FTS, Netheravon on September 19 and, with training completed, he joined 19 Squadron at Duxford on May 22 1937.
Thomas was posted from 19 to RAF College, Cranwell on April 24 1939, as a flying instructor. He was still there at the outbreak of war.
He rejoined 19 Squadron, then at Fowlmere, on August 19 1940. He moved to 266 Squadron at Wittering on the 24th. Thomas was posted to 222 Squadron at Hornchurch, on September 10.
He shared in destroying a Do 17 on the 15th, damaged a Bf 109 on the 20th, shot down Bf 109s on October 9 and 25 and shared in the destruction of a Bf 109 and damaged a second on the 29th.
Thomas shared a probable Ju 88 on April 4 1941 and damaged a He 111 on May 14. He took command of 611 Squadron at Rochford on June 28 1941. He left the squadron on November 17 1941, to command 133 Squadron at Eglinton. Thomas was awarded the DFC (25.11.41).
He damaged a FW 190 on May 29 1942 and got a probable Bf 109 on June 5. In early August Thomas was appointed Wing Leader at Biggin Hill and led the Wing over Dieppe on August 19, in the Combined Operations raid. He destroyed a FW 190 and damaged another on October 9.
Thomas was awarded a Bar to the DFC (18.9.42). He was posted away from Biggin Hill on November 27 and awarded the DSO (2.2.43). His health began to fail and he left the RAF in late 1944 as a Wing Commander.
Thomas was employed at Ascot racecourse after the war but became increasingly unwell and was admitted to King Edward VII hospital near Midhurst where he died from complications following tuberculosis on 21st April 1959. He is buried in Tunbridge Wells Cemetery.
Both of Thomas’s brothers were killed in RAF service in the Second World War. Flying Officer B K Thomas was in a Battle trainer shot down near Grantham on May 18 1941 by a Bf 110. Flight Lieutenant C G Thomas was lost in a Lancaster of 49 Squadron on November 3 1943. The aircraft was downed by night fighters near Cologne on an operation to Dusseldorf. This was the raid on which Flight Lieutenant Bill Reid of 61 Squadron earned the VC.
APO 31.8.36 PO 10.7.37 FO 10.4.39 FL 3.9.40 SL 1.12.41
Updated/new information – 1st update, January 2017:
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.
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.
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.