Hall of heroes

41 Sqn 100 Hall of Heroes

41 Sqn Hall of Heroes

These are just some of the 49 pilots who flew with the 41 Sqn during the Battle of Britain, 10 July to 31 October 1940, plus the EngO and IntO. In a mere four months, eleven pilots of 41 Sqn would not survive the conflict.

Flt Lt Webster Flt Lt John T. ‘Terry’ Webster – OC B Flight
Served on 41 Sqn from 11 April 1938 until 5 September 1940. On 5 September 1940, having destroyed 2 Me109E and damaging another, Webster was killed when his aircraft disintegrated after colliding with another Spitfire engaged in the fight. He was 24 years old.

Sqn Ldr Hood Sqn Ldr Hilary R. L. ‘Robin’ Hood DFC – OC 41 Sqn
Commanded 41 Sqn from 22 April to 5 September 1940. During his tenure he claimed 3 destroyed and one damaged enemy aircraft. He was killed in action, aged 32, over Essex on 5 September 1940. Although debris from his aircraft was found, his body has never been recovered.
Gisborough Fg Off Thomas W. P. L. ‘Gizzie’ Chaloner, The Rt Hon Lord Gisborough – IntO
Served on 41 Sqn from 6 May 1940 to 19 Jun 1945. A former World War I B.E.2c pilot, escaped PoW and Territorial Army Major, he rejoined the RAF at the outbreak of World War II aged 50.

Darrant Plt Off John S. Darrant – EngO Served on 41 Sqn from 25 November 1939 to 13 August 1940. He was Mentioned in Despatches four times during the War, awarded an OBE in 1946, and retired as a Wg Cdr in 1953 after 36 years’ service in the RAF.

Usmar Sgt Plt Frank Usmar served on 41 Sqn from 18 June to 27 September 1940, in that time claiming one destroyed, one probably destroyed and one damaged enemy aircraft. He was Mentioned in Despatches in 1945 and retired as a Sqn Ldr in September 1964.

Shipman Plt Off Edward A. ‘Shippy’ Shipman served on 41 Sqn from 10 October 1936 to 1 September 1940. During his tenure, he claimed one destroyed He111, one shared destroyed He111, and one shared destroyed Me110. He was awarded an AFC in January 1945 and retired as a Wg Cdr in December 1959.

Wallens Plt Off Ronald W. ‘Wally’ Wallens served on 41 Sqn from 26 March to 8 August 1938, and from 7 October 1938 to 5 September 1940 when he was struck by heavy cannon fire from a Me109E. Severely wounded and with a seized engine, he was unable to move the canopy to bail out and force landed near Hornchurch. He did not return to service until April 1941. Later he received an AFC and was promoted to Sqn Ldr.

Locke Plt Off Eric S. ‘Lockie’ Lock DSO DFC and Bar served on 41 Sqn from 18 June to 17 November 1940. He was destined to become of the RAF’s greatest Aces, credited with 29 aerial victories. On 17 November 1940, he was severely injured in a 41 Sqn dogfight with 70 Me109Es. Whilst recuperating in hospital he was awarded the DSO and was rapidly promoted to Flt Lt. On 3 August 1941, aged 22, he failed to return from a ground attack mission near the Pas-de-Calais and is believed to have been shot down. Neither his body nor his aircraft have ever been found. He is remembered today on the Runnymede Memorial.

Lister Sqn Ldr Robert C. F. Lister DFC – OC 41 Sqn commanded 41 Sqn from 8 to 14 September 1940. Previously awarded a DFC and a Mention in Despatches for his service in 1937. In his first week on the Squadron he was shot down, managing to bale out but wounded so severely that he did not return to fly with 41 again.


Bamberger Sgt Plt Cyril S. ‘Bam’ Bamberger Served on 41 Sqn from 17 September to 19 October 1940, in that time claiming one destroyed and 2 damaged enemy aircraft. He was awarded the DFC in 1943 and retired as a Sqn Ldr in Jan 1959.

Chalder Plt Off Harry H. Chalder served on 41 Sqn from 15 to 28 September, when he was shot down and managed to bale out despite serious wounds. He was rushed to hospital and received treatment but succumbed to his injuries on 10 November 1940, aged 25.

Mileham Plt Off Denys E. ‘Den’ Mileham served on 41 Sqn from 30 September 1940 to 8 February 1941, during that time claiming one destroyed and 2 damaged Me109E. He was shot down and killed in a dogfight on 15 April 1942, aged 22.

Carter Sgt Plt Leslie R. Carter served on 41 Sqn from 1 October 1940 to 3 February 1941. After a flight to 35500ft, with the canopy frozen partly open, he suffered such severe frostbite to his fingers that it was months before he regained the full use of his hands. Previously, he had also baled out following a mid-air collision with another Spitfire. He was presumed shot down and killed on 6 July 1941, aged 21.

Bennions Plt Off George H. ‘Ben’ Bennions DFC served on 41 Sqn from 16 February 1936 to 1 October 1940. With 22.5 victories, he was the 2nd most successful 41 Sqn pilot of the Battle. Despite being shot down and sustaining severe burns and injuries to his right arm and leg, as well as losing his sight in one eye, he flew again and retired as a Sqn Ldr in March 1958.

Flt Lt Anthony D. J. ‘Tony’ Lovell DFC – OC B Flt served on 41 Sqn from 20 Aug 1938 to 23 May 1941. Eventually tallying 14 victories, he earned a DFC whilst flying on 41 Sqn during the Battle of Britain. Later, he went on to be awarded a Bar to his DFC and a DSO and Bar, also assuming an acting Wg Cdr position. On 17 Aug 1945 he was killed in a flying accident when performing a slow roll at low altitude, aged 26.
Sgt Plt Robert A. Angus
Served on 41 Sqn from 12 October 1940 to 20 February 1941, claiming one damaged enemy aircraft before he was shot down by a Luftwaffe Ace and baled out into the Channel. Considering the day’s wintery conditions and water temperature, it is thought he succumbed to the effects of hypothermia and was never recovered. He was 21 years old. He is remembered today on the Runnymede Memorial.
Fg Off William J. M. ‘Scotty’ Scott
Served on 41 Sqn from 13 July 1939 to 8 September 1940, when he was shot down and killed off Dover, aged 25. His body washed up at Dover on November 1940. He had shot down one Me109E and probably destroyed another in the two days prior to his death.
Plt Off Roy C. ‘Henry’ Ford
Served on 41 Sqn from 16 Dec 39 to 23 May 41. Following the Battle of Britain he became the production Test Pilot for Hawker Aircraft Ltd and 18 months later attended the first (No.1) Test Pilot course held at The Empire Test Pilots’ School at Boscombe Down.
Plt Off Eric S. Aldous
Served on 41 Sqn from 12 to 28 September 1940 having previously served 3 months with 610 Sqn. He damaged an Me109E on 18 September but was shot down and wounded ten days later. Hospitalised until December 1940, he was then posted to 55 OTU as a flying instructor.
Plt Off Norman M. Brown
Served on 41 Sqn from 12 October 1940 to 6 April 1941, following a brief tenure with 611 Sqn. He was injured when he flew into a balloon cable in Nov 1940 and left the RAF 5 months later, going into work for the Forestry Commission.
Flt Lt Edgar N. ‘Norman’ Ryder DFC – OC A Flt
Served on 41 Sqn from 30 Jun 1937 to 17 Jan 1941. An eventful flying career saw him claim 13 victories, earning him a DFC on 41 Sqn and then later a Bar to his DFC. After baling out for the third time in the war, he was captured and held as a PoW for over 3 and a half years until his liberation in May 1945. He retired as Gp Capt, Stn Cdr RAF Duxford with a CBE in December 1960.
Fg Off John N. ‘Mac’ Mackenzie DFC
Served on 41 Sqn from 17 Sep 1938 to 9 Mar 1941. He claimed 15.5 victories during the war, earning a DFC while on 41 Sqn. He transferred to the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1944, returning to the RAF in 1946. He retired as a Sqn Ldr in 1958 and emigrated to New Zealand to set up a car dealership.
Sqn Ldr Donald O. Finlay – OC 41 Sqn
Commanded 41 Sqn from 14 September 1940 until 9 August 1941. As well as being the longest serving Officer Commanding of World War II, he was also a Silver Medal winning Olympic 110m Hurdler from the Berlin 1936 Games and introduced a demanding fitness programme for the Sqn pilots and ground crew. He retired as a Gp Capt in February 1959.

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