war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper


Dover and The Few

more names and information to come

Ian Donald, Arthur Hamilton (below)    
Keith Gillman Roger Hall (.pdf) Howard Hill (below)
Peter Kennard-Davis (below) David Kirton  
Andrew Marrs James Marshall Michael Mudie
Stewart Parnall (.pdf) Sam Sawyer Robert Stevens (.pdf)

Donald I. and Hamilton, A.
141 Squadron based at West Malling in Kent, received orders to send 12 of its Boulton Paul Defiant turret-fighters to Hawkinge early on 19th July 1940. At around 12:30 hours a scramble was conducted for a patrol  20 miles south of Folkestone at just 5,000 feet! However, only nine crews got into the air owing to three of the RAF fighters becoming unserviceable on start-up. The squadron had not yet been in combat with their aircraft.

Less than 30 minutes later Hawkinge witnessed what was left of the squadron return, when just two out of the nine Defiants landed intact after escaping ruthless 'Schwarms' of Messerschmitt Me109's from Jagdgeschwader 51 who had pounced on them over the Channel. Four pilots and six gunners were either dead or missing with others wounded.

One of the five Defiants that did not return was crewed by 22 years old Flight Lieutenant Ian David Grahame Donald and his air-gunner, Pilot Officer Arthur Charles Hamilton, aged 28 and from North Harrow in Middlesex.

When the nine Defiants were attacked by the Messerschmitts, all of the RAF machines were hit and two of them immediately tumbled away down towards the sea, their crews never to be seen again. Donald and Hamilton in Defiant L7009 (HT-W) adorned with a painted cockerel emblem and the name 'Cock o' the North', were fighting for their lives in an aircraft ablaze from nose to tail; in a desperate attempt to escape the enemy and return to Hawkinge, they dived down towards the sea. Approaching Dover the ailing RAF fighter struggled for height and for reasons not known, Hamilton managed to extricate himself from the confines of his turret and bale out, but he sadly never survived his descent into the sea

Still on fire the Defiant raced across Dover and turned towards the Elms Vale area as it then flew along the valley, where tragically for the pilot his luck soon ran out. When only four miles from Hawkinge the engine of the stricken fighter faltered and Donald perished as the doomed aircraft slammed into the side of a hill

Donald was buried in Tilford (All Saints) Cemetery in Surrey, and the body of Hamilton was recovered from the sea and he was laid to rest in Hawkinge Cemetery. At the bottom of his headstone are the words: "To the dear memory of "Arch"..He that giveth his life shall find it."

Donald was born on 3rd September 1917 and was the son of Air Marshal Sir Grahame Donald. He was educated at Dulwich College and joined the RAF in early 1936.

Hamilton had only joined the RAF in March 1940 as a direct-entry Air Gunner and after training was posted to 141 Squadron in May. His career was fated to be very short. It's recorded that Hamilton had a Southern Rhodesian connection and there is a memorial plaque in the hall of Churchill School, Causeway in Zimbabwe

141 Squadron were known as the 'Cock Squadron' after winning an inter-squadron competition in 1918. Thus tradition saw the squadron name its Defiant aircraft like 'Cock o' the North', 'Cock-a-hoop', 'Cocksure' and 'Cocked for Firing' to name but some.

Hill, H.P.
Howard Perry Hill, 41487, of 92 Squadron,  was the son of Jack Stanley and Dorothy Helen Hill, née White, from Spring Creek, Marlborough, New Zealand. On 20 September 1940 he was one of ten fighters in 92 Squadron who took off from Biggin Hill at 11.15 to join 41 Squadron. It was cloudy and they could not be found, but as they turned south toward Dungeness enemy Bf109s were upon them, firing 20mm cannon shells 

Blue Section, in which Howard was flying, was at the rear, received the greater part of the attack; when 92 Squadron landed back at Biggin Hill at 12.45, Howard, in Spitfire X4417 instead of his usual craft, which was under repair after a bad landing four days before, was one of two pilots missing. He was reported as having crashed and burnt out, probably after being hit by cannon and machine gun, at 11.43 in a field behind the Black Swan at West Hougham, near Dover, He was found dead in the wreckage by a member of the Observer Corps. He was 20 years old.

On 29 September Howard's funeral was held at Hawkinge, some of the pilots from his squadron attending. He is buried in Plot 1, row O, grave 30. The words on the bottom of his tombstone read: "There's life alone in duty done and rest alone in striving - Whittier"

Note: There wasn't a Black Swan pub in Hougham, but there is the  Black Swan estate, and the cottages on the right in the picture above are the Black Swan cottages. Just around the corner to the right is the timbered building above, which once was a pub known as the King's Head. Howard crashed a little way behind the bungalow on the left

For Howard Hill's memorial page, with information kindly sent by a correspondent in New Zealand, please see here


set 2475Howard's only brother, Peter John Hill, also sadly died. He is buried at Oxford (Botley) cemetery, plot H1, grave 203.

On 12 January 1944, an Avro Lancaster MkIII serial JB125 from No.5 LFS (Lancaster Finishing School) took-off at 18:45 hours from RAF Syerston in Nottinghamshire for a night training sortie. Later that evening, as the Lancaster returned to Syerston, visibility became very poor with a dangerously low cloud base down to just 500 feet with heavy drizzle. The bomber flew beyond the airfield and whilst banking hit the ground at 21:50 hours. All 7 members of the crew were killed in the crash.

The location of the crash was ½ mile north of the Tree Hotel at Hoveringham, a village close to the east side of the main (A612) Nottingham to Newark-on-Trent road.


The tragic crew was as follows:-

Pilot Officer Guy Rerenui DUNLOP RNZAF Captain (pilot) aged 28
Sergeant Patrick Joseph Vincent BROWNE   Flight Engineer aged 20
Flight Sergeant Peter John HILL RNZAF Navigator aged 22
Sergeant Albert John EVANS BEM   Bomb Aimer aged 26
Flight Sergeant Richard Ludgvan STAPLES RNZAF Wireless Operator  aged 23
Sergeant Richard Henry SEDGLEY   Air Gunner aged 19
Sergeant William Fordyce CAIRNS   Air Gunner aged 19

All three RNZAF casualties are buried at Oxford (Botley) Cemetery.
P/O Dunlop was the son of Reginald Crauford Dunlop and Kate Annie Dunlop, of Matamata, Auckland, New Zealand.
Flt/Sgt Hill was the son of Jack Stanley Hill and of Dorothy Helen Hill (née White) of Spring Creek, Marlborough, New Zealand.
Flt/Sgt Staples of New Zealand was the son of Albert Asser Staples and Mary Jane Staples.

Citation in 'The London Gazette' for the British Empire Medal (Civil Division) awarded to Sergeant Albert John Evans, Police Constable, Glamorgan Constabulary

"Bombs damaged houses and people were trapped in the wreckage. Constable Evans, with complete disregard of his personal safety, immediately began rescue work. After some time a woman was discovered alive but pinned down by debris which was on fire. Under the direction of Evans a tunnel was made and, after two hours work, during which time, a bomb exploded within fifteen yards of the rescuers, the victim was released. The Constable continued his efforts and six hours later a child was rescued. Evans worked with dauntless courage and the success of the work was largely due to his untiring efforts".

Kennard-Davis, P. F.
Peter Frank Kennard-Davis crashed and was fatally injured at West Langdon, near Dover, on 8 August 1940 - the same day David Kirton was shot down over Manston and killed. On this day the RAF order for the day stated, "The Battle of Britain is about to begin. Members of the Royal Air Force, the fate of generations lies in your hands".

Pilot Officer Kennard-Davis, 42348, had joined the Royal Navy when aged 16, but transferred to the RAF in May 1939 upon gaining a Short Service Commission. After earning his 'wings' he was posted to No.7 Operational Training Unit at Hawarden near Chester in July 1940 to learn to fly the Supermarine Spitfire and after conversion joined 64 Squadron at Kenley in Surrey on 3rd August.

Despite his lack of operational flying experience, he was soon in combat against the Luftwaffe and at around midday on Thursday 8th August he found himself in battle with Messerschmitt Me109s from Jagdgeschwader 51 over Dover. Under attack, his Spitfire L1039 caught fire; badly wounded he managed to bale out of his stricken machine and was rescued. The Spitfire fell to earth in flames and crashed at West Langdon, just to the north of Dover.

Peter Kennard-Davis was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Dover, where he succumbed to his wounds on 10th August. He was just 19 years of age (his headstone states 20 years of age).

The son of Frank and Frances Kennard-Davis, of Selsey, Sussex, he was laid to rest with his grandparents in a family grave, 42348, along St. Cyprian's Avenue at the London Necropolis Cemetery at Brookwood in Surrey. (Now known as Brookwood Cemetery).

The headstone reads:
In loving memory of Ernest Edward Kennard Davis, formerly of Rosario, Argentine Republic, died 16 December 1916(?), aged 60 years, also of his beloved wife, Clarita Parmenia, died 5 April 1933. In proud and loving memory of Pilot Officer Peter Frank Kennard-Davis, Grandson of the above, who died on the 10th August 1940 from wounds received in an air battle off Dover, at the age of 20 years. Called to higher service.

illustrations - grave by Dean Sumner, Royal Victoria Hospital from collection of M S-K   

with thanks to Dean Sumner for so much information about those whose battleground was the sky

Copyright 2011-13 © Marilyn Stephenson-Knight. All Rights Reserved