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
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.
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
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.
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 -
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
For Howard Hill's memorial page, with information kindly sent by
a correspondent in New Zealand, please see
Howard'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
The tragic crew was as follows:-
|Pilot Officer Guy Rerenui DUNLOP
|Sergeant Patrick Joseph Vincent BROWNE
|Flight Sergeant Peter John HILL
|Sergeant Albert John EVANS BEM
|Flight Sergeant Richard Ludgvan STAPLES
|Sergeant Richard Henry SEDGLEY
|Sergeant William Fordyce CAIRNS
All three RNZAF casualties are buried at Oxford (Botley)
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
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
"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
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
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