Battle of Britain (Losses connected to Swale)

The Battle of Britain in World War II, occurred from 10th July 1940 to 30 October 1940.

The battle was the successful defense of Britain against destructive German air raids. The Germans were planning to invade Britain, from France, where they had taken control.

The air raids were relentless and often consisted of over a hundred bombers and escort fighters.

The battle was won by the Royal Air Force (RAF) Fighter Command, and is recognised as stopping the planned invasion.

Sadly 537 RAF airmen and 2,662 German airmen lost their lives (source: BBC News – Battle of Britain: in men and machines)

This is a list of RAF fighter pilots who either lost their lives or are buried within the boundary of Swale.

  • Flying Officer John Wintringham CUTTS, 222 Squadron. Died 4 Sep 1940, flying a Spitfire, he was shot down by ME109s at Amberfield Farm, Chart Sutton. Born in Hampshire, aged 20. He is buried in Sittingbourne Cemetery.
  • Flying Officer Kenneth Victor WENDEL, 504 Squadron. Died 7 Sep 1940, flying a Hurricane, he was shot down by ME109s at Sandbanks Farm, Graveney. Born in New Zealand, aged 24. He is buried in Faversham Cemetery.
  • Sergeant (Pilot) William Burley HIGGINS, 253 Squadron. Died 14 Sep 1940, flying a Hurricane, he was shot down by ME109s at Swanton Farm, Bredgar. Born in Derbyshire, aged 26. He is buried in Whitwell (St. Lawrence) Churchyard, Derbyshire.
  • Sergeant John Joseph BRIMBLE, 73 Squadron. Died 14 Sep 1940, flying a Hurricane, he was shot down by a Spitfire at Parkhoue Farm, Chart Sutton. Born in Bristol, aged 24. He is buried in Sittingbourne Cemetery. John was originally buried as an unknown as his body was not fully recovered. 40 years later he was recovered and the rest of his remains are buried in Brockwood Cemetery, Surrey. He is buried in both places.
  • Pilot Officer Roy Achille MARCHAND, 73 Squadron. Died 15 Sep 1940, flying a Hurricane, he was shot down by ME109s at Nouds Farm, Teynham. Born in Bromley, aged 22. He is buried in Bromley Hill Cemetery. Roy was John Brimble’s wingman and also shot down with him, but managed to land, only to be shot down the following day.
  • Sergeant Denis Arnold HELCKE, 504 Squadron. Died 17 Sep 1940, flying a Hurricane, he was after baling out after losing control in practice at Shepherds Hill, Selling. Born in Tamworth, aged 24. He is buried in Herne Bay Cemetery.
  • Flying Officer Michael Giles HOMER DFC, 242(F) Squadron. Died 27 Sep 1940, flying a Hurricane, he was shot down by ME109s at Mintching Wood, Milstead. Born in Gloucestershire, aged 21. He is buried in Swanage (Godlingston) Cemetery.
  • Pilot Officer Edward Maurice GUNTER, 501 Squadron. Died 27 Sep 1940, flying a Hurricane, he was when his parachute failed to open after being shot down by Dornier at Teynham. Born in Hampshire, aged 20. He is buried in Aldeby (St. Mary) Churchyard , Norfolk.
  • Flying Officer John Greer BOYLE, 41 Squadron. Died 28 Sep 1940, flying a Spitfire, he was shot down by enemy aircraft at Erriotts Farm, Dadmans, Lynsted. Born in Ontario, aged 26. He is buried in Lynsted (Ss. Peter And Paul) New Churchyard.
  • Pilot Officer George Henry CORBETT, 66 Squadron. Died 8 Oct 1940, flying a Spitfire, he was shot down by ME109s at Bayford Marshes, Upchurch. Born in Saskatchewan, Canada, aged 20. He is buried in Upchurch (St. Mary) Churchyard.
  • Flying Officer Alan Leslie RICALTON, 74 Squadron. Died 17 Oct 1940, flying a Spitfire, he was shot down by ME109s at Hollingbourne. Born in Northumberland, aged 26. He is buried in Sittingbourne Cemetery.
  • Pilot Officer Vilem GOTH, 501 Squadron. Died 25 Oct 1940, flying a Hurricane, he was when his Hurricane collided with another Hurricane during combat at Manor Farm, Staplehurst. Born in Czechoslovakia, aged 25. He is buried in Sittingbourne Cemetery. Vilem has an interesting background having escaped from the Germans. His story can be read here.

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