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The Airmen's Stories - P/O C H Hight

 

Cecil Henry Hight was born in Stratford, New Zealand on September 6th 1917 and was educated at the Technical High School there. After leaving he worked as a car salesman. Hight obtained his 'A' License 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 the educational requirements, he took a cramming course in mathematics, applied again and was accepted for a short service commission.


On January 16th 1939 Hight began his flying training at 9 E&RFTS Ansty. He went to 6 FTS, Little Rissington on April 29th, completed the course and joined 234 Squadron on November 6th 1939 at Leconfield with Blenheims. In March 1940 the squadron began to re-equip with Spitfires.

On August 15th 1940 the Luftwaffe made an early evening raid on Boumemouth. The enemy aircraft were engaged 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 a 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 comer 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 19th. A memorial service was held at St Peters, Bournemouth on April 7th 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 14th 1940 Mr Hoare was killed when the house was bombed and Mrs Hoare was buried in the debris. The Garden of Remembrance was for some time tended by local people. Hight was the only Allied airman to die in action over Bournemouth during the war. At some time later a road in Kinson, North Bournemouth was named, in his honour, Pilot Hight Road.




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