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The Airmen's Stories - P/O A J M Aldwinckle


Aylmer James Martinus Aldwinckle was born on 29th March 1911 in Mendoza, Argentina of British parents. He was educated in South Africa and then at the College of Aeronautical Engineering at Chelsea and Brooklands, qualifying as a Licensed Inspector on 12th March 1936.

His first job was with Imperial Airways, working on DH86s, Empire flying boats and DH and Bristol aero engines.


On 25th August 1936 he joined Class 'F' of the RAF Reserve as an Airman u/t Pilot and trained with it until December 1937 when he transferred to the RAFVR. He resumed his flying training at the Bristol Flying School at Filton, flew at 15 E&RFTS Redhill from 12th January to 3rd December 1938 and then at 3 E&RFTS Hamble from 8th February 1939 until he was called to full-time service on 4th September 1939.

Aldwinckle was posted to 6 EFTS Sywell on 8th March 1940, moved on to 9 FTS Hullavington on 13th May and on completion of the course there he went to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on 19th August.

After converting to Hurricanes Aldwinckle joined 601 Squadron at Exeter on 11th September. In a squadron interception over Frome on the 25th he probably destroyed a Me110. On 7th October he claimed the probable destruction of a Do215, which went down with both engines smoking. During a patrol on the 9th Aldwinckle intercepted a He111, which escaped into cloud.

He was posted away from 601 on 2nd November 1940 and four days later joined 605 Squadron at Croydon. On the 15th he attacked a Me109, which dived through low cloud and was not seen again.

Aldwinckle later learned that it was from 3/JG26, had landed at Eastchurch with the pilot, Lt. R Schiffbauer, being captured.

On another patrol later the same day he probably destroyed a Me109.

With his tour completed, Aldwinckle was posted to 55 OTU at Ouston on 1st June 1941 as an instructor.

In October 1941 he was sent to Calshot to be in charge of the overhaul of Sunderland flying boats and self-sealing fuel tanks, for use on convoy patrol duties. This move came about because of his pre-war experience with Imperial Airways.

In September 1942 Aldwinckle transferred to the Technical Branch (Engineering) and remained in it until his release from the RAF in 1946 as a Wing Commander.

He returned to South Africa and took up civil flying. Aldwinckle formed the Swazi-Air Charter Company, which later became Swaziland's national airline.

On retirement, he returned to England to live.

Aldwinckle died on 5th April 2005.


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