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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. R Carnall


Ralph Carnall was born on 23rd August 1913 and attended Longton School, Stoke-on-Trent. He joined the RAF as an Aircraft Apprentice in January 1929 and passed out in December 1931 as a Fitter.

He volunteered for pilot training in 1935, was selected and began flying in 1936. With the course completed, he was posted to 111 Squadron at Northolt in February 1937.

Carnall was still with the squadron in 1940 and was in action over Dunkirk. On 10th July he crashed on landing at Hawkinge after his port wing was damaged during a combat off Folkestone, in which he damaged a Do17.

On the 25th Carnall damaged a Me109 and on the 31st he destroyed a Ju88. On 16th August he was shot down over Kent and crashed in Hurricane P3029 at Palmers Green Farm, Brenchley, badly burned. He spent a year in hospital, during which time he underwent plastic surgery by Archie Mclndoe at East Grinstead and became a Guinea Pig.

After rehabilitation Carnall went on a flying instructors course, qualifying in February 1942. Commissioned in March, he spent two years instructing on Tiger Moths.

In Spring 1944 Carnall did a conversion course on to PR Mosquitos. He and his navigator were posted to 684 Squadron in Calcutta. They picked up a reinforcement Mosquito and flew eastwards. The flight was an eventful one, fraught with many difficulties and ended with Carnall making a crash-landing in the jungle.

684 Squadron remained in Calcutta until October 1945. It then moved to Tan Son Nhut airfield, Saigon, Vietnam. Shortly after its arrival there was a special parade during which a number of Japanese officers were required to formally surrender their swords to selected British officers. Carnall received a sword from a Lieutenant Sato.

Carnall stayed on in the RAF in the Fighter Control Branch. He retired on 24th August 1963 as a Squadron Leader and died in June 1984.



111 Squadron 1940

Sgt. R Carnall, P/O RJW Brown, P/O JHH Copeman, F/O DC Bruce, F/O PJ Simpson.

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