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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. H H Chandler


Horatio Herbert Chandler was born on 30th May 1916 in Bexhill on-Sea. He became a member of the Bexhill Rowing Club. He worked as a compositor on the Birkenhead News and Wirral General Advertiser and was an original member of the groundcrew of 610 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force, joining on 10th March 1936 as an Aircrafthand.

In April 1939 he went into a new NCO pilot-training scheme and had already carried out some flying training before being called up on 24th August 1939.

He had married Mary Charlotte Latham in July 1939 in Chester.



Above: 610 squadron at Hawkinge

L to R : unknown airman, AC Goff, Sgt. HH Chandler, Sgt. CA Parsons, Sgt. RF Hamlyn, P/O COJ Pegge and F/O FT Gardiner.



Chandler was posted from 610 on 7th October 1939 to 2 FTS Brize Norton on No. 42 Course, which ended on 23rd March 1940. On leaving 2 FTS he probably rejoined 610 for a short spell before going to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on 28th April. After he had converted to Hurricanes he went to PDC Uxbridge on 15th May for allocation to a squadron in France.

It would seem that Chandler joined 501 Squadron at Anglure. The squadron was withdrawn from France on 18th June 1940, operated from Jersey on the 19th to cover the withdrawal of the BEF and then re-assembled at Croydon on the 21st.

Chandler was posted back to 610 Squadron, then at Gravesend, on 30th June. On 24th July Chandler shot down two aircraft south of Dover, a Me109 and a Blackburn Skua of the Fleet Air Arm which he attacked in error. The crew survived.

On 25th July he destroyed a Me109, on 12th August he damaged a Me109, on the 14th shot down a Me109 and on the 18th he destroyed a Do17 and damaged another. On the 29th he damaged another Do17 and on the 30th he shot down a Me109 and probably destroyed a Me110.

Chandler was awarded the DFM (gazetted 22nd October 1940).

He was detached from 610 to RAF Acklington on 14th December 1940, when the squadron moved from Acklington to Westhampnett, until 30th December when Chandler was posted to 2 CFS Cranwell.

Commissioned in June 1941, he later served with 65 and 615 Squadrons. Chandler was awarded the AFC (gazetted 2nd April 1943). He was released from the RAF in 1946 as a Flight Lieutenant and recommissioned as a Pilot Officer in the RAFVR Training Branch in June 1946.

He returned to the family printing business in Bexill after the war.

Chandler died on 18th July 2000.



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