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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. W T Chard

 

Wilfred Thomas Chard was born in 1908 in Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa. He joined the RAFVR in March 1939 as an Airman u/t Aircrew. Called up on September 1st 1939 he completed his training and had joined 141 Squadron as a Gunner in Defiants at Turnhouse by June 1940.

Flying with Sgt. G Laurence on September 17th 1940 they intercepted a Ju88 north of Ashford and shot it down. The aircraft, B3+OL wk nr 2152 from I/KG54 at Evreux, came down in St Andrews Close, Maidstone. The crew, Lt Ganzlmayr, Obfw Faschinger, Uffz Bauer and Scloesser, were all killed.

On 7th January 1944 Chard, still teamed with Laurence, was serving with 219 Squadron at La Sebala, NW of Tunis, Tunisia.

Beaufighter ND160 took off for a test flight but the port wingtip struck a vehicle on the takeoff run and the aircraft somersaulted and crashed. Laurence was killed and Chard seriously injured.

Nothing further has been traced of Chard's service but he is buried in Sutton Road Cemetery, Southend, Essex. This must be because his wife Lilian, nee Mansell, who he married in December 1939, came from there.

The headstone is a standard CWGC design implying that he was killed in action or died of wounds. It is dated 17th May 1947, obviously outside of WW2 so it may be assumed that he never totally recovered from his injuries.

September 2018 - It has been found that he died in Stoke Mandeville hospital, Buckinghamshire at the age of 39, seeming to confirm the above.

February 2019 - The Bucks Herald of 30th May 1947 reported the following:

CRASHED IN AFRICA, DIED IN BUCKS

Injuries sustained when the plane which he was navigating crashed in North Africa after being hit by enemy flak in January, 1944, were stated at the inquest at Stoke Mandeville last week to have resulted in the death at the Ministry of Pensions Hospital of Wilfred Thomas Chard, 38, whose home was at Kensington Road, Southend-on-Sea. The inquest was conducted by the District Coroner (Mr. S. E. Wilkins).

The reference to flak is erroneous.

Above report courtesy of Simon Glancey.

 

 

 

 

 

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