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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. J H Culverwell


John Henry Culverwell was born in Fulham, London on 30th September 1914 and joined the RAF on 18th February 1936 as an Aircrafthand/Mate. He was posted to 3 School of Technical Training at Manston on 8th May 1936, went to 2 Wing, Henlow on 3rd July. After passing out as a Flight Rigger he returned to 3 School and qualified as a Metal Rigger.

Culverwell was then posted, as an AC1, to the School of Air Gunnery on the maintenance staff. He volunteered for pilot training and was remustered as a Metal Rigger u/t Airman Pilot on 26th June 1939. His rank was then Corporal. He began his training at 12 EFTS Prestwick on 2nd September 1939, moved on to 10 FTS Tern Hill where he completed the course and was promoted to Sergeant on 27th January 1940.

Culverwell went to the 11 Group Pool, St. Athan on 1st February and joined 87 Squadron at Lille/Seclin in France on 29th March 1940. After operating from Amiens, Senon, Lille/Marcq and Merville he returned with 87 to Debden on 22nd May. The squadron was sent north to Church Fenton two days later to re-equip, having lost 6 pilots and 16 aircraft in France. Once operational again they moved to Exeter on 5th July with detachments at Bibury and Hullavington.

Culverwell was killed in a night-flying accident on 25th July 1940. He took off from Hullavington, appeared to climb too steeply, stalled and crashed back into the ground in Hurricane P3596.

He is buried in Cathays Cemetery, Cardiff, his wife Beryl being from that city.





Additional research courtesy of John Larder

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