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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. W R Farley


Walter Ronald Farley, of Leatherhead in Surrey, was born on 24th June 1909. He joined the RAF on a short service commission in late December 1930. He was posted to 2 FTS Digby on 10th January 1931 and joined 13 (Army Co-operation) Squadron at Netheravon on 29th December 1931. He moved to 2 (Army Co-operation) Squadron at Manston on 3rd April 1933.



Farley was posted to the staff of 2 FTS Digby on 11th March 1935 and in late 1938 went on to the Reserve. Recalled on 1st September 1939, Farley was appointed CO of 419 (Special Duties) Flight at North Weald on 21st August 1940. The Flight, part of 11 Group, was responsible for ferrying MI6 and SOE agents in and out of Occupied Europe. No operations were flown by 419 whilst it was at North Weald. However during the last week of August Farley flew some operational fighter sorties with 151 Squadron. In late September and early October he flew sorties with 46 Squadron. All these sorties were flown from Stapleford and qualified him for the Battle of Britain Clasp.

On 9th October 1940 419 Flight moved to Stradishall and during the night of the 19/20th Farley flew 419's first operational sortie, picking up a MI6 agent from France. At the end of October Farley went on leave, during which he flew further operational sorties with 46 Squadron.

On 8th November he was attacked by a Me109 and baled out, breaking a leg on landing. His Hurricane, V6922, crashed and burned out.

Farley was awarded the DFC (gazetted 7th March 1941) for services with 419 Flight, which became 138 Squadron on 25th August 1941. He was killed on 21st April 1942 as a Wing Commander with 138. Farley was 32 and is buried in Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany.

There is a detailed account of the sortie on which he was lost at:

Additional research and image courtesy of Sandra Smith-Gordon.

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