The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. H M Ferriss
Henry Michael Ferriss was born at Lee, London on 1st August 1917. He was called Michael within his family as his father, a pharmacist, was also called Henry.
Ferriss was educated at St Joseph's, Blackheath and Stoneyhurst College. He began flying with the University Air Squadron while he was at London University in 1935. He was later a medical student at St Thomas' Hospital.
Unable to continue his medical career due to lack of funds, Ferriss joined the RAF on a short service commission in July 1937. He was posted to 6 FTS Netheravon on 18th September and joined 111 Squadron at Northolt on 7th May 1938.
He shared in probably destroying a He111 on 8th April 1940 and shared another on the 10th. During patrols over France in May, Ferriss destroyed three Me110’s and probably a fourth on the 18th, claimed a Me109 destroyed on the 31st and shot down two Me109’s on 6th June.
He destroyed a Me109 and shared a Do17 on 10th July, damaged a He59 down on the sea on the 28th, shot down a Do17 and damaged another on 13th August and probably destroyed another Do17 on the 15th.
In a head-on attack over Marden on 16th August 1940 Ferriss collided with a Do17 and was killed. He crashed on Sheephurst Farm, in
Hurricane R4193. The Do17, of 7/KG76, crashed at Moatlands, Benchley, Paddock Wood.
Ferriss is buried in St Mary's churchyard, Chislehurst, Kent.
Ferriss featured in a remarkable set of photographs taken by a newspaper, however the article, under wartime conditions, simply describes the location as 'in the North'. Since the declaration of war 111 had been based at Acklington in Northumberland. On the 29th November 1939, whilst patrolling 8 miles off the coast near Alnwick, the CO, S/Ldr Broadhurst, shot down a Heinkel He111. This became the first aerial victory of WW2 for the squadron but, hampered by heavy rain and thick fog, the squadron moved further North to Drem and by February 1940 all the way to Wick in Scotland so it would seem that either of the latter locations are a candidate.