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The Airmen's Stories - S/Ldr. A S Forbes


Athol Stanhope Forbes was born in Hanover Square, London on 4th April 1912. He was educated at Throwthorne Towers, Berkshire and Dover College.

In 1935 he joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his initial training course on 25th November. He moved on to 10 FTS Ternhill on 1st February 1936.

After completing his flying training Forbes went to No. 1 School of Army Co-operation at Old Sarum and was taken on to the School staff on 28th August 1937. He left there on 8th July 1940 for a refresher course at 6 OTU Sutton Bridge.

He had married Ernestine Marie Yvonne Carter in April 1939 in London.



Forbes joined the newly-formed 303 (Polish) Squadron at Northolt on 4th August 1940 as 'B' Flight Commander. He claimed a Ju88 destroyed on 5th September a Me109 and another damaged on the 6th, a Do17 destroyed and another probably destroyed on the 7th, two Do17s destroyed on the 11th and a He111 destroyed on the 26th and two on the 27th. He was slightly wounded in the engagements on 6th, 7th and 11th of September.

Promoted to Acting Squadron Leader, Forbes was given command of 66 Squadron at West Malling on 17th October. He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 22nd October 1940) and the VM (5th Class) (gazetted 24th December 1940) for his services with 303 Squadron.

Forbes shared in destroying a He111 on 25th June 1941 and a Me109 on 20th August. He was posted away in October 1941 to a staff job at HQ 10 Group at Box.

He was awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 4th November 1941).

Awarded the OBE (gazetted 1st January 1944) Forbes was serving with 165 Wing in the Far East in 1944. He was posted to HQ 221 Group Burma on 16th August 1944 as SASO. He was released from the RAF in 1948 as a Group Captain.

He later became operations manager for Cameroons Air Transport and settled in Warwickshire after retirement.

Forbes died on 18th August 1981. His portrait was made by Eric Kennington in 1940 (below).





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