The Airmen's Stories - F/O D N Forde
Derek Nigel Forde was born on October 17th 1917 and joined the RAF on a short service commission in August 1938. He was with 145 Squadron in May 1940 and on the 27th was shot down over Dunkirk in combat with Me110’s. He was unhurt and rejoined the squadron.
Forde was posted to 605 Squadron at Croydon on September 26th 1940. By 1942 he was serving with 72 Squadron and went with it to North Africa in November. He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 26th February 1943) being then credited with at least three enemy aircraft destroyed. On April 24th 1943 Forde damaged a Me 109.
At some point later in the war Forde was shot down over France and sustained hip and leg injuries but managed to escape back to the UK via the Pyrenees, aided by the French Resistance.
He stayed on in the RAF and retired on February 8th 1953, as a Squadron Leader.
Forde died on January 16th 1979.
Forde is pictured above (right) with his close friend P/O (post-war Group Captain) Peter Douglas Thompson (left) when they both were serving with 605 Squadron. Forde is holding a Hurricane landing light cover pierced by a bullet from a Dornier 17. This is most likely an aircraft from 2/KG2 which they had combined to attack over the Channel on 26th March 1941.
The photo is courtesy of Mrs Mimi Thompson who says that the Thompsons' first child, a daughter, was named Dereka after their friend.
The photo appeared in an issue of the ‘London Illustrated’ with a caption suggesting that Forde has told Thompson to “jolly well pull his finger out !!”