The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. E C Gardiner
Eric Cecil Gardiner was born on 2nd June 1913 in Pontefract and attended Kings School there. He joined the RAF as an Aircraft Apprentice in September 1928 and passed out in August 1931 as a Fitter. He later trained as an Air Gunner and was serving with 219 Squadron at Catterick in June 1940 as a Corporal.
Above: Gardiner is shown standing, fifth from left, with other members of 'A' Flight
Gardiner was promoted to Sergeant in August and in October he retrained as a Radar Operator, flying his first Beaufighter sortie with P/O KW Worsdell on the 22nd. They were on their sixth sortie together, in Beaufighter R2065, on 30th October 1940. In bad visibility the aircraft hit trees, crashed and exploded just south of Balcombe Place, near Haywards Heath, Sussex. Both men were killed.
Gardiner was 27. He is buried in Pontefract Cemetery, Yorkshire.
See also: http://wingsmuseum.co.uk/beaufighter_r2065_memorial_sussex.htm