The Airmen's Stories - P/O R Haviland
Richard Haviland was born in 1913 in South Africa and attended Witwatersrand University, studying civil engineering. He obtained his private pilots licence while a student.
He came to England in 1937 to work for the construction company Mowlem and was involved in building one of the reservoirs at Staines. He joined the RAFVR and did further training with them at Fairoaks.
Called up on 1st September 1939 he converted to twin-engined aircraft and was posted to 248 Squadron, operating Blenheims from Lee-on-Solent. He was with the squadron when it moved to Dyce and then Sumburgh, where its role was to carry out reconnaisance sorties over Norway.
At some time in mid-1940 he married Anne Margaret Dunbury at Uckfield in Sussex.
On 7th August 1940 Haviland was detailed to reconnoitre Trondheim in Blenheim IV L9456 WR*R but they were unable to identify anything once there as the visibility was almost nil. It did not improve on the return journey and they ran out of fuel and were forced to ditch in the sea.
They were not far from Farne Island, off St.Abbs Head, and Haviland, P/O ML Wells and Sgt. A Kay were soon picked up from their dinghy by a trawler. The aircraft had not sunk and was later recovered.
On 28th August he was killed along with AC2 R Moon whom he was taking on an air experience fllight in the squadron Magister R1832. During low aerobatics to the north of the airfield the aircraft struck the ground in a low shallow dive, cause unknown, though it may have been caught in a downdraught which are a feature of the area.
Haviland was 27 and was cremated at Aberdeen Crematorium.
Memorial images courtesy of Garioch Graver