The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. W B Higgins
William Burley Higgins was born at Hodthorpe, Whitwell, Derbyshire on 27th September 1913 and educated at Brunts Grammar School, Mansfield. He trained as a teacher and taught at his old junior school at Whitwell.
Higgins joined the RAFVR about October 1938 as an Airman u/t Pilot and carried out his elementary flying training at Tollerton. Called up on 1st September 1939, he completed his training at 5 FTS Sealand and joined 32 Squadron at Biggin Hill on 2nd July 1940.
Next day he shared a Do17, on the 20th destroyed a Me110 and on 12th and 24th August he shot down Me109's.
On 9th September Higgins was posted to 253 Squadron at Kenley. He shot down a Me109 on the 11th.
On the 14th he was killed in combat with Me109's, his Hurricane P5184 crashed in flames at Swanton Bridge near Sittingbourne. He is buried in the family plot at St. Lawrence's churchyard, Whitwell.
Also buried there is his brother Michael. On 6th October 1961 he was captain of Dakota G-AMSW of Derby Aviation en route from Gatwick to Perpignan in the south of France. In poor weather and probably off course it struck a mountain (Le Canigou) in the Pyrenees. All 34 passengers and crew were killed.