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The Airmen's Stories - S/Ldr. A P Hope

Archibald Philip Hope was born on 27th March 1912 and succeeded his father as the 17th Baronet of Craighall in 1924. He was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford where he read Modern History. He learned to fly with the University Air Squadron.

Hope was commissioned in Class ‘AA’ of the RAFO on 13th July 1931 and confirmed in rank a year later. He relinquished his RAFO commission on being granted one in the AAF on 25th January 1935, in 601 Squadron at Hendon.

He was called to full-time service on 24th August 1939. He flew in the first fighter attack on a German base of the war, on the Luftwaffe seaplane base at Borkum on 28th November 1939. Twelve Blenheims took off from Bircham Newton, six from 25 Squadron and six from 601 Squadron. All aircraft returned safely to Debden. Three He115s were destroyed and three more were damaged.

Hope was detached to ‘H’ Flight, Photographic Development Unit at Heston on 1st March 1940 for ten days flying instruction duties.




Above: with 601 Squadron

L to R; P/O J Jankiewicz, Hope, F/Lt. CJH Riddle, F/Lt. WP Clyde

As 'A' Flight Commander Hope led his flight to Merville on 16th May 1940. He crash-landed in Hurricane L2141 near Baupame the next day, shot down by return fire from Dorniers he was attacking.

On the 27th, flying from Tangmere again, Hope was leading 601 in Hurricane P2568 when he was attacked by Me110's and shot down some five miles out from the coast between Calais and Dunkirk.

He headed for land and flew as far east as possible, away from the advancing Germans. Hope crash-landed on a beach, set fire to his Hurricane and was then taken by a French farmer to Bergues, where there was a British Brigade HQ. He was taken by lorry to the Dunkirk docks, spent a night on the dunes and went aboard the destroyer HMS Wakeful the next day. After landing at Dover, Hope phoned 601 and a Magister picked him up at Hawkinge, still carrying his parachute.

On 11th August 1940 he claimed two probable Ju87's, on the 13th two probable Me110's, damaged another, shared a probable Ju88 and damaged another, on the 15th shared a Ju88 and damaged another and on the 16th destroyed a Me110, got a probable Ju87 and damaged another.

He was promoted to Acting Squadron Leader on 19th August and took command of the squadron. Awarded the DFC (gazetted 1st October 1940), Hope was posted away to RAF Middle Wallop on 24th December 1940. He moved to RAF Catterick on 8th January 1941.

In August 1943 Hope took command of 57 OTU Eshott as a Wing Commander. In February 1944 he was appointed Station Commander at RAF Exeter, as a Group Captain.

In May 1945 he was commanding RAF Peterhead as a Group Captain. He was released later in the year and also in that year was made OBE.

He joined Airwork Ltd., its chairman Loel Guiness being a colleague from the prewar 601 Squadron, as manager of Air Operations UK. Initially he ran charters from Blackbushe in Hampshire, later initiating services to East Africa. By 1956 he was Managing Director.

He was Chief Executive of Napier Aero Engines from 1962 to 1968 before joining English Electric and was the GEC Group Treasurer from 1974 to 1977. His last post before retirement was Chairman of the Air Transport Users Committee.

Hope was a member of the Royal Company of Archers and auditor of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association.

He died on 27th July 1987 in Cirencester, Gloucestershire.

Hope's portrait was made by Cuthbert Orde in November 1940 (below).


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