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The Airmen's Stories - F/O R Hope


Ralph Hope was born in Birmingham on 18th July 1913 and was related, on his mother's side, to Joseph, Austen and Neville Chamberlain. He was educated at Eton and New College, Oxford. He won his rowing blue in 1935 and rowed bow in the University Boat Race.



In 1936 Hope joined the family firm of metal window manufacturers. He went to the firm's subsidiary in Jamestown, New York in September 1937.



Hope was awarded Aero Certificate 16007 at Reading Aero Club on 26th June 1938 and soon after wards joined 605 Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force at Castle Bromwich.

He was called to full-time service on 24th August 1939. On 9th May 1940 Hope shared in destroying a Do17 off Dunnet Head. He was shot down on 28th September by Me109's over Ticehurst and baled out, unhurt. His Hurricane, P3828, crashed at Bewl Bridge, Lamberhurst.

On 14th October Hope flew into the Inner Artillery Zone during a patrol. He crashed and was killed, either by striking a balloon cable or shot down by anti-aircraft fire. His Hurricane, P3107, crashed in Tennison Road, South Norwood.

Hope was cremated at St John's Crematorium, Woking.







Hope's sister, Bertha Margaret (born in 1902 and known as Margaret) married in 1921 John Henry Godfrey, who was a Royal Navy officer who had served in the Gallipoli campaign. He commanded the battle cruiser HMS Repulse in the Mediterranean (1936-1938), including protection of international shipping from aggressive actions by both sides in the Spanish Civil War. At the end of this appointment he was made CB earlier than was considered usual.

From 1939 to 1942 he was Director Naval Intelligence. From 1943 to 1946 he was Flag Officer Commanding Royal Indian Navy and retired from the Royal Navy with the rank of Admiral.

His wife headed the Indian Women's Voluntary Service.

While he was at Naval Intelligence one of Godfrey's subordinates was Commander Ian Fleming. It is sometimes claimed that Godfrey was a model for the spy chief 'M' in the 'James Bond' novels subsequently written by Fleming.



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