The Airmen's Stories - P/O P H Humphreys
Peter Harry Humphreys was born in Lymington, Hampshire on 1st May 1920 and attended Peter Symonds School, Winchester. He joined the RAFVR about June 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot. Called up on 1st September, he completed his training, was commissioned and after converting to Spitfires joined 152 Squadron at Warmwell on 29th September 1940.
Humphreys was posted to 92 Squadron at Biggin Hill in the Spring of 1941. On 3rd November he flew to the Middle East in a Sunderland to join 112 Squadron at Sidi Heneish as a Flight Commander. On 24th April 1942 Humphreys was
posted to the Fighter School at El Ballah as an instructor. He returned to operations in early 1943 when he rejoined 92 Squadron at Castel Benito, as a Flight Commander.
Humphreys destroyed a Me109 on 7th March. He took command of the squadron on 6th May, led it to Malta in June and then on to Sicily and Italy. He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 1st October 1943) being then credited with two enemy aircraft destroyed with the squadron.
Posted away in November 1943, Humphreys was given command of 111 Squadron at Lago, Italy in April 1944. He returned to the UK in November 1944. He was Station Commander at RAF Castle Bromwich in 1946 and afterwards served on the staff of HQ 12 Group, Nottingham.
On 11th November 1947 Humphreys went as a passenger in one of six Lancasters of 115 Squadron taking part in a fighter affiliation exercise, his role was to observe mock attacks.
A Hornet, PX284 of 19 Squadron, making an attack on the rear Lancaster, misjudged the breakaway and struck Humphreys' aircraft, which was flying second to last on the starboard side. Part of the Hornet's port wing broke off and it fell away out of control, crashing at Stanford, Norfolk.
The Lancaster, TW647, went into a shallow dive, which steadily increased. The nose broke off behind the pilot's seat, throwing him clear and he opened his parachute. Humphreys and six other men aboard were killed, as was the Hornet pilot:
F/Lt. HO Scatchard
F/O WH Gillespie
P/O DMcC Steedman
Nav. DAL Edwards
Gnr. J Moore
Gnr. GA Allan
Sig. ACR Emery
Humphreys was 27. He was cremated at Boumemouth Crematorium.