The Airmen's Stories - P/O R Kidson
Rudal Kidson was born in Wellington, New Zealand on 7th May 1914. In 1931 he was a sapper in the 2nd Battalion, New Zealand Engineers, a territorial unit. He spent three years sheep-farming in the Marlborough district.
In 1937 Kidson joined the Auckland Aero Club and obtained his 'A' Licence in February 1938. He sailed to the UK at his own expense and applied for a short service commission. He was provisionally accepted and began his elementary flying training at No.1 E&RFTS, Hatfield on 29th August 1938.
Kidson was posted to 3 FTS, Shellingford on 12th November and with his training completed he went to 3 Air Observers School, Aldergrove on 10th June 1939 as a staff pilot. On 4th October he joined 141 Squadron, then reforming at Turnhouse. In April 1940 the squadron began to be equipped with Defiants and became operational on 3rd June. With no operational experience, it flew south to West Malling on 12th July.
Shortly after 09.00 hrs on the 19th twelve Defiants moved to the forward airfield at Hawkinge. At 12.23.hrs they were ordered off to carry out an offensive patrol twenty miles south of Folkestone. Three were left behind
with engine trouble.
During the patrol the nine Defiants were surprised by Me109's of III/JG51 and in less than a minute four were shot down, three in flames. One of them was Kidson's, L7015. He and his gunner, Sgt. FPJ Atkins, were never seen again.
Their names appear on the reredos in St George's Chapel of Remembrance at Biggin Hill. Kidson is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 9.
(Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner)