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The Airmen's Stories - P/O A G Lewis

 

Albert Gerald Lewis was born in Kimberley, South Africa in 1918 and educated at the High School there. He joined the RAF on a short service commission in August 1938. After completing his training he was posted to Lee-on-Solent.


Lewis arrived at 12 Group Pool on 19th October 1939 for conversion to Spitfires. He joined 616 Squadron in late November 1939 and went to 504 Squadron at Debden in March 1940.

 


He joined 85 Squadron in France in early April. On 12th May he shot down a Me109 and a He111, and in two patrols on the 19th he destroyed five Me109's before he was himself shot down over Lille. He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 25th June 1940).


On 18th August 1940 Lewis probably destroyed a Me110 and on the 31st a Me109. On 14th September he was posted to 249 Squadron at North Weald. On the 15th Lewis destroyed a He111, on the 18th a Me109 and on the 27th three Me109's, two Me110's and a Ju88. He was shot down during a combat over Faversham on 28th September and baled out, badly burned.


Lewis was admitted to Faversham Hospital. His Hurricane, V6617, crashed at Blackett's Farm, Tonge.

He was awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 22nd October 1940).

In May 1941 Lewis was posted to 52 OTU Debden and became CO of 'C' Squadron there.

He took command of 261 Squadron at China Bay, Ceylon in March 1942. Lewis led the squadron against a Japanese carrier-based aircraft attack on Trincomalee on 9th April 1942. He was wounded and did not return to the squadron.


Lewis returned to the UK in June 1942 and was appointed CFI at Tealing in Scotland. He then went to 10 Group HQ at Box in Wiltshire in 1944-45.

He was released from the RAF in 1946 as a Squadron Leader.

Postwar he studied at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester. In 1947 he returned to South Africa and in 1951 joined the Tobacco Research Board in Southern Rhodesia. In 1953 he became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints (Mormons) and during 1953-55 he studied in the United States, but returned to farm in England in 1957.

Lewis died on 14th December 1982.

His portrait was made by Eric Kennington (below).

 

 


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