The Airmen's Stories - P/O E B Mortimer-Rose
Edward Brian Mortimer-Rose was born at Littleport, Cambridgeshire in the last quarter of 1920 and educated at Haileybury.
He joined the RAF on a short service commission in February 1939 and, after completing his training, he was posted to 234 Squadron at Leconfield on 6th November 1939, soon after it reformed.
On 8th August 1940 Mortimer-Rose shared in the probable destruction of a Ju88, on the 15th he destroyed a Me110, on the 18th he destroyed a Me109 and probably another, on the 26th destroyed another Me109, on 9th October shared a probable Ju88, on the 26th probably destroyed a Ju88.
On 24th November he shared a Do17, on 20th December damaged a Do17 and on the 25th damaged a Ju88. On 11th February 1941 Mortimer-Rose damaged a Ju88, on 11th March shared a Me110, on the 23rd damaged a Ju88, on 2nd April got a probable Ju88, on 8th May he damaged a Do17 and on the 19th he destroyed two Me109’s.
He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 6th June 1941).
He shared a Me109 on 17th June 1941, destroyed a Me109 and damaged another on 14th July and damaged two Me109’s on 15th October.
Mortimer-Rose went to HQ Middle East at the end of November 1941 and on 6th December he arrived in Malta to take command of 249 Squadron.
He was awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 12th December 1941).
On 19th December he destroyed a Ju88 and on the 24th he shared in destroying a Ju88. Two days later he crash-landed at Luqa, with a bullet wound in his heel.
On 23rd February 1942 Mortimer-Rose was given command of 185 Squadron. Fit again, he resumed operational flying on 21st March. On this day he destroyed two Me110’s and on the 23rd he damaged three Ju88’s. On the 24th he manned ground-defence machine guns during an attack on Hal Far. Bombs fell close by and Mortimer-Rose was buried in debris up to his waist and his eardrums were pierced. He was taken to hospital.
After a rest from operations, he was posted to 111 Squadron at Souk-el-Khemis in December 1942.
He was killed on 28th January 1943 when his Spitfire Vb ER591 collided with W/Cdr.G K Gilroy in ER144 over Khemis. Gilroy was unhurt.
Mortimer-Rose was 22. He is buried in Medjez-el-Bab War Cemetery, Tunisia.
Note: He is commemorated on the London Monument as E B M Rose as he appeared as such in squadron records and also on Littleport War Memorial. But his headstone bears the name Mortimer-Rose and it would seem that this must be recognised as correct.
Photographs courtesy of Charles W Heusser