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The Airmen's Stories - P/O W B Pattullo

 

William Blair Pattullo was born in the province of Antofagasta in Chile on 7th March 1919. His Scottish father, a mechanical engineer, was working for a nitrate mining company there. William did not arrive in the UK till he was eight, he was enrolled at a boarding school in Dundee and went on to Dundee High School, staying there till he was sixteen.

His further education was curtailed by a financial crisis in Chile which prevented his father transferring funds out of the country and Pattullo had to return there. He was then eligible for national service and chose to serve his time in the fire brigade. He was then employed by the British American Tobacco Company but on recognising the growing threat from Nazi Germany he travelled to the UK and volunteered for the RAF, he was granted a short service commission in April 1940.

 

 

 

After training at 2 FTS from 28th April until 23rd July and then converting to Hurricanes at an OTU, he was posted to 46 Squadron at Digby in late July 1940. 46 had lost nearly all its pilots when HMS Glorious was sunk on 8th June 1940.

46 was due to relieve 151 Squadron at Stapleford Tawney at the end of August but 151 were so short of pilots that Pattullo and others were sent ahead on 26th August.

On the 30th he claimed a Do17 probably destroyed and destroyed another, this time confirmed, on the 31st.

On 10th September Pattullo was posted to 249 Squadron at North Weald on a five-day loan and on the 11th he shared in destroying a He111. He moved back to 46 Squadron, then at Stapleford Tawney, on 15th September and on that day claimed a Do17 destroyed.

On the 27th he claimed a Me110 destroyed, shared a Me109 and probably destroyed a Ju88. In the last action he was injured by return fire and rested till he recovered enough to rejoin 46 in early October.

 

 

(Above: photograph annotated by Pattullo's father with his dates of birth and death)

 

On 25th October 1940 46 and 249 Squadrons mounted a joint patrol north of Biggin Hill and Pattullo damaged a Me109.

A second patrol in the same area led to the three 'weavers' being bounced and Sgt. Bentley Beard, Adj. Bouquillard and Pattullo were all shot down, the first two baling out wounded. It is believed that Pattullo was attempting a forced landing at Maylands Golf Course near Romford but in the event his Hurricane V6804 crashed onto No. 1 Woodstock Avenue, Harold Park on the (A12) Colchester Road.

He was rescued from the wreckage and admitted to Oldchurch Hospital, where he died from his injuries the next day, aged 21.

He is buried in St Andrew's churchyard, North Weald Bassett, Essex.

 

 

 

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The crash site is marked by a plaque.

 

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Pattullo's service has been very well researched by Norman Jennings and Geoff Walton, who published their findings in 'The Search for One of the Few' (ISBN 0 9528725 1 X). Much of the above detail and all the photographs are courtesy of this publication.

 


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