The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. A H Piper
Arthur Howard Piper was born on 4th April 1916 and joined the RAFVR as an Airman u/t Pilot but was invalided out in 1938 with high blood pressure.
Piper rejoined the RAFVR about March 1939 as an Airman u/t WOp/AG. Called up on 1st September 1939, he completed his training and joined 236 Squadron at Martlesham Heath in January 1940.
On 8th August 1940 Piper was the gunner in Blenheim N3603 which returned to Thorney Island with severe damage to its tail, caused by flak during a ground attack on Querqueville aerodrome. Piper and his pilot, Sgt. RC Smith, were unhurt.
In October 1940 Piper was posted to 7 Squadron, operating in Stirlings from Oakington. He left the squadron in March 1941 and was commissioned in June.
Piper joined 218 Squadron in August 1943, again with Stirlings and operating from Downham Market.
On one occasion he was rear gunner of an aircraft detailed for a mine-laying operation. Near the target the aircraft was attacked by a fighter. At the outset Piper's turret was hit and his guns put out of action. He directed his captain's manoeuvres so that eight attacks were frustrated and the enemy aircraft driven off.
Piper was awarded the DFC (gazetted 10th March 1944). He stayed in the RAF postwar.
He took a pilot's course in 1948 and qualified as an A2 Instructor at CFS. Piper retired from the RAF on 24th January 1958 as a Squadron Leader.
He died on 9th December 2005 aged 89. He was cremated at Guildford Crematorium.