The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. R E Plant
Ronald Eric Plant of Stoke, Coventry, was born Ronald Davies on 25th February 1919 but was brought up by his aunt and her husband (Florence and Albert Plant) and took their name. He was educated at King Henry VIII Grammar School in Coventry.
Plant made his first flight in a Tiger Moth on 5th March 1939. He joined the RAFVR on 28th April as an Airman u/t Pilot, he described his profession as 'Gents Outfitter'. He did his elementary flying at 9 E&RFTS Ansty.
Above images courtesy of David Ross via Bill Simpson.
Called up on 1st September 1939, he went to ITW Bexhill on 30th October and on 10th December he moved to 8 FTS Montrose.
With the course completed on 15th May 1940, Plant joined 72 Squadron at Acklington. Although he had had some flying experience in Spitfires at Acklington he went to 7 OTU Hawarden on 1st July for a Spitfire conversion course. He rejoined 72 Squadron on 15th July.
Plant moved to 611 Squadron at Digby on 10th October and before the Battle of Britain ended on the 31st he had flown six operational sorties.
He joined 603 Squadron at Hornchurch on 5th November. On his second sortie with 603, on 21st November 1940, Plant collided with a He111 which he was attacking over Faversham.
The enemy aicraft crashed and the crew of four were killed. Plant's Spitfire, P7387, crashed and burned out at Buckland Farm, Widdenham.
His body was recovered from the wreckage and taken back under escort to Coventry. His destruction of the He111 was 603's 100th victory.
Plant was 21. He is buried in St. Michaels churchyard, Stoke, Coventry.