The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. R P R Powell
Robin Peter Reginald Powell was born on 30th September 1916 and educated at Charterhouse School. He entered the RAF College Cranwell in 1st September 1934 as a Flight Cadet.
He graduated on 31st July 1936 with a permanent commission. Powell joined 111 Squadron at Northolt on 1st August 1936. He went to 213 Squadron at its formation at Northolt on 8th March 1937.
Powell later rejoined 111 and was 'A' Flight Commander at the outbreak of war. On 13th January 1940 he shared in destroying a He111 near Farne Island and on 10th April he shared another at Scapa Flow.
During the May blitzkrieg 111 Squadron flew patrols over France from Northolt, its pre-war station.
Powell destroyed an enemy aircraft on 10th May, two more on the 11th, probably destroyed a Me110 on the 18th and he shared a He111 and probably destroyed a Me109 on the 19th.
He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 31st May 1940).
Over Dunkirk on 31st May Powell's oxygen failed at 19,000 feet and he fell to 5,000 feet before regaining consciousness. On this day he probably destroyed a Me109. On 2nd June he destroyed a Me109 and two more on the 7th.
Powell damaged a Me109 on 25th July. He was posted away to 7 OTU Hawarden on 7th August 1940 as an instructor.
He formed and took command of 121 Squadron at Kirton-in-Lindsey on 14th May 1941, the second of three Eagle squadrons. He probably destroyed a Me109 on 18th August.
Promoted to Acting Wing Commander on 17th January 1942, Powell was appointed leader of the Hornchurch Wing. On 28th March he probably destroyed a Fw190, on 24th April damaged another, on 17th May destroyed a Fw190 and on 2nd June probably destroyed another.
On a sweep over the French coast in June he was wounded in the neck and head, fracturing the base of his skull. He did not return to the Wing and was awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 24th July 1942).
Powell later served in Tunisia.
Back in the UK, he claimed two V1 flying bombs destroyed on 5th July 1944. On 10th October Powell was injured in an accident, when his car collided with an Army lorry. His passenger was killed.
On recovery he commanded 121 Typhoon Wing from April to August 1945.
He stayed in the RAF postwar, retiring on 6th November 1963 as a Group Captain.
Powell died on 28th January 1970.