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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. J E Sayers


James Edward Sayers was born on 10th April 1910 and educated at Woolwich Polytechnic. He joined the RAF straight from school in January 1926 as an Aircraft Apprentice. He passed out in January 1929 as a Fitter, Airframe/Engines and was posted to 2 (Army Co-operation) Squadron at Manston.

Sayers did an air gunnery course in April 1930 and after serving in this role volunteered for pilot training. He was selected and on 4th April 1934 was posted to 3 FTS Grantham.


Above image courtesy of and © Madeleine Cochrane (nee Sayers).


On passing out as a Sergeant-Pilot on 27th February 1935 he joined 65 Squadron at Hornchurch but moved to 41 Squadron at Northolt in September. The squadron was posted to Aden in October 1935 and returned to Catterick in August 1936.

Sayers record shows that he was admitted to Catterick hospital in October 1938 and remained medically unfit to fly until March 1940. He flew with 41 Squadron in the early part of the Battle until he was readmitted to Catterick Hospital on 21st August 1940, later being moved to Halton Hospital. On being discharged on 23rd October 1940 his medical condition (stomach ulcers) must have precluded him from further flying as he returned to his previous trade as Fitter, Airframe/Engines.

He served in this role, his service being interspersed with bouts of hospitalisation, until he was discharged from the RAF on 5th January 1953 as a Warrant Officer.

He worked subsequently at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich and the MoD Depot at Didcot before retiring in 1975.

He settled in Bexhill before moving in 1997 to Huntingdon, where he died on 13th March 1998.


Additional research courtesy of 'Blood, Sweat and Courage; 41 Squadron RAF 1939-42'

(Steve Brew 2001, Fonthill Media).


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