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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. E W Seabourne

 

Eric Wiliam Seabourne was born on 26th August 1919 and joined 601 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force in June 1935 as an Aircrafthand/Air Gunner. In 1938 he applied to join the RAFVR for pilot training and was accepted in August as an Airman u/t Pilot.


In August 1938 he went to 15 E&RFTS Redhill, training on DH60s, Magisters, Harts and Audaxes. Seabourne had been awarded his flying badge at Redhill before being called to full-time service at the outbreak of war. He was posted to 9 FTS Hullavington in December 1939 to do the course all over again.

 

 


Seabourne was posted direct from 9 FTS to 151 Squadron at Martlesham Heath in May 1940. He had no experience in Hurricanes and did not fly with the squadron before being posted away to 238 Squadron at Tangmere in June.

Seabourne had three hours on Masters and then went solo on the Hurricane.

After seven hours he was declared operational, without even having fired the guns.


On 13th July Seabourne shared in destroying a Me110 and damaged two more in his first encounter with the Luftwaffe.

 

 

On 8th August he destroyed a Me109 and on the 13th two more. In this engagement Seabourne was shot down himself in Hurricane I P3764. His engine seized up after a cannon shell hit the radiator. He was then attacked by three Me109's and set on fire. He prepared to bale out but his hood jammed, then the aircraft turned on its back and Seabourne fell out, taking the hood with him. After a delayed drop of 16,000 feet he opened his parachute, blew up his Mae West and went into the sea about seven miles south of the Isle of Wight.

He was picked up by a destroyer, HMS Bulldog, and taken to the Royal Naval Hospital at Haslar. After a week, Seabourne was moved to Park Prewitt Hospital at Basingstoke, where he remained for seven months undergoing plastic surgery by Harold Gillies.


In May 1941 Seabourne was posted to 2 Delivery Flight at Colerne. He was commissioned in August and in October joined 276 (ASR) Squadron as a Flight Commander.

He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 23rd June 1942).

 

 

In December 1942 Seabourne was given command of 275 (ASR) Squadron at RAF Valley and led it until February 1945, when it was disbanded. From then to June 1945 he was at HQ 10 Group as Ops 1.


Seabourne stayed in the RAF postwar and retired on 2nd December 1960 as a Squadron Leader.

He died on 21st March 2005.

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