The Airmen's Stories - P/O V C Simmonds
Vernon Churchill Simmonds was born on 11th June 1919 and joined the RAF on a short service commission in June 1939. He did his elementary flying training at 12 E&RFTS Prestwick, before going to 9 FTS Hullavington and completing his course at 15 FTS Lossiemouth.
He was then posted to a Specialist Armament Officers Course at RAF Manby.
In early July 1940 Simmonds went to 7 OTU Hawarden and, after converting to Hurricanes, joined 238 Squadron at Middle Wallop on the 29th.
Simmonds claimed a Me110 destroyed on 13th August, He111’s on 15th and 25th September and another Me110 on the 26th. He landed at Andover on the 28th, out of fuel following a combat over the Isle of Wight, and crashed attempting to take off again.
On the 30th Simmonds baled out after colliding with P/O RA Kings. His Hurricane, N2474, crashed near Shaftesbury. In May 1941 Simmonds joined 118 Squadron at Ibsley as 'B' Flight Commander. He went to 10 BGS Warmwell in November for gunnery training and in December was appointed OC Gunnery Training Flight at 5 OTU Aston Down.
In 1942 Simmonds became CGI at the Fighter Gunnery Instructors Wing at CGS Sutton Bridge. He returned to operations in 1943, firstly with 118 Squadron at Coltishall and later with 333 Squadron at Ludham and Tangmere. In late 1944 Simmonds was at HQ Fighter Command as Armament Training Staff Officer. He commanded the Armament Wing at A&AEE Boscombe Down in 1945.
Simmonds was released from the RAF in early 1946, as a Squadron Leader.
He died on 23rd February 2005.