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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. E G Snowden

 

Ernest George Snowden was born in Croydon on 15th March 1920 and joined the RAFVR in February 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot. Called up on 1st September 1939, he completed his training and arrived at 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on 18th May 1940 to convert to Hurricanes. He joined 213 Squadron at Exeter on 26th May.

 

Above: an uncaptioned Ministry of Information photo dated November 1939 showing Snowden and two colleagues with their bulldog mascot at a flying training school.

 

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On 11th August Snowden destroyed a Me110 over Portland. His engine was set alight by return fire and he made a forced-landing on Lulworth range in Hurricane P3585. He was unhurt.

On the 25th he claimed a Ju88 and a Me109 destroyed. In the early evening of this day Snowden made a forced-landing at Burton Bradstock after his Hurricane, N2646, was badly damaged in combat with a Me109.

 

 

On 12th September he damaged a Ju88, on the 15th destroyed a Me110, on the 26th got a probable Me109, on 9th October destroyed a Ju88 and on 6th November damaged a Me109.

In December 1940 he was posted to 17 CFS to train as an instructor. He then went to 4 EFTS, being commissioned in June 1941, followed by a posting in January 1942 to 34 EFTS Assiniboia in Saskatchewan, Canada as an instructor. He returned to the UK in March 1943, going to 58 OTU to convert to Spitfires following which he was posted to 234 Squadron, operating Spitfire Vb's.

In October 1943 he went to 501 Squadron on intruder operations till February 1944 when he was posted to Lagens in the Azores, operating Spitfires on anti-submarine patrols. His last posting before the war ended was to 287 Squadron on anti-aircraft co-operation duties.

 

Above: Snowden later in the war in front of a Hawker Tempest.

 

Released from the RAF in 1946 as a Flight Lieutenant he went into civil aviation, flying for the company British Air Transport. On 20th November 1947 he was flying Avro Anson G-AIWW (ex-RAF MG569) with radio operator RJ Corrie on a newspaper delivery flight from Croydon to Jersey.

Over the Isle of Wight in nil visibility at 700ft. they struck a pylon at the wartime radar station at St. Boniface Down, Ventnor. Both men were killed. The accident enquiry recorded the cause as navigation error.

His ashes were scattered at Croydon Airport, his home was nearby and he had flown from there.

 

Additional research and all photos courtesy of David Noakes, grandson.

 

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