The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. R C J Staples
Robert Charles John Staples was born on 13th March 1914 and attended Weymouth Technical High School. He joined the RAF in January 1930 as an Aircraft Apprentice and passed out in December 1932 as a Fitter, Aero Engines. He later applied for pilot training and was selected.
He began his elementary flying course at 6 E&RFTS Sywell on 17th October 1936, moved on to 6 FTS Netheravon on 6th February 1937 and, with his training completed, he joined 72 Squadron at Church Fenton on 4th September 1937.
Staples was still with the squadron in early July 1940. On 6th August he crashed on landing from a routine patrol, writing off Spitfire L1078, cause unknown.
Staples was involved in a mid-air collision with P/O N Sutton on 5th October in Spitfire X4544. He managed to return to base but Sutton, in Spitfire K9989, was killed.
On 26th March 1941 Staples was posted to 58 OTU Grangemouth as an instructor. He was with 65 Squadron at Westhampnett briefly in November 1941 but was then sent to 2 CFS Dalcross on 23rd November for an instructors course.
Staples was commissioned in January 1942 and posted to 2 FTS Brize Norton on the 21st. He moved to 3(P) AFU Long Newton on 29th July. From 10th May 1943 he was with 1539 BAT Flight at South Cerney, and later Bibury.
On 19th June 1944 Staples went to 1533 BAT Flight at Church Lawford and stayed there until October. He transferred to the Administrative and Special Duties Branch and became involved with mechanical transport.
Staples was posted to Singapore in late 1945 and remained in the Far East until returning to the UK to retire from the RAF on 26th March 1948 as a Flight Lieutenant.
He died in 1986.