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The Airmen's Stories - P/O D Stein


David Stein was born on 23rd December 1914 in Lassodie, Dunfermline and joined the RAFVR about August 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot. Called up on 1st September 1939, he completed his training at 12 EFTS and 5 FTS, was commissioned and joined 263 Squadron at Grangemouth on 1st August 1940.

He was on a routine training flight on the 24th when his aircraft caught fire. He baled out over Grangemouth Docks and was arrested on landing but later released. His Hurricane, L1803, crashed and burned out.



On 5th September Stein arrived at 6 OTU Sutton Bridge, on attachment from 263 for further training. He returned to the squadron on the 13th.



Above: P/O DM Vine*, Sgt. GS Milligan*, Stein,  P/O RF Ferdinand of 263 Squadron


* did not serve in the Battle of Britain


Stein was still serving with 263 when it re-equipped with the troublesome Westland Whirlwind. The following extracts from the 263 ORB feature Stein's service:

12th August 1941: P/O D Stein engaged a Junkers 88 forty miles South West of the Scillies and was credited with a “probable”; this claim was later stepped up into the “destroyed” category. This was the first Whirlwind engagement with the enemy and the first Whirlwind victory of the war. For 263 Squadron it was the first victory since the close of the Norway campaign.



10th September 1941: A Mandolin Operation (opportunist raids later renamed Rhubarbs) was undertaken by P/Os Stein and Mason with the Gestapo Headquarters at Quineville as target. Unable to locate their target they attacked a machine and Bofors gun position. Unhappily P/O Mason was killed in action, his machine diving straight into the ground. Then P/O Stein circled and in four separate attacks silenced the posts.


29th October 1941: Operation 33 took place against Morlaix aerodrome. F/Sgt. Brackley damaged one JU88 on the ground. Sgt. King came in to attack so low that his port wing collant tank was damaged by a high white mast. He recrossed the Channel on one engine and made base. On the 30th the same target was covered by Rhubarb 35. Heavy flak was met with over Morlaix aerodrome and F/O Stein's plane (P7015) was hit in the starboard engine, which was set on fire. He was last seen climbing as though to bale out. This is the last information we have of P/O Stein but it is hoped that he is a prisoner-of-war.


Stein's body was never found and the CWGC records him as being killed on 30th October (April 2019 -see below).

He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 30.




Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner .


April 2019

Stein's Whirlwind had come down in a beetroot field, his badly burned body was recovered by the Germans and buried as an unknown airman in nearby Ploujean cemetery.

Postwar he was reburied in Brest (Kerfautras) cemetery, still unknown.

In 2018 local enthusiasts were able to recover debris from P7015 and establish that it was Stein's aircraft.

On 19th September 2018 a named headstone was dedicated in the prescence of family members.



Above images copyright Stein/Taylor family.


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