The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. E Stock
Eric Stock was born on 22nd December 1920 and joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve in March 1940 as an Aircrafthand.
He volunteered for aircrew duties and was sent on a radar operators course. He first posting was 604 Squadron, operating Blenheims from Gravesend, where he arrived on 10th July 1940.
Above: with family members before being awarded his flying badge
He was operational from August to November 1940 at Middle Wallop and Pembrey, towards the end of this period on the Beaufighters with which 604 squadron was re-equipped. His logbook shows shipping patrol and search & rescue sorties but also night patrols around Bristol trying to intercept German raiders. Stock was operating the new and not very reliable AI radar set. It could only be switched on when instructed to do by ground control once they had a suspicious plot in the vicinity.
The coded phrase ordering this was ‘flash the weapon’ and this appears in his logbook (below), which also records many missions being aborted due to equipment failures. Stock flew with many pilots who went on to be high scorers such as Cunningham, Bayliss, Hunter, Budd, Selway and Speke. Landing at night was hazardous and the squadron had several accidents.
His service record from here on is incomplete but it seems he was posted away from 604 squadron in February 1941.
The record is picked up in May 1942 where he was part of RAF 181 Wing enroute to Ceylon via Durban and Bombay, arriving in July 1942. He stayed in Ceylon (stationed at Galle and Columbo) until at least December 1942. This signals command was an air radar unit but there is little recorded detail due to secrecy.
The next firm posting is in January 1944 where Stock was billeted on a boat/barge (below) in Barasal, Burma (now part of modern day Bangladesh) and he remained there with the same unit until the end of the war in 1945. He was still overseas in Mandalay and then Calcutta in October 1945.
Post-war Stock was an active member of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association and attended many gatherings at Alconbury, Mildenhall and Lakenheath. In retirement he played golf and played the saxophone and ukelele in a small dance band.
He died suddenly in March 1995 in Carlisle.
Additional research and all images courtesy of Steven Hall.