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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. G W Swanwick


George William Swanwick was born on 10th November 1915 and attended Huntingdon School in Nottingham. On leaving he became a trainee solicitor and also joined 504 (Special Reserve) Squadron at Hucknall as a Corporal Air Gunner on Wallaces and Hinds in March 1934.

On 18th May 1936 504 was absorbed into the Auxiliary Air Force. Gunners would have to be redeployed when the squadron was re-equipped in October 1938 with the Hurricane and Swanwick applied for pilot training . He gained his wings in August 1939 and was called to full-time service the following month, going to 12 Group Pool Aston Down to complete his training.


Above image courtesy of and © Swanwick family.


He had postings as a staff pilot before arriving at 7 OTU Hawarden on 2nd September 1940 to convert to Spitfires, after which he joined 54 Squadron at Catterick on 16th September, making his first flight on the 19th.

On 27th October Swanwick shared in damaging a Ju88 near Whitby. He was posted away from 54 on 21st December 1940 to join 41 Squadron at Hornchurch. On 10th April 1941 he and Sgt. AA Glen intercepted and damaged a He111 off Flamborough Head. Swanwick claimed a probable Me109 off Ostend on 18th September 1941.

Commissioned in October 1941, he claimed a Me109 damaged off Boulogne on the 13th. He was posted to 222 Squadron at North Weald in April 1942 as a Flight Commander.

In July 1942 Swanwick joined 603 Squadron in Malta, as 'A' Flight Commander. He went on to 71 OTU at Port Sudan on 6th September 1942, again as a Flight Commander.

In July 1943 he joined 81 Squadron in Malta as a supernumerary.

Swanwick was invalided out with TB to the RAF Hospital Halton in August and was not discharged from hospital until March 1944. He held various staff appointments until the end of the war.

Swanwick was granted a permanent commission in 1949 and transferred to the Secretarial Branch. He retired on 30th April 1970 as a Wing Commander and went on to appointments at the College of Air Training at Hamble and the RAF Staff College before retiring in 1980.

Swanwick died on 4th January 2011.

Additional research courtesy of 'Blood, Sweat and Courage; 41 Squadron RAF 1939-42'

(Steve Brew 2001, Fonthill Media).

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