The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. F J Twitchett
Francis John Twitchett was born in Woolwich, London on 14th December 1920 and joined the RAFVR in London in July 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot. He was due to start his first 14-day camp on 2nd September but all RAFVR members were called up on the 1st, so Twitchett had not carried out any part-time flying training.
In September he went to No. 1 ITW Cambridge, moved on to 10 FTS Yatesbury in December and on to 3 FTS South Cerney on 26th May 1940.
Twitchett arrived at 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on 31st August. He crashed in a field on the north boundary of the aerodrome on 3rd September after the engine of Master N7805 failed on take-off, he was unhurt.
After converting to Hurricanes Twitchett was posted to 43 Squadron at Usworth on 21st September. He moved to 229 Squadron at Northolt in October. Twitchett went with the squadron to the Middle East in February 1941. He claimed a Me109 destroyed in the Western Desert in June.
At the end of his operational tour in September 1942 Twitchett was posted to 103 MU Aboukir on test and ferry duties. He joined 74 Squadron at Teheran on 24th December 1942 but it did not become operational until August 1943, flying from Edku on defence duties.
In September Twitchett was posted to 134 Squadron at Bersis. It moved to India in November and was operational by 5th December. Twitchett completed his second tour in September 1944 and returned to the UK.
He joined 287 Squadron at Gatwick on anti-aircraft co-operation duties. He stayed in the RAF postwar, going in mid-1946 as an instructor to 7 FTS Kirton-in-Lindsey. Twitchett instructed at 226 OCU Bentwaters from May 1948 and then to 203 AFT Driffield from August 1949 until August 1950, when he was transferred to the RAFRO.
Twitchett became a civilian instructor at 19 RFS, eventually becoming CFI. In 1954 all Government contracts were cancelled and he went on to other work.
In 1966 Twitchett's son went with the ATC to RAF Church Fenton for Air Experience flying. He mentioned that his father was a qualified instructor on Chipmunks. The upshot was that Twitchett was commissioned in the RAFVR to fly with the Air Experience Flight, which he did until 1972.
He died in November 1998.