The Airmen's Stories - F/O R W Wallens
Ronald Walter Wallens was born on 1st February 1916 and educated at Worksop College. He joined the RAFO on 31st May 1937 and was granted a short service commission in Class 'A' of the RAFO in August 1937.
After his initial training at 11 E&RFTS Perth, Wallens was posted to 8 FTS Montrose on 21st August. The course completed, he joined 41 Squadron at Catterick on 26th March 1938.
He relinquished his RAFO commission when he was granted a short service one in the RAF in October 1938.
A photo taken on D-Day, 6th June 1944.
Still with 41 Squadron in August 1940, Wallens destroyed two Me109's and probably another on the 8th, destroyed a Ju88 on the 11th, destroyed a Me110 on the 15th and destroyed a Me109, probably another and damaged a Do17 on 5th September.
On this day his aircraft was severely damaged during an attack on a Do17. Wallens baled out, badly wounded in the leg by a cannon shell, and landed at Carpenters Arms, Rawreth, Essex. His Spitfire, X4021, is believed to have crashed south-east of Nevendon Hill.
Wallens rejoined 41 Squadron, then back at Catterick, in April 1941 but was rejected by the MO and sent to convalesce at Torquay. During his prolonged convalescence at the RAF Rehabilitation Unit, Torquay, Wallens was much assisted by Dan Maskell, later known for his tennis commentaries, who ran the gymnasium.
He was given a non-operational category. Later in 1941 Wallens was posted to No. 1 ADF at Hendon. He was given command of the unit, which later moved to Croydon. He held the command for two years.
With an upgraded category, which allowed him to be operational in the UK, Wallens was posted to command 277 (ASR) Squadron at Hawkinge in Autumn 1943 (below).
He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 15th August 1944) being then credited with at least four enemy aircraft destroyed and having been responsible for rescuing a number of men from the sea.
On 1st August 1945 Wallens was posted away for admin duties. He was released from the RAF in 1946 as a Squadron Leader.
After the war he worked in the motor trade and ran pubs and hotels. In 1988 he founded the Torbay Aircraft Museum.
He died on 13th December 1995.