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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. E Walsh

 


Edmund Walsh was born in Manchester on 22nd August 1918 and joined the RAF on 22nd September 1939 as an Airman u/t Air Gunner.

In early 1940 Walsh was posted to 4 ITW Bexhill, moved on to CGS Warmwell for a gunnery course and then converted to Defiants at 5 OTU Aston Down.

 

 


Walsh joined 141 Squadron at Turnhouse in early September 1940. In August 1941 the squadron began to convert to Beaufighters and Walsh was sent to the Airborne Radar School at Newton-on-Ayr. After qualifying as a Radio Observer he returned to 141 and resumed operational flying with WO RC Hamer.

Walsh was commissioned from Warrant Officer in August 1942.


In the early hours of 9th September 1942, in Beaufighter V8265, they were directed to a He111 fifteen miles south-east of St. Albans Head. The enemy aircraft was destroyed but Hamer was wounded by return fire and the Beaufighter's starboard engine set alight. He flew the aircraft back over the Isle of Wight and kept it under control while ordering Walsh, who was reluctant to leave his friend, to bale out.

Walsh exited and came down at the water's edge at Newtown on the Isle. Hamer was unable to leave before the remaining engine cut out and the aircraft crashed at Boldre, north of Lymington on the mainland. They had flown 219 times together.


There was a strong case for a high-level award for Hamer but none materialised.


After Hamer's death, Walsh flew with the CO, S/Ldr. JAH Cooper, until he left 141 in early 1943 by which time he had flown 131 hours on Defiants and 514 on Beaufighters.


Walsh transferred to the Administrative Branch on Special Duties. He was posted to 225 Group in India and appointed OC 853 AMES. When the unit was disbanded in Burma, Walsh continued as OC No.2 Opening Party in the Central Provinces in India.


He was released from the RAF on 23rd February 1946 as a Flight Lieutenant.


He died in October 1989.



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