The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. W H C Warner
William Henry Cromwell Warner was born on 21st October 1918 in New Brighton, Cheshire, the younger son of Sir Lionel Warner, head of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, who was made CBE and knighted in 1936. He was also an Honorary Colonel, Royal Artillery TA, 1940-1949.
WHC Warner was a pupil at Malvern College (his father had been at Marlborough) and became a prefect there.
He was commissioned in 610 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force in May 1937 and was called up on 24th August 1939.
Above: F/O SC Norris, S/Ldr. AL Franks, S/Ldr. AT Smith, F/O WHC Warner
He was still serving with 610 Squadron in early July 1940 and on the 10th he probably destroyed a Me109. On the 26th he was appointed ‘B’ Flight Commander, as an Acting Flight Lieutenant.
He probably destroyed another Me109 on 15th August over Maidstone. Warner failed to return from combat with Me109s off Dungeness on the 16th in Spitfire R6802. Sgt. SJ Arnfield of 610 reported going to the aid of an unidentified Spitfire spinning down, apparently out of control and being attacked by two Me109s.
Arnfield damaged one of them but was low on fuel and had to break off the engagement without determining the fate of the Spitfire. This was certainly Warner's machine. Some wreckage was recovered by rescue boats, but not his body. His death was assumed by the Air Ministry in a letter to his family on 25th March 1941.
When not on RAF service he had lived with his parents at Yew Tree, Poplar Road, Oxton, Birkenhead, Cheshire, where he had grown up.
Warner was 21 and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, panel 5.
Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner