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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. H G Webster

 

Herbert Garth Webster joined the RAF about April 1935 as an Aircrafthand.

In seeking his date of birth it was found that on 2nd September 1926 a boy of 10 with this name boarded the SS Borda at the Port of London, unaccompanied on a voyage to Adelaide, Australia. His home address was given as Shepherds Bush, London W12.

 

 

In 1939 he applied for pilot training, was accepted and sent for training to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on 27th May 1940. After converting to Hurricanes he joined 73 Squadron in France on 7th June. The squadron was withdrawn to Church Fenton on the 18th.

Webster was shot down in combat with Me110s over Sheppey on 11th September 1940 and baled out, unhurt. His Hurricane, P2796, crashed at Coldblow Lane, Detling.

On the 15th he damaged a Me109.

 

 

 

On 10th November the squadron embarked on HMS Furious for West Africa and flew off to Takoradi on the 29th. The pilots then flew their Hurricanes in stages to Heliopolis via Lagos, Accra, Kano, Maidugari, Khartoum, Wadi Haifa and Abu Sueir.

During December the pilots were attached to 274 Squadron in the Western Desert. The squadron began to operate on its own account in early January 1941.

On the 5th Webster destroyed a CR42 and damaged another.

On 10th April Webster's aircraft was damaged by flak and he made a crash-landing at El Gubbi.

On the 14th April a formation of 66 Axis aircraft, including eight G.50s, attacked British forces stationed in the vicinity of Tobruk. The RAF defenders of 73 Squadron were outnumbered in this engagement, resulting in the Hurricanes, which were only marginally faster than the G.50, having to ignore the Axis fighters and concentrate their efforts upon attacking incoming bombers, which posed the greatest threat.

The G.50s were from the 351st Squadron of the 20th Group.

Flying G.50s, Ten. C Cugnasca and Mar. A Marinelli attacked Webster's Hurricane while he was shooting at a Stuka dive bomber, resulting in Webster being shot down and killed over Tobruk. A Canadian pilot, F/O JD Smith, also a Battle veteran, saw the engagement and subsequently shot down and killed both Cugnasca and Marinelli as well as damaging another G.50 before being shot down himself by the G.50's squadron commander.

The circumstances of the above engagement courtesy of Gian Piero Milanetti. 

Webster was a Flight Sergeant at the time of his death. He is buried in Tobruk War Cemetery, Libya.

His widowed mother, on the day of her remarriage, received a letter from Webster saying that he was well and the telegram announcing his death.

 

 

 

 

Above cemetery images courtesy of The War Graves Photographic Project
www.twgpp.org

 

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