The Airmen's Stories - P/O H L Whitbread
Herbert Laurance Whitbread was born in Ludlow on 21st August 1914 and educated at the Grammar School there. He joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his initial training on 6th March 1939.
He went to 14 FTS Kinloss for No. 1 Course, which ran from 13th May to 6th November 1939.
With his training completed, he joined 236 Squadron at Stradishall on 8th November. He moved to 222 Squadron at Duxford on 25th November 1939.
Whitbread destroyed a Me109 and damaged another on 31st August, he probably destroyed a Do17 on 7th September and he destroyed a Me109 on the 9th.
He was shot down and killed in a surprise attack by Me109s on 20th September. The Spitfire, N3203, slid across the road into a small pond by Pond Cottage, Hermitage Farm, Highham, Rochester. Eye witnesses said he had unstrapped and was partly out of the aircraft to bale out when he was struck down his left side by bullets. The aircraft slid to a halt throwing him out but he was already dead.
Whitbread was 26.
He is buried in Ludlow New Cemetery, Shropshire. A road in Ludlow is named after him and his family arranges for the illumination each year of St Laurence's Church in the town to mark the anniversary of his death.
Above image courtesy of Julian Tansell