The Airmen's Stories - F/O B E G White
Blair Eustace Galloway White of Exmouth, Devon was born in 1915, probably in India as his father was a Railway Superintendent in Bombay.
He studied at Selwyn College, Cambridge and joined the RAF on a short service commission in October 1938. With his training completed, he was posted to 73 Squadron at Digby on 24th August 1939.
He went on to 504 Squadron, also at Digby on 3rd September 1939. White was serving with the squadron in France in May 1940.
He fell sick in late October/early November and went from
sick quarters at Debden to Addenbrooks Hospital in Cambridge on 3rd
November 1939. Recovered,
White joined 74 Squadron at Hornchurch from No. 1 RAF
Depot Uxbridge on 5th January 1940. He rejoined 504
Squadron, then at Debden, on 25th January.
Around this time he married Teresa Ray Yeats in Saffron Walden.
The squadron moved to France on 12th May 1940.
On the 14th, operating from Lille-Marcq, White engaged Me109s between Mons and Ath. His Hurricane L1916 was damaged and he had to force-land, slightly wounded. On the 20th, by now operating from Norrent-Fontes, his Hurricane was hit by ground fire while attacking enemy columns between Cambrai and Arras. He force-landed, wounded, and was taken out of France in the last ship to leave Dieppe.
Above image courtesy of Giles White.
After recovering White rejoined 504 Squadron at Castletown on 9th August 1940. The squadron flew south to Hendon on 5th September. On the 7th White probably destroyed a Me109 and on the 14th he destroyed a Do215 and damaged a Me109. The squadron moved to Filton on 26th September and the next day White destroyed a Me110 during a German attack on the Bristol area. He damaged a He111 on the 30th.
On 16th October 1940 White and Sergeant RT Holmes took off from Filton on an
interception sortie and were later diverted to Cardiff because of fog. They had breakfast
there with Amy Johnson and returned to Filton later in the day.
White was wounded in the legs in a combat with a Me109 on 11th May 1941 and made a forced-landing near Wellington. He went later to 130 Squadron at Portreath as a Flight Commander.
In October 1942 White went to Malta where he joined 1435 Squadron at Luqa as a Flight Commander. He was given command of 185 Squadron at Hal Far on 3rd November 1942.
White became seriously ill with jaundice in January 1943 and gave up his command in February.
He took over 229 Squadron at Krendi, Malta in May 1943. The squadron was engaged in operations against Sicily, making offensive sweeps and bombing attacks. White was reported 'Missing' on 5th July 1943 after failing to return from one of these sorties. It is thought that his Spitfire Vc JG838 was shot down by FW190s (September 2020 - see below).
He was 28 years old and is commemorated on the Malta Memorial.
These cuttings date from 2013 but have just been recovered.