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The Airmen's Stories - W/Cdr. A B Woodhall

 

Alfred Basil Woodhall was born in South Africa on 9th January 1897. In August 1914 he was a Lance Corporal in the Witwatersrand Rifles but was appointed to a commission in the Royal Marines on 8th January 1916.


Woodhall went on temporary attachment to the RAF on 12th January 1925 for service with the FAA.


He was posted to No. 1 FTS Netheravon. On completing his flying course Woodhall went to RAF Gosport on 10th August. He joined 461 (Fleet Torpedo) Flight there on 21st January 1926.

 

 

He went to 460 (Fleet Torpedo) Flight on the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle, based at Malta, on 27th August 1927. He moved to 464 (Fleet Torpedo) Flight on HMS Courageous on 17th June 1928.


Woodhall relinquished his commission in the Royal Marines and was granted a permanent commission in the RAF on 1st August 1930 as a Flight Lieutenant.


He joined 111 Squadron at Hornchurch on 1st September 1930. He moved to 54 Squadron, also at Hornchurch, on 19th February 1931.


Woodhall held a series of appointments in the 1930s and at the outbreak of war he had a staff job at the Air Ministry.


He went to HQ 20 Group on 28th December 1939 and was posted to RAF Duxford on 12th March 1940 as Controlller, with the rank of Wing Commander.


He is known to have led 310 (Czech) Squadron on at least three operational sorties in September 1940, one on the 23rd, when he took twelve Hurricanes of 310 to patrol base. They were later vectored to patrol the Thames Estuary. No enemy aircraft were sighted but Woodhall thus qualified for the Battle of Britain Clasp.


Woodhall assumed command of RAF Tangmere on 24th April 1941. He later went to Malta, as Senior Controller, and on return to the UK he commanded RAF Hawarden.


He retired from the RAF on 14th July 1945 as a Wing Commander, retaining the rank of Group Captain.

He was made an OBE (gazetted 17th March 1941), received two Mentions in Despatches (gazetted 1st January 1943 and 16th June 1945) and was made an Officer of the Legion of Merit (US) (gazetted 6th May 1947).


Woodhall died in Dunedin, New Zealand on 11th June 1968.

 

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