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The Airmen's Stories - F/O D K A Wordsworth

 

Douglas Kenneth Alfred Wordsworth was born in West Ham on 29th July 1918 but later moved with his family to Barcombe Mills in Sussex.

He is believed to have studied Engineering at the Hammersmith School of Building.

He joined the RAF on a short service commission in October 1938 and was posted to 235 Squadron on 1st August 1940. He served with them on Blenheims for the remainder of the Battle.

 

Above image and additional research courtesy of Susan Dorey (daughter) via John Larder.

 

By mid-1941 he was serving with 272 Squadron, operating Beaufighters from Idku near Alexandria in Egypt. On 30th October 1941 Beaufighters of 272 were detailed to make mock attacks on the destroyer HMS Kingston 30 miles west of Alexandria at 15:40 hrs. Wordsworth's aircraft T4722 carried a passenger 'along for the ride' (F/O AF Baldwyn, the squadron Medical officer) as well as his crewman Sgt. WA Broadbear.

The ship was not advised of this exercise and mis-identified the aircraft as Ju88's, its AA guns opened fire. No aircraft were hit but it is thought that Wordsworth was disorientated by this unexpected fire as his Beaufighter collided with the ship's mast and crashed into the sea.

All three men were killed, no bodies being recovered.

Wordworth is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial. He was posthumously awarded the DFC (gazetted 28th July 1942), the citation stating:

'This officer carried out many operational missions involving sorties over Norway, France, and in the Mediterranean zone. Throughout, he showed continuous devotion to duty and courage. He destroyed one enemy aircraft, while he probably destroyed others during low level attacks on enemy bases.'

 

 

 

 

 

Alamein photographs courtesy of Colonel C R Romberg RA, British Embassy Cairo

 

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He is also commemorated on the war memorial at St. Marys, Barcombe.

 

 

 

 

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