The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. H A Aitken
Henry Aloysius Aitken joined the RAFVR in June 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot.
Called up on 1st September 1939, he completed his training and joined 54 Squadron at Catterick from 7 OTU Hawarden on 6th October 1940 and served with it into 1941.
Aitken joined 213 Squadron in the Western Desert in May 1942. Commissioned on 20th July, he damaged Me109s on 3rd and 15th July.
On 3rd November 1942 Aitken was attacking a German lorry when it exploded and threw his aircraft out of control. Hit by ground fire, his engine faltered and he prepared to make a forced-landing. He switched off his engine but restarted it when continuing ground fire showed that he was still over enemy territory.
Aitken turned towards the nearby sea, his engine cut out and he made a successful crash-landing on a beach. He then laid low until it was dark, before making his way eastwards.
After some hours he saw figures against the skyline. He waited until dawn and was very relieved when he found them to be Australians.
He was commissioned in July 1942 but his subsequent service is currently undocumented until 1946 when he was released from the RAF as a Flight Lieutenant.
He died in 1993.