The Airmen's Stories - P/O F J Aldridge
Frederick Joseph Aldridge was born in Dublin, Ireland and joined the RAF in June 1939. He began training at 22 E&RFTS Cambridge on 12th June 1939. After this he was posted to No. 1 RAF Depot Uxbridge on 5th August for a short induction course.
He was posted to 2 FTS Brize Norton on the 21st for advanced training which he completed on 17th February 1940. It is almost certain that he did an Army Co-Op course before joining 4 (AC) Squadron in France on 12th May 1940.
He volunteered to serve in Fighter Command and went to 7 OTU Hawarden from 22nd August to 2nd September 1940 to convert to Spitfires.
He was then posted to 610 Squadron at Acklington on 3rd September before going to 41 Squadron on 2nd October. He claimed a probable Me109 destroyed on 17th October south of Chatham, a Me109 damaged near Maidstone on 25th October and a Me109 destroyed west of Ashford on 30th October.
In combat off Felixstowe on 17th November 1940 he claimed a Me109 destroyed but his Spitfire IIa P7283 was damaged and he crash-landed, unhurt, at Matlaske in Norfolk.
His assignment to 41 Squadron ended on 8th December 1940 and he joined 308 (Polish) Squadron at Baginton the next day.
His next posting was overseas, to 250 Squadron, operating Tomahawks from Aqir, Palestine where he arrived on 1st February 1941. On 19th November Aldridge moved to 238 Squadron at LG123 at Maddelena, Libya. Soon in action he destroyed a Me109 and damaged another on 6th December.
Still in Libya, he was appointed as Flight Commander with 274 Squadron at Mechili on 8th January 1942, damaged a Ju88 on 6th February and went on to 33 Squadron at Sidi Haneish on the 21st.
Some time later Aldridge returned to the UK and was sent on to 34 SFTS Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada where he instructed till the end of the war, being Commended for Valuable Services in the Air on 21st April 1945.
Aldridge was released from the RAF in 1947.
Additional research courtesy of 'Blood, Sweat and Courage; 41 Squadron RAF 1939-42' by Steve Brew 201, Fonthill Media.