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The Airmen's Stories - P/O M J Appleby


Michael John Appleby was born on 16th February 1913 in Edmonton, Middlesex. His father, Percy, was shown in the 1911 census as Manager of a ship store merchants and living at the Park Hotel, Park Lane, Tottenham. In the same year he received the Freedom of the City of London.



MJ Appleby went to The Leys School, Cambridge. He joined 609 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force in December 1938 and was called up on 24th August 1939. He was placed on the strength of RAF Yeadon on the 27th.

He was posted to 6 FTS Little Rissington on 9th October for No. 15 Course.

He then went to 10 B&GS Warmwell on 24th April 1940 with the Advanced Training Squadron of 6 FTS, for armament training. The course ended on the 27th and he rejoined 609 on 5th May.


Above L to R: P/O J Curchin, P/O MJ Appleby, F/Lt. PH Barran, P/O GTM Mitchell.


Appleby claimed a Ju87 shot down and shared in the probable destruction of two more on 9th July and destroyed a Me110 on 8th August. On this day his Spitfire was damaged in combat with Me110s over the Isle of Wight.

On 13th August he got a probable Me109 and damaged a Ju87, on 15th September he shared a Do17 and damaged three others and on the 30th he destroyed a Me109.

From 26th November to 24th December 1940 Appleby was at CFS Upavon for an instructors course on Masters and Tutors. He served as an instructor at 11,17 and 21 Elementary Flying Training Schools from January 1941 until he was released from the RAF in September 1945 as a Flight Lieutenant.

Appleby's portrait was made by Cuthbert Orde in November 1940 (below).




Appleby died in January 2002 in Beverley, Yorkshire.



An uncle, Sergeant Sidney Appleby, was serving in the Australian Army Service Corps at the time of his death on 22nd February 1919. He is buried in Brockley Cemetery, south London.



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