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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. S Austin


Sydney Austin was born in May 1915 in Leeds, the son of Everett Austin and Leila May Austin (nee Saunders).

He joined the RAF in September 1939. After completing an air-gunnery course he was posted to 219 Squadron at Catterick on 8th August 1940.

He was crewed with Sgt. HF Grubb. They had two lucky escapes in landing mishaps. On 26th August their Blenheim undershot the runway at Catterick, landing in a sudden rainstorm at night. Landing at Redhill on 16th October, they overshot the runway and hit the boundary fence.





Standing: Sgt. RV Cook, Sgt. GT Williams, Sgt. C Beveridge, P/O RV Baron, P/O RC Hall, Sgt. S Austin, Sgt. DC Bunch, Sgt. E Combes

Seated: Sgt. HF Grubb, Sgt. EG Grubb, P/O WGM Lambie, F/O JC Carriere, F/O HG Goddard, F/Lt. JH Little, F/O JG Topham, P/O GM Head, P/O J Sinclair, Sgt. OA Dupee, Sgt. HK Crook.

Centre on ground unknown.




On 22nd November 1940 Austin was probably still crewed with Grubb when he destroyed an enemy aircraft at night off Beachy Head. Austin retrained as a Radio Observer and in the evening of 17th February 1941 he was flying with S/Ldr. JH Little in a Beaufighter.

They shot down Do17Z 7T+JL of 3/KGr606, which crashed at Oakley Court, Bray near Windsor. Lt. R Dieskau, Uffz. E Tietjen, Lt. G Hubner and Gefr. W Arnold baled out and were taken prisoner.

Austin was awarded the DFM (gazetted 30th May 1941), for assisting in the destruction of three enemy aircraft at night.

Commissioned in July 1941, Austin joined 85 Squadron at Hunsdon as a Flying Officer. He was killed on 30th October 1941 whilst flying in Havoc II AH520 'A' which came down into the sea off Deal during a combat with enemy aircraft. W/Cdr. ATD Sanders DFC was also lost.

Austin is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 29.


His brother F/O John Austin was killed on 24th August 1943 when Halifax II JD305 EY-C of 78 Squadron crashed into the North Sea having been seriously damaged by flak during a raid to Berlin.

Also lost were:

Sgt. FR Rowen. He is buried in Brigg Cemetery.
Sgt. AC Thewlis. He is buried in Walsall (Ryecroft) Cemetery.
P/O RA Winn is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
Sgt. R Askwith is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
Sgt. SW Kent is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.


(Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner).


Battle of Britain Monument