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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. C A H Ayling


Charles Albert Henry Ayling of Cowplain, Hampshire was born on 12th March 1912, the eldest of at least nine children born over 16 years to Albert Ayling and Amelia Ayling (nee Beckett).

His father is shown in the 1939 register as a postman. He appears to have served in both the Royal Navy and the Army in his youth.

CAH Ayling joined the RAF as an Aircraft Apprentice in September 1927. He passed out in August 1930 and later trained as a pilot.


Above image courtesy of Ayling Family via John Evans, Pembroke Dock Sunderland Trust.


After gaining his wings in April 1939 he went on to serve with 43 Squadron in September that year. On 7th June 1940 he was in combat with Me109s south-east of Dieppe and had to crash-land his badly-damaged Hurricane L1737 at Rouen-Boos in France. He left France on the 10th in a Hurricane with a punctured wing-tank and reached Tangmere.


He married Joan Morris in mid-1939 in Pembroke.


On 12th July 1940 Ayling shared a He111 and damaged two Me109s on 8th August. He went to 66 Squadron at Kenley on 10th September and to 421 Flight at Gravesend on 8th October. Three days later, in Spitfire P7303, he was killed when he crashed at Newchurch after combat with enemy aircraft over Hawkinge.

Ayling was 28 and was buried near his wife's home in St. Nicholas Cemetery at Monkton, Pembroke.




His brother LAC Albert Edgar Ayling was killed aged 19 on 10th August 1942 flying in BT13 40-859 from Gunter Field, which crashed from a steep turn onto the base leg at Mount Meigs Auxiliary Field, Alabama during night circuits.

He is buried in Montgomery (Oakwood) Cemetery Annexe.



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