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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. H R A Beresford

 

Hugh Richard Aden Beresford was born at Ampthill, Bedfordshire on 8th November 1915, the son of Rev. Hans Aden Beresford (1884-1949) and Dorothy Lydia Beresford (nee Royston 1888-1937).

His father had served as Chaplain to the Royal Field Artillery in WW1 and went on to serve as the Rector of Hoby, Leicestershire, for 26 years.

Four members of the extended Beresford family were killed in action in WW1.

HRA Beresford had two uncles on his mother's side. 2/Lt. Basil Drage Royston of the Royal Garrison Artillery was wounded at Armentieres. Evacuated to England, he died on 2nd October 1916 and lies at South Queensferry Cemetery.

Lt. Norman Royston served in the Royal Naval Air Service and died from pneumonia whilst aboard HMS Fearless on 5th November 1918. He also lies at South Queensferry Cemetery.

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HRA Beresford was educated at Rossell School in Fleetwood, Lancashire.  He was a keen sportsman and fine cricketer playing in the first XI team for four seasons and became team captain in his final year at the school.

He joined the RAF on a short service commission in 1935 and after completing his training he was posted to 3 Squadron at Port Sudan on 6th March 1936.

Beresford returned to the UK with the squadron in August and on 1st April 1937 he was posted to the staff of No. 1 Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit at Biggin Hill. On 4th October he was appointed Personal Assistant to the AOC of 11 Group.

In late 1939 he married Cherry Kyrle Kemp (1920-1966) in Uxbridge.

 

 

 

Above: units often commissioned cartoons of their personnel and Beresford appears in one covering 11 Group. His colleague F/Lt. WP Cambridge was posted to 253 Squadron and killed in September 1940.

 

On 17th May 1940 257 Squadron was reformed at Hendon and Beresford joined it as a Flight Commander. He probably destroyed a Me110 on 12th August, shared in destroying a He111 on 18th August and claimed a Me110 on the 31st.

Beresford was shot down in Hurricane P3049 in combat over the Thames Estuary on 7th September 1940. The aircraft crashed at Elmley Spitend Point, Sheppey and Beresford was reported 'Missing'.

Excavations in 1979 revealed the aircraft with his remains still in the cockpit. He was buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery on 16th November 1979 with full military honours.

He was 24 when he was killed.

 

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Beresford had been friendly before the war with an Australian RAF officer, Hughie Idwal Edwards (later Air Commodore Sir HI Edwards VC KCMG CB DSO OBE DFC).

In 1942 Edwards married Beresford's widow Cherry, after the war they went to live in Australia.

 

 

 

Above: he is commemorated in memorial All Saints Church, Hoby.

 


 

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