The Airmen's Stories - P/O E G Bidgood
Eric George Bidgood was born in Ripon, Yorkshire in 1918 and educated at Rosebank High School for Boys. He went on to Pannal Ash College in Harrogate where he excelled at athletics and rugby.
On leaving he became an articled engineer with Hartlepool Borough Council but after twelve months Bidgood joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his training on 13th March 1939.
With his training completed he joined 266 Squadron at Sutton Bridge on 6th November 1939.
He moved to 229 Squadron at Digby on 25th November and served with it in the Battle until September 1940, flying his last operational sortie on 11th September.
Bidgood then joined 85 Squadron at Church Fenton but appears not to have flown any operational sorties with the squadron before being posted to No. 1 RAF Depot, Uxbridge on 19th October 1940, en route to Malta.
In fact he did not go to Uxbridge but reported direct to the aircraft carrier HMS Argus at King George V Dock in Glasgow on 23rd October. In mid-November the Argus sailed from Gibraltar with Hurricanes for Malta.
Bidgood was one of six pilots who flew off the carrier on 16th November 1940, in the second flight of Hurricanes, led by an FAA Skua. A series of mishaps saw the Hurricanes run out of fuel and fall, one by one, into the sea, with the loss of all six pilots.
His name is on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 5.
At the time of Bidgood’s death, his father, the Reverend George John Bunce Bidgood (who had served in France in the Royal Army Chaplains' Department in the First World War), was vicar of the parish church at Arkengarthdale in Yorkshire. With another local airman, lost in 1942, EG Bidgood is commemorated by a lectern and altar table in the church.
Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner