The Airmen's Stories - P/O R J Boret
Robert John Boret was born in December 1919 in Brentford, the son of Air Commodore John Auguste Boret CBE, MC, AFC (1895-1964) and Christine Victoria Newton (1898-1986).
On 3rd June 1927, twelve days after becoming the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic, and having completed his brief tour of England, Charles Lindbergh took off from RAF Kenley at 6.50am, bound for Le Bourget, in a Gloster Woodcock aircraft borrowed from 17 Squadron.
The wireless had been removed to make room for his suitcase and hat box.
He was escorted by two of 32 Squadron’s Gloster Gamecocks, flown by F/Lt. JA Boret and F/O RH Horniman. They took off in formation with Lindbergh in the centre, climbed steeply out of the aerodrome and wheeled around in close order, setting course south eastwards towards the coast at 1000ft. Foggy conditions caused a stop-off at Lympne to check the weather over the Channel, but Lindbergh took off at 8.13am and arrived safely at Le Bourget at 10am, where hundreds of spectators had turned out to greet his arrival yet again.
Lindbergh had been scheduled to fly to Paris the previous day, but bad weather had delayed him and he had stayed overnight in the Officer’s Mess at Kenley, (probably Flintfield House) being entertained by Kenley’s pilots. Although his plans had been kept secret, a small crowd of well-wishers had gathered at Kenley to see ‘Lucky Lindy’ off.
RJ Boret joined the RAF on a short service commission in August 1939.
He completed his flying training and was posted to 41 Squadron in March 1940. His father had commanded the squadron from May 1933 to February 1937.
In October 1940 Boret was posted overseas and was in the aircraft carrier HMS Argus when she sailed from Gibraltar in mid-November for Malta.
He was one of six pilots who flew off on 16th November in a 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.
Boret was 20. He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 7.
Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner