The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. A F Butterick
Alec Frank Butterick was born in 1917 in West Hampstead, London and joined the RAFVR in April 1938, as an Airman u/t Pilot. He was one of fifty VR pilots who were given the opportunity of having six months of continuous training with the regular RAF.
He joined 3 Squadron at Kenley on 4th April 1939 on attachment. On 29th August Butterick crashed in Hurricane L1928, landing at night at Biggin Hill, unhurt.
Still with the squadron at the outbreak of war, he was later taken on to the strength when his attachment was completed.
On 10th September 1939 he crashed his Hurricane, L1939, returning from Manston to Croydon in bad visibility. He was admitted to Faversham Cottage Hospital with a broken ankle and some injuries to the spine.
On 17th July 1940 3 Squadron was notified that one flight was to move to Sumburgh to form 232 Squadron. On the 21st Butterick flew with 'B' Flight of 3 Squadron from their base at Wick to Sumburgh. The eight Hurricanes were redesignated as 232 Squadron. On the 23rd he ditched off Shetland, in Hurricane P3861, after his engine failed.
In early October 1940 Butterick was posted to PDC Uxbridge for a move overseas. After embarkation leave he was one of a group of pilots assembled at Uxbridge on 19th October for service in Malta. When the proposed posting had not materialised by 11th November, Butterick was recalled to 232 Squadron.
He went to Egypt in early 1941 and was posted to 33 Squadron in Greece on 18th April. He went to Crete and was shot in the knee in hand-to hand fighting with German paratroops on Hill 107 above Maleme Airfield in May.
He was captured and was flown to Athens, as a PoW, where his leg was amputated.
Above: the chaos of the Crete campaign meant that information regarding PoWs took months to filter through.
Commissioned in September 1945, Butterick stayed on in the RAF for several years after the war and was released as a Flying Officer.
He died on 10th March 1960 in Brookwood Hospital in Surrey.