The Airmen's Stories - P/O A R Covington
Aubrey Richard Covington was born on 22nd January 1921 in Lambeth, London. He was granted an RAF short service commission in early September 1939.
He completed his training and was posted to 226 Squadron, flying Fairey Battle light bombers. 226 was heavily involved in the fighting in France in May/June 1940 but it is not currently known if Covington served with them during this period. He volunteered for Fighter Command and joined 238 Squadron at St Eval on 20th August 1940.
He claimed a Me110 destroyed on 15th September. His Hurricane, P3833, was damaged in this combat over Kenley and he made a forced-landing, out of fuel, at Gulledge Farm, Imberthorne near East Grinstead.
On 1st October Covington claimed two Me110s destroyed but on this day he was himself shot down by Me109s west of Poole and is believed to have baled out at Sherborne. On the 7th he was shot down over Blandford. Covington baled out, slightly wounded, and was admitted to Blandford Hospital. His Hurricane, V6777, crashed at Meriden Wood Down, Winterbourne Houghton.
On 13th December he moved to 307 (Polish) Squadron.
On 21st December 1940 Covington and P/O WA Proctor were on a ferry flight from Ringway to Jurby, Isle of Man in Master I N8009. Bad weather and poor navigation led them badly astray and the aircraft force landed near Dundalk in the Irish Republic. Once they had realised this, the Master attempted to take off again but flipped over on hitting an obstruction, the two men were lucky to escape unhurt.
Both were interned at the Curragh Camp by the Irish authorities. Covington established and ran a bar in the British section. Before his release in October 1943, when internment of Allied airmen ended, he made over six attempts to escape. These all failed but he did meet and marry a local girl, Nora McMahon.
He resumed duty on 7th August 1944, joining 127 Squadron operating the Spitfire XVI on ground attack sorties from various airfields in France, Belgium and Holland. At the end of his tour in February 1945 he returned to England.
Covington stayed on in the RAF after the war, latterly in the Fighter Control Branch.
He retired on 22nd January 1964 as a Flight Lieutenant.
He and his wife Nora ran the Woolpack Inn at Slad near Stroud from 1971 to 1984.
Covington died on 21st December 1994 at Gloucester aged 73.
Additional research courtesy of www.historyjournal.co.uk