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The Airmen's Stories - F/O R L F Day


Robert Lionel Frank Day, of Herne Bay, was born on 14th September 1920, the son of Charles Day and Evelyn Margaret Day (nee Poole).

He was educated at Belvedere School there and The Kings School Canterbury. He joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his training on 29th August 1938.

After completing his training Day was posted to 111 Squadron at Northolt on 31st August 1939. He moved to 54 Squadron on 2nd September, then to 604 Squadron on 5th September.



Above: P/O FCA Lanning (left) and Day.



He was admitted to hospital on 19th September. On discharge he rejoined 111 Squadron from RAF Uxbridge on 13th October.

Day was posted to 11 Group Pool St. Athan on 20th November 1939 for training. From there he joined 141 Squadron at Grangemouth on 9th December 1939. He flew his first operational sortie on 9th July 1940 and served with the squadron throughout the Battle of Britain.

During the night of 6th/7th May 1941 Day, flying with P/O FCA Lanning as his gunner, shot down a He111 and on a later patrol the same night a Ju88, which made a forced-landing on Holy Island, Northumberland.

The aircraft was burned by the crew, who were all taken prisoner. Day and Lanning were both awarded the DFC (gazetted 6th June 1941).

When 141 Squadron was being re-equipped with Beaufighters they were posted to 410 (RCAF) Squadron at Ayr on 14th July 1941.

On 8th December 1941 Day was scrambled at night from Drem in Defiant V1137 with gunner F/Sgt. JJ Townsend.

They were unable to make an interception and on returning in poor visibility the aircraft struck trees on its final approach and crashed, bursting into flames at Black Dyke Farm, SE of North Berwick.

Day was seriously injured and trapped in the wreckage. Townsend, although also injured, released the pilot and pulled him to safety. He was awarded the British Empire Medal (gazetted 8th June 1942)*.

Day was treated at East Grinstead, qualifying as a Guinea Pig.

Day was serving with 132 Squadron at Ford by mid-June 1944, flying Spitfire IXs.

On 18th June he was shot down and killed by flak near Evreux whilst chasing a Fw190 in Spitfire ML120.

He is buried in Connelles Cemetery, France.






*Townsend was killed on 11th August 1943 serving with 200 Squadron at Rufisque, near Dakar in Senegal. Liberator GRV BZ832 had attacked a surfaced submarine, U-468.

Set on fire by the U-boat's gun, the pilot continued his attack and dropped depth charges before the Liberator crashed into the sea with the loss of all aboard.

The crippled submarine started to sink and only about twenty crew were able to launch and board a dinghy.

They were later rescued by an Allied ship. As a result of their debriefing the Liberator captain, F/O Lloyd Allan Trigg DFC of New Zealand, was awarded a posthumous VC.


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