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The Airmen's Stories - F/O A F Eckford


Alan Francis Eckford from Thame, Oxfordshire was born on 6th February 1919. His father had been a messenger in the Admiralty early in his career, had served in the RAF in the First World War and in the 1939 register is shown as living in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire and working as an engineering designer for aircraft and motor components.

AF Eckford was educated at King Edward VI Grammar School in Birmingham. He was awarded an engineering scholarship to Loughborough College.

He entered the RAF on a short service commission and began his elementary flying training on 31st October 1938.

With his training completed he joined 32 Squadron at Biggin Hill just before the outbreak of war. He destroyed a Me109 on 19th May 1940.


On 3rd June Eckford was posted to 242 Squadron at Biggin Hill. Five days later the squadron flew to Le Mans to reinforce No. 1, 73 and 501 Squadrons but moved immediately to Chateaudun. Eckford destroyed another Me109 on 14th June. The squadron was withdrawn to England on the 18th.

It became operational again on 9th July 1940 and next day Eckford attacked and damaged a He111.
Eckford rejoined 32 Squadron, then at Biggin Hill, on the 24th. He claimed a Ju88 and a Me109 destroyed on 18th August and a He111 damaged on the 26th. He was posted to 253 Squadron at Kenley on 9th September 1940. On the 27th he claimed a Me110 destroyed, on 30th October and 5th November two Me109's, on the 22nd a Do17 shared and another damaged and on the 23rd one Me109 destroyed and probably another.

He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 24th December 1940).

In early 1941 Eckford was made a Flight Commander and in November was posted to 55 OTU as an instructor. He went to 64 Squadron at Hornchurch in April 1942 and in June he joined 154 Squadron there. Eckford damaged a Do217 and a Fw190 during the operations over Dieppe on 19th August and probably destroyed a Fw190 on the 27th.

He went with the squadron to North Africa in November 1942. On the 12th he shared a Do217, destroyed a Ju88 the next day and shared another. He was slightly injured by flying debris during an attack by Me109 fighter-bombers on the airfield at Djidelli.

After a rest Eckford was given command of 242 Squadron at Souk-el-Khemis on 9th March 1943. He returned to the UK in mid-June 1943 and served at the Air Ministry until being released from the RAF in 1946 as a Squadron Leader.

Eckford died on 6th December 1990 in Rickinghall, Suffolk.

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