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The Airmen's Stories - S/Ldr. H Eeles


Henry Eeles was born on 12th May 1910 and educated at Harrow School. He entered the RAF College Cranwell in January 1929 as a Flight Cadet. After graduating in December 1930, with a permanent commission, Eeles joined 41 Squadron at Northolt.

On 1st October 1932 he was posted to HQ RAF Middle East as PA to the AOC. Eeles returned to the UK in early 1934 and on 11th February he went to the Air Armament School at Eastchurch for a course. He joined the staff of 5 FTS Sealand on 19th January 1935 on armament duties.



Eeles was appointed PA to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Cyril Newall on 1st September 1937. He was attached to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge from the Air Ministry on 24th June 1940 for a refresher course and conversion to Hurricanes.

He took command of 263 Squadron on 6th July, flying the squadron's first Whirlwind from Martlesham Heath to Grangemouth on that day. 263 initially had three of these aircraft and fourteen Hurricanes.

During the Battle of Britain the squadron flew operational sorties with its Hurricanes. Eeles is not shown in the squadron ORB as having flown operationally during the Battle of Britain period but correspondence between him and the Air Ministry in 1960 confirmed his eligibility for the Battle of Britain clasp.

He is reported as having declined it because his squadron did not operate in southern England but only from Grangemouth and later Drem.

No precise details are known of Eeles' postings after he was posted from 263 on 16th December 1940 to become Station Commander at Drem.

He received two Mentions in Despatches, the CBE (1943) and the CB (1956). Eeles remained in the RAF after the war and was AOC and Commandant of the RAF College Cranwell from 25th August 1952.

He retired from the RAF on 29th January 1959 as an Air Commodore.

Eeles died in July 1992 in Warminster, Wiltshire.


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