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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. G Gledhill


Geoffrey Gledhill was born on 7th December 1920 in Cardiff to Herbert Gledhill and the former Mary Hannah Thomas. He had older siblings, a brother Kenneth and a sister Greta.

In the 1911 census Herbert Gledhill was shown as a woollen salesman in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire. He later became a surveyor.

The family went to live in Harpenden, Hertfordshire and Geoffrey Gledhill attended St Albans Grammar School and was a member of the 3rd Harpenden Troop of The Boy Scouts.



His parents were still there for the 1939 census with his father listed as 'Traveller for blanket manufacturer'.

Geoffrey Gledhill joined the RAFVR in January 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot. Called up on 1st September 1939, he completed his training at 5 FTS Sealand and arrived at 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on 6th July 1940.

After converting to Hurricanes Gledhill joined 238 Squadron at Middle Wallop on 4th August.



He was killed on the 11th, shot down in combat two miles east of Weymouth in Hurricane P2978. It is believed that this was his first operational sortie.

Gledhill was 19. His body was washed ashore on 12th September 1940 and he is buried in Criquebeuf-en-Caux churchyard.




His elder sister Greta Harvey is also interred there.

French photos courtesy of Johan Pauwels.


He is also commemorated on the family grave at Mytholmroyd.





In 2021 his nephew Richard Harvey Kindly got in touch from Vancouver, Canada with additional material.

In late 1945 Greta Harvey received a letter from the Mayor of Criquebeuf-en-Caux, Joseph Pate, translated as follows:


Town Hall of CRIQUEBEUF-EN-CAUX by YPORT 10th October 1945.

Mrs. Greta M Harvey
Parkstone, Dorset.

In response to your letter of 20th September, I have the honour to give you below the little information in my possession on the tragic end of your brother, Sergeant Geoffrey Gledhill, aviator of the R.A.F, lost at sea.

The body of the unfortunate young man was collected from the shore on 12th September 1940 and decently put into a coffin the next day, the religious service and the burial in the communal cemetery took place on this same day 13th September.

By order of the German army the deceased's personal items and papers were brought to the commandant of Fecamp on 12th September and unfortunately I cannot tell you what was done with them.

Then, as you have been informed, I notified the International Red Cross.

I can also assure you that Sergeant Gledhill's grave has been regularly maintained by the communal service and decorated with flowers by the people of our little commune.

During the Liberation, in September 1944 two Scottish officers, a Major and a Colonel came to join our group of FFI and to reflect by this tomb in fraternal gratitude for this young brother in arms fallen gloriously in the fight against the common enemy. Of this ceremony, moving in its simplicity, the teacher took for you a small photograph that you will find included.

I regret Madam not to have further details to communicate to you and ask you to accept, with my sincere condolences, for you and your family, the expression of my devoted feelings.

The Mayor

Joseph Pate



Above: the photo sent by the Mayor. Some of the group are carrying German hand grenades so hostilities may have been ongoing.


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