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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. R C Hamer


Russel Chapman Hamer was born in late 1916 in Newtown, Montgomeryshire, the son of Richard Bryce Stephens Hamer (1879-1966) and Edith Mary Hamer (nee Chapman 1883-1931).

He joined the RAF as an Aircraft Apprentice at Halton in 1933. He passed out in December 1935 but later applied for pilot training and was selected.

He began his initial training course at 8 E&RFTS Woodley on 25th July 1938. He moved to 7 FTS Peterborough on 1st October. With his training completed, Hamer went to 3 AOS Aldergrove as a staff pilot.


On 7th October 1939 he joined 141 Squadron, then reforming at Turnhouse with Defiants, and served with it throughout the Battle of Britain.

In the evening of 10th November 1940 Hamer, flying with Sgt. CR Hill as his gunner, damaged a He111 south of Tunbridge Wells.

In the latter half of 1941 Hamer teamed up with F/Sgt. E Walsh. In June 1942, flying in a Beaufighter from Acklington, they attacked and damaged a Do217.

In the early hours of 9th September 1942, in Beaufighter V8265, they were directed to a He111 fifteen miles south-east of St. Albans Head. The enemy aircraft was destroyed but Hamer was wounded by return fire and the Beaufighter's starboard engine was set alight. He flew the aircraft back over the Isle of Wight and kept it under control while ordering Walsh, who was reluctant to leave his friend, to bale out.

Walsh exited and came down at the water's edge at Newtown on the Isle. Hamer was unable to leave before the remaining engine cut out and was killed when the aircraft crashed at Boldre, north of Lymington on the mainland. They had flown 219 times together.

There was a strong case for a high-level award for Hamer but none materialised.

Hamer received a Mention in Despatches (gazetted 2nd June 1943).

He is buried in Llanidloes (Dolhafren) Cemetery, Montgomeryshire.




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