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The Airmen's Stories - P/O O V Hanbury


Osgood Villiers Hanbury of Herriard, Hampshire, was born on 13th September 1917 in Richmond, Yorkshire, the son of Major Philip Hanbury and Dorothy Maude Hanbury (nee Margary).

He was educated at Eton before joining the RAFVR in January 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot.

Called up on 1st September, he completed his training at 11 FTS and was posted to No. 1 School of Army Co-operation on 30th June 1940. He joined 13 (Army Co-operation) Squadron on 10th August 1940.

Hanbury volunteered for Fighter Command and on 23rd August he was posted to 7 OTU Hawarden.

After converting to Spitfires he joined 602 Squadron at Westhampnett on 3rd September. He claimed Do17s damaged on 7th and 12th September, destroyed a Me110 on the 15th, shared a Ju88 on the 21st, destroyed a Ju88 on the 30th, damaged a Ju88 on 5th October and destroyed a Me109 on the 30th.



In May 1941 he joined 260 Squadron at Drem, then about to go to the Middle East. The squadron spent some months in Palestine before going to the Western Desert in October. On 14th December Hanbury destroyed a Ju88 and damaged a Me109. He was given command of the squadron in March 1942, shared a Me109 on 3rd April, destroyed a Ju87 and a Mc202 and probably destroyed another on the 25th and was then hit himself and made a forced-landing near Gazala.

Hanbury was awarded the DFC (gazetted 22nd May 1942) and destroyed a Me109 and probably another on 27th June.

He destroyed a Me109 on 6th July following which he was rested on the 19th and awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 28th July 1942). He took command of 260 Squadron again on 5th November 1942.



Hanbury damaged a Me109 on 14th December, claimed another destroyed on 2nd January 1943 and a Me110 on 17th April. He was awarded the DSO (gazetted 30th April 1943) and granted leave to return to the UK to get married.

He married Patricia Harman in April 1943 in Lewes, Sussex.

The first leg of his return to North Africa on 3rd June 1943 was from Portreath to Gibraltar aboard Hudson VI FK386 of No.1 Overseas Air Dispatch Unit. This aircraft was intercepted over the Bay of Biscay by a long-range Ju88C-6 of KG40 (Lt. H Olbrecht) and shot down. All the occupants were reported 'Missing':

F/O JB Buckley
F/O EJ McSherney
F/Sgt. DV Edwards

G/Capt. R Yaxley
W/Cdr. HF Burton (who also flew in the Battle)
W/Cdr. E Paul
W/Cdr. PT Cotton
W/Cdr. J Goodhead
S/Ldr. JK Young
S/Ldr. OV Hanbury

Hanbury was 26 and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 118.

His son, Christopher, was born on 18th February 1944.

There is a biography, ‘Pedro’, by Robin Rhoderick-Jones ISBN-13 9781906502652



Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner.



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