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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. F B Hawley


Frederick Bernard Hawley was born on 22nd February 1917. His father, Thomas Frederick Hawley, was an Ordnance Fitter who died in 1936. His mother Catherine Elizabeth Hawley supported the family with a variety of jobs including making tyres in the Dunlop factory (1911) a bookeeper (1917) and later a Drapers Assistant.

Nothing is known of his schooling though he may have attended Frederick Bird School in Swan Lane, Coventry. After he left school he was employed as a Grocers Assistant by the Coventry and District Co-Operative Society, Daventry Road Branch.



He joined the RAFVR and carried out his initial flying training at 9 ERFTS Ansty, just outside Coventry.

On 26th August 1939 he was called to full time service and continued his training at 22 EFTS Cambridge. He was sent for basic service training to 3 ITW Hastings on 23rd October 1939 and then on 18th November 1939 went to 3 SFTS South Cerney.

He was awarded his wings on 23rd March 1940 and posted to 5 OTU Aston Down to convert to Spitfires on 21st May.

He joined 266 Squadron at Wittering on 12th June 1940. The following day he overshot the runway in Spitfire N3094 but escaped unhurt.

Hawley was killed on 15th August 1940. The squadron had flown from Hornchurch to their advance base at Manston. In the afternoon six aircraft were ordered off to intercept a He115 floatplane detected twelve miles off Deal.

Hawley was last seen making an attack on the enemy aircraft in Spitifire N3189 but failed to return and is believed to have gone into the sea. The Heinkel crashed into the sea eight miles SW of Dunkirk.

Hawley is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, panel 15.



All research and images courtesy of Stephen Hawley, nephew.


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