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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. T N Hayes


Thomas Norman Hayes was born on 26th June 1912 and educated at Dulwich College Prep School and then the senior School. He went on to study Engineering at University.

He was commissioned in 600 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force in July 1936 and was called to full-time service on 24th August 1939.



On 10th May 1940 Hayes flew one of six Blenheims which attacked Waalhaven airfield at Rotterdam in daylight. In company with the CO, he shared in the destruction of a Ju52 on the ground by machine-gun fire.

Climbing away, the Blenheims were attacked by twelve Me110s, which Hayes, instructed by his gunner, Sgt. GH Holmes, evaded.

Afterwards he saw a Ju52 and in spite of being harassed by enemy aircraft and with his own aircraft damaged, he attacked and sent it down with an engine on fire.

Hayes evaded his attackers and headed for home but encountered three He115s, upon which he expended his remaining ammunition, breaking up their formation. He then got safely back to base, the only one of the six Blenheims to do so.

Hayes was awarded the DFC (gazetted 24th May 1940).

He served with 600 Squadron in the Battle of Britain and was appointed 'A' Flight Commander on 16th December 1940.

From October 1942 until June 1943 he commanded 256 Squadron. Hayes was later Station Commander at West Malling and commanded 149 Wing in Europe in 1944/45.

He was released from the RAF in 1945 as a Wing Commander. He rejoined the Auxiliary Air Force and commanded 600 Squadron from July 1946 to July 1948.

In 1946 he inherited his fathers furniture business and ran it until his retirement.

He died on 17th July 2010.


His portrait was made by Cuthbert Orde (below).


Battle of Britain Monument