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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. D Haywood


Douglas Haywood was born on 9th June 1913 in Neasden, London and joined the RAF as a direct-entry Airman u/t Pilot on 24th August 1936. He went to 11 E&RFTS Perth for his initial training course, passed it and was formally enlisted in the RAF.

He then moved on to 9 FTS Thornaby on 31st October. With his flying training completed he was posted to the newly-formed 88 Squadron at Boscombe Down on 1st July 1937.

The squadron flew its Battles to France on 1st September 1939 and was closely engaged in the fighting in May 1940, suffering heavy losses.


504 Squadron Exeter 1941:


Sgt. Boreham, P/O Lee, Sgt. D Haywood, F/O M Rook, P/O Hunt, F/O Salter, Sgt. Waud, Sgt. Nurse, Sgt. Lewis


Sgt. Holmes, MO*, F/O B White, S/Ldr. J Sample, F/Lt. A Rook, F/Lt. A Parsons, F/O Barnes, F/O Clennell (Adj.)

Unknown Unknown

*Medical Officer




Above: Haywood, far right, in a Scramble staged for the camera at Filton.




All images courtesy of Dianne Seabourne (daughter) who also kindly sent these images of the 504 Squadron mascot, Susie, in the second photo she is on the Hurricane of F/O MEA Royce.






During the night of the 27th/28th Haywood took off from Les Grandes Chappelles but his aircraft hit a tree and crashed, injuring him and his two crew members.

On 13th June Haywood was attacked by Me109's whilst he was bombing German tanks near Paris. His observer shot two down but they then had to bale out as the Battle was on fire. Haywood was wounded in the leg and his observer had an injured knee.

The French took them to Sens Hospital and the next day they were evacuated in a hospital train going south. With confusion everywhere, progress was slow and after five days they arrived at Bordeaux. They went to the British Consul, who directed them to the port, where a ship was waiting to take off British evacuees. They landed at Falmouth on 21st June. Haywood rejoined the squadron on 8th August.

He volunteered to serve with Fighter Command on 3rd September and was flown to Digby the same afternoon to join 151 Squadron. He had one flight in a Hurricane and was at readiness the next morning at 6am.

Haywood was posted to 504 Squadron at Filton on 21st September. Apart from a month spent in 2 Ferry Pool at the ATA from 6th February 1941, he was serving with 504 until 9th July 1941, when he was posted to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge.

Commissioned in July, he went to CFS Upavon for a short instructors course in August, then instructed at 56 OTU until 14th September 1942, when he joined 41 Squadron at Llanbedr.

On 17th April 1943 Haywood and another pilot were on a reconnaissance over Dieppe. They were surprised by seven Fw190's. Wounded in the left foot and with his Spitfire XII EN607 damaged, Haywood managed to get back across the Channel and crash-landed behind Dungeness. He was admitted to hospital in Canterbury and later moved to the the RAF Hospital at Halton.

Haywood rejoined the squadron in August. On Ramrod 8 to St. Pol on the 27th his Spitfire XII EN611 had engine failure after combat with Fw190's. He turned out over the Channel and baled out. He spent seventeen hours in his dinghy in a gale before being picked up by a French fishing boat. He was taken off by the Germans and made a PoW.

Freed in May 1945, Haywood went to 17 FTS Coleby Grange on 4th December for a refresher course and was then posted to the School of Air Support on 25th April 1946.

Haywood was later grounded for high tone deafness and retired on 1st June 1955 as a Squadron Leader.

He purchased a village stores and sub-post office in Newdigate in Surrey. He sold the business, retired and moved to Pulborough in Sussex in 1981.

Haywood died on 12th August 1998.


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