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The Airmen's Stories - P/O H M T Heron


Hugh Michael Turretin Heron was born on 22nd November 1915 in Belfast and was educated at Lalgar School and the Royal Belfast Academical Institute.

A relative, 2nd Lieutenant Francis Turretin Heron, was killed in action aged 19 whilst flying DH9 C6121 of 206 Squadron which was last seen near Gheluwe on 25th July 1918.

He and his observer, 2/Lt. CJ Byrne, are commemorated on the Arras Flying Services Memorial.




HMT Heron joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his initial training course on 28th December 1938 at 7 E&RFTS Desford. He went on to 8 FTS Montrose.

With his flying training completed, he joined 266 Squadron on 6th November 1939.



In April 1940 he married Dorothy Sybil Mason, a War Office secretary, at Chipping Norton.

On 27th July 1940 Heron was attached to the School of Air Navigation at RAF St. Athan for the Fighter Pilots Short Navigation Course, which ran from 29th July to 23rd August.

Back again with 266, Heron damaged three Do17s on 11th September. On this day he was posted to 92 Squadron at Biggin Hill but he then joined 66 Squadron at Gravesend from 92 Squadron on the 15th.

Heron probably destroyed a He111 and damaged another on the 18th, probably destroyed a Do17 and damaged another on the 27th and claimed a Me109 destroyed on the 30th.

He flew his last sortie with 66 on 10th October 1940. Heron was posted to RAF Biggin Hill on the 14th as non-effective sick.

He flew no more sorties with 66 Squadron and presumably he went to CFS for an instructors course because he joined 6 FTS Little Rissington from CFS on 15th December 1940 as an instructor.

Heron spent the remainder of his RAF service as a flying instructor. He was awarded the AFC (gazetted 7th September 1945) and released from the RAF in September 1946 as a Squadron Leader.

He returned to Belfast and qualified as a solicitor there in 1947.

He died in September 2002 in Brighton.


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