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The Airmen's Stories - F/O T P K Higgs


Thomas Peter Kingsland Higgs was born in Oldham, Lancashire on 9th February 1917, the son of Arthur Hilton Higgs and Alice Higgs (nee Dunkerley). He was educated at the Royal Masonic School and then at Merton College, Oxford, where he read Modern History.

He was a member of the University Air Squadron and joined the RAF with a direct-entry commission as a University Entrant in October 1938.

With his training completed, Higgs joined 111 Squadron at Croydon on 24th May 1940. He was attached to RAF Uxbridge on 6th June for an R/T course.



On the 10th July, F/O Peter Higgs became the first RAF fighter pilot to be lost in combat during the Battle of Britain, when flying Hurricane P3671 of 111 Sqn over the ‘Bread’ convoy off Folkestone.Whilst attacking a Do17Z of 3/KG2, he was distracted by the Me109E of Oblt. Oesau of 7/JG51, and taking evasive action, collided with the Do17 at 6,000ft and lost a wing, the Do17 crashing near Dungeness Buoy.

He baled out but was drowned after a rescue launch was unable to find him. Higgs had previously been credited with destroying a Me109 and probably destroying a Do17 during June.

(The first fighter pilot to be lost on 10th July was Sergeant Ian Clenshaw of No 253 Squadron, who lost control of his Hurricane in poor weather and crashed during a dawn patrol.) 

Higgs was 23. His body was washed ashore at Noordwijk on 15th August. He is buried in Noordwijk General Cemetery, Netherlands in a joint grave with Sgt. FJ Keen.

Keen was killed whilst flying in Wellington III, X3669 SR-H of 101 Squadron, which came down in the North Sea off the Dutch coast on a raid to Emden.




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