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The Airmen's Stories - P/O W P Hopkin


William Pelham Hopkin was born on 15th March 1921 and attended Dean Close School, Cheltenham from January 1936 to January 1938.

He joined the RAF on a short service commission in May 1939. With his training completed, he arrived at 6 OTU on 28th April 1940.



After converting to Hurricanes he was posted on 15th May to PDC Uxbridge for allocation to a squadron in France. He was posted instead to 54 Squadron at Catterick later in the month.

On 15th August he damaged a Ju87, on the 18th he claimed a Do17 destroyed, a Me110 shared and another damaged and on the 22nd a Me110 destroyed.




Above: in this otherwise uncaptioned photograph of 602 Squadron Hopkin is standing in the front row third from left.



Hopkin was posted to 602 Squadron at Westhampnett on 12th September. On the 26th he claimed a He111, on the 27th a Me110 and on 6th November a probable Me109.

Landing on 23rd November Hopkin misjudged his height and landed on top of his CO's parked Spitfire, writing both aircraft off. He was made a Flight Commander in early 1941.

On 24th May 1941 Hopkin collided on takeoff with Sgt. WL Brown, who was in Spitfire I X4681. Brown came down in the sea and was killed. Hopkin was able to land safely.

At the end of his operational tour Hopkin was awarded the DFC (gazetted 9th September 1941).

His subsequent service is currently undocumented but he stayed in the RAF postwar, in the Secretarial Branch, retiring on 1st August 1967 as a Wing Commander.

In the sixties he was Secretary of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association.

Hopkin died in January 1971 in Salisbury.


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