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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. I Hutchinson


Ian Hutchinson was born in Glasgow on 13th November 1918. He joined the RAFVR in May 1938 as an Airman u/t Pilot and began training at 12 ERFTS Prestwick.

On 1st October 1939 he went to 12 FTS Grantham and on completion of training was posted to 236 Squadron at Martlesham Heath, operating Blenheims. On 9th February he was further posted to 222 Squadron at Duxford, then also equipped with Blenheims.

The Blenheims were replaced by Spitfires in March 1940 and the squadron sent to Hornchurch in May. On 30th August his aircraft was damaged in combat and he force landed at Damyns Hall Farm, Rainham but was unhurt.



He claimed Me109's destroyed on the 6th, 7th and 14th September but again force landed on the last date at Detling.

On the 18th September his aircraft was again hit over Canterbury and he baled out, coming down at Molash. His Spitfire, R6722, burned out at Clock House Farm, Challock.

In action over London on the 30th September he was forced down at Denham, being badly burned in the process. He was treated for burns at the RAF Hospital Uxbridge where he was one of the last to receive a tannic acid treatment then used for burns. He said:

The acid produced great scabs that covered my face and legs while the whites of my eyes turned bright red.

Hutchinson's Battle of Britain record saw him claim three Me109's as confirmed kills, one He111, a Me109 and one Me110 as probably destroyed and one Me109 damaged. One of his most notable victories was the shooting down of veteran ace Oberleutenant Eckhardt Priebe, who was taken prisoner and sent to Canada.

Hutchinson eventually recovered from his burns and he went on to fly unarmed Spitfire reconnaissance missions with 1 PRU at Benson and 2 PRU at Leuchars before being shot down over Norway.

On 2nd April 1942 Mosquito PR Mk. I W4056 was airborne from Leuchars on a PR sortie to Trondheim. They were pursued and attacked by two Me109's of JG1. Oblt. H Huppertz of 12/JG1 claimed the victory. Despite the aircraft having lost most of its tail Hutchinson made a forced landing on the German occupied airfield at Ørland.

His navigator, P/O BK Allen, calmly fired a Very pistol into a pool of petrol, blowing up the plane.

Eventually they were met by a Luftwaffe officer who said in perfect English:

We've been waiting for you for a while. I'm afraid our coffee's cold, but have some schnapps instead.

Hutchinson spent the rest of the war in Stalag Luft 3, the prisoner of war camp of Wooden Horse and Great Escape fame.

After the war he did a degree and took a permanent RAF commission flying Vampire jets and pioneering innovations in aircraft safety. Retiring from the RAF in 1957 he went on to work for the Atomic Energy Authority at Winfrith in the 1960's before being seconded to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna in 1969, returning to his home in Charminster after retiring from Vienna in 1982.

Hutchinson died in May 2007.


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