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The Airmen's Stories - P/O C E Langdon


Charles Edward Langdon was born at Hawera, New Zealand on 21st August 1918 and attended the High School there. After leaving he was employed as a costing clerk.

Langdon applied for an RAF short service commission in February 1939 and was accepted for training in New Zealand. He reported to the Ground Training School at Rongotai on 20th September, began his elementary flying training at No. 1 EFTS Taieri on 21st October and moved on to No. 1 FTS Wigram on 19th December.

Langdon was awarded his flying badge on 13th February 1940 and at the end of the course he was graded as a future light-bomber pilot.

He sailed for the UK on 26th April in the RMS Rangitiki and after arrival went to RAF Depot, Uxbridge where he transferred into the RAF.



Langdon went to 4 Ferry Pilots Pool, Kemble for a refresher course on 17th June. After soloing on Ansons, he was posted to 12 OTU Benson on the 30th where he converted to Fairey Battles, afterwards joining 142 Squadron at Eastchurch on 24th August.

Langdon probably volunteered for Fighter Command in response to a call for pilots. He joined 43 Squadron at Usworth on 21st September and had to be converted to Hurricanes on the squadron.

He flew five operational sorties with 43 squadron before being posted away to the Air Gunners School at Newton Downs as a staff pilot on Whitleys on 3rd November 1940. After only two days there he was posted to 145 Squadron at Tangmere and shot down a Me109 on 15th November.

In early December Langdon was posted away and embarked on HMS Furious on the 17th for an unknown destination. There were 25 Hurricanes aboard, with wings unattached. On 9th January 1941 Langdon flew off the carrier to Takoradi and then flew in stages via Lagos, Kano, Maidugari, Khartoum and Wadi Haifa to Abu Sueir, Egypt, arriving on 14th January.

He flew to Landing Ground 2 on the 22nd and then on to Hal Far, Malta via Gazala on the 29th.

Langdon joined 261 Squadron at Ta Kali on the 30th and flew his first operational patrol the next day. He failed to return from an interception patrol on 26th February 1941 in Hurricane V 7474.

He is commemorated on the Malta Memorial.


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