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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. R Lilley


Robert Lilley joined 601 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force before the war as an Aircrafthand.

Called up on 24th August 1939, he later remustered as an Airman u/t Air Gunner. He completed his training and was serving with 29 Squadron at Digby in early June 1940.



Above and below: the Illustrated London News published thse images in November 1940, the pilot has been identified as F/O LGH Kells. The 29 Squadron ORB shows that Kells flew exclusively with Lilley during this period so it is quite likely that this is him.



With the advent of airborne radar and the Beaufighter he retrained as a radar operator.

On 19th June 1941 Beaufighter If R2262 of 29 Squadron made a forced landing, cause unknown, 2 miles SW of West Malling at Champions Orchard, Mereworth. P/O VC Lovell was injured but Lilley was more seriously hurt.

By 1943 Lilley was with 89 Squadron in the Middle East and was awarded the DFC (gazetted 3rd September 1943) as a Warrant Officer.

He was killed on 28th April 1944 serving with 141 Squadron, operating Mosquitos from West Raynham.

Mosquito F11 DZ656 TW-J was shot down, circumstances unknown, while on a Serrate patrol in support of the bomber stream attacking Friedrichshafen.

Lilley is buried in Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium, along with his pilot S/Ldr. VC Lovell DFC, unusually it seems they had served together from squadron to squadron.



Above image courtesy of Marcel Rosvelds.


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