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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. M J Loudon


Malcolm John Loudon was born in Sao Paolo, Brazil on 6th December 1915 and joined the RAF on a short service commission in July 1935. He was posted to 3 FTS Grantham on 22nd September and joined 23 Squadron at Northolt on 5th August 1936.

He was posted to 141 Squadron when it was reformed at Turnhouse on 4th October 1939. Loudon was appointed a Flight Commander on 29th November.

The squadron flew south to West Malling on 12th July 1940. Early on the 19th twelve Defiants moved to the forward airfield at Hawkinge. At noon they were ordered off to carry out an offensive patrol twenty miles south of Folkestone. Three were left behind with engine trouble.



During the patrol the nine Defiants were surprised by a force of Me109's of III/JG51. Loudon's aircraft, L7001, was badly damaged. He ordered his gunner, P/O E Farnes, to bale out and he was rescued, uninjured, from the sea by Ramsgate lifeboat. Loudon crashed near Hawkinge after his engine failed. He was admitted to Canterbury Hospital, with a dislocated shoulder.

Loudon returned to the squadron from hospital on 16th August 1940. He and Farnes were aloft from Turnhouse on an operational patrol in the early hours of 27th August 1940. On returning, Defiant L7011 overshot on landing and crashed into a barbed wire fence.

Both men were unhurt.

Loudon was posted away to No. 1 FTS Netheravon on the 30th as an instructor.

In early April 1941 Loudon was posted to 242 Squadron at Martlesham Heath as 'A' Flight Commander. On 4th July he shot down a Me109 on a bomber-escort operation to Bethune. He left 242 on 23rd July to take command of 603 Squadron at Hornchurch.

In October 1941 Loudon was sent to the Middle East, ostensibly for three weeks, to brief Desert Air Force squadrons on current Fighter Command tactics. He remained out there and was given command of a Wing.

He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 26th December 1941).


Loudon later went on to the staff of HQ Desert Air Force.

In January 1944 he was appointed Wing Leader 324 Wing in Italy. Soon afterwards he was on a fighter sweep north of Rome when he suffered engine failure and baled out. He dislocated both shoulders on landing and was captured. He was held in Stalag Luft III.

Freed in May 1945, Loudon was released from the RAF in 1946 as a Wing Commander. He emigrated to the USA but returned to the UK in 1988.

He died on 20th September 1997.


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