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The Airmen's Stories - P/O M H Maggs


Mervyn Henry Maggs was born at Axbridge, Somerset in October 1899 and served in the

Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in the Great War. He transferred to the RFC in 1918 and trained as a Sopwith Camel pilot.

Maggs joined the RAFVR in June 1939 as an Airman under training for Operations Room duties. Called up on 1st September 1939, he served in the Operations Room at 11 Group.

In February 1940 Maggs volunteered for aircrew duties and was posted to the Gunnery School at Penrhos. He was commissioned in April and then posted on 3rd May to 78 Squadron, operating in Whitleys from Linton-on-Ouse.



Above: Fairey Battles in the background indicate that this was probably taken at gunnery school.


On 9th June 1940 Maggs joined 264 Squadron at Duxford. He was detached to CGS Warmwell on the15th for a Gunnery Leaders Course. Whilst there, he crashed on 2nd July and was seriously injured.

His Defiant, L6982, crashed on Warmwell aerodrome just after take-off. The pilot, S/Ldr. EC Ingham, was killed. After take-off, the aircraft turned back, flying slowly at about 100 feet, descended to about 30 feet, went into a steep bank and then dived into the ground.

Maggs sustained a broken neck. He was non-effective sick, attached to Warmwell from 2nd July to 12th August 1940 and then attached to CGS from 12th August to 8th September, when he rejoined 264 Squadron, then based at Kirton-in-Lindsey, and began flying night operations.

Maggs was posted away to 287 Squadron on 16th June 1942 and then to 605 Squadron at Ford in October, to fly in Bostons. He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 9th March 1943), the citation stating ‘During a long career, he has displayed exceptional keeness and unswerving devotion to duty. He has destroyed two enemy aircraft at night’.




Maggs was released from the RAF in 1945.

He died in November 1987, the oldest survivor of those who flew with the RAF in the Battle of Britain.


Above: Maggs kept a copy of the Royal approval of 264 Squadron's badge.


All images courtesy of Annette Russett (daughter).




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