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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. W H Maitland-Walker


Wilford Hugh Maitland-Walker was born in London on 15th June 1909 and educated at a college in SW London. While working in the City he was commissioned in the Reserve of RAF Officers in August 1934. He was awarded his 'A' Flying Licence on 10th December 1934 and also flew gliders.

He transferred to the RAFVR in January 1938 and was called to full-time service on 18th September 1939. Maitland-Walker was serving with 65 Squadron at Hornchurch in early July 1940.



On 5th August 1940 he was in combat over the Channel with Me109's in Spitfire P9436 when the fuel tank forward of the instrument panel was hit, he was also wounded in a shoulder and foot and covered in petrol. Shutting down the engine, he was able to glide to Manston and force-land.
After hospitalisation and leave he rejoined 65 Squadron, now at Turnhouse in Scotland in the convoy escort role.

He was posted away on 19th September to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge for flying instructor duties. Maitland-Walker was promoted to Squadron Leader on 1st December 1941 and was later attached to Fighter Command HQ to develop the radar control of fighters. While serving at Bentley Priory in 1944 he was on duty when the first V-1 'Doodlebug' was logged and had to relay this information immediately to Winston Churchill.

He was awarded a Mention in Despatches (gazetted 8th June 1944).

His next posting was as CO of Evere airfield in Belgium as a Wing Commander. He later commanded Hamburg airfield. He was released from the RAF in January 1946 and in May that year he went to the Air Ministry to meet an old friend, G/Capt. AF Anderson DSO DFC & Bar, who suggested that there would be an opening for him. He applied and was offered a permanent commission in October 1946.

He served at the Ministry until 1948 when he was posted to RAF Gutersloh. In 1952 he was back at Bentley Priory before in 1954 being appointed Air Attache Budapest, Hungary as a Group Captain.

Retiring on 15th June 1956, Maitland-Walker settled in Minehead, Somerset.

He then went into the hotel industry and was very successful. However on a visit to Spain with his family he suffered a stroke. It took some time to get him to the American Hospital in Madrid but after arriving he died there on 28th September 1969.

Due to the difficult conditions pertaining in Spain at that time he had to be buried locally in an unmarked grave.

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