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The Airmen's Stories - W/O E Mayne


Ernest Mayne was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 2nd January 1901. He served in the RFC in the WW1, from mid-1917. He transferred to the RAF on 1st April 1918.

As an airman pilot he was with 74 Squadron at its reformation on board the transport Neuralia at Southampton on 3rd September 1935. The squadron sailed for Malta, where it was stationed at Hal Far, remaining there for a year.

74 was back in the UK on 21st September 1936, based at Hornchurch.



Mayne was promoted to Warrant Officer on 15th May 1940. Over Dunkirk on 26th May he shared in the probable destruction of a Hs126 and on the 27th he destroyed a Me109.

Mayne used to wear his RFC badge on his cap. On 15th July he left his cap at Manston to go on patrol. Instead of returning there, he was ordered to Hornchurch. He never saw his cap again and was said to be heartbroken at the loss of his badge.

Mayne probably destroyed a Me109 and a Me110 and damaged another of each on 11th August 1940.

On this day his eardrums were damaged in a steep descent in action. It was his final operation. He had flown 2,000 hours in fighters. From that day he was mainly engaged in ferrying Spitfires around the Hornchurch sector and then Wittering and Kirton in-Lindsey subsequently.

Mayne was posted away to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on 17th September as an instructor. The unit was redesignated 56 OTU on 1st November 1940.

Commissioned in August 1941, Mayne was awarded the AFC (gazetted 1st January 1942).

In June 1945 he was posted to Manston as Station Gunnery Officer. He retired on 4th December 1945 as a Flight Lieutenant, retaining the rank of Squadron Leader.

Mayne died on 24th March 1978.


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