The Airmen's Stories - P/O A McFadden
Aubrey McFadden was born in 1918 in Ashford, Kent and attended Ashford Grammar School from 1929 to 1933. He joined the RAF on a short service commission in June 1939 and converted to Hurricanes at 6 OTU Sutton Bridge in April 1940. He joined 73 Squadron in France on 5th May.
On 11th May his Hurricane P2811 was badly damaged by cannon fire from Me110s and he force landed, unhurt, at Poilcourt, north of Rheims. On 14th May he attacked Do17s of 3./KG76 and was shot down by return fire and force landed in Hurricane L1891 near Sedan.
Suffering from shock he was made non-effective sick and posted to No. 1 RAF Depot Uxbridge. After recovering he rejoined 73 Squadron from hospital on 6th July 1940.
He served with 73 throughout the Battle and claimed a Me110 destroyed on 27th September near Weybridge. He was still with 73 Squadron when it left Debden on 9th November 1940 for Birkenhead, to embark for service in the Middle East.
By April 1942 he was serving with 258 Squadron, based at the Ratmalana and Colombo Racecourses in Ceylon. 258 Squadron were scrambled on 5th April when an attack was launched by Japanese carrier-based aircraft at 0700. All the squadron’s aircraft managed to take off and along with pilots of 30 Squadron gave a good account of themselves, despite being outnumbered about six to one. The attacking force comprised 36 Zero fighters escorting 53 Kate attack bombers and 36 Val dive bombers.
Although only three Japanese aircraft were shot down near Colombo, it would appear that about seventy actually failed to rejoin the aircraft carriers of Admiral Nagumo. Apart from those damaged by the RAF fighters many were hit by the guns of the Ceylon Garrison Artillery and the Royal Artillery plus AA fire from Royal Navy ships in the harbour.
McFadden was killed on this day when his Hurricane I Z5665 was shot down into the sea. He is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial.
(Photograph courtesy of Jonathan Morford and Captain Robert L Koprowski, US Army (Veteran))