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The Airmen's Stories - P/O J R B Meaker


James Reginald Bryan Meaker was born in Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland on 19th January 1919, the son of Edgar Reginald Meaker (1887-1962) and Lucy Adelaide Kathleen Meaker (nee Pearson 1896-1975) of West Dean, Sussex.

The family were in Ireland as his father, a Captain in the Royal Fusiliers, was stationed there.

Meaker was educated at Chichester High School, after leaving he joined the Chichester Observer as a journalist.

He joined the RAF on a short service commission on 26th June 1939.

Following his initial training at 6 E&RFTS Sywell, Meaker went to No. 1 RAF Depot, Uxbridge on 19th August for a short induction course, after which he moved to 12 FTS Grantham.


(Above: Meaker is shown (left) with F/O PR Burton).


On 24th February 1940 Meaker was posted to 12 Group Pool Aston Down, to convert to Hurricanes. He joined 46 Squadron at Digby on 31st March. After a short spell on flying duties at 27 MU, Meaker was posted to 263 Squadron at Scapa Flow on 4th May.

The squadron’s Gladiators were loaded on to HMS Furious, which sailed for Norway on 14th May. They were unloaded on the 21st and began standing patrols. The squadron was withdrawn on 7th June and Meaker returned to Britain by sea.


Above: an official photograph captioned 'A typical pilot of a Fighter Squadron' (courtesy of Bart Smulders).


He joined 249 Squadron at Leconfield in late June. On 15th August Meaker claimed a Me110 destroyed, on the 24th a Me109, on 2nd September he destroyed a Me110, shared a Do17 and damaged another, on the 6th destroyed two Me109s and on the 15th he destroyed two Do17s, shared a probable Do17 and damaged a Me109.

Meaker shared in the destruction of a Me110 on 27th September. On this day he was shot down by return fire from a Ju88. He baled out but fell dead at Warren Field, Brightling Park. His parachute was unopened and he may have been struck by the tailplane.

His Hurricane, P3834, crashed at Brake Field, Giffords Farm, Dallington.

Meaker is buried in West Dean Cemetery, Sussex. He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 8th October 1940) which was presented to his parents by the King at Buckingham Palace.







In 1990 a memorial was placed near the spot where he was killed.








Above: the view over Brightling Park from the memorial.


Memorial images courtesy of Charles Leslie.


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