Battle of Britain Monument Home THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN LONDON MONUMENT Battle of Britain London Monument
The Battle of Britain London Monument "Never in the field of human
conflict was so much owed
by so many to so few
Site of Battleof Britain London Monument Work in Progress London Monument Site Drawing of Battle of Britain London Monument
Battle of Britain London Monument Home    

The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. H J Merchant


Henry James Merchant was born on 28th June 1913 in Bromley, Kent and was working as a wholesale flower salesman when he joined the RAFVR about December 1937 as an Airman u/t Pilot.

Called up on 1st September 1939, he arrived at 12 Group Pool Aston Down on 10th February 1940.



After converting to Hurricanes he was posted to No. 1 Squadron in France but probably did not join it until 14th May 1940.

On 31st July Merchant shared in damaging a Do17. On 23rd August he ran out of fuel on a night patrol and crashed at Hunts Farm, Withyham in Hurricane P2980. He was slightly injured.

On the 30th he claimed a He111 destroyed and on the 31st a Me110 destroyed and another damaged.

In a combat over Chelmsford his aircraft was set alight and Merchant baled out. He was admitted to Halstead Cottage Hospital with burns. His Hurricane, V7375, crashed and burned out on Ovington Hall Farm, Halstead. He rejoined the squadron on 8th October.

From 26th November to 24th December 1940 Merchant was at CFS Upavon for an instructors course on Masters and Tutors.

His subsequent service is currently undocumented until he was commissioned in August 1941. He was awarded a Kings Commendation (gazetted 14th June 1945), the only reference given was '62 Air School, South Africa'.

He is recorded as marrying Gwendoline Yvonne Mitchell on 9th January 1944 at St. Mary the Virgin Cathedral in Johannesburg.

Merchant was released from the RAF in 1945 as a Flight Lieutenant.

He was awarded the AFC (gazetted 1st January 1946) again the only reference was 'No.24 Group, South Africa'.

He died on 2nd February 1947 and lies in Stellawood Cemetery, Durban, South Africa.



Battle of Britain Monument