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The Airmen's Stories - P/O C Merrick

 

Claude Merrick was born on 27th February 1919 at Stow in Suffolk and joined the RAFVR about October 1938 as an Airman u/t Pilot. Called up on 1st September 1939, he completed his training at 15 FTS Lossiemouth on No. 7 Course, which ran from 29th April to 20th July 1940.

He was commissioned and joined 610 Squadron at Biggin Hill on 27th July 1940.

 

Above: Merrick worked for Fisons, the agricultural company, prewar and this photo from a company journal shows him third from left on 5th June 1944.

 

Merrick was attached to 7 OTU Hawarden from 29th July to 12th August when he rejoined 610 Squadron. He flew his first operational sortie on the 14th.

He was shot down on 24th August by Me109's over the Thames Estuary and made a crash-landing at Fyfield in Spitfire I L1037. He was admitted to Ongar Hospital, slightly wounded. He did not return to 610 Squadron in 1940.

His subsequent service is currently undocumented until the night of 5th June 1944 when Merrick was pilot of an Albemarle detailed to drop parachutists in Northern France. They were to prepare and light a landing zone for the use of airborne forces spearheading the invasion.

On the success of this operation depended the success of later parachute and glider landings in the Caen area. In spite of bad weather Merrick executed his mission faultlessly.

He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 14th July 1944) as an Acting Squadron Leader with 295 Squadron. Merrick also received the Bronze Star (US) (gazetted 30th October 1945).

He was released from the RAF in 1946 as a Wing Commander.

 

Above: a 1946 reunion.

 

Merrick died in October 1984 in Colchester.

 

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