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The Airmen's Stories - P/O P R Mildren


Peter Raymond Mildren was born in Westmill, Hertfordshire on 30th May 1919, the son of Edmund Mildren (1889-1965) and Eva Mary Mildren (nee Morehead 1885-1920).

He attended Felsted School, near Braintree in Essex.

He joined the RAF on a short service commission, against his parents’ wishes, and began his initial training course on 31st August 1939. He experienced some delay in his training due to ill-health and did not get to 7 OTU Hawarden until 1st September 1940.

After converting to Spitfires he joined 54 Squadron at Catterick on 16th September. He moved to 66 Squadron at Gravesend on 14th October. 


Above: Felsted School Running VIII in 1937.


Above images courtesy of Felsted School.


Mildren was killed on a sweep over France on 11th February 1941, still serving with 66 Squadron. Spitfires of 66 and 74 Squadrons were tasked to sweep from Boulogne to Gravelines. Partly due to cloud, no targets were identified. Five Me109s dived on to the tail of 66 Squadron and attacked Mildren who had dropped 100 yards behind the formation. His aircraft was seen to go down, apparently out of control.

His body was recovered and he is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery.






Postscript 2019

After the war Mildren's parents refused permission for his name to be included on a proposed war memorial. As he was Westmill's only casualty no memorial was actually constructed.

His brother Pat and sister-in-law Betty were anxious to redress this and left a bequest to the church for this purpose. In 2015 local enthusiast Nigel Leaney initiated the lengthy process of seeking permission from the various agencies involved.

On 31st August 2019, 80 years to the day that he was commissioned in the RAF, the memorial was unveiled at a packed service at St. Mary the Virgin Church in Westmill.

Afterwards a Spitfire from the Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford performed a spirited display.









With thanks to Nigel Leaney.


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