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The Airmen's Stories - S/Ldr. G W Montagu


George Wroughton Montagu was born on 5th December 1911, the son of George Edward Stirling Montagu and Doris Mary Irwin Montagu (nee Cockin).

He was one of three sons of George Montagu, a wealthy landowner of Wilcot, Wiltshire.

GW Montagu was educated at Kings School Bruton, Somerset. He entered RAF College, Cranwell in January 1930 as a flight cadet.

Above: later in 1930 he was involved in an incident, unfortunately not uncommon at the time.


After graduating in December 1931 he joined 40 Squadron at Abingdon. On 7th September 1933 Montagu was posted to 822 Squadron on HMS Furious.



He joined the staff at 10 FTS Tern Hill on 9th November 1936 and went to 2 AACU at Lee-on-Solent on 13th June 1938.

He had married Delmira Elizabeth Brooke in April 1937 in Potterne, Wiltshire.

Montagu went to 5 OTU Aston Down for a refresher course on 10th August 1940 and then took command of 236 Squadron on 15th August 1940. He failed to return from a reconnaissance sortie over Brest on 21st December 1940 in Blenheim IV R3878.

P/O GH Hannan and Sgt. DR Briggs were also lost.

The Blenheim came down by the mill at Pont-Ours (Bear Bridge) in the commune of Plouguin in Brittany, the mill was owned by Jean Tromelin (1896-1982).

The Germans took no action over the crash and it was left to M. Tomelin to recover the bodies and bury them at the site. Later a religious service was held, attended by Luftwaffe personnel and about 1500 locals.

The graves were covered in flowers in season until 1948 when they were relocated to Bayeux cemetery.

Jean Tomelin Snr. was heavily involved with the Resistance, for which he was decorated postwar, and sheltered several Allied airmen, including Battle of Britain veteran P/O Peter William Lefevre. LeFevre was passed along the escape lines in July 1943 to Gibraltar and may have been accompanied by Jean Tomelin Jnr. who arrived in England about this time and enlisted in the Free French Air Force.

He brought with him some photographs of the graves which were passed on to the next-of-kin (below).











His younger brother Charles James Drogo Montagu was awarded a DFC as a Pilot Officer with 77 Squadron on the night of 19th/20th June 1940, four days after his 20th birthday. He brought a badly damaged Whitley back from the Ruhr and ditched in the sea off Hastings.

He was killed on 25th August 1940 when Whitley V N1473 (KN-N) of 77 Squadron was shot down by flak over Vijfhuizen in Holland en route to Augsburg, Germany.

Also lost were:

Sgt. JW Ward,
Sgt. EJ Clarke,
Sgt. RT Penny,
Sgt. AF Webber.

All are buried at Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery.

Both brothers are commemorated on Wilcot War Memorial.



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