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The Airmen's Stories - P/O P A Mortimer


Percival Alexander Mortimer of Wrexham, Denbighshire was born on 14th May 1914 in London, the son of Percival Godwin Mortimer and Louisa Mortimer (nee Benstead).

He was a student at Imperial College London from 1934 to 1937, reading Mechanical Engineering and Motive Power at the School of Mines. He joined the RAFVR in July 1937 as an Airman u/t Pilot.



Called up on 1st September 1939, Mortimer is recording as arriving on the 'Stirling Castle' from Durban, South Africa on 21st October 1939 at Southampton. He was accompanied by his wife, Mavis Gaisy Mortimer.

The marriage is not recorded in UK records implying that they married in SA.

Mortimer completed his training, was commissioned and joined 85 Squadron at Croydon on 4th September 1940. He moved to 257 Squadron at Debden on the 11th.


Above: 257 Squadron after the Italian raid on 11th November 1940.

L to R: P/O G North, Sgt. LD Barnes, P/O SE Andrews, P/O B Davey, P/O PA Mortimer, P/O JK Kay, Sgt. SE Lucas, F/Lt. HP Blatchford, P/O K Pniak


He shared in destroying a Do17 and a He111 on 15th September and a Fiat BR20 on 11th November. Mortimer was slightly wounded in the left hand by a cannon shell splinter on 17th November in combat with Me109s over a convoy off Harwich.

In December 1940 Mortimer sailed in HMS Furious for the Middle East. On 9th January 1941 he flew off with other Hurricanes for Takoradi but crashed on landing. Mortimer eventually went into the Pilots Pool at Ismailia, Egypt.

He flew a Hurricane to Malta on 5th March 1941 and joined 261 Squadron. On 11th April he made a crash-landing after a combat with Me109s, in Hurricane V7116.

Back in the UK, Mortimer was posted to 59 OTU at Crosby-on-Eden on 1st September 1942 as an instructor. On 6th November 1942 Master I T8431 failed to recover from a dive and crashed near Howburn Farm, Carham, near Cornhill, Northumberland.

WO1 GH Neate RCAF was killed and Mortimer died from his injuries the next day, aged 22.

Mortimer is buried in West Road Cemetery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.


Above image courtesy of Brian 54.

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