The Airmen's Stories - P/O M R Mudie
Michael Robert Mudie was born in Singapore on 26th February 1916 and studied at King’s College, London.
He joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his initial training course on 27th March 1939 at 22 E&RFTS Cambridge. With his training completed, Mudie arrived at 11 Group Pool on 20th November 1939. After further training he was transferred to 2 Ferry Pilot Pool on 21st December as a reserve for France.
He joined 615 Squadron at Vitry-en-Artois on 26th January 1940. On 19th March 1940 Mudie, home on leave, went in uniform with friends to a dance held at the Coronation Hall in Kingston, Surrey.
As he had French Air Force buttons from an exchange on his tunic, some airmen accused him of impersonating an officer. Furious, Mudie drew his revolver and fired a shot into the floor. However the weapon discharged a second time and a bullet lodged in the calf of his right leg.
After hospital treatment, where he was declared sober, Mudie was charged with wantonly discharging a firearm to the danger or damage of others. In court the following month he was fined £1 plus £1 14s. 9d costs. The gun was confiscated.
On 15th May Mudie made a forced-landing at Bapaume after an engagement with Do17s. 615 Squadron was withdrawn to Kenley on 20th May 1940.
Three days later 'G' Flight of 615 was formed, with six pilots and Gladiators. The flight moved immediately to Manston, where it was attached to 604 Squadron for operations. The flight returned to Kenley on 30th May and was disbanded.
Mudie was shot down by Me109s in combat over a convoy off Dover on 14th July in Hurricane L1584. He baled out, badly wounded, was rescued from the sea by the Navy and admitted to Dover Hospital.
On arrival at the hospital his wounds were recorded as burns and a gunshot wound to the face.
Mudie died the next day, aged 24. He is buried in Esher Cemetery, East Molesey, Surrey.
Regrettably Mudie’s loss was witnessed by BBC commentator Charles Gardner who was recording the scene from a vantage point on the cliffs outside Dover. He mistook Mudie’s Hurricane for a German aircraft. His understandably breathless commentary included:
“There’s one going down in flames! Somebody’s hit a German and he’s coming down with a long streak - coming down completely out of control - a long streak of smoke. And now a man’s baled out by parachute! The pilot’s baled out by parachute! He’s a Junkers eighty-seven and he’s going slap into the sea. And there he goes - SMASH! A terrific column of water and there was a Junkers eight-seven. Only one man got out by parachute, so presumably there was only a crew of one in it!”
Above: Mudie's casualty report, GSW means Gun Shot Wound.
Above: the report by the squadron CO.
Mudie’s brother, F/Lt. Arthur Frederick Mudie, died in action on 15th November 1940, aged 22. He was serving with 84 Squadron in operations against the Italians in Albania.
Blenheim L1389 flew into a mountain while strafing MT near Koritza. F/Sgt. EH Lord and LAC WJS Chick were also lost.
All are commemorated on the Alamein Memorial.
Above photographs courtesy of Dean Sumner