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The Airmen's Stories - P/O G North


Gerald North, of Penrith, was born in the second quarter of 1920, the son of William Arthur North and Dorothy Symn North.

He was educated at Penrith Grammar School and joined the RAFVR in July 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot.

Called up on 1st September 1939, he completed his training at 6 FTS Little Rissington and arrived at 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on 3rd August 1940. He converted to Hurricanes and joined 85 Squadron at Croydon on 31st August.

North moved to 257 Squadron at Martlesham Heath on 11th September. Following combat with Me109s over the Thames Estuary on 15th October North made a forced-landing at Hawkinge, unhurt, in Hurricane V7351. He claimed a Me109 and an Italian aircraft destroyed on 11th November 1940.



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

North standing second from left



In late 1941 North was a pilot with the Merchant Ship Fighter Unit on Atlantic convoys. It became customary for pilots on this duty to bring back goods in short supply, such as cigarettes, alcohol and silk stockings. North was catapulted from his ship off Wales on its return voyage and he headed for Valley, intending to avoid the customs inspection that would ensue if he landed at MSFU HQ at Speke. In very poor visibility he became lost and had to force-land near Bognor.

His subsequent postings are currently unknown but by early 1943 he was serving with 232 Squadron at Bone in Algeria.

On 10th February the squadron scrambled twelve Spitfires to intercept a raiding force approaching Bone at 15,000 feet. North was shot down and killed in this engagement.

He is buried in Bone War Cemetery, Annaba, Algeria.

Penrith Grammar School awards the Gerald North Cup for cross-country running.





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