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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. H P F Patten


Hubert Paul Frederick Patten was born on 15th October 1917. He joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his initial training at No. 1 E&RFTS Hatfield on 25th October 1937. He was posted to 2 FTS Brize Norton on 9th January 1938 and with his training completed he joined 79 Squadron at Biggin Hill on 20th August.

In October 1938 Patten went to CFS Upavon for an instructors course but became ill and did not graduate. After three months as supernumerary sick at Uxbridge he joined 64 Squadron at Church Fenton on 1st April 1939.

Over Dunkirk on 31st May 1940 Patten destroyed a Me110 and, flying from Kenley on 10th July, he destroyed another and damaged two.



On 1st September 1940 he joined the newly-formed 307 Squadron at Kirton-in-Lindsey, a Polish night-fighter unit with Defiants, as 'B' Flight Commander with the rank of Acting Flight Lieutenant.

In May 1941 Patten moved to 604 Squadron at Middle Wallop. In the early hours of 5th July 1941, with F/Sgt. DG Moody as radar operator, he intercepted and shot down a He111 which crashed near Frome, Somerset. Patten remained with 604 until October, when he went to Exminster as GCI Controller.

Patten was posted to 52 OTU Aston Down in February 1943 for a Spitfire refresher course. In May he joined 276 (ASR) Squadron at Harrowbeer as a supernumerary Squadron Leader, but was then posted to Air HQ Malta in June, where he served as Staff Officer Night Ops.

In December 1943 Patten was attached to 108 Squadron at Luqa, a Beaufighter night-fighter unit, then went to HQ 242 Group Taranto later in the month, as a staff officer with Fighter Operations.

In April and May 1944 Patten was serving with 1435 Squadron at Rimini as a supernumerary Squadron Leader, before joining 255 Squadron at Foggia, as a Flight Commander. During the night of 1st/2nd July 1944 he destroyed a Ju88. He returned to the UK in January 1945.

Patten was at the Air Ministry until September and then after a short spell on Mustangs at 61 OTU Keevil he was released from the RAF in October 1945.

He worked in the International Civil Aviation Organisation in Montreal and Paris from December 1945 until June 1949. Patten then rejoined the RAF, serving in the Fighter Control Branch.

He retired early on 28th May 1964 as a Flight Lieutenant, retaining the rank of Squadron Leader. From October 1964 until April 1980 Patten worked as a civilian with NATO in France and Belgium.

He died on 24th December 2002 and his ashes are interred in the family plot at Odiham.

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