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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. A D Payne


Alec Dawson Payne was born in Croydon in the second quarter of 1920 and joined the RAFVR in May 1939. He began his flying training at 19 E&RFTS Gatwick on 9th July 1939 and soloed on the 18th.

Called up on 6th September 1939, he went to No. 1 ITW Cambridge in November. He continued to fly Tiger Moths at 22 EFTS there, moving later to a further flying course at RAF Yatesbury.

Payne was posted to 8 FTS Montrose for No. 20 Course, which ran from 10th June to 31st August 1940. He moved on to 7 OTU Hawarden on 2nd September and after converting to Spitfires joined 610 Squadron at Acklington on the 23rd.



Payne joined 74 Squadron at Biggin Hill on 3rd December 1940. During a sweep on 2nd February 1941 he shot down a Me109 over Boulogne.

On 23rd May Payne hit a lorry while taking off at night from Gravesend in Spitfire IIa P8265. He was admitted to hospital with multiple injuries.

He also suffered partial loss of memory and severe headaches, resulting from exposure to heat and bright light. On 25th October 1941 Payne was posted to Kenley on Flying Control and Operations Room duties. In August 1942 he regained a flying category, A2B, which limited him to non-operational flying below 20,000 feet.

Payne was posted to 108 RSU in North Africa in 1st September 1942 but became unfit in the climatic conditions and returned to the UK in mid-1943.

He went to Cranwell for a refresher course and on 11th October joined 3 ADF, later moving to 4 ADF. On 14th January 1945 Payne was posted to 1561 Met Flight at Ikeja, near Lagos, Nigeria.

He arrived back in the UK on 11th November 1945 and was released from the RAF on 27th January 1946 as a Warrant Officer.

He later lived in Suffolk and died on 16th December 2010.

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