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The Airmen's Stories - S/Ldr. H M Pinfold


Herbert Moreton Pinfold was born on 5th February 1913 and joined the RAF on a short service commission in mid-September 1934. On the 29th he was posted to 5 FTS Sealand and with his training completed he went to 6 Squadron at Ismailia, Egypt on 5th September 1935.

Back in the UK, Pinfold was posted to 64 Squadron at Martlesham Heath on 19th March 1936 and on 16th July 1938 he joined 502 Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force at Aldergrove as Flying Instructor and Adjutant.

He married Joyce Roslaie Charnaud in April 1939 in Chelsea.



Pinfold went to 3 FTS South Cerney on 2nd July 1940 as an instructor followed by a refresher course at 5 OTU Aston Down on 11th August where he converted to Hurricanes.

He was posted to command 56 Squadron at North Weald on 24th August 1940. He flew 14 operational sorties in the next five days, three in one day. The squadron only had nine operational pilots. On 1st September 56 was sent to Boscombe Down to absorb replacements while remaining operational, 249 Squadron leaving Boscombe for North Weald. On 30th September Pinfold led the squadron to intercept a large raid heading for the aircraft factory at Yeovil. After destroying a Do17 he was hit by return fire, this caused a glycol leak that led to a forced landing at Warmwell.

In October 1940 Pinfold was due for an annual medical examination at the RAF Hospital, Halton. His Adjutant, F/O Hudson, offered to drive him there for the appointment. It had been arranged that this trip should also be used to obtain a long overdue squadron mascot, the majority being in favour of a dog.

This task was preceded by alcoholic refreshment with the result that the pair returned with a monkey. The pilots immediately named him 109 and and told visiting dignitaries that he was being trained to sit behind a pilot, looking backwards, and then to tap the pilot on the shoulder when a German Me109 fighter was on his tail. The monkey never did get airborne and one day disappeared into the woods at dispersal.

In mid-December 1940 the squadron returned to North Weald to take part in sweeps over France.

He left the squadron on 17th January 1941 to resume flying instructor duties at 10 FTS Ternhill.

From 2nd January to 16th July 1945 Pinfold was at RAF Staff College, after which he was on the staff at Air HQ Kandy, Ceylon and later Singapore.



He retired from the RAF on October 1st 1958, as a Group Captain.



Pinfold had been involved in examining a Soviet MiG-21 (example above) that had been flown to Sweden by a defecting Soviet pilot and subsequently secretly handed over to the RAF.

During a later thaw in the 'Cold War' Pinfold was able to meet his Russian counterparts, who asked for the return of the aircraft as a goodwill gesture. The RAF was happy to do this but by then the MiG had been dismantled with various areas sawn up to measure the qualities of the various metals.

The components were loaded into a container and shipped to Russia, together with a bottle of whisky with a label tied to the neck saying 'Sorry !'.


Pinfold died on 19th October 2009.


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