The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. M H Pocock
Maurice Henry Pocock was born at Caversham, Berkshire on 1st August 1920. After completing his education he went to work for Oxfordshire County Council as an office boy.
On 21st July 1938 he joined the RAFVR as an Airman u/t Pilot. He achieved a high standard and the required number of flying hours and was offered six months training with the regular RAF.
Pocock joined 72 Squadron at Church Fenton on 1st June 1939 and was still on strength with it at the outbreak of war so he remained. He was detached to 12 Group Pool for a period of further training before rejoining 72 on 5th December 1939.
Pocock was still serving with 72 at the start of the Battle of Britain. On 31st August he damaged a Do17. On 1st September 1940 his Spitfire, L1056, was severely damaged in combat with a Me109 over Beachy Head. He made a belly-landing at West Malling, wounded in the left leg and wrist and was admitted to Preston Hall Hospital at Maidstone.
Pocock rejoined the squadron on 21st October with his next sortie on the 25th.
On 10th May 1941 he was sent up from Acklington to intercept an unidentified aircraft. He climbed to 15,000 feet but Rudolf Hess, whose Me110 it was, lost height as he crossed the English coast and a combination of cloud, mist, fading light and the high speed of the Me110 meant that he was not intercepted. In a later letter to his wife Hess said that he saw a Spitfire, which could have been Pocock's.
He married Joan Simmons in October 1941 at Ploughley, Oxfordshire.
Posted away on 19th November 1941, Pocock went to 58 OTU Grangemouth as an instructor.
Commissioned from Warrant Officer in May 1942, Pocock joined 93 Squadron at Wansford on 24th September. The squadron moved out on 20th October 1942 and landed at Algiers on 13th November.
Pocock was posted to 152 Squadron at Souk-el-Khemis on 23rd April 1943 as a Flight Commander. The next day his aircraft was damaged by flak and he made a belly-landing, with an overheated engine. After spending the night in a nearby monastery at Thibar, Pocock was picked up by squadron transport.
On 13th June 1943 Pocock left 152 and returned to the UK in an aircraft from Algiers. He went to HQ Fighter Command on 1st July and whilst awaiting a posting gave talks at factories. Pocock returned to the Middle East on 5th October 1943 to join 108 Squadron, operating Beaufighters.
He left the squadron on 19th January 1944 and returned to the UK. Pocock was posted to 21(P) AFU at Seighford, Staffordshire on 7th April as an instructor on Oxfords.
He went to the School of Flying Control, Watchfield for a course on 22nd July 1946 and on 28th October he was posted to 38 MU St Athan.
Pocock received a Mention in Despatches (gazetted 8th June 1944).
He was released from the RAF on 18th December 1946 as a Flight Lieutenant.
Pocock died in February 1995 in Slough.