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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. B H Quelch


Basil Herbert Quelch was born at Oxford on 8th April 1919. After leaving Oxford Central School in 1934 he became a junior clerk with a brewery company.

In July 1938 he joined the RAFVR as an Airman u/t Pilot and did his weekend training on Magisters. Called to full-time service on 1st September 1939, Quelch completed his training and arrived at 5 OTU Aston Down on 6th May 1940. After converting to Blenheims he joined 235 Squadron on the 26th.


Above image courtesy of Andrew Bird.


He flew with the squadron on operations covering the evacuation of Dunkirk and throughout the Battle of Britain, based at Thorney Island.

On 20th February 1941 Quelch was posted to 2 (Coastal) OTU as an instructor on Blenheims and Beaufighters. Commissioned in December 1941, he left the unit on 9th August 1943 and on 20th October rejoined 235 Squadron for a second tour of operations.

Quelch flew on sorties covering the Normandy landings and strikes against shipping off Norway.

He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 2nd February 1945), having flown 101 operational sorties.

He joined a Coastal Command PR Unit on 12th February 1945, firstly in England and later in Germany. He assisted in making a film off Norway, called The Shipbusters.

Quelch was released from the RAF on 8th January 1946 and returned to the brewery company, holding many executive positions prior to retiring as Marketing Director in 1979. In May 1947 Quelch rejoined the RAFVR.

He died on 12th October 1995.



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