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The Airmen's Stories - F/O R M S Rayner


Roderick Malachi Seaburne Rayner was born on 6th January 1918 in Worthenbury, Wrexham and attended Wimbledon College.

He joined the RAF on a short service commission in July 1937. He went to 6 FTS Netheravon on 18th September and after completing the course joined 87 Squadron at Debden on 17th September 1938.


Above L to R: F/O R Watson, Sgt. LA Thorogood, P/O RFF Malengrau (BEL), F/lt. IR Gleed, F/O KW Tait (NZ), F/O RMS Rayner.


Above L to R: F/O RMS Rayner, P/O RFF Malengrau, W/Cdr. JS Dewar.


Above L to R: F/O R Watson, F/O KW Tait (NZ), F/lt. IR Gleed, F/O RMS Rayner, P/O PW Comely at the White Swan Inn, Bibury 1940.

Images courtesy of the collection of F/O R Watson.


The squadron went to France at the outbreak of war.

On 6th November 1939 Rayner shot down a French Potez 63 in error. Fortunately the crew survived.

On 17th May 1940 Rayner destroyed a Me110, on the 19th destroyed a Me109 and a Do17 and shared a He111 and on the 20th destroyed a Me110 and a Me109.

The squadron withdrew to Debden on the 22nd.

Rayner claimed Me110s destroyed on 25th July and 15th August. He baled out of Hurricane V7204 on 23rd December 1940 in bad weather near Brize Norton. By that time the squadron had gone over to night-fighting duties.

In January 1941 Rayner was made 'A' Flight Commander and awarded the DFC (gazetted 11th February 1941).

During the night of 10th/11th April he attacked and damaged an unidentified enemy aircraft in the Gloucester/Tewksbury area.

Rayner was released from the RAF in 1946 as a Wing Commander. He went into Civil Aviation and from 1952 was Civil Air Attache in the Middle East.

He died on 29th December 1982 in Nicosia, Cyprus and is buried in the British cemetery there.

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