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The Airmen's Stories - P/O H W Reilley


Hugh William Reilley was born in London, Ontario, Canada on 26th May 1918 to an American father and Scottish mother.

His parents were Hugh William Reilley and Annie Reilley (nee Miller).

There is incorrect contrary information that he was born in Detroit USA and this has led to great confusion over his true nationality. He certainly spent a great deal of his early years in London as he was brought up by relatives there after his mother's death in 1930.

His son Christopher has thoroughly documented his early life at:

After finishing his schooling in 1938 he worked locally at the Highland Golf Club and a winery before leaving for England in May 1939 with a friend to enlist in the RAF.

He was awarded a short service commission and started his training at 1 Initial Training Wing at Jesus College, Cambridge. Following flying training at 2 EFTS Filton (Bristol) he went on to advanced training at 10 EFTS Yatesbury and again to 2 FTS Brize Norton where he had qualified by August 1940.

Conversion to Spitfires at 7 OTU Hawarden was followed by a posting to 64 Squadron at Leconfield in early September. His last move was on 15th September to 66 Squadron at Gravesend. On the 27th September he claimed a Me109 destroyed and this was confirmed.



On 17th October Reilley was shot down by Major Molders of JG51, his Spitfire R6800 crashing at Crockham Hill, Sevenoaks.

Reilley, aged 22, was killed and is buried in Gravesend Cemetery.


The American volunteers that flew with the RAF in the Battle are the subject of a book "The Few" by Alex Kershaw ISBN 978-0-718-14746-4



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