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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. H N Tamblyn


Hugh Norman Tamblyn was born on 5th September 1917 at Watrous, Saskatchewan, Canada, the son of Norman and Ethel Mary Tamblyn. His father was a bank manager.

He was educated at the Burke Public School, the Yorktown Collegiate School and the Provincial Institute of Technology, Calgary.

Tamblyn learned to fly whilst working as an aircraft mechanic in Saskatchewan. He joined the RAF on a short service commission in April 1938. With his training completed, Tamblyn was posted to 7 BGS as a staff pilot. He joined 141 Squadron when it was reformed at Tumhouse on 4th October 1939.



Tamblyn went south with the squadron to West Malling on 12th July 1940. Shortly after 09.00 on the 19th twelve Defiants moved to the forward airfield at Hawkinge. At 12.23 they were ordered to carry out an offensive patrol twenty miles south of Folkestone. Three were left behind with engine trouble.

During the patrol the nine Defiants were surprised by Me109s of III/JG51. Tamblyn was one of only two pilots to return. His gunner, Sgt. SWM Powell, claimed a Me109 destroyed.

On 8th August 1940 Tamblyn was posted to 242 Squadron at Coltishall. He claimed a Me110 destroyed and a Me109 probably destroyed on 7th September, two more on the 9th, a shared Do17 on the 15th, another destroyed on the 18th and a Me109 damaged on the 27th.

Tamblyn damaged a Do17 on 25th February 1941.

He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 7th January 1941) and decorated by the King at Buckingham Palace on 1st April 1941.

Two days later Tamblyn was shot down into the sea, perhaps by return fire from a Do17 whilst on convoy duty east of Felixstowe. He radioed that his aircraft, Hurricane II Z2692, was on fire. A search found his body, unwounded. He had died from exposure and cold.

Tamblyn was 23. He is buried in Ipswich Cemetery, Suffolk.

Hamblyn's portrait was made by Cuthbert Orde (below).








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