The Airmen's Stories - Lt. (FAA) R C Tillard
Rupert Claude Tillard, of Wimborne, Dorset, was born on 18th November 1909 and was a Sub-Lieutenant in the Navy when he was seconded to the RAF in January 1932 as a Flying Officer.
On 17th January he was sent to RAF Leuchars for flying training. After worldwide service with the RAF he relinquished his commission and returned to the Navy on 26th July 1939.
In early 1933 he had married Yvonne Beryl Newton Sawyer in Portsmouth (below).
In early July 1940 he was commanding 808 Squadron at Wick in Scotland, flying Fulmars in defence of the naval dockyard. The squadron was embarked on HMS Ark Royal on 22nd October 1940.
Operating south of Sardinia in November that year he shot down a SM79 on the 8th, another SM79 and a Cant Z506B on the 9th, another SM79 shared on the 27th and two SM79’s on 9th January 1941. He was later awarded a DSC (gazetted 1st April 1941).
On 3rd April 1941 he was credited with a probable Cant Z 506B but on 8th May his squadron of Fulmars were bounced by CR42’s during an attack on a formation of sixteen SM79’s. Tillard and his Observer, Lt. MF Somerville, were shot down and killed. He is buried in Enfidaville War Cemetery, Tunisia.
Above cemetery images courtesy of The War Graves Photographic Project