The Airmen's Stories - P/O T S Wade
Trevor Sidney Wade was born on 24th January 1920 and educated at Yardley Court School and Tonbridge School. He joined the RAFVR in April 1938 as an Airman u/t Pilot and learned to fly at 19 E&RFTS Gatwick. Called to full-time service at the outbreak of war, he was commissioned in late April 1940.
On 21st May Wade was posted to 92 Squadron at Croydon. On 28th July, with deteriorating weather conditions and R/T failure during a night patrol over Swansea Bay, he baled out over Exeter. His Spitfire, N3287, crashed two miles south-west of Chudleigh.
He married Josephine Clow Gibbins on 2nd August 1940 in Oxted, Surrey.
On 19th August Wade shared in destroying a Ju88 but his Spitfire, R6703, was hit by return fire and he made a forced-landing on Lewes Race Course. The aircraft overturned and Wade was trapped upside down in the cockpit
but fortunately the aircraft did not catch fire.
Above: A party celebrating the first anniversary of the arrival of 92 Squadron at RAF Biggin Hill, September 1941.
Rear row (L to R): P/O S Maitland-Thompson, F/O T Weiss (Intelligence Officer), F/O G Wellum.
Front row (L to R): W/cdr. JA Kent, F/Lt. A Bartley, Mrs JC Wade, F/Lt. R Holland, P/O T Wade, two unidentified ladies.
On 12th October Wade destroyed a Me109, probably another and damaged a third, on the 26th he got a probable Me109, on the 29th a probable Me110, on 26th November a probable Do17 and on 2nd December he shot down a Me109. In this engagement his own aircraft was hit and he made a forced-landing at Gravesend.
Wade destroyed a Me109 on 9th May 1941, shared another on the 16th, destroyed one on 16th June, shared another on the 21st and probably destroyed another on the 23rd. He was posted away in late June 1941 to join 123 Squadron at Turnhouse.
He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 15th July 1941) and joined 602 Squadron at Kenley in September 1941. Wade was shot down on the 17th but was unhurt.
After leaving 602, Wade was posted to instruct at an OTU. He did an instructor's course at CFS and then went to CGS Sutton Bridge as a gunnery instructor. He was later posted to HQ 9 Group as Gunnery Officer, responsible for gunnery instruction at fighter OTUs.
In late 1943 Wade was appointed OC Flying at AFDU, testing the performance of captured enemy aircraft and comparing them to their Allied counterparts. For this work he was awarded the AFC (gazetted 1st September 1944). In early 1945 Wade went to the USA to test captured Japanese fighters and to gain experience on new American types.
Wade was released from the RAF in 1946, as a Squadron Leader. He joined the editorial staff of The Aeroplane, concerned with testing new types of light civil aeroplanes. In late 1947 Wade was offered the job of assistant test pilot at Hawker Aircraft. A few months later he took over as test pilot, flying the new Hawker jets. After a spell in the USA on an exchange scheme, he returned to Hawkers and resumed test flying.
Above: Wade postwar with the prototype Hawker Sea Hawk.
On 3rd April 1951 Wade was killed when he crashed at Ringmer, Sussex, whilst testing the P 1081.
It has been suggested that he was attempting a transonic dive and had inadvertently gone supersonic. Wade elected to eject, jettisoning the canopy at 9000 ft. and ejecting at 2000 ft. While the ejection was successful, he failed to separate from the seat and was killed on impact with the ground.
He is commemorated by a plaque at Tonbridge School (below).