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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. E R Webster


Ernest Reginald Webster was born on 18th September 1917 in Sculcoates, a suburb of Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire, he was employed as an Electrical Engineer in Hull when he joined the RAFVR on 4th March 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot.

Called up on 1st September 1939, he was sent to 4 Initial Training Wing at Bexhill. The airmen were billeted at the Metropole and Sackville Hotels and also used the De La Warr Pavilion for lectures.

Webster carried out his elementary flying training at 4 EFTS Brough.

He went on to 2 FTS Brize Norton for No. 44 Course, which ran from 11th December 1939 to 18th May 1940. Webster arrived at 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on 18th May 1940.

After converting to Hurricanes he was posted to 85 Squadron at Debden on 24th May, the squadron had returned from France two days earlier.




85 Squadron

Above L to R : P/O JL Bickerdyke, F/O PP Woods-Scawen, F/O J Lockhart, F/O RHA Lee, Sgt. L Jowitt, F/Lt. Bieber(MO), Sgt. ER Webster


He married Margaret Williams-Jones, also of Sculcoates, on 11th June 1940 in Saffron Walden, Essex.

He was still serving with 85 Squadron when it moved to Church Fenton on 5th September 1940 for night fighter operations.


Above L to R: Sgt. ER Webster, Sgt. G Goodman, Sgt. TCE Berkley


The squadron was re-equipped with the Douglas Havoc, the first arriving in February 1941. It seems that Webster at some point later retrained as a Navigator/Radar Operator while remaining with the squadron.

He teamed up P/O Bransome Arthur Burbridge. They claimed a probable Ju88 over Ipswich at 0330 on 2nd June 1942. The following night, at 0250, they damaged a Do217 over Canterbury.

In August 1942 the squadron began to convert to the Mosquito, on 15th August Burbridge and Webster made their first flight in one. The squadron's new role was protecting the bomber stream over Germany.

However Burbridge became tour-expired in October 1942, he would later become the highest scoring night fighter ace with 21 enemy aircraft kills, including four in one night sortie over Germany.

Webster's subsequent service is currently undocumented until he was commissioned from Warrant Officer in October 1943.

Webster was released from the RAF in 1947 as a Flying Officer.

He married Maureen F J Schenkel in January 1965 in Holderness, Yorkshire.

He died aged 51 from bladder cancer on 2nd September 1969 in Hull.




Barry Ladyman, who submitted much of this research, writes on a more personal level:

Ernest, known as Reggie, became infatuated with the 19-year-old Margaret Williams-Jones, known as Margie, she was a shorthand typist and clerk. Also from Sculcoates, she had probably known him since schooldays, she grew to resemble the actress Glenda Farrell (below).



He showered her with gifts and wrote 34 intimate love letters to her whilst training (below).



Postwar he returned to her and they built a house together.

Margie died on 17th October 2004.



Webster was awarded the 1939-45 War Medal with Battle of Britain Clasp, the Air Efficiency Award, Defence Medal and the Aircrew Europe Medal with France/Germany Clasp.



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