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The Airmen's Stories - S/Ldr. F L White


Francis Lawrence White was born on 18th February 1905 in Elwick, West Hartlepool, Durham and joined the RAF in January 1922 as an Aircraft Apprentice. He passed out in December 1924 as a Fitter, Aero Engines.

He later applied for pilot training and was selected. White was a Sergeant-Pilot when he was granted a permanent commission in May 1931.

On 29th May he was posted to 15 Squadron at Martlesham Heath. He joined the staff at the RAF Training Base at Leuchars on 10th June 1933 and on 8th December went to the staff at SHQ Hal Far, Malta. He later joined the Station Flight there and was appointed Adjutant.


Above: 74 Squadron

F/O Bird, P/O HM Stephen, F/O JC Mungo-Park, P/O BV Draper, P/O PCF Stevenson, P/O DG Cobden, P/O A Smith, P/O JHR Young, WO Mayne, P/O D Hastings

F/Lt. AG Malan, S/Ldr. FL White, F/Lt. WEG Measures

Sgt. EA Mould, F/O DHT Dowding, F/O JC Freeborn



White was posted to the staff at RAF College Cranwell on 28th February 1938, moving to the Air Staff at HQ 21 Group Sleaford on 1st December. He returned to Cranwell on 27th February 1939 as CO of the Advanced Training Squadron.

He was posted to 74 Squadron at Rochford on 25th February 1940 as a supernumerary Squadron Leader and he took command on the 29th.

Whilst sharing in the destruction of a Hs126 over the French coast on 23rd May White's aircraft was hit by return fire from the gunner and he made a forced-landing at Calais-Marck airfield. He was rescued by F/Lt. JA Leathart of 54 Squadron.

On 8th August 1940 White was posted to HQ Fighter Command and did not fly operationally again.

He stayed in the RAF postwar and retired on 9th September 1952 as a Group Captain.

He died in March 1982 in Warminster.


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