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The Airmen's Stories - P/O D Whitley


David Whitley was born on 15th May 1919 in Belfast, the son of David Ebenezer Whitley and Olivia Whitley (nee Green).

His father is shown in the 1911 census as a drapery buyer and in the 1939 register as a retired warehouseman. His address then was 51 de Parys Avenue, Bedford. He had served in the RASC, being discharged in 1919, possibly for medical reasons.

D Whitley joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his initial training course on 6th March 1939. He went to 12 FTS Grantham for No. 2 Course, which ran from 15th May to 6th November 1939. After completing the course he joined the newly-reformed 264 Squadron at Sutton Bridge.

He was detached to AFDU, Northolt on 4th March 1940 for a short course.

Over Dunkirk on 24th May 1940 Whitley and his gunner, LAC RC Turner, shared in the destruction of a Me110, on the 27th they shared a He111 and on the 29th destroyed three Ju87s. Whitley collided with P/O MH Young over Dunkirk on the 31st and made a crash-landing on the beach there.


L to R standing: P/O Hickman (not BoB), F/Lt. Cooke (not BoB), S/Ldr. Hunter, P/O MH Young, P/O GH Hackwood, P/O EG Barwell, P/O SR Thomas, P/O D Whitley

Seated: Thorn, Kay, Lauder, P/O RW Stokes



The squadron went south to Hornchurch on the 21st for what was to be its final spell of day fighting. On the 24th, after shooting down a Ju88, Whitley's Defiant, L7021 , was severely damaged by return fire from a Ju88 attacked over Manston. He returned safely to base.

Whitley was shot down by a Me109 over Thanet on 28th August and he and his gunner, Sgt. RC Turner, were killed. The Defiant, N1574, crashed in Kingswood, Challock Forest.

The two men were recommended for the DFC and DFM respectively but these were not awarded because they had both been killed and the awards could not be made posthumously.

Whitley was 21. He is buried in Bedford Cemetery.






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