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The Airmen's Stories - P/O D H Wissler


Denis Heathcote Wissler was born in September 1920 in Greenwich, the son of Clement Leslie Wissler and Annie Forsyth Wissler (nee Hodge).

He attended Bedford Modern School before joining the RAF on a short service commission in July 1939.

After completing his initial training he went to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge in late March 1940 to convert to Hurricanes. He was then posted to 85 Squadron in France on 27th April. He returned to Debden on 22nd May when the squadron was withdrawn.

He was posted to 17 Squadron on 8th June and flew out to join it at Le Mans in France the next day. He flew to Debden with the squadron on the 19th, when it was withdrawn.


Above: pilots of 17 Squadron in 1940

L to R: P/O DH Wissler, P/O JK Ross, F/O HAC Bird-Wilson, S/Ldr. CW Williams, Sgt. DA Sewell


Wissler shared a He111 on 29th July. He was wounded in the left arm in combat with a Me109 over the Thames Estuary on 24th September and crashed on landing at Debden in Hurricane P3168. He was admitted to Saffron Walden Hospital but was able to return to operational flying on 10th October.

On 11th November 1940 Wissler was shot down during an attack on Ju87s off Burnham. He crashed into the sea in Hurricane V7570 and was reported 'Missing'.

He is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 10.

Wissler kept a diary throughout his RAF service and this is held by the Imperial War Museum.


His cousin F/O Richard Peter Wissler was killed on 22nd October 1943 in Halifax V LK639 SE-E of 431 Squadron which was lost without a trace on a raid to Kassel.

Also lost were:

F/Sgt. LB Russell RCAF
F/Sgt. W Burns RCAF
Sgt. JF Challis
Sgt. DJ McCarthy
Sgt. H Priestley
Sgt. FE Skinner

All are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.



Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner


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