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The Airmen's Stories - F/O H J Woodward


Herbert John Woodward of Heckmondwike, Yorkshire was born in Harefield, Middlesex on 6th February 1916, the son of John Woodward and Florence Woodward (nee Butcher).

His father was killed at Passchendaele on 30th October 1917 serving with the 4th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment. He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial wall.

HJ Woodward was educated at Blackpool Grammar School and Leeds University.

He joined the RAFO on 23rd September 1937. After completing his initial training at 4 E&RFTS Brough Woodward was commissioned in Class 'A' of the RAFO on 24th November 1937.

He was posted to 8 FTS Montrose on 11th December and after completing his training he joined 64 Squadron at Church Fenton on 9th July 1938. Woodward relinquished his RAFO commission on 23rd September when he was granted an RAF short service commission.

Over Dunkirk on 31st May 1940 Woodward destroyed a Do17. In combat over Dover on 19th July he collided with a Me109 and returned to Kenley with a damaged wing tip.

On 5th and 8th August Woodward probably destroyed Me109's, he destroyed another on the 12th and on the 13th he destroyed a Do17.

He joined 23 Squadron at Ford on 12th September 1940 as 'B' Flight Commander, as an Acting Flight Lieutenant. He made his first flight with 23 Squadron on 17th September.

He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 1st October 1940).

On 30th October 1940 Woodward was the captain of Blenheim L6721 on a routine night patrol which crashed at Orchard Way Road, South Bersted, after having R/T failure in deteriorating weather conditions.

All three men on board were killed, Woodward, P/O AA Atkinson and AC2 HT Perry.

Woodward is buried in Heckmondwike Cemetery, Yorkshire.




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