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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. A W Woolley


Arthur William Woolley was born in Bristol on 25th August 1918 but was brought up in Beckenham, Kent. He was working for the BBC as an engineer when he joined the RAFVR about October 1937 as an Airman u/t Pilot.

Called up on 1st September 1939, he was posted to 11 Group Pool St. Athan on the 2nd. After converting to Blenheims Woolley was posted to 604 Squadron at North Weald on the 13th.



He moved to 601 Squadron at Tangmere on 9th June 1940. On 11th July his aircraft was set alight by a bullet in the gravity tank during an attack on He111s over the Channel off Selsey. He baled out, wounded and burned. His Hurricane, P3681, crashed at Cranmore, Isle of Wight.

On 26th August Woolley crashed near Captains Wood, Great Totham, Essex during a routine patrol. The Hurricane, V7238, burned out.

After combat with Me109s off Gravesend on 31st August Woolley baled out, burned, and was admitted to hospital. His Hurricane, N2602, crashed and burned out.

He was commissioned in May 1941 and must have been posted to 255 Squadron as he is recorded as being one of 18 aircrews who flew their Beaufighters to the Middle East on 13th/14th November 1942 on the route Honiley-Portreath-Gibraltar-Maison Blanche.

He is recorded on 27th October 1944 as escaping unhurt when newly delivered Beaufighter VIf X8433 landed wheels-up at Honiley on a training flight.

Woolley later transferred to the Administrative Branch. He was released from the RAF in 1948 as a Flight Lieutenant. He rejoined the RAFVR in 1951.

His subsequent movements are currently undocumented but by early 1955 he was engaged as a test pilot with Airwork Services Ltd.

On 28th April 1955 he took up Hawker Seahawk WV847 for a test flight from Abbotsinch (Glasgow). The starboard wing failed in a dive and the aircraft crashed off Rosneath Point in the Firth of Clyde.

Woolley was killed.


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