Sqn Ldr Donald Ian McLeod (3993)

He went to EC from 1931 to 1935, and after leaving he married Margaret of Hampstead Garden Suburb, Middlesex.

In the book ‘Short Stirling: The 1st of the RAF heavy bombers’ by Pino Lombardi

He was the squadron leader of the 7th squadron in aircraft N6085. On 3rd Oct 1941 they took off from Oaklington on a night mission but were shot down by intruder aircraft and crashed near Bourn, WSW of Cambridge.

On 3rd Oct 1941, N6085 H Harry of 7 squadron was returning from bombing Brest. Flt Lt Stock was the rear gunner and as the Stirling circled Oakington he vacated the rear turret as usual. This was standard procedure as it had been noted on early operations that the weight of the rear gunner in the turret affected the balance of the aircraft and made landing more difficult. The flare path was lit to guide the aircraft home. Suddenly the watch office at Oakington was warned that there was a night fighter in the area, the runway lights were extinguished while the returning Stirlings were warned by radio. Sqn Ldr Mcleod, flying N6085 was attacked by Ju88 flown by Alfons Koster of 1/NJG 2, who had been patrolling the area known to the Germans as ‘Raum C’.

F/O Keith Deyell recalls the event; ‘The pilot left his R/T on ‘send’ and hence did no receive the order to turn off navigation lights because an intruder had joined the circuit’. A running battle commenced, witnessed by a nearby Royal Observer Corps post. The Ju88 was behind N6085 and Sqn Ldr McLeod was taking violent evasive action with the Ju88 still managing to fire short bursts with some accuracy. Flt Lt Stock tried desperately to get back into his turret, but due to the violent motion of the aircraft he was unable to do so properly. However, he managed to get partly inside and return fire at the Ju88. Seeing the attack, Sgt S G Matkin, flying W7442, managed to swing in behind the Ju88 and the front gunner began firing at it. The Ju88 made six attacks during this time scoring hits on Stock’s Stirling which caught fire. Now dangerously low, the observer, P/O Rees Alverson, and Sgt Hunter, the 2nd pilot, managed to bale out over Caxton from a height of around 700 feet. Flt Lt Stock was still firing back at the Ju88 as the Stirling hit trees alongside the A14 at Papworth Everard and crashed into a field at New Farm; it burnt out with the loss of the five remaining crew. The Ju88 then broke off the attack and bombed Oakington airfield before slipping away into the night. F/O Deyell continues: ‘P/O Rees Alverson, the navigator, managed to jump and was saved when his chute opened just before he hit the ground. Another crew member followed Alverson but became entangled in the undercarriage with his chute open. Many locals witnessed the events and the next morning people living in Caxton picked up spent 20-mm German cannon shell cases from their gardens.

Squadron Leader D I McLeod, Flight Sergeant H Watson, Sergeant J A Marshall, Flight Lieutenant S G Stock, Flight Sergeant J R Walker all killed; Sergeant I H Hunter (RNZAF), Pilot Officer J R Alverson (RCAF) were uninjured.

Longstanton (All Saints) Churchyard

Pilot Officer William Arthur Coote Mulloy (4034)

At school he was the heavyweight boxing champion and a member of the shooting team.

On 9th July 1940 in aircraft P4288 it was weakened when it crashed at 1945 on approach to land at Waddington from a ferry flight (after the aircraft were tested, accepted and commissioned they were then delivered). One engine failed in flight and the pilot was unable to control the aircraft on a single engine. It stalled and crashed after the pilot made a flat turn at too low an altitude to recover from the stall. The aircraft burned out on the ground. Pilot Officer W|AC Mulloy DSFC and the crew were unhurt.

Flying Officer French successfully attacked, in the face of intense anti-aircraft fire, a German cruiser in the Bergen roadstead, enabling his navigator and bomb aimer, Pilot Officer Mulloy, to secure a direct hit on the cruiser. This operation necessitated more than 1,000 miles flying over the sea. He was awarded the DFC for ‘skill and daring’ in the Norwegian Campaign in April 1940.

On 25th July 1940 he took off from RAF Waddington, Lindholme, Lincolnshire at 2109. His plane was damaged by enemy action and was heard on W/T at 0215 on 26th July 1940 indicating port engine failure over Cuxhaven and that the crew was heading for Calais. His Handley Page Hampden Mk I registration P1321 as part of the 50th Squadron RAF.
The official narrative stated that the plane was lost on combat operations on the morning of 26/7/1940. The target had been Castrop-Rauxel, Germany. Hit by AAA/Flak and attacked by night fighters over the target, but managed to return to the UK, making a crash landing on the beach at Happisburgh, near Cromer, Norfolk. All four crew were killed.

According to the 50 Squadron diary (ORB – Air Ministry Form 540):


Five aircraft tonight set off to bomb a synthetic oil plant at Castrop-Rauxel. Due to bad weather and poor visibility with searchlight activity, three of the aircraft bombed alternate targets and returned safely to Base while a fourth bombed the target reporting massive flak and searchlights working in conjunction with night fighters; these four returned safely to Base. (In addition, six further aircraft set off to bomb a synthetic oil plant at Wanne-Eickel. Two successfully bombed the target, but four failed to locate the target due to haze and searchlight glare, and so bombed various alternate targets, returning safely to base).

The fifth, Hampden P1321 failed to return. The aircraft transmitted a W/T message at 02.15hrs that the port engine had failed over Cuxhaven and that they were heading for Calais. They managed to get back over the North Sea but nothing further was heard, however, until the M.L.O. reported “Battery at Haisboro’ reports bomber crashed at low water mark near heavy battery; position of machine visible and have removed 3 bodies”.

It was also stated that the aircraft was P1321, and that it bore marks of bullets or shrapnel holes. The aircraft had apparently flown from the direction of the land, and on hitting the beach, had disintegrated. Presumed that the pilot was attempting to make a forced landing on the beach, after flying a few miles inland to establish his position.

Crew were:
Pilot, 40636 Pilot Officer William Arthur Coote Mulloy DFC RAFVR,
WOP/AG 624161 Sgt.Angus Lamont Stewart RAF, aged 21
Observer 522273 Sgt. Gordon Reeves Watt RAF aged 25 and
WOP/AG Pilot Officer 77205 Thomas Monks Taylor RAFVR aged

It is believed that P1321 crashed at Happisburgh beach near Cromer at 03.00 hrs. Pilot Officer Mulloy is buried in Hatfield Woodhouse Cemetery near Doncaster. Pilot Officer Taylor is buried in Thornton Garden Of Rest, Lancashire, and Sgt. Watt is buried at Romford Cemetery, Essex. Sgt. Stewart was never found and he is remembered on the Runnymede memorial.

Pilot Officer Cecil Wheadon Noel (3156)

He was a student at EC from 1906 to 1908 and joined the RAFVR at the outbreak of war. Aged 43 C W Noel died on 25th Jan 1941 and is buried at St Eval Churchyard in Cornwall.

On the evening of Saturday, January 25, 1941, Luftwaffe aircraft bombers attacked RAF St. Eval. The Germans dropped not only bombs, but also hundreds of incendiaries which lit up the entire RAF base. The attack and destruction, which could be seen for miles around, caused the death of 21 airmen who perished when a bomb hit their shelter area. Badly injured, one survivor later died in hospital.

St Eval’s primary role was to provide anti-submarine and anti-shipping patrols off the south west coast. Aircraft from the airfield were also used for photographic reconnaissance missions, meteorological flights, convoy patrols, air-sea rescue missions and protection of the airfield from the Luftwaffe.

This story has been written onto the BBC People’s War site by CSV Storygatherer Jane Chanter on behalf of William Henry Burgoyne. The story has been added to the site with his permission and William Burgoyne fully understands the terms and conditions of the site.
I joined the R.A.F. on 30th May 1940, being 19 years old and after initial training I became a DMT (Driver Mechanical Transport) and an ACI (Aircraftsman 1st Class) on 25th January 1941, being detached to RAF Mountbaten, Plymouth to a Hurricane Squadron at Roborough. I had to take night fighter pilots from Roborough in a three ton covered Bedford truck to RAF St Eval, Cornwall.
Whilst at the dispersal area I had to ferry the night staff to the H.Q. area for meals and whilst driving around the perimeter I was conscious of enemy bombers approaching, when all of a sudden all hell was let loose. For apart from dropping HE bombs they dropped hundreds of incendiaries, by which time the warning siren sounded, as the whole aerodrome was lit up, which could be viewed from miles around.
I drove a short distance before the night staff decided it would be better to bail out and take our chance. We were approaching the hanger area when I noticed a brand-new photographic reconnaissance unit Spitfire with incendiaries around it, with a few underneath the wings and as fortune would have it, there was a heap of sand and shovels available as the runway was under repair from previous air raids. Another “erk” and I grabbed the shovels and extinguished the incendiaries, saving a valuable aircraft. A Flight Lieutenant appeared as if from nowhere and complimented us on our efforts and told us to follow him which fortunately I did and survived but the death of 21 men was only minutes away as a parachute mine scored a direct hit on their shelter. A single survivor was taken to hospital severely injured, but died the next day. There were two officers among the twenty-two killed.

Lt Edward de Lisle Carey Norrish (3607)

He was a student at EC from 1921 to 1924

He joined the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders and became a Lieutenant. There is very little information about him except that he was killed and buried at El Alamein with a memorial at Spean Bridge in Inverness where his wife lived. With hid date of death being 2nd Nov 1942 the QOCH were involved in Operation Supercharge in North Africa, part of the 8th Army. It is to be assumed that he was one of the casualties.

Operation Supercharge:

This was the British ‘dogfight’ stage of the 2nd Battle of El Alamein (from 2nd to 4th November 1942).

The plan evolved from the development of the ‘Lightfoot’ offensive between 24th  and 28th October, when Lieutenant General B. L. Montgomery’s 8th Army had failed to secure the rapid breakthrough it had anticipated against Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel’s Deutsch-Italienische Panzerarmee in order to release Major General R. Briggs’s 1st Armoured Division and Major General A. H. Gatehouse’s 10th Armoured Division of Lieutenant General H. Lumsden’s X Corps into the rear areas of the combined German and Italian forces under Rommel’s command.

Lt E D L C Norrish gravestone

Montgomery planned to unleash ‘Supercharge’ behind a concentrated but comparatively short barrage on the night of 31st October/1st November, but was persuaded by Freyberg to postpone the start until the night of 1st 2nd November to give the troops an opportunity to rest and to allow the completion of the New Zealand 2nd Division’s reinforcement.

The artillery bombardment began at 01.05 on 2nd November with the two infantry brigades following it closely and reaching all their objectives by 06.15 to permit the 9th Armoured Brigade to begin the exploitation proper followed, to Freyberg’s concern, somewhat slowly by the 1st Armoured Division.

Despite the attentions of Air Vice Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham’s Western Desert Air Force, Rommel was able by the fall of night on 2nd November to organise a new defence position in front of the British armour. The Axis commander was then informed by von Thoma that the activities of British attack aircraft, the German tanks’ shortage of fuel and the total absence of Axis reserves meant that the continued maintenance of this position was at best problematical, and Rommel therefore made the only decision available to him, namely a withdrawal to positions previously reconnoitred at Fuka. Moreover, by this time Axis tank strength had fallen to 187 tanks, including 155 Italian vehicles wholly incapable of halting the Sherman tanks used by the British

The Axis withdrawal started at 13.30 on 3rd November, but was then halted at the express order of Adolf Hitler. The German leader later reversed his instructions, giving Rommel the freedom of action he so desperately needed, but by then it was too late for an orderly withdrawal, and on 4 November the 8th Army ripped a 15-mile (24-km) gap in the German and Italian front near Tell el Aqqaqir, allowing the armour of the X Corps to smash through the 132a Divisione corazzata and capture von Thoma.

‘Supercharge’ had thus succeeded in its primary objective, and of the 108,000 Axis troops involved in the 2nd Battle of El Alamein, some 25,000 had been killed or wounded, and another 30,000 (including 10,725 Germans) had been taken prisoner; the British also captured 1,000 pieces of artillery and 320 tanks. The 8th Army’s losses were 13,560 men, including 4,610 killed or missing, and some 150 tanks.

The operational impact of ‘Supercharge’ was enormous as, in combination with Hitler’s halt order, it destroyed the Deutsch-Italienische Panzerarmee as an effective offensive force.

Lt John Falla Savage (3977)

He attended EC from 1930 to 1936.

On 20 Aug 1944 HMS Kite was escorting the aircraft carriers Vindex and Striker which in turn were escorting convoy JW 59 to North Russia when the convoy was sighted in the Barents Sea by German aircraft. Soon a pack of U-boats attacked the convoy and one U-boat was sunk by a Swordfish aircraft from one of the carriers. At 0630 on 21 Aug 1944 HMS Kite slowed to 6 knots to untangle her anti acoustic torpedo noise makers towed astern. She was now a sitting duck and was hit by 2 torpedoes from U-344 and sank. Of 10 officers and 207 ratings, 60 survived the attack but the freezing Arctic water only 14 sailors were picked up alive by HMS Keppel, five of whom died, leaving just 9 to make shore.

He is on the Plymouth Naval Memorial

Lt J F Savage