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Wednesday 5 December 2012

War Grave Wednesday - Gerard Hamilton Maffett - Royal Air Force

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them".

Gerard Hamilton Maffett was born 11th June 1916 in Murree, India to Lieutenant-Colonel Reginald Ernest Maffett and his wife Gwendoline Mary de Rutzen.

Gerard was educated at Imperial Service College in Windsor, Berkshire.  In 1934 he finished his education and took a job with the Daily Mail in London.  Four years later Gerard enlisted with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR) as a U/T Pilot.  He started out flying Tiger Moths from White Waltham airfield near Maidenhead, Berkshire.  On 22nd June 1940 Gerard converted from Tiger Moths to Hurricane aircraft and joined 257 Sqaudron at Northolt on 7th July 1940.

Gerard flew on his first operation on 18th August 1940 where he is credited for destroying a Dornier Do17 aircraft and damaging a Heinkel He111.

On 31st August 1940, nine Hurricanes took off from Martlesham Heath at 8:25am, they were ordered to partol Debden at 15,000 feet.  The Squadron climbed towards Debden, but encountered two large formations of Junkers Ju88 aircraft at 14,000 feet with several formations of Messerschmitt Bf110s at 16,000 feet.  Unable to catch up with the Junkers Ju88s the squardon persued the Messerschmitt formations.  At least six Messerschmitt Bf110s were destroyed, however the squadron suffered the loss of two Hurricanes.  One of those was Gerard's P3175, which crashed into the foresore at Stone Point, Walton-on-the-Naxe, Essex at arouns 8:50am.  Gereard was able to bail out of his striken aircraft but his parachute failed to open due to low altitude.  Gerard was killed on impact.

Gerard's elder brother John Francis Maffett, Wing Commander with the RAF was also killed in action on 12th February 1942.  He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Egham, Surrey.

Reginald Ernest Maffett passed away in 1949 and Gwendoline Mary in 1975 aged 100 years.

Bewteen 1972 and 1973 the remains of Gerard's crashed Hurricane, including instrument panel and windscreen, together with an almost complete engine and the remains of the three wooden propellor blades was recovered.  They're now displayed in The Battle of Britain Muesum in Hendon, London.

They gave their tomorrows for our todays.

1 comment:

  1. Not the normal Commonwealth Headstone I would expect on a grave but then I have seen a couple that were not.


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