Cemeteries and graveyards, full of love, betrayal, tragic deaths, murder, and suicide. What will you find?

Friday 24 January 2014

Flashback Friday - War Grave - Pilot Offcier Gerard Hamilton Maffett

**Originally posted 5th December 2012**

"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 Squadron 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 ordered to patrol 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 squadron pursued 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 foreshore at Stone Point, Walton-on-the-Naxe, Essex at around 8:50am.  Gerard was able to bail out of his stricken aircraft but his parachute failed to open due to the 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.

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

They gave their tomorrows for our todays.

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