Howard Peter Blatchford

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Howard Peter Blatchford
Royal Air Force Fighter Command, 1939-1945. CH1670.jpg
Flight Lieutenant H P "Cowboy" Blatchford of No. 257 Squadron RAF climbing out of his Hawker Hurricane Mark I at RAF Martlesham Heath, Suffolk.
Birth name Howard Peter Blatchford
Born (1912-02-25)25 February 1912
Edmonton, Alberta
Died 3 May 1943(1943-05-03) (aged 31)
Killed in Action
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Air Force
Years of service 1936–1943
Rank Wing Commander
Unit No. 41 Squadron RAF
No. 212 Squadron RAF
No. 17 Squadron RAF
No. 257 Squadron RAF
Digby Wing
Coltishall Wing
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Distinguished Flying Cross

Howard Peter "Cowboy" Blatchford DFC (25 February 1912 – 3 May 1943) a flying ace, who acquired the first Canadian victory in World War II.

He was born in Edmonton, Alberta on 25 February 1912, and enrolled in the Royal Air Force in February 1936.[1] He was then posted to No. 41 Squadron RAF in early 1937. In April 1940 he was posted to No. 212 Squadron RAF, flying photo-reconnaissance operations. In June he joined the Photographic Development Unit as a flight commander, later transferring to No. 17 Squadron RAF in September, flying Hurricanes. He soon joined No. 257 Squadron RAF, under the command of Sqn Ldr Robert Stanford Tuck.[2]

Blatchford received the Distinguished Flying Cross in December 1940.

Flight Lieutenant Howard Peter BLATCHFORD (37715), No. 257 Squadron. In November, 1940, this officer was the leader of a squadron which destroyed eight and damaged a further five enemy aircraft in one day. In the course of the combat he rammed and damaged a hostile fighter when his ammunition was expended, and then made two determined head-on feint attacks on enemy fighters, which drove them off. He has shown magnificent leadership and outstanding courage.[3]

He became Commanding Officer of No. 257 Squadron RAF in July 1941.[4] Blatchford was then promoted to Wing Commander in September that year, becoming Wing leader of the Digby Wing. He finished his tour of duty in April 1943, returning to operations in February 1943 and Wing Commander of the Coltishall Wing.

Leading the wing to escort bomber attacking a power station in Amsterdam, Blatchford was shot down and killed in action on 3 May 1943 by Obfw. Hans Ehlers of II Gruppe, Jagdgeschwader 1. His body was never found. He is commemorated on the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede.[5]

Blatchford had by this time claimed 5 aircraft shot down, 3 shared aircraft shot down, 3 'probables', 4 damaged and 1 shared damaged.[6]


References[edit]

  • Aces High- C.Shores & C.Williams (Grub Street 1991) page 133.
  • "WWI Aces of Canada". www.theaerodrome.com. Retrieved 14 June 2008.