Battle of Britain London Monument – F/O W F Carnaby

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Privacy Statement The Airmen’s Stories – F/O W F Carnaby


William Fleming Carnaby was born at Dulwich, London on 21st November 1914 and was educated at Uppingham School and Christ’s College, Cambridge where he read Economics and Law. He learned to fly with the University Air Squadron at Duxford. After leaving Cambridge, Carnaby went to London to study for a Chartered Surveyor qualification with a view to joining his father’s firm, Marten and Carnaby.

(Above: members of 85 Squadron – L to R Hemingway,Howitt, Marshall JE, Townsend (kneeling with dog Kim) and Carnaby leaning on propeller scoreboard).


He joined 601 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force at Hendon in late 1935 and was commissioned in January 1936. Carnaby relinquished this commission on 1st March 1938 for a four-year commission in the Auxiliary Air Force Reserve of Officers. He was called to full-time service on 31st August 1939 and posted to 264 Squadron, operating Defiants from Duxford.

On 7th June Carnaby was flying Defiant L7004 which had been damaged over Dunkirk on 29th May. The damage had not been fully repaired and the aircraft went out of control. Carnaby and his gunner, P/O CC Ellery, were able to bale out but Ellery was seriously injured.

On 28th August Carnaby returned to base with his Defiant severely damaged by return fire from a He111 engaged over Dover. In September he joined 85 Squadron at Castle Camps as it went over to night-fighting.

On 5th February 1943 Carnaby was killed when Mosquito NF II HJ918 of 25 squadron broke up in the air and crashed 2 miles east of Church Fenton. F/O JH Lennox-Kemp was also killed.

Carnaby is buried in Newmarket Cemetery, Suffolk.




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