Battle of Britain London Monument – Sgt. H W Charnock

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Privacy Statement The Airmen’s Stories – Sgt. H W Charnock


Harry Walpole Charnock was born in 1905 and educated at Harrow. He entered the RAF College Cranwell in January 1924 and was commissioned in December 1925, joining 32 Squadron at Kenley on the 16th.

He was posted to No. 1 Squadron at Tangmere on 18th August 1930. Charnock was cashiered by a court-martial on 12th December 1930 for a low-flying offence.



On 5th September 1939 he rejoined the RAF. With his training completed, he went to 64 Squadron at Church Fenton as a Sergeant-Pilot.

On 6th September 1940, on his first operational sortie with the squadron, he crashed in Spitfire K9903 during a routine patrol. Although the aircraft was written off, he was unhurt.

On the 12th Charnock was posted to 19 Squadron at Fowlmere. He scored his first victory on 5th November 1940 when he claimed a Me109. He claimed Me109’s destroyed on 21st July and 7th August 1941.

At the end of his tour with 19 Squadron he was awarded the DFM (gazetted 7th April 1942).

Charnock was posted to 72 Squadron in early August 1942. In November 72 moved to Gibraltar and on the 16th it flew to Algiers and began patrols the next day. Between 25th November and 18th December he claimed a Fw190, four Me109’s and another Me109 probably destroyed.

On 18th December he was himself shot down and landed in enemy territory. Charnock bribed an Arab to lead him to the British lines. Once there he went to a base hospital.

Commissioned from Warrant Officer in January 1943, he was awarded the DFC (gazetted 26th February 1943) and rejoined the squadron on 17th March 1943.

Charnock was posted back to the UK and joined 57 OTU Eshott in November 1943. He was later at 61 OTU Rednal and he went to AFDU Wittering in January 1944. He joined 222 Squadron at Funtington in July 1944.

Two days after joining the squadron he was injured in a car accident and did not return to operations until early 1945, when he was posted to 41 Squadron at Volkel as a Flight Commander.

Charnock was released from the RAF on 24th November 1945 as a Flight Lieutenant. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre and was created a Chevalier of the Order of Leopold II avec Palme by the Belgians.

He died on 24th May 1974.


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