Battle of Britain London Monument – Sgt. P E Huckin

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Privacy Statement The Airmen’s Stories – Sgt. P E Huckin

 

Philip Edward Huckin joined 601 Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force in early 1939 as an Aircrafthand. Called up on 24th August 1939, he began training as an Air Gunner with the squadron and in early 1940 he was sent to 5 BGS Jurby for a gunnery course with other airmen from 601.

With the course completed, they returned to the squadron at Tangmere to find that 601’s Blenheims had been replaced by Hurricanes. In May these newly-qualified air gunners were posted to 600 Squadron at Manston to replace men lost when the squadron lost five aircraft on a daylight raid on Waalhaven airfield, Rotterdam on 10th May.

Huckin served with 600 throughout the Battle of Britain and took part in the first night intruder sorties over France in November 1940. He was posted away in December and spent a non-operational spell on Wellingtons.

He later remustered for pilot training and successfully completed his course. Commissioned from Warrant Officer in January 1943, Huckin was awarded the DFC (gazetted 7th March 1944) as a Flying Officer with 157 Squadron, flying Mosquitos. His crewman, F/Sgt. RH Graham, received the DFM.

The citation read:

This officer and airman were pilot and observer respectively of one of a formation of aircraft which intercepted a number of Junkers 88s. In the ensuing fight, F/O Huckin shot down one of the enemy aircraft from close range. His own aircraft was badly damaged, however, and, owing to loss of engine power, F/O Huckin was forced to come down on to the sea. He and F/Sgt. Graham got safely aboard their dinghies and, for the next 20 hours, they drifted in the heavy seas whipped by high winds until an airborne life-boat was dropped to them. They got safely aboard the boat and with no other means of guidance except a compass, F/Sgt. Graham set ,to work to plot a course for England. Five days later they were picked up. During this period they suffered much privation, being buffeted by heavy seas and fierce winds which at times reached gale force. In spite of this, their determination never wavered and their courage and fortitude in the face of such an ordeal set an example of the highest order.

 

Huckin was released from the RAF in 1945 as a Flight Lieutenant.

 

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