Battle of Britain London Monument – F/O C P Igglesden

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Privacy Statement The Airmen’s Stories – F/O C P Igglesden

 

Charles Patrick Igglesden was born on 9th March 1918 in Eastbourne, Sussex, the family later moved to Sandgate in Kent.

He joined the RAF on a short service commission in June 1936 and was posted to the depot at Uxbridge for basic training on 24th August 1936. He was posted to 8 FTS Montrose on 5th September and after completing his training joined 23 Squadron, operating Hawker Demons at Northolt, on 24th April 1937, the squadron moved to Wittering on 9th May.

 

A prewar photograph.

 

23 Squadron was re-equipped with Blenheims in late 1938. Igglesden was posted to 64 Squadron, also operating Blenheims, at Church Fenton on 15th May 1939.

Igglesden then went to 234 Squadron at Leconfield on 20th February 1940, just as the squadron was exchanging its Blenheims for Spitfires. 234 moved to Church Fenton on 22nd May but were only there until 18th June when a further move, to St. Eval, was made.

Igglesden flew regularly throughout June and July on scrambles, patrols and, once based at St. Eval, convoy escorts.

He was scrambled on 1st August, flew two patrols on the 3rd and was scrambled again on the 6th.

It has been possible to reconstruct the events of 7th August as depicted in the squadron ORB and Igglesden’s logbook.

The Form 540 summary of the ORB simply states ‘Three interception scrambles by 4 aircraft. One Blenheim intercepted.’

The ORB does not link the Blenheim interception to a specific patrol but in the light of subsequent events it is highly likely that it occurred on the first patrol of the day.

Three aircraft were sent aloft at 0555 to ‘Patrol Point 7 ‘. The more detailed Form 541 shows that the three aircraft were Igglesden in N3242, P/O CH Hight in P9363 and Sgt. AS Harker in P9468.

Igglesden being senior, it is probable that he would have led the patrol. From postwar comments he made to his family the patrol may have become lost for a time, the weather for the area that day being described as ‘cloudy’.

If a Blenheim was intercepted due to its resemblance to a Ju88, a common occurence, then the patrol recognised it in time and did not open fire. The Blenheim crew may have been completely unaware of the Spitfires presence, the ORBs for all the Fighter Command Blenheim squadrons (23, 25, 29, 219, 235, 236, 248, 600 and 604) have no mention of this incident or anything like it so it could have been a Coastal or Bomber Command aircraft.

The patrol landed back at St. Eval at 0725. Igglesden’s logbook has an entry against the record of this flight – ‘Adverse flying report, temporarily removed from flying duties‘ (below).

 

 

 

The ORB also records this but it has not been possible to discover the text of the report. S/Ldr. RE Barnett, the CO of 234 who had graduated from Cranwell in 1931, maintained a pre-war regime with strict discipline and rarely led the squadron in the air. If he initiated a disciplinary charge then this may have been left in limbo as Barnett relinquished command of the squadron a few days later on 13th August.

Igglesden’s immediate fate is unclear but he may have remained with the squadron in some sort of role as he was back in the air in Spitfire X4355 on 16th October, logged as ‘Flying Practice‘. After five further flights he resumed operational flying with a patrol on the 22nd.

His service with 234 came to an end with a posting to No. 2 Delivery Flight at Colerne on 28th June 1941.

Very unusually Igglesden resigned his commission on 27th September 1941 and enlisted in the Royal Navy as an Able Seaman. It may that the disciplinary charge, whatever it was, was not pursued to conclusion but dogged his service at every turn and drove him out of the RAF.

Once the Navy recognised his previous service, he was appointed a fighter controller and served aboard more than one convoy to Murmansk in Russia. He was commissioned in February 1943 and must have been posted to the Pacific Fleet as his last posting was to a Mobile Naval Operating Air Base at HMS Golden Hind, a land base near Sydney, Australia where he was released on 30th March 1946.

He remained in Australia for some years before returning to the UK from where he emigrated to Canada, probably post-1950.

There he worked as a pharmaceutical salesman for the Rexall company. In later life he was Regional Manager for H&R Block, a company that advised clients on preparing Income Tax returns.

Igglesden died on 19th December 2002 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Photograph and additional research courtesy of Mark Igglesden.

 

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