Battle of Britain London Monument – P/O D H S Kay

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Privacy Statement The Airmen’s Stories – P/O D H S Kay


Desmond Hayward Sidley Kay, whose family was from Thurlstone, Devon was born in London on 14th February 1919 and educated at Sedburgh School. He joined the RAF on a short service commission in February 1939.

He was posted to 264 Squadron, operating Defiants, on 30th October 1939 when it reformed at Sutton Bridge. In mid-May 1940 Kay made a forced-landing at Aalter in Belgium, with a petrol tank holed by return fire. He refuelled and returned to Martlesham Heath.

On the 29th Kay’s Defiant was badly damaged over Dunkirk. He ordered his gunner, LAC EJ Jones, to bale out and he then managed to get the aircraft back to base. Jones drowned and his body was washed up on the French coast, he is buried in Dunkirk Cemetery.

Kay was awarded the DFC (gazetted 14th June 1940), being then credited with two Ju87’s probably destroyed and a share in the destruction of four other enemy aircraft.



(Above: 264 Squadron airmen photographed in May 1940. L to R (standing): P/O Hickman, F/Lt. Cooke, S/Ldr. PA Hunter, P/O MH Young, P/O GH Hackwood, P/O EG Barwell, P/O SR Thomas, P/O D Whitley.

(Seated): F/Sgt. ER Thorn, P/O DHS Kay, Sgt. AJ Lauder, P/O RW Stokes)


Kay was awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 13th October 1944) as an Acting Squadron Leader with 109 Squadron, operating in Pathfinder Mosquitos from Little Staughton, Huntingdonshire. He was killed on 19th October 1944 when Mosquito XVI HS-V MM178 came down in Belgium, cause unknown, on a sortie to Pforzheim near Stuttgart. F/O KF Hynes RAAF was also killed.

Kay is buried in Adinkerke Military Cemetery, Belgium.


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