Flight Sergeant (Pilot) William George Uttley
On the 13th May, 1943, No.403 squadron, R.C.A.F., had a nerve shattering day escorting short range bomber attacks. Three pilots didn’t make it back to Kenley after the second sortie of the day, Ramrod 71…
It was a large operation involving more than 100 B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 8th USAAF, whose main target was the Potez aircraft factory at Meaulte. A diversionary raid was aimed at Fort Rouge and Longuenesse airfield, near St.Omer. The Kenley Wing, led by Johnnie Johnson, was to provide Third Fighter Cover. Everything went well until the formation reached the target area and was attacked by 50 Messerschmitt BF109’s and Focke Wulf FW190’s coming from all angles. The combat continued back to Le Touquet. Squadron Leader F. H. Boulton DFC and Sgt. C. W. McKim, of No.416 Squadron, were both hit and baled out. Boulton was wounded and taken Prisoner of War, but McKim was lost in the English Channel, 15 miles west of Le Touquet.
Flight Sergeant William George Uttley of No.403 squadron R.C.A.F., was killed when his Spitfire F Mk. IX, (BS104), was shot down and crashed at Grenvillers, 20 kilometres south of Arras.
George was born 16th January, 1922, in Yorkshire. His Father, Gibson Uttley, a Yorkshireman, was working as a Special Investigator for the Department of Pensions and National Health, in Toronto, when George enlisted in May 1941. His Mother, Ethel Smith, was from Leicestershire.
George had been a toolmaker’s apprentice for two years and had studied aeronautics at Danforth and Central Technical School. He was 6′ tall, a sturdy, quiet type who was confident and mature during training, though, rather ominously, his assessor, at Dunnville Service Flying Training School, noted that he “should look around more.” Uttley received his Pilot’s flying badge on 17th July, 1942, and arrived in England a month later. He was deemed an “average” pilot at No.53 Operational Training Unit and joined 403 squadron on 22nd December, 1942. They arrived at Kenley a month later.
Rest in peace Sir and thank you for your service.