Flying Officer Jack Dudley Edwards
On 25th February 1943, Flying Officer Jack Dudley Edwards, of 403 squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, was killed in a flying accident over the Canterbury area.
Here is the entry for Thursday, 25 February, 1943, in the squadron’s Operations Record Book.
“It was sunny and fair with variable amounts of cloud and a slight wind today. Two patrols and some formation flying were carried out. Accident: P/O J.D. Edwards, flying as Blue 3 in the formation flight, suddenly spun away out of control, crashing near Canterbury and was instantly killed. The cause of the accident is not yet known. General: Three RTOs (Canadian) reported for duty from RAF Station Cranwell and then proceed on seven days of leave.”
F/O JACK DUDLEY EDWARDS was born in Oyen, Alberta, Canada on 8th April, 1922. He was raised on a farm, in Excel, Alberta, by his parents, Jack and Emmeline Edwards who were both English, together with his three brothers and two sisters.
Edwards joined the RCAF in July 1941, where he was unsurprisingly assessed to be an “unsophisticated farm boy,” inclined to be “slow minded.” However, he soon showed himself to be hard working, serious and keen, with “no nerves.” By the time he finished his training he had shown great development and was good at aerobatics.
After graduating from Camp Borden in July 1942, Jack was posted overseas and arrived in England on the 18th August. After a spell at 53 Operational Training Unit, he was posted to 403 squadron on the 15th December 1942 and joined the squadron on the 22nd.
On 25th February, 1943, Edwards was taking part in a training flight with two other members of his squadron. While practising a tail chase, his Spitfire IX, (BS287), went into a steep dive and crashed at Stone Green Farm,Mersham, Kent. Jack’s body was found in the burnt out wreck of the aircraft. The cause of the accident remains a mystery.
Edwards was laid to rest in Brookwood Cemetery with full military honours on 1st March, 1943. S/L Belton presided over the service and wreaths were sent from 403 squadron and the Officers’ Mess at Kenley.
Rest in Peace Sir and thank you for your service.