Flying Officer (Pilot) Peter James Christopher King
Peter James Christopher King, the son of Colonel Harold James King, Royal Artillery, and of Elise Mabel King, of Farnborough, Warwickshire, was born on 28 September 1920. He joined the RAF on a short service commission in September 1938.
Following his training he was posted to No.66 Squadron at Duxford on 16 December 1939, from 12 Group Pool at Aston Down. From January to April 1940, Peter King flew regularly on North Sea patrols with the squadron, operating on a daily basis from Horsham St. Faith.
Following the German attack in the west, Pilot Officer King engaged in his first combat near Rotterdam on 13 May, however, his reflector gunsight had “slipped” somewhat affecting his aim. Other members of the squadron claimed three enemy aircraft destroyed along with three “possibles”.
The squadron then made two moves in quick succession, firstly to Horsham St Faith on 16 May, then to Coltishall on 29 May. With the worsening situation in France, they redeployed again on 31 May, this time to Kenley and Gravesend. This lasted only a few days before No.66 Squadron returned to Coltishall on 1 June. From here they mounted patrols over Dunkirk, via Martlesham Heath.
On 23 June 1940, Peter King was admitted to Coltishall Station Sick Quarters with “superficial injuries” following a motoring accident. Nevertheless, he did not return to operational flying until 3 August, by which time No.66 Squadron were engaged in convoy patrols. It was on the evening of 13 August that Peter King engaged in his next combat, attacking Ju.88 that had been shadowing a convoy. Due to the speed of the Ju.88 the results were inconclusive.
No.66 Squadron moved to Kenley on 3 September, to replace No.616 Squadron, and were in the thick of it the following day – three of their aircraft were damaged and two written off, with four of the pilots suffering minor injuries, the fifth being fatally wounded. During this action, King claimed a Me.109 destroyed and although his aircraft was badly damaged in the combat over Dover, he returned safely to Kenley.
Peter King was not so fortunate the following day when he was shot down by Me.109’s over the Medway. Although he baled out, he was killed when his parachute failed to open. His Spitfire, N3060, crashed into the sea off Hoo Marina.
Peter King was 19. He is buried in St Botolph’s churchyard, Farnborough in Warwickshire.
Rest in peace Sir and thank you for your service.