Flying Officer Reginald Tyrrell George
Reginald Tyrrell George joined the Royal Air Force on a Short Service Commission on 28 November 1937.
By 1 September 1939, as a Pilot Officer, he was with No.64 Squadron at RAF Church Fenton flying the Bristol Blenheim IF. The role of the squadron at Church Fenton was the protection of the east coast of Yorkshire and the West Riding towns. As such Pilot Officer George spent the next seven months patrolling the coast or convoys running close inshore, interspersed with abortive interceptions of enemy raid plots.
17 April, 1940, brought a change for the squadron when they re-equipped with the Supermarine Spitfire. On 18 April, as part of Green Section, George took part in the second operational Spitfire patrol by 64 Squadron. For the remainder of the month 64 Squadron accustomed themselves to their new mounts and took no part in operations.
“B” Flight and Pilot Officer George were attached to No.219 Squadron for operational duties and then spent the first eleven days of May operating from RAF Catterick. Whilst there, Reginald George discovered he had been promoted to Flying Officer at the end of April. On his return to Church Fenton, 64 Squadron moved north to RAF Usworth with their fifteen Spitfires.
With the German invasion of Holland and Belgium and the deteriorating situation on the Continent they scarcely had time to unpack at Usworth, before they were summoned to 11 Group, arriving at RAF Kenley on 16 May. The gravity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that it had only been four weeks since the squadron had relinquished their Blenheims.
The first few days at Kenley were comparatively quiet for the squadron with one or other of the flights being sent to patrol Boulogne. On 22 May, Flying Officer George helped escort a de Havilland Flamingo, possibly containing delegates who had attended the Supreme War Council, returning from France.
29 May proved to be the first day of combat for the squadron when nine Spitfires took off at 4.50pm, to patrol Dunkirk. Four pilots stated they had tangled with enemy aircraft but could not confirm any damage, a fifth enemy aircraft was damaged and a sixth was claimed as a victory. However the squadron had paid a high price, losing three pilots including their squadron leader in the engagement:
Contact was made on this patrol with inferior numbers of e/a. F/Sgt Flynn accounted for one Me.109. Several other e/a were thought to have been badly damaged. Three aircraft containing as pilots S/L Rogers, P/O George & P/O Hackney respectively, did not return.
The inexperience of the squadron in their relatively new equipment had been amply demonstrated. George had been flying Spitfire Ia K9832 when he was lost.
Reginald Tyrrell George was born on the Isle of Wight in October 1919. His father Reginald Harry George had married Margaret Cecil in July 1914.
Flying Officer Reginald Tyrrell George is commemorated on Panel 5 of the Runnymede Memorial.
Rest in peace Sir and thank you for your service.