Pilot Officer (Pilot) Frederick Cecil Harrold
Frederick Cecil Harrold was born on 17th May 1917, the son of Frederick Charles Harrold and Florence Nightingale Harrold (nee Booth).
He was baptised on 24th June, 1917, at Great Ilford, St. Luke, Essex. He joined the RAF on a short service commission in July 1939. According to the England and Wales Register, he appears to have been living at 30 Paget Rd, Ilford, with Robert W. Booth (presumably a relative from his Mother’s side) giving his profession as Acting Pilot Officer, No.3 Initial Training School, R.A.F. However, the electoral register lists him with his parents in Cambridgeshire.
Having completed his training, he went to No.5 Operational Training Unit at Aston Down. The unit specialised in delivering fighter pilots to Fighter Command using Hurricanes, Spitfires, Defiants, Blenheims, Battles and Masters.
During his training, Harrold crashed two Bristol Blenheims, the first on 12th July 1940 at Maiden Bradley, Wiltshire, and three days later another into the River Severn. Despite this he converted to Blenheims and joined 25 Squadron at Martlesham Heath, on 19th August.
In a seemingly strange move, he joined 151 Squadron at Stapleford, flying Hurricanes, on the 26th August, before moving on to 501 Squadron at Kenley on 26th September, the same day as Nathaniel Barry.
His time with 501 Squadron was tragically brief. On only his third flight with the squadron (one of which had been an air test), Harrold was shot down by Me109’s and killed, on 28th September. The squadron had taken off at 10.00 to patrol the Sevenoaks area, in company with 605 Squadron when they were attacked by Me.109s towards Deal. In the dog-fights that followed, the Squadron also lost Pilot Officer Rogers who baled out successfully and Flying Officer Jones who crashed on landing at Kenley. Harrold’s Hurricane, P3417, crashed at the Strawberry Plantations, College House, Ulcombe north of Headcorn and burned out.
Frederick Harrold was 23 years old. He is buried in St Andrew’s churchyard, Cherry Hinton, Cambridgeshire.
Rest in peace Sir and thank you for your service.