Sergeant Pilot Cyril Anderson Booty
On 16th August 1941, the Kenley Wing had a very busy day, flying three separate offensive operations. It wasn’t without cost though, as No.602 squadron lost Sgt. Cyril Anderson Booty on his second sortie of the day.
The day began at 7.30am, with Wing Commander Johnny Kent leading the Wing down to Manston to rendezvous with the Biggin Hill Wing, before heading across the Channel.
They crossed the coast into France near Dunkirk and soon spotted 109’s as they dived across the front of 602’s formation. F/Lt. Tommy Williams requested permission to attack and went after them with his wingman, Sgt. Booty. Williams got within range of the trailing 109 and fired several times, seeing trailing smoke before abandoning the chase as the enemy fighters disappeared into cloud at 5000ft. Williams and Booty were now too far away to rejoin the wing and were attacked by six 109’s. Booty fired at one of them as it passed in front of him and Williams got a spray of glycol over his windscreen, suggesting that Booty had hit the mark. Williams took a shot at another 109 and then dived for the coast, with Booty behind him, crossing the Channel just above sea level.
The second operation got underway at 12.30pm. For Circus 74, the wing was joining six Blenheims tasked with bombing the shell factory at Marquise. The cloud had built up since the morning’s operation so the bombers had difficulty seeing the target from 10,000ft, and their bombs fell wide of the target. The Kenley Wing was to act as the “mopping up wing”, flying towards Saint-Omer to divert attention away from the bombers. F/Lt. Tommy Williams led 602 squadron into France and home again and, ‘no-one saw anything happen’. Sgt. Cyril Booty, flying as tail-end Charlie, in Spitfire Vb P8793, had been picked off by a 109, and his squadron hadn’t even noticed. He had been shot down over Penplingues, France.
Sgt. Cyril Anderson Booty was laid to rest by the Germans in Pihen-Les-Guines Communal Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France.
Cyril was born in Portsmouth on 13th November 1917, and was the son of Cyril and Ida May Booty. He was a cabinet maker by trade. In April 1939, he married Madge Marguerite Hurlock of North End, Portsmouth and a month later obtained his pilot’s license at Portsmouth Aero Club, flying a de Havilland DH.60G Gipsy Moth. At the time his address was 6 Melbourne St., Southsea. Madge was pregnant when Cyril was killed in action and gave birth to a baby boy in January 1942. He was named Cyril after his Father. Sadly, he died, aged nine years old, in 1951. Madge never re-married and died in 1966, aged 51.
The inscription on Sgt. Booty’s grave reads:
“WILL ALWAYS BE SADLY MISSED BY HIS LOVING WIFE MADGE AND LITTLE SON CYRIL. REST.”
Rest in peace Sir and thank you for your service.