Rank & Name: Sgt C.H. Edgar
Date of Death: 19/04/2015
Details:

 

I was recently contacted by Ian Edgar, the son of Sgt Edgar who submitted the photo of his father and those of his fellow crew members who lost their lives after their aircraft crashed on take off for a night mission. Sgt Edgar was the sole survivor. view details He flew with this crew during the Battle of Britain.

Sgt Edgar survived again when their Blenheim (TR-Y) was shot down by a ME.109 and ditched in the Channel - all crew survived and became PoW's.

 

 

 

 

Ian Edgar sent in the following in June 2012:

"There is a great write up in a book by Theo Boiten called Blenheim Strike that details the raid that Dad was on when he was shot down in the channel. They were on a run to knock out a power station,the bomb load would not release & I think Dad said they made 3 runs over the target.With no success clearing the bomb bay they headed for home at very low altitude over the channel to protect the underside from fighter attack.

About 3 miles out from home they were bounced by Priller in an Me109,(Dad thinks he hit him with the 303`s) unfortunately this also caused the bombs to release and the Blenheim was swamped & crashed into the channel badly injuring Dad. With a bit more bad luck they were in the dinghy within shouting distance of home but got picked up by a German MTB and taken off to be PoW`s.

He is still going today at 91 which I don`t think would have been the case if he`d reached England,it seems that his mates were among the highest casualties of aircrew. After 4 years in camps (amongst others StalagIII) he ended up on "The Long March" watching more of his friends die..."

 

Squadron Leader C.H.Edgar M.B.E.

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner with 59 Sqn in Bristol Blenheims and subsequently R.A.F. Regiment

Realising that war was coming & heeding his fathers advice not to join the army as he had done in The Great War where he had been gassed & wounded by shell fire in the trenches Charles joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve and was subsequently called up as wireless operator/air gunner in July 1939 and was posted to 59 Sqn flying in a Bristol Blenheim Mk IV out of Thorney Island in 1940.

In February 1941 his Blenheim crashed on take off killing the pilot and observer and leaving him hospitalised, after recovering from his injuries he was back on active sevice in March of 1941 and flew a total of 50 missions. On his 50th mission on 16th June 1941 a beautiful clear summers day he took part in Circus 13 a low level daylight raid to bomb the docks & gas works at Boulogne which were heavily defended by flak.

The Blenheims bomb release mechanism jammed and after three attempts over the target the crew headed for home flying at sea level to avoid attack from beneath by German fighters. Nearing home over the Channel the bomb release mechanism let go of the bomb load almost swamping the Blenheims bomb bay with sea water and they were bounced by an Me109 knocking out their port engine and forcing them to ditch a few miles off the English coast and take to the dinghy.

After drifting for a while they were picked up by a German E-Boat and taken captive. After hospitalisation for his wounds he became a PoW for the remainder of the war serving time in Stalag IXc, StalagLuft III, StalagLuft IV and Stalag 357.

In the winter of 1945 one of the most severe that Europe had experienced the camps were emptied and he took part in the "Long March" where many of his colleagues died on route from ill treatment, bitter cold & malnutrition.

At Gresse they were straffed by "friendly fire" killing one of his mates, Frank Duffield and putting a bullet hole through the greatcoat of another, Ron Buckingham before finally making it safely back home to end his war.

Charles Henry Edgar was born on 15th March 1921 in The London Hospital, only son of Charles William and Grace Violet Edgar and grew up in Chelsea before the family moved out to Romford away from the London "peasouper" smogs that were further damaging his fathers health after being gassed during The Great War.

He was a keen sportsman and excelled at both football and cricket where he kept wicket, a position he would make his own in the RAF team.

After turning down a scholarship to Westminster School he went out to work to help the family finances and his early career was as a butchers boy before joining Booker Daws as a shipping clerk in the City prior to joining the Royal Air Force.

After the war and not being particularly enamoured with his flying experiences he opted to join the RAF Regiment where he stayed until his retirement from the service in 1975.During his time with the Regiment he served many roles, Fire Officer, Range Officer and Wing Adjutant and his postings included Aden in 1953, Kenya in 1954 where he was awarded the MBE for his services, Singapore in 1957 and Hong Kong in 1959, returning to England in 1960 to various postings throughout the country culminating in his final posting to Brize Norton where he was Fire Officer for both the station and also Fairford during which time his team won the Higginson Trophy for the most efficient fire fighting squadron in the Regiment.

Retiring from the RAF in 1975 he took a post as area emergency officer for the South Devon area before taking full retirement in March 1986. He and his wife "Paddy", had four children, three sons Paul, Ian & Simon (who died at birth) and a daughter Paddy-Anne.

Squadron Leader C.H.Edgar was born on March 15th 1921 and died on April 19th 2015.


Further Information
Awardee of the Battle of Britain Clasp - Although entitlement was revoked by the Air Ministry in 1960 (read more)

If you have any information about Sgt Edgar, please contact me, thank you.

Rest In Peace