Rank & Name: Sgt Henry Strickland

Date of Death: 01/11/2003


I was recently contacted by his son Roger, who porvided the following information...


Just a quick mail about my father Henry Strickland who served in 59 Squdron at Thorney Island. He passed away several years ago and was very reluctant to talk about his experiences. We went to see the restored Blenhiem 1V fly at a 'Flying Legends' display at RAF Duxford a couple of years before he died and he finally told me the story of his last flight. It seems the aircraft was returning from a raid when the dorsal turret glass 'exploded' (dad was gunner/navigator) causing some nasty facial injuries, which landed him in hospital, and the crew went off the next day with a relacement and didn't return, an event that stayed with him all his life. They never discovered the reason for the glass exploding, it was thought it could have been a seagull. Dad didn't fly any further missions and served as a training officer with 90 Squadron and in Nigeria among other things. At the end of the war he trained as a teacher and and went on to become a succesful primary school head. My mum died earlier this year and I now have a few of his papers and photo's plus his medals.


Crew: P/O Turnbull (Pilot), Sgt Rowe (Obs) and Sgt Strickland (WAG) arrived to 59 Squadron on 22 July 1940 during the Battle of Britain. At 2155hrs on the 23rd they set out on thier first operational - which was an SAII moon patrol, searching for any signs of German invasion. The ORB notes "nothing unusual seen, landed at Duxford" at 0235 hrs on the 24th.

On the 25th, they flew another SAII, during which they searched for survivors of S.S. Meknes, a French liner carrying 1277 French naval personnel that had been bombed by the Germans. Some 383 casualties prevailed. The ORB notes "Searched for wreck of S.S. Meknes. Lifeboats carrying survivors located and D.R guided to them by a/c". It must have been on returning from this sortie that the accident with the dorsal turret exploding occured, as Turnbull & Rowe were lost the following day on the 26th, along with Sgt Strickland's replacement, Sgt Wallace. Turnbull and Rowe had only been operational for four days when lost...

Henry Strickland with the restored Blenheim at the RAF Duxford "Flying Legends" airshow circa 2000.
Awardee of the Battle of Britain Clasp - Although entitlement was revoked by the Air Ministry in 1960 (read more)


Further Information

The following images were sent in by Roger Strickland.


Rest In Peace