Lieut Hugh Richard Aden Beresford

Lieut Hugh Richard Aden Beresford

Birth
Ampthill, Central Bedfordshire Unitary Authority, Bedfordshire, England
Death 7 Sep 1940 (aged 24)
Kent, England
Burial Brookwood, Woking Borough, Surrey, England
Plot 24 D. 14
Memorial ID 74347939 View Source
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Fighter pilot. Hugh Beresford was the son of the vicar of Hoby, Leicestershire and had one sister. He joined the RAF in 1935 and after his initial training was posted to 3 Squadron at Port Sudan on March 6, 1936. Hugh returned to Great Britain with the squadron the following August. On April 1, 1937, he was posted to the staff no. 1 Anti-Aircraft Cooperation Unit at Biggin Hill. He was subsequently appointed Personal Assistant to the AOC of 11 Group on October 4. After the commencement of WWII 257 Squadron was formed at Hendon on May 17, 1940 and Hugh Beresford joined it as a Flight Commander. Hugh had an aristocratic bearing which gave the men of his squadron much needed morale at a time when his CO showed the conduct of a coward by flying away from the action. Although Hugh was privately very nervous and vomited under the daily intense suicidal stress of the Battle Of Britain, when the pilots were almost always greatly outnumbered -- the Luftwaffe sent 1,120 planes at its height on September 15, 1940 -- he most bravely went straight into attack. He was credited (with another fighter) in destroying a German He111 on August 18 and shot down a Me110 on August 31. At 4 p.m. on the afternoon of September 7, 1940, his squadron ALONE was scrambled against an enormous German formation -- other RAF squadrons were coming fast but from distant stations -- and in Hawker Hurricane P3049 he was shot down over the Thames Estuary. His aircraft crashed at Elmley Spitend Point, Sheppey and he was reported "missing". A local farmer saw a plane crash there. In 1979 to prove what had actually become of him the plane was finally excavated from a depth of 40 feet. In the cockpit was Hugh Beresford's decomposed body with a bullet in his spine and his personal items in his pockets. Although his parents had already died, his sister was very relieved to know the truth after so many years of just the notification that he was "missing". He was given a Christian burial with full military honours on November 16, 1979. Flight Lieutenant Hugh Beresford was just 24 when he died.