Spitfire

Military Monday – Philip Melville Cardell (1917-1940)

Philip Melville Cardell is my 3rd cousin 1x removed.  He is the grandson of John Gawthrop, who I have written about twice before – here and here.

Philip was born in 1917 to parents Harold S Cardell and Elsie Louise Gawthrop.

He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR) in May 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot.  His service number was 80818.

He was called up on 1st September 1939 and, after completing his flying training, was commissioned and went to No. 5 Operational Training Unit (OTU) on 10th June 1940.  He was posted to 263 Squadron at Drem on the 23rd June 1940.  After a few days he went to 603 Squadron at Dyce.  The squadron went south to Hornchurch in late August.

I read one account on the Internet which suggests that Philip was flying his Spitfire (L1020) for 616 Squadron on 1st September 1940 when he had to make a forced landing at Ilford, Essex at 16:45 hours.  His Spitfire was a write off due to damage but he escaped injury.

On 27th September 1940 Philip was flying his Spitfire (N3244) in combat with Me109’s over the English Channel.  He destroyed one but it is believed that he was wounded in the engagement.  Philip attempted to get back to the English coast but had to bale out a quarter of a mile off Folkestone.  I have read that his parachute failed to open.

His friend, Pilot Officer PG Dexter, tried to attract peoples’ attention to Philip’s plight.  When he failed to do so, he made a forced-landing on Folkestone beach, commandeered a boat and headed for his friend but sadly Philip was dead when they reached him.

Philip was only 23.

He is buried in Holy Trinity churchyard, Great Paxton, Huntingdonshire.

Great Paxton War Memorial

‘Never Was So Much Owed By So Many To So Few’