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Thread: Ray Heslyn RNZAF

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    Default Ray Heslyn RNZAF

    I am seeking any service Information regarding this Pilot , also what were the details surronding his Death at uxbridge in 1963 .

    TIA Phill jones

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    From Colin Hanson’s 'By Such Deeds - Honours and Awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1923-1999' :

    HESSELYN, Squadron Leader Raymond Brown, MBE, DFC, DFM*, (EM).
    NZ404362; Born Dunedin, 13 Mar 1921; NZ Army/TF (1st Bn Southland Regt) 1936 to 1940; RNZAF 24 Nov 1940 to 15 Jun 1947; PoW 3 Oct 1943 to 1 May 1945; Pilot.
    Later Sqn Ldr R B Hesselyn, MBE, DFC, DFM*, RAF 16 Mar 1947 to 14 Nov 1963, 59124.
    Citation Distinguished Flying Medal (22 May 1942): [249 Sqn RAF (Spitfire)] Sergeant Hesselyn is a skilful and gallant pilot. Undeterred by odds, he presses home his attacks with outstanding determination. He has destroyed five enemy aircraft, two of which he shot down in one engagement.
    Citation Bar to Distinguished Flying Medal (29 May 1942): [249 Sqn RAF (Spitfire)] During a period of 4 days operations in May, 1942, this airman destroyed 5 enemy aircraft bringing his victories to ten. Although fighting at great odds in the heavy raids on Malta, Sergeant Hesselyn never hesitates in his efforts to destroy the enemy. His courage and devotion to duty are outstanding.
    Citation Distinguished Flying Cross (26 Oct 1943): [222 Sqn RAF (Spitfire)] This officer has destroyed at least 17 aircraft. His successes are a fine tribute to his great skill, courage and keenness.
    Citation Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (28 Dec 1945): While a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft I, Barth, Germany, this officer was appointed personnel officer in the camp. He completed this task in a most efficient and cheerful manner and was able to hand permanent records, including confidential reports on 1400 aircrew, to the Air Ministry on release. These reports were largely the result of Flight Lieutenant Hesselyn’s own efforts. During periods of starvation and depression, this officer contributed very considerably to the well-being of British and American prisoners of war by his unstinting efforts on their behalf. Extracts from a letter from a senior RAF officer dated Jun 1945 note - “this officer was given the duties of Personnel officer in the camp and later Intelligence Officer. Both tasks were carried out in a most efficient and cheerful manner....As Intelligence Officer he took risks and laid himself open to facing serious enemy charges had he been detected in obtaining information vital for the well-being of the camp” Extracts from his intelligence debriefing on return to England state - “I took off from Hornchurch in a Spitfire at 1610 hours on 3 Oct 1943, with my Wing, on bomber escort duties. Near Beauvais the Wing was attacked by enemy fighters. My section attacked and shot down two of them. My Section was about to attack another formation when we were attacked. My aircraft was set on fire and I baled out. I landed in a field near Beauvais about 1700 hours. I was captured at once and taken to Beauvais hospital as I was burned on the hands and face, Camps in which imprisoned - Beauvais hospital 3 to 29 Oct 1943; Dulag Luft 30 Oct to 6 Nov 1943; Stalag Luft I 11 Nov 1943 to 13 May 1945. On 22 Jan 1944 W/O R B Olliver and I escaped from Stalag Luft I. At about 1630 hours on that day we hid in the roof of the Camp theatre and remained there until about 1900 hours, when we crawled through a ventilator on to the roof. We crawled along the roof and dropped to the ground near the gate leading to an adjacent compound which was empty at that time. We avoided two patrolling sentries and climbed over the gate, which was half way between two sentry towers fitted with searchlights. We then walked south-west across country. I was wearing a civilian jacket, made in the camp from a blanket and RAF trousers. I had a camp-made cloth cap. W/O Olliver was wearing RAF battle-dress. We had maps, money and a compass, but no identity papers. We carried chocolate, biscuits, etc., in our pockets. About 0800 hours on 23 January, we arrived in the outskirts of Velgast. We hid in a small wood until 1200 hours. We then went towards the marshalling yard and were recaptured by four civilian policemen while attempting to enter it We were taken to a nearby house and at 1900 hours we were taken back to Stalag Luft I. We were sentenced to fourteen days in the cells on bread and water. I was liberated by Russian Forces at Barth on 1 May 1945. On 13 May I was sent by air to the UK.”
    Efficiency Medal - 24 Jan 1949. For service with the NZ Army/TF and the RNZAF.
    WWII Fighter Ace. Credited with the destruction of 18 enemy aircraft, one shared destroyed, two probably destroyed and seven damaged, whilst serving with 249 and 222 Sqns RAF (both Spitfire) in Malta and Europe. He flew a Spitfire off the carrier HMS EAGLE to Malta in Mar 1942. He completed at least 167 sorties before being shot down in flames and becoming a PoW. Member of the ‘Caterpillar Club’. Twice wounded. CO 41 Sqn RAF (Meteor) Mar-Apr 1951. Died RAF Hospital Uxbridge, England, 14 Nov 1963.

    [His death was due to natural causes, not flying-related.]

    Errol

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    And from 'For Your Tomorrow - A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915 (Volume Three: Biographies & Appendices)' :

    HESSELYN, Squadron Leader Raymond Brown, MBE, DFC, DFM*.
    59124 (prev NZ404362); b Dunedin 13 Mar 21; Waitaki BHS, Oamaru & S'land BHS, In'gill; apprentice machinist - G Poole & Son, In'gill. NZ Army/TF (1Bn S'land Regt) 1936-1940; RNZAF Levin/GTS as Airman Pilot u/t 24 Nov 40, 1EFTS 27 Dec 40, 1st solo 8 Jan 41, 2FTS 9 Feb 41, inj in a/c acc 24 Apr 41 [next flew on 28th], Pilots Badge [wef 24.3.41] & Sgt 3 May 41, att RAF & emb for UK 26 May 41, 3PRC 3 Jul 41, 9SFTS 23 Jul 41, 61OTU (Spitfire) 30 Sep 41, 234 Sqn (Spitfire - 16 ops) 19 Nov 41, emb fleet carrier HMS Eagle for Med 15 Feb 42, flew a Spitfire off Eagle for Malta & 249 Sqn (Spitfire - 50 ops) 7 Mar 42, cr on air test when wheel came off on t/off (uninj) 25 May 42, Comm 28 May 42, by Hudson to UK via Gibraltar 26-29 Jul 42, 61OTU (Spitfire) as instr 9 [22?] Aug 42 [att 3FIS (Master) 30 Sep-28 Oct], 501 Sqn (Spitfire - 12 ops) 27 Feb 43, 277 Sqn (Spitfire - 4 ASR ops) 20 Jun 43, 222 Sqn (Spitfire - 69 ops) 1 Jul 43, dest 1 (possibly 3) e/a on Ramrod op but then shot down/wdd & PoW/Beauvais hosp 3 Oct 43, Dulag Luft 30 Oct 43, Stalag Luft I 11 Nov 43, escaped 22 Jan 44, recaptured 23 Jan 44, liberated 1 May 45, by air to UK by 11 May 45, 12PD&RC 13 May 45, 1 Sqn (Spitfire, Meteor) 10 Oct 45 [att Sector HQ Church Fenton 15 Feb-25 Mar 46, att CFE/DFLS 19 Sep-30 Nov], by Dakota to NZ via ME & FE 28 Feb-17 Mar 47, t/frd to RAF & ESComm 16 Mar 47, by Dakota to Singapore 20 Apr-25 May 47, By York to UK 26-30 May 47, Tangmere 30 May 47, [relinq RNZAF Comm 15 Jun 47], 56 Sqn (Meteor) 30 Jun 47 [att Old Sarum for cse 18 Aug-18 Sep, Officers Advanced Trg Sch 8 Oct-16 Dec], HQ 12 Gp on staff duties 20 Apr 48 [att to 'P' Staff HQ Fighter Cmd 10 Sep-3 Oct], PComm 15 Sep 48, HQ Fighter Cmd on staff duties 4 Oct 48, RAF Staff Coll 16 Jan 50, att 226OCU (Meteor) for r/cse 5 Feb 51, 41 Sqn (Meteor) as CO 19 Mar 51, Biggin Hill as OC Flying Wing (Meteor) 7 Apr 51, 233OCU (Meteor/Vampire) as OC Weapons Sqn 23 Nov 52, HQ 83 Gp on staff duties Nov 54, HQ Eastern Sector (Meteor) on recovery duties 3 Jun 57, 12 Gp Neatishead on group recovery exec 1 Aug 58, HQ 12 Gp 25 Jan 60, HQ Fighter Cmd on Admin duties 8 Feb 60 [Cmd Weapons Officer from 1 Oct 60], RAF Hosp Uxbridge 20 Oct 63, died 14 Nov 63. Uxbridge (Hillingdon) Cemetery - QD.18, Middlesex, England. Son of George Albert & Marjorie Moore Stuart Hesselyn (née Wilkie); h of Alfreda (Babs) Hesselyn (formerly Ratten). Note: credited with 18 (20?) e/a dest, 1 shared dest, 2 prob, 8 dam. Co-author of Spitfires over Malta (1942). [OH Malta, OHT2, OHT3, BSD & phot. TWN 10.6.42, 17.2.43 & 8.12.43].

    Errol

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    Errol Many thanks bw phill jones

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    Default Ray Hesselyn RNZAF

    With the consent of the relatives of Ray Hesselyn I have recently republished the classic 1943 book Spitfires Over Malta which was written by P/O Ray Hesselyn and P/O Paul Brennan. Adding details of Operation Spotter the plan to get Spitfires to Malta via Gibraltar and then HMS Eagle for the flight to Malta. I have also included profiles of the 16 Spitfire pilots including Ray Hesselyn.
    In April 1963 Ray wrote to his brother Bill from the Princess Mary RAF Hospital at Halton in Buckinghamshire, telling him that he had been ill for sometime with a very painful stomach ulcer. The doctors believed Ray had been bleeding internally through the bowel for a long period and had lost a great deal of blood; he was subsequently diagnosed as suffering from cancer of the stomach, an illness that proved to be terminal.
    On the 14th November 1963 Ray died whilst at the RAF Hospital Uxbridge, he was aged just 42.
    Raymond Brown Hesselyn MBE DFM and Bar, DFC received a guard of honour and burial party provided by the Queen’s Colour Squadron (a unit of the RAF Regiment). He is buried within the RAF section of the Hillingdon and Uxbridge Cemetery, Hillingdon Hill, Middlesex. Grave location: QD18.
    There is a photo of the Guard of Honour in the book, and I have a recent photograph of the grave if required.

    Paul Lovell

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    Hello Paul
    i have PM you

    bw Phill jones

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    Paul,

    Where might one obtain the republished edition?

    Errol

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    Default Ray Hesselyn

    Hello Errol

    The book is now out and available from Amazon UK at:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Paul-Brennen-Hesselyn-Spitfires-Malta/dp/0955364655/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345908447&sr=1-2

    Ignore the bit about it being out of stock, it just means they have to contact me for stock. Alternatively I have a garage full of them you can order direct from me at: plovell.24@btinternet.com
    The book weighs just over a kilo so it is expensive for me to post out. I have posted to New Zealand where I believe you are but the cost is £18.50 for 7-10 days delivery. More than the £15.99 cost of the book. Surface mail is cheaper but a couple of months to deliver! It may be cheaper via Amazon.
    Also available in the UK at the Aviation Bookshop in Tunbridge Wells and at their Air Show marqee.
    There will be 16 books with signed book plates available later in the year, to raise money for the Malta Aviation Museum, 4 veterans signed so far, Tom Neil, Harry Moon, Rodney Scrase, and Keith Lawrence, trying to contact Mr Geffrey Wellum to see if he will sign. Also hoping to get the RAF Hawk display pilot who is diplaying at this years Malta Air show to sign.
    Best wishes
    Paul

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    Thanks Paul, much appreciated.

    I know all too well about the postal pain. It's the same when sending books in the opposite direction!

    Cheers,
    Errol

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