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Thread: Flight Lieutenant Hugh V. C. WEBB 79698

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    Default Flight Lieutenant Hugh V. C. WEBB 79698

    Hello all,

    Flight Lieutenant (Pilot) Hugh Victor Corthorn WEBB of 21 Sqn died on 6/2/44 while attacking a V-1 site in France along with his navigator Flight Lieutenant Frederick J. SERCOMBE.

    The CWGC gives no age for Webb, so I checked the BMD indexes and could only find one match; for a Hugh Victor C. Webb, birth registered in Saffron Walden district, Essex, in 1898. (I also cross referenced his parents marriage which took place in 1891)

    If it is our man then Flt Lt Webb would have been 45 years old at the time of his death.

    It seems to be quite an old age compared to other aircrew; were there many operational pilots of that age?

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    Not really confirmation but looks pretty likely as Hugh Victor Corthorn Webb gained his pilots licence on the 9th August 1936 at the Liverpool and District Aero Club. The certificate states that he was born 26th November 1897 in Saffron Waldon and occupation as Chartered Surveyor. His home address was 'Oakcroft', Chirk, Nr Wrexham, North Wales.

    Cheers, Tom

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    Can also add that he did not serve in the RFC/RAF during the First World War, but was a Lt in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers attached to the Norfolk Regiment. His address on his medal index card is 'Dolgelly, North Wales'.

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    Thanks very much Tom, the information on this site never fails to amaze me!

    The London Gazette dated 18/6/1940 states that Webb was commisioned as a Pilot Officer on 3rd June 1940, when he would have been 42. Maybe he was a bit economical with the truth about his age when he joined up?

    Jim.

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    Hello

    I'm resurecting this old thread.

    Have you found any additionnal information about Flight Lieutenant Webb or his Navigator Flight Lieutenant Frederick John Sercombe ?

    I find it hard to believe that he was flying ops at 45. Even if he lied on joining up, his pre-war pilot's licence surely had the correct date of birth ?

    But there is another famous case of another member of the same Squadron, Free French Navigator Livry-Level, who was also over-aged and typically removed a few years off, but that was much more easier for him, as the birth records were in occupied France...

    I'd like to have confirmation of the date of postings of the crew to 21 Squadron, probably late December 1943 or early January 1944. ORB form 540 said they were lost on their second op, but counting on the form 541 shows it was their third. I incline to think they were on their second tour, and would appreciate confirmation and further détails from a forumite who might have seen them in his own research.

    TIA

    Joss

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    I've found quite a bit more information about Flt Lt Webb through his nephew John Marshall Webb (author of 'Over the Gogs: the Webbs of Cambridgeshire') , but unfortunately haven't had much luck with Flt Lt Sercombe.

    Hugh Webb was 46 at the time of his death. After initially being turned down because of his age at the outbreak of war, he received a commission with the RAF in June 1940 and was posted to the Flight Control Room at Fighter Command HQ. Webb became a flying instructor in 1941 before applying for a transfer to an operational squadron, resulting in his posting to 21 Squadron in the autumn of 1943.

    During the First World War he was a private in the Artists Rifles before receiving a commission in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, serving in Egypt, and in Palestine when attached to the 5th Norfolk Regiment. After the war he followed his father as a land agent, later qualifying as a chartered surveyor.

    Webb became friends with Canadian fighter ace George 'Screwball' Beurling, who spent several leaves with him at his home in Wales.

    Both Webb and Sercombe are now commemorated on the RAF Hunsdon Roll of Honour Memorial, built and dedicated in 2012.
    Hertfordshire Airfields Memorial Group - www.hamg.co.uk

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    Hello Jim

    Thanks for your informations.

    pm on its way.

    Squadron ORB has the crew flying Mosquito HX984 while other sources states LR380. Do you know more about this discrepancy ?

    Joss
    Last edited by jossleclercq; 23rd October 2017 at 16:15.

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