26th February 1941 261 Squadron Hurricane I V7474 P/O. Langdon
Date: 26th February 1941 (Wednesday)
Unit: No. 261 Squadron (motto: Semper Contendo - 'I strive continually)
Type: Hurricane I
Base: RAF Ta Kali, Malta
Location: Mediterranean Sea
Pilot: P/O. Charles Edward Langdon NZ/43705 RNZAF Age 22. Missing believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Weather conditions described as fine over Malta. For the third time on this day the Island was attacked with enemy bombers attacking the airfield at Luqa. Forty bombers Ju87 and Ju 88's with a supporting force of 30 fighters hit the airfield hard dropping some 150 bombs.
The town of Luqa was also hit with 77 homes completely destroyed with a further left uninhabitable. Casualties on the ground were remarkably light with 1 civilian killed and 14 injured. 6 soldiers were also injured.
V7474 took off with 7 others at about 13:00 hrs to intercept the force. They were lead by 23 year old, F/O. Fred Taylor DFC. in Hurricane i V7671. They climbed yo 28,000 ft before diving on the bombers but were in turn followed by the enemy escort fighters.
Obl. Joachim Müncheberg claimed shooting down V7671 - pilot was listed as missing - believed killed. P/O. Kearsey an ex Battle of Britain pilot flying Hurricane V7121 also failed to return. P/O. Langdon who also had fought in the Battle of Britain became the third casualty of the operation.
None of the pilots bodies were knowingly recovered.
The squadron claimed 3 bombers shot down with a further 7 probables.
P/O. Langdon survived uninjured from two earlier forced landings after being hit by enemy fire. Flying a hurricane on the 25th September 1940 and whilst flying a Magister on the 03rd October 1940.
P/O. Charles Edward Langdon. Malta Memorial. Panel 1, Column 1. Born on the 21st August 1918 at Hawera. Worked as a stock and station clerk for Farmers Co-Op prior to service. Selected for RAF short service commission and joined RNZAF on the 20th September 1939. Awarded his pilots badge on the 13th February 1940 and embarked for England on the 26th April 1940. Flew the Blenheim, Wellington, Anson, Battle and Hurricane aircraft with various units. Joined 261 squadron on the 29th January 1943. Son of Arthur Garner Langdon and Charlotte Maria Langdon (nee Gould), of Hawera, Taranaki, New Zealand. A total of 351 flying hours logged and on his 32nd operational sortie. Credited with 1 enemy aircraft destroyed.
P/O. Philip James Kearsey. 85239. Malta Memorial. Panel 1, Column 1. Born on 23rd July 1920 at Cheltenham. Son of Frederick James Kearsey and Emma Gertrude Kearsey, of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. His brother, Albert Wallace Kersey also served in the Battle of Britain, survived the war and died in October 1993 in Weymouth, England age 77.
F/O. Frederic Frank Taylor 70821. DFC. MiD. Malta Memorial. Panel 1, Column 1. Son of Robert and Jane Taylor, of Hermitage, Berkshire, England.
DFC Citation L/G. 04th February 1941:
'Flying Officer Frederic Frank Taylor, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 261 Squadron. This officer has displayed the utmost gallantry and determination in combat and seeks every possible opportunity of engaging the enemy. He has destroyed at least seven hostile aircraft, two of which he shot down, in one engagement'.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of these pilots with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, other sources as quoted below: