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20 July 1940 Geoff Keighley - had his tail shot off by an Me109 over Hawkinge but landed near Dover

Geoffrey Keighley was born in Leeds on 2nd July 1912 and was a manager at Harrods before the war. He joined 610 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force in early 1939.

Called to full-time service after the outbreak of war, he completed his training at 2 FTS Brize Norton on an advanced training course from 11th October to 16th December 1939 and then rejoined 610 Squadron at Wittering.

On 31st May 1940 Keighley was shot down by return fire from a Do17 and baled out into the Channel from Spitfire R6629. He was picked up by a trawler and taken to Ramsgate by the Royal Navy.

Keighley baled out again on 20th July when his tail was shot away by Oberfw. Schmid of JG51 in combat over Hawkinge. He landed at Lydden, wounded in one leg. His Spitfire, N3201, crashed at Wootton.

He rejoined 616 on 7th October 1940 after recovering. Keighley was detached to RAF Usworth on the 23rd for Ops Room duties. The attachment ceased on 4th December 1940 and he was taken on to the strength of RAF Usworth. His subsequent service is currently undocumented until he was created an OBE (gazetted 1st January 1945) and released from the RAF in 1946 as a Wing Commander.

Keighley died in London in April 1966.

Photos and text courtesy of Battle of Britain Monument website

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