The Spitfire of 65 Sqn (based at Hornchurch) Sgt David Kirton was shot down in flames and killed during combat with 109s over Manston at 11.40am. Kirton’s aircraft crashed and burnt out. Kirton’s colleague, F/Sgt Norman Phillips was also shot down by 109s of the same III/JG26 over Manston 5 minutes later at 11.45am.
David Ian Kirton was born in Dover on 2nd June 1919 and educated at St. James School and the County School for Boys locally. He left in 1935 and joined the RAF as a Boy Entrant. He was engaged in photography before applying, and being accepted for, pilot training.
On 12th June 1939 he commenced training at 22 E&RFTS Cambridge, going on to 6 FTS at Little Rissington in August. On 23rd March 1940 he was posted to 5 OTU Aston Down to convert to Hurricanes.
His first squadron posting was to 501 at Tangmere on 27th April but this proved a short stay as he went to 65 Squadron, equipped with Spitfires, at Hornchurch on 5th May.
Kirton was killed in action aged 21 when his Spitfire K9911 was shot down by Me109s over Manston on 8th August 1940.
He is buried in St James Cemetery, Dover.
His 65 Squadron colleague, Norman Taylor Phillips, was born in Gillingham, Kent on 15th March 1909 and educated at Napier Road Council School there. He joined the RAF as an Aircraft Apprentice in September 1924 and passed out in August 1927 as a Carpenter.
Phillips later applied for pilot training, was selected and passed out as a Sergeant-Pilot in 1931.
Above: he married Winifred Youen Austen in July 1932 in Medway.
He was serving with 65 Squadron at Hornchurch on 3rd September 1939.
Over Dunkirk on 27th May 1940 Phillips destroyed a Do17. On 9th July he destroyed a Me109 and on the 24th he damaged two Do17s. He was shot down and killed during an action with Me109s over Manston on 8th August 1940, probably by Oblt. Muncheberg of III/JG26. His Spitfire, K9905, crashed and burned out.
Phillips is buried in Chatham Cemetery, Kent.
Photos and text courtesy of Battle of Britain Monument website