Charles Brian Fabris Kingcome was born in Calcutta on 31st May 1917 and educated at Bedford. He entered the RAF College Cranwell in January 1936 as a Flight Cadet. Soon after he began his pilot course he was seriously injured in a car accident.
A RAF medical board told him he would never fly again as he was expected to suffer permanent double vision. But after months in hospital his resilience, will and strength paid off and he re-joined his course. He joined 65 Squadron at Hornchurch on 30th July 1938 and was still serving with it in 1940.
On 27th May Kingcome joined 92 Squadron at Northolt as ‘A’ Flight Commander.
Kingcome was a very accomplished pilot throughout throughout the retreat at Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain. He claimed two He111s destroyed and another probably destroyed on 2nd June; shared in the destruction of Ju88s on 10th and 24th July; a probable Me109 on 9th September; destroyed a He111 on the 11th; damaged two Me109s on the 14th; damaged a Do17 on the 15th; and shared a Ju88, probably destroyed a He111 and damaged another on the 18th.
Kingcome destroyed a Me109 on the 23rd September; damaged a Ju88 and a Me109 on the 24th; got a probable Do17, damaged another, shared a Ju88 and damaged two others on the 27th September; destroyed a Me109 on 11th October; destroyed two more and damaged a third on the 12th; and destroyed another on the 13th October.
His final action during the Battle of Britain was on 15th October 1940 when Kingcome was shot down in combat with Me109s. He baled out, wounded, and was admitted to the Royal Naval Hospital at Chatham. His Spitfire, X4418, crashed at Wybornes Farm, High Halstow.
Kingcome was awarded the DFC (gazetted 25th October 1940) and rejoined 92 Squadron on 23rd December 1940 following his convalescence.
Kingcombe held various staff appointments after the war and instructed at RAF Staff College before being invalided out of the RAF on 26th January 1954 as a Wing Commander, retaining the rank of Group Captain. His war service had taken a toll on his health and he had contracted tuberculosis.
In civilian life he engaged successfully in a London garage and car hire business with his Battle of Britain comrade, Paddy Barthropp. In 1969, with his wife Lesley he set up ‘Kingcome Sofas’, an enterprise which involved the employment of Devon boat builders to craft sofas to each customers measurements. Such was Kingcome's charm that on occasion even his bank manager drove his delivery van. The company was eventually bought by Colefax & Fowler.
His portrait was made by Cuthbert Orde in 1941 (below).
Kingcome died on 19th February 1994.
Photo and text courtesy of Battle of Britain Monument website