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Charles Peel

Despite their own enthusiasm and the reluctance of their commanding officers, some pilots were very inexperienced and unprepared for combat when they were thrown into battle.

Charles David Peel was born on 3rd May 1919 and attended Cheltenham College.

In November 1937 he was apprenticed to A & J Robertson, Accountants of Edinburgh.

He joined 603 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force in December 1937 and began his initial training course.

Image courtesy of and copyright the David Ross Collection.

Called to full-time service on 25th August 1939, he was attached to RAF Montrose on 14th January 1940, where 603 had some aircraft operating on aerodrome defence.

After a period of health related issues which prevented Peel from being passed fit to fly, his instructor, F/O John Young, wanted to post Peel to an OTU for further training. However as Ross recorded, Peel's family tried to apply pressure to prevent this from happening.

"The Peels put on a party at which they tried to get me [F/O Young] to rescind my decision, but the long and short of it was, in my judgement, Peel’s flying, in particular his instrument flying, was inadequate and this was born out when he died while flying from Montrose. I believe he died out of control into the sea

Ross went onto say that Charles Peel was aware of his own failings but was not as willing as Don MacDonald to accept the situation and take good advice.”

On 17th July Peel was reported ‘Missing’ after failing to return from an operational sortie from Montrose in Spitfire K9916.

Peel was 21. He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, panel 6.

Photo and text courtesy of Battle of Britain Monument website and David Ross, 'The Greatest Squadron of them all', p167.

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