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Lord Richard Kay-Shuttleworth - 145 Squadron - killed on 8 August 1940

Richard Ughtred Paul Kay-Shuttleworth was born on 30th October 1913, the son of Lawrence Ughtred Kay-Shuttleworth, barrister-at-law, killed in action on 30th March 1917 whilst serving as a captain in the Royal Field Artillery. The family home was Gawthorpe Hall, Burnley, Lancashire.

Kay-Shuttleworth was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford, where he read Modern History. He was a member of the University Air Squadron and was commissioned in the RAFO in July 1937.

He relinquished this and was commissioned in the RAFVR in December 1938. He was a JP and a County Councillor for Lancashire.

Kay-Shuttleworth succeeded his grandfather in 1939, becoming the 2nd Baron. Called to full-time service in September 1939, he completed his training and was posted to a staff appointment at HQ 23 Group on 24th April 1940.

He joined 145 Squadron at Tangmere on 20th May. On 11th July Shuttleworth shared in the destruction of a He111, on the 29th he shared a Ju88 and on 1st August he shared a Hs126.

He failed to return from a combat with Ju87s and Me110s over a convoy south of the Isle of Wight on 8th August 1940 in Hurricane P3163.

Shuttleworth was reported 'Missing'. He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 6.

Above image courtesy of Larry Muffin.


RUP Shuttleworth is also commemorated, along with those members and staff of the House of Lords killed in action, by a stained glass window in St. Stephens Porch in the Houses of Parliament.

An account 'Memories of the Battle of Britain' by Flt Sgt. Edward Bowen, a Rigger with 145 Squadron at Tangmere in 1940.

I joined the Royal Engineers Territorial in March 1937 and due to the war clouds gathering in Europe and the glimpse of things to come in the Spanish Civil War I was immediately stationed at Earlsfield in Surrey. Whilst I was there I heard that the Royal Air Force were asking for volunteers for Wireless Operator/Air Gunners. Being young and carefree I thought I’d have a go at that and requested a transfer from the army. This was granted, subject to the RAF medical, which I duly passed.

I was then sent to Dishforth in North Yorkshire for basic air force training, whilst here I was informed that I had not yet been officially discharged from the Army. About a month later my discharge certificate finally arrived. Whilst at Dishforth I was obliged to take a colour vision test which revealed that was 100% colour blind. This made me think that my reason for transferring to the RAF was not meant to be.

I was posted to Cosford and then to Locking near Weston-super-Mare where I was trained as a fitter 2A. I passed the examination which in those days was set by the Central London Trade Test Board. On passing out I was posted to 145 Squadron which was being reformed at Kenley in Surrey. We had no aircraft of our own but spent the time practicing rigging procedures on Hawker Harts. We were then equipped with the short nosed Blenheims which were modified for use as a fighter aircraft having four Browning machine guns slung in its bomb bay.

On the day war broke out the Squadron went to Croydon Airport and on the 10th October 1939, 145 Squadron came into official existence, we were joined later that month by 92 Squadron. In March 1940 we began to receive Hawker Hurricanes with the aircraft codes ‘SO’ and the radio call sign ‘Patin’.

In May 1940 the Squadron was posted to Tangmere in Sussex and for the next few months was heavily involved in the Battle of Britain. During this period Tangmere was heavily bombed by the Luftwaffe, resulting in heavy loss of life and much structural damage, so much so that 145 Squadron were moved to Westhampnett, a satellite of Tangmere, and continued operations from there.

Whilst with 145 Squadron I led two teams of riggers/fitters and the two Hurricanes we regularly looked after were flown by John Peel and Richard Shuttleworth. Lord Shuttleworth was a most friendly and decent young man and we all knew him as Peter. He would often return from leave with pockets full of sweets and give them out to everyone.

I can recall the 8th August well. It was a brilliant summer’s day. The enemy normally attacked when the sun was behind them which was to their advantage. Flying Officer Shuttleworth had returned from an earlier sortie (around midday) with damage to his armoured windscreen. He had received what we called a perfect burst of fire, which had made a small hole in his windscreen, about the size of a finger nail. As always, our job was to repair any damage, refuel and rearm the aircraft as quickly as possible so they were once again ready for action. Whilst the crew frantically prepared the aircraft I climbed up to the windscreen and repaired the hole using bostik, I believe.

Peter's kite was re-armed, refuelled and all the necessary checks were carried out. I strapped Peter into his aircraft (P3163) for his second sortie of the day. He was to be killed in action against Ju87s and Bf110s whilst protecting a convoy south of the Isle of Wight. He was a great character to all that had the pleasure to know him.

On the 5th September 1940 my mother contacted me to tell me that our house in South East London had been demolished in a raid. I was granted a 48 hour pass, but on arrival was unable to find my mother or sister. Being obliged to return to Westhampnett by midnight on the 7th September, I made my way to Waterloo Station to catch the train to Chichester.

The sirens sounded to signal a raid and everyone was obliged to stay where they were. It was one of London’s worst nights, Jerry devastated the Docks and Thameside Warehouses on both sides of the river, and as far as I could see, they were all ablaze. I eventually made it back to Westhampnett on the 8th September and discovered that my mother was in South Wales and my sister had joined the WAAF.

The frantic pace continued for some weeks before it was announced that I was surplus to requirements and posted to the Fleet Air Arm at Lee-on-Solent.

Photos and text courtesy of Battle of Britain Monument website

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