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'Mark' Mounsdon - member of the Guinea Pig club

Maurice Hewlett Mounsdon was born on 11th February 1918 at Lichfield, Staffordshire. His father, who worked in electrical engineering, served in the London Regiment in the First World War.

Mounsdon joined the RAF on a short service commission and on 24th August 1939 began his elementary flying training at 3 E&RFTS Burnaston Hall, Derby.

On 20th October he went to 3 ITW Hastings and was commissioned on the 23rd.

He was posted to 14 FTS Kinloss on 2nd November, later moving to Cranfield in April 1940. With his training completed, Mounsdon spent a few days at No. 1 Flying Practice Unit at Meir. He was due to join 56 Squadron but was sent to 66 Squadron at Duxford on 18th May 1940. The mistake was corrected and he joined 56 Squadron at Digby on 3rd June.

Mounsdon shared in the destruction of a Do17 on 3rd July, probably destroyed a Ju87 on 25th July, probably a Me110 on 13th August, destroyed a Me110 and damaged another on the 18th, damaged a He111 on the 24th and destroyed a Me109 on the 26th.

Mounsdon was shot down in Hurricane I R4197 by Me109's over Colchester on 31st August. He was picked up by local villagers and a nurse cared for him until he was moved to Black Notley Hospital near Braintree, which at the time specialised in plastic surgery.

He spent the next nine months in various hospitals and became a Guinea Pig from a stay at Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

On 4th June 1941 Mounsdon returned to duty on the staff at SHQ North Weald. He was posted to 4 FIS Cambridge on 4th April 1942 and afterwards instructed at 22 EFTS Cambridge from 9th June 1942 until 18th December 1943 and then at 21 EFTS Booker until 14th April 1945, when he was posted to 8303 Air Disarmament Wing in Germany.

Mounsdon was released from the RAF on 22nd February 1946 as a Flight Lieutenant.

He took up his engineering profession with the General Electric Company.

While in hospital, recovering from the burns he endured after bailing out, he married his childhood sweetheart Mary. The couple moved to the Spanish island of Menorca in the late 1970s and lived there until she died in 1993. In September 2018, for Mounsdon's 100th birthday, the Red Arrows paid tribute to him with a flypast off the coast of Menorca.

Mounsdon died on 6th December 2019 at the age of 101.

Photos and text courtesy of Battle of Britain Monument website

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