Philip Melville Cardell, from Great Paxton, Huntingdonshire was born in September 1917. He attended Paxton Park School and after leaving worked on his parents' farm. He was a keen hockey player. Cardell joined the RAFVR in May 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot.
He was called up on 1st September 1939 and, after completing his flying training at 15 FTS Lossiemouth, was commissioned and went to 5 OTU on 10th June 1940. He was posted to 263 Squadron at Drem on the 23rd. On 3rd July he went to 'B' Flight of 603 Squadron at Turnhouse. The flight was detached to Montrose for aerodrome defence and convoy protection duties.
Above images courtesy of and copyright the David Ross Collection.
The squadron went south to Hornchurch on 27th August to relieve other battle weary squadrons. On 11th September Cardell damaged a He111. On 27th September Cardell was in combat with Me109s over the Channel. He destroyed one but it is believed that he was wounded in the engagement. Cardell attempted to get back to the English coast but had to bale out 400 yards off Folkestone. His parachute failed to open but he surfaced again very quickly. His friend, P/O PG Dexter, who had been flying with him, kept making low passes over Folkestone Harbour, trying to attract attention to Cardell’s plight. When he failed to do so, he made a forced-landing on Folkestone beach, commandeered a boat and headed for his friend but Cardell was dead when they reached him.
Cardell was 23. He is buried in Holy Trinity churchyard, Great Paxton, Huntingdonshire.
His brother Edmund John Cardell also served in the RAF. He was born on 8th September 1918 and died on 2nd June 1999 in California, USA.
Photos and text courtesy of Battle of Britain Monument website