Howard Clive MAYERS DSO, DFC*


MAYERS, Howard Clive

Service Number: 77976
Enlisted: 8 January 1929, Oxford University Air Squadron
Last Rank: Wing Commander
Last Unit: No. 239 Wing (RAF)
Born: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia , 9 January 1910
Home Town: Sydney, City of Sydney, New South Wales
Schooling: Scotch College, Melbourne and Geelong Grammar
Occupation: Managing Director
Died: Missing in Action, Presumed Dead, Qattara Depression, Egypt, 20 July 1942, aged 32 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
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Non Warlike Service

8 Jan 1929: Enlisted Royal Air Force (WW2), Aircrew Training Units, Oxford University Air Squadron

World War 2 Service

9 Jul 1940: Involvement Royal Air Force (WW2), Pilot Officer, SN 77976, Operational Training Units (RAF), Empire Air Training Scheme
9 Jul 1940: Transferred Royal Air Force (WW2), Flying Officer, No. 601 Squadron (RAF)
1 Oct 1940: Honoured Distinguished Flying Cross, Air War NW Europe 1939-45, Battle of Britain Award
20 May 1941: Transferred Royal Air Force (WW2), Flying Officer, No. 94 Squadron (RAF)
13 Feb 1942: Honoured Distinguished Flying Cross and bar, Middle East / Mediterranean Theatre, For rescuing a colleague
26 Apr 1942: Transferred Royal Air Force (WW2), Wing Commander , No. 239 Wing (RAF)
28 Jul 1942: Honoured Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, Middle East / Mediterranean Theatre

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Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

Howard Clive MAYERS, DSO, DFC* Battle of Britain Pilot (1910-1942)

Howard Clive Mayers was born in Sydney, Australia on 9th January 1910. He was at Canford School and later Jesus College, Cambridge, reading Engineering.

He was a member of the University Air Squadron in 1929 and was commissioned in the RAFO in 1930. He relinquished this on completion of his service. Mayers lived in London before the war and was Managing Director of a company.

He was back in the RAF in early 1940, was commissioned in March and then served at 5 MU Kemble. He was posted from there to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on 9th July 1940, to convert to Hurricanes. On the 19th he landed in a cornfield north of the aerodrome when the engine of his Hurricane failed. He was unhurt.

On 3rd August Mayers was posted to 601 Squadron at Tangmere. Here Mayers claimed a Bf109 destroyed on the 8th and a Ju88 destroyed, another probably destroyed and a Bf110 damaged on the 13th.

During a patrol later the same day, he probably destroyed a Bf110 and was then shot down himself. Mayers baled out, was fired on by a Bf110 but landed safely in the sea off Portland. He was picked up by an MTB and treated for slight shrapnel wounds at Portland Hospital. His Hurricane, P2690, crashed into the Channel off Whitnose, Weymouth.

On 26th August Mayers shot down two Ju87’s and probably a third that were attacking Tangmere. On the 18th he destroyed a Bf109, on the 31st a Do17 and damaged another, on 4th September he shot down another Do17 and shared a probable Bf110 and on the 25th he shot down a Bf110 and damaged a Do17.

Mayers was awarded the DFC (gazetted 1st October 1940). He made a forced-landing south of Axminster on 7th October after glycol tank damage during a combat with Bf110’s over Portland. Mayers was slightly injured and the Hurricane, P4218, was written off.

On 20th May 1941 he was posted away and in July he took command of 94 Squadron at Ismailia, Egypt. Mayers shared in destroying a Ju88 on 11th September, damaged a Bf109 on 23rd November and damaged another on 8th December. During a strafing attack on a German column on 25th December, Mayers saw one of his pilots shot down by ground fire. He landed near the crashed aircraft and although enemy vehicles were approaching he waited for the pilot to reach him, put him in the pilot's seat, climbed in on top and took off and reached his base. For this action Mayers was awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 13th February 1942).

In January 1942 he was promoted to lead a Hurricane Wing. On 26th April he was appointed Wing Leader of 239 Wing with Kittyhawks. Mayers claimed a Ju52 destroyed and another damaged on 12th May and a Bf109 destroyed on 8th July. He was leading the Wing on 20th July on a strafing mission to the airfields at Fuka and Daba.

He is believed to have destroyed a Mc202 before he himself was shot down by a Me109 of III/JG53 in Kittyhawk I ET826. Mayers radioed that he was having engine trouble and was making a forced- landing in the Qattara Depression. His aircraft was found and, there being no trace of him, it was presumed that he had been captured.

Mayers was not heard of again and may have been lost in a Ju52 which was shot down whilst ferrying PoW’s to Germany. He was awarded the DSO (gazetted 28th July 1942) and is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial.

Courtesy of the Battle of Britain London Monument