The Airmen's Stories - P/O R S Gaskell
Richard Stuart Gaskell was born on 25th July 1919 in Chester and learned to fly at the Norfolk and Norwich Aero Club. He was awarded Aero Certificate 15282 on 26th August 1937 and went on to join the RAF on a short service commission.
He began his initial training course on 14th August 1939. He completed his flying training and then joined 264 Squadron at Duxford on 19th May 1940.
On 24th August the squadron was ordered off to patrol its base at Hornchurch and encountered a large formation of Ju87s and Me109s. Four enemy aircraft were destroyed and two damaged but in the engagement Gaskell's aircraft was damaged and force landed at Boreham near Chelmsford.
Gaskell was slightly injured but his gunner, Sgt. WH Machin, died from his wounds.
The Defiant, L6965, was written off.
Gaskell moved to 249 Squadron at North Weald on 7th December 1940 and was posted from there to 8 FTS Montrose on the 13th, presumably as an instructor.
His subsequent service is currently undocumented until he was released from the RAF in 1946.
Gaskell rejoined in 1952 and retired on 4th January 1963 as a Flight Lieutenant in the General Duties Branch, qualified in Photographic Interpretation.
He died in September 1997.