The Airmen's Stories - P/O G H Maffett
Gerard Hamilton Maffett was born in Murree, India (now Pakistan) on 11th June 1916, he was both a nephew and second cousin of the Liberal politician and businessman Cecil Harmsworth, later Lord Harmsworth.
Maffett was educated at the Imperial Service College, Windsor. He left in 1934 and went to work for the Daily Mail in London, which had been founded by Harmsworth's older brother, Alfred, who became Lord Northcliffe.
On 30th April 1938 Maffett joined the RAFVR as an Airman u/t Pilot and did his weekend flying on Tiger Moths at 13 E&RFTS, White Waltham.
Called up on 1st September 1939, he was posted to No.1 ITW Cambridge in early November. Maffett went to 12 FTS, Grantham on 30th December, completed the course in early June, was commissioned and then sent to 2 School of Army Co-Operation at Andover on the 15th. He went to 5 OTU, Aston Down on 22nd June and after converting to Hurricanes joined 257 Squadron at Northolt on 7th July 1940.
Maffett made his first operational sortie on the 19th. On 18th August he was credited with a Do17 destroyed and a He111 damaged. He was shot down and killed in combat with Me110's over Clacton on 31st August. His Hurricane, P3175, crashed at Walton-on-the-Naze.
Maffett is buried in Windsor Road Cemetery, Bray, Berkshire. The original IWGC wooden cross was retained at the request of his mother. His family has provided protection from the elements for the cross in recent years, with the support of the CWGC.
In the 1970's the wreck of his Hurricane was recovered with great difficulty from marshland north of the town and after restoration was installed in the Battle of Britain Hall at the RAF Museum Hendon in time for its opening in 1978.
His brother W/Cdr. John Francis Maffett was killed on 12th February 1942 in Beaufighter Ic T4889 of the OADU, presumed shot down off Malta by Me109s on a transit flight to Egypt.
Sgt. Brian Barkley Smith RAAF and F/Sgt. H Sprason were also lost.
The whole story of the events of 31st August and the subsequent recovery of the aircraft has been covered in a book " One Hurricane, One Raid" by Geoff Rayner ISBN 1-85310-199-0.