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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. A R Sarre


Alfred Richard Sarre was born on 9th November 1920 in Worthing and joined the RAFVR about March 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot. Called up on 1st September 1939, he completed his training at 15 FTS Lossiemouth on No. 6 Course, which ran from 29th December 1939 to 10th June 1940.


Above: Sarre (centre).

Above image and additional research courtesy of Mark Stevenson.


Sarre's service nickname was Joe, possibly because he smoked a pipe like the cartoon character 'Smokin' Joe'.

He arrived at 5 OTU Aston Down on 10th June and after converting to Spitfires was posted to 263 Squadron at Grangemouth on 23rd June. He converted to Hurricanes after joining 263.

He moved to 603 Squadron at Turnhouse on 3rd July 1940 and made his first flight on the 6th.

After a combat over Deal on a morning sortie on 30th August Sarre returned to Hornchurch with damage to the tail of his Spitfire, R6754. In the afternoon, on a later sortie, he probably destroyed a Me109. He then had his aircraft's tail shot off in combat.

He baled out, unhurt. His Spitfire, R7021, crashed at Addington Park near West Malling.

On 4th September he made a forced-landing at Elstead near Ashford after his engine failed in Spitfire X4263. Sarre was shot down in combat over the Thames on the 7th and baled out, slightly wounded, from Spitfire P9467. He was admitted to hospital and rejoined 603 Squadron on 11th September.

He did not fly operationally again before 9th November 1940, when he was posted to CFS Upavon for a flying instructors course.

His service therafter is undocumented until October 1944, when Sarre is recorded as flying Halifaxes of 502 Squadron Coastal Command on anti-shipping patrols from RAF Stornoway, operating along the Norwegian coast and in the Skaggerak.

Commissioned from Warrant Officer in February 1945, Sarre was released from the RAF in 1946 as a Flying Officer.

He died in June 1980 in Worthing.


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