Hermes' Wings

History, Writing and Personal Musings

Ron Chaffe

Originally enlisting in the RAF Voluntary reserve as a common airman in January 1939, Ronald Ivor Chaffe (1915-Feb 1942) rose through the ranks after the start of the war. Called up for active duty from the reserves in September 1939, Chaffe was a fully trained pilot by May 1940. Records would later show him as being in 1435 Flight on Malta by late-1941, although Chaffe would be given command of 185 Squadron on 17 February 1942. Less than a week later, however, he would be dead. Scrambled to tackle an incoming raid of Ju88s and Me109Fs on the 22nd, Chaffe and 185 Squadron took to the skies a little after 1 pm. He was shot down by a German Me109. Chaffe is thought to have bailed out and ditched in the sea. His dinghy was spotted some four to five miles off Point Delimara, and although rescue boats were sent out to bring him in, the search was limited because of the threat of loitering Me109s. The next morning, the 23rd, another air and sea rescue sweep was mounted, only to meet more raiders. As the rescue operation turned into a full-blown battle, the search was called off. Chaffe was never seen again. He was 27-years old and left behind his wife, Betty.

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