Ayre George 609 *

90330 Flying Officer George Desmond Ayre

George Ayre was born on 17 September 1914 in St John’s, Newfoundland. He was educated at Winchester College from 1924 until 1933, when he left to work for a London bank. He was always enthusiastic about aviation and he joined the Auxiliary Air Force in 1935 and was posted to 609 (West Riding) Squadron.

On 12 January 1940, whilst based at Drem, he made the squadron’s first engagement with the enemy, when he chased a Heinkel bomber attacking merchant shipping off the mouth of the River Tay, however, it disappeared into cloud and got away. A month later and he shared in the squadron’s first victory, another Heinkel bomber, which was shot down near St Abb’s Head.

On 19 March 1940 he was lucky to escape injury when he undershot his landing and crashed his Spitfire, which was a write-off.

On 18 May the squadron moved to Northolt and at the end of that month was operating over the Dunkirk area, covering the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force. On 30 May George unfortunately became 609’s first casualty of the war. Flying over Dunkirk at 15,000 ft for an hour and low on fuel, the squadron split up and headed for home but George became separated from his comrades. Nothing is known about what happened to him until he crashed near Oakley, perhaps he had been damaged by enemy action or had a problem with this Spitfire.

He was 26 years old and is buried in Northwood Cemetery.

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