742301 Sergeant Alan N Feary RAFVR – 609 Squadron
Derby’s Forgotten Ace
Alan Norman Feary was born in Derby in 1912. He was educated at Derby Municipal Secondary School and worked in the Borough Treasurer’s Department. He joined the RAFVR in July 1936 and did his flying training at Burnaston aerodrome. Awarded his flying badge on 18th November 1938, Feary was called up on 1st September 1939. He was posted to 9 FTS, Hullavington for advanced training in December.
On 6th April 1940 Feary went to 5 OTU, Aston Down, where he converted to Blenheims before joining 600 Squadron at Manston on 4th May. He was then posted to 609 Squadron at Northolt on 11th June 1940.
Feary shared in the destruction of a Ju88 on 18th July, destroyed a Me109 on 12th August and destroyed a Ju87 and damaged a Me110 on the 13th. The next day Feary shot down a Ju88, which had just bombed Middle Wallop, killing some airmen who were trying to close the doors of one hangar. The bomb went through the roof and blew the doors off, which fell on the airmen, crushing them. Feary, already airborne, shot the enemy aircraft down about thirty seconds later. It crashed five miles away.
On 25th August he destroyed a Me110 and damaged another, on 7th September he claimed a probable Me109 and a damaged Ju88, on 24th September he destroyed a Do17 and the next day damaged another.
Feary was killed on 7th October 1940 when he was shot down in a surprise attack by Me109’s over Weymouth. He baled out but was too low. His Spitfire, N3238, crashed at Watercombe Farm, south of Warmwell. He was credited with 6 confirmed victories, 1 probable and 5 damaged, easily making him one of the most successful pilots with 609 Sqn. During a large part of the summer of 1940 he was the only SNCO pilot on the Squadron and some feel he was not recognised for the part he played purely because he wasn’t an Officer.
Sgt Feary is buried in Holy Trinity churchyard, Warmwell, only a short distance away from the airfield from which he flew during the Battle of Britain.