Pilot Officer George H E ‘Harry’ Welford – 607 Squadron
George Henry Ettrick ‘Harry’ Welford was born in London on 9th December 1916 and spent his early years in India with his parents. He returned to the UK to attend school in Norfolk. He went on to study engineering at Kings College Newcastle and joined 607 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force at Usworth on 9th January 1938. He was commissioned in May 1939 and called to full-time service on 24th August 1939. He was posted to 7 FTS Peterborough for No. 12 Course, which ran from 9th October 1939 to 6th March 1940. He completed his training and went to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on 1st June 1940 to convert to Hurricanes.
He rejoined 607 Squadron at Usworth on 18th June where it was reforming after having suffered severe casualties and loss of equipment in France. On 15th August 1940 the squadron met a large force of Heinkel He111s and Dornier Do17s operating from bases in Norway and on their way to raid Sunderland. In this action Welford claimed a He111 destroyed and another damaged.
In early September 607, the Squadron moved south to Tangmere, flying its first patrol on the 8th.
On 15th September Welford shared in the destruction of a Do17. He was shot down on 17th September and made a forced-landing at Tuesnoad Farm, Bethersden, hitting a tree. He was injured, classed non-effective sick, and was taken off flying serving as a supernumerary at Tangmere until his return to 607 Squadron on 20th October.
For the next two months Welford was engaged on operational flying training and instruction of new pilots.
On 16th December, Welford was posted to CFS Upavon for an instructor’s course. He instructed at 11 Elementary Flying Training School Perth from 3rd February 1941 until 2nd April 1944, being then posted to 5(P) AFU Ternhill.
In preparation for a return to operations, Welford went to 57 Operational Training Unit Eshott on 28th August 1944. After a short spell at 84 GSU Lasham he joined 222 Squadron on 29th November at Maldeghem (B 65) in Belgium, equipped with Spitfire LXs.
The squadron returned to Britain in December to convert to Tempests and rejoined 2nd TAF in February 1945. Welford was with 222 until it moved to Fairwood Common in June 1945.
He was released from the RAF later in the year as a Squadron Leader. Postwar he worked as an engineer for Coates Cottons. Welford died on 6th October 1996.