Service to remember Battle of Britain pilot Philip Cardell

Today marks the 80th anniversary of Battle of Britain Day. The conflict took place from July 10 to October 31, 1940 but September 15 was the day RAF Fighter Command claimed a decisive victory over the Nazis by fighting off two massive waves of German attacks.

The Great Paxton History Society is planning to hold a commemorative service to mark the 80th anniversary of the death of local man Philip Cardell.

Spitfire pilot, Cardell, was injured and died after he was forced to bale out of his aircraft over the Channel as he was returning home.

A monument for Mr Cardell was restored by Jeff Hill, the current owner of Manor Farm, in Great Paxton, which was the former home of the Cardell family.

The service will take place in Great Paxton churchyard on September 27, but will have a restricted number of people attending and is by invitation only.

Mr Cardell began his pilot training before the outbreak of war when he was described as Airman U T (under training) Pilot.

His official call-up came in September 1939 and he was sent to complete his flying training. He was then commissioned and sent to 5 Officer Training Unit on June 10. Then, in August, he was posted to 603 Squadron of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve at Hornchurch in Essex. He was involved in the early stages of the Battle of Britain and was reported to have had several ‘kills’ credited to him.

Most Read

On September 27, the Squadron was scrambled to intercept a large incoming flight of German fighters and bombers over the Channel. Philip destroyed one enemy plane but his plane was badly damaged and he was wounded. He attempted to return to the coast but was forced to bale out over the sea a quarter of a mile from Folkestone. He died before a rescue could be effected. He was just 23.

A funeral service was conducted by the vicar, Rev H L Budge, and the Methodist minister from St Neots, Rev E V Eva on October 3.