Joseph Douglas Whitford

Joseph Douglas Whitford was born in 1921, the son of Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Whitford of St. Mawes.

204squadron 107






Whitford served with 204 Squadron. 204 was part of Coastal Command, flying Sunderland Flying Boats based at RAF Mount Batten in Plymouth Sound. He was killed when his aircraft crashed returning from a patrol on 15 Oct 1939.

The squadron’s operations log describes the event as follows:

One aircraft “B” to patrol from Batten Point HNVV 3000 at cruising speed. Destroyers in vicinity – “Isis” D87 (SNO), “Imperial” D09, and “Versatile” D32.

Patrol going to position off Vermout at HMVS 202 at 1000 hours. Course ???? speed 32 knots. OA18 and OB18 Convoys in vicinity.

Reg 050/15/i0 – Aircraft “B” crashed on return to base. Of the crew of 11, 4 lost their lives, 7 badly injured were taken to hospital. Of the aircraft only three engines were salvaged. Aircraft crashed outside the breakwater owing to misjudging height from the water in conditions of bad visibility in darkness.

Reports from the West Briton 23 October 1939 and 16 November 1939


Following an accident to the seaplane in which he was returning from a reconnaissance flight. Chief Bomber Douglas Whitford, of the Royal Air Force, fifth son of Mrs. A. Whitford, of St. Austell-row, St. Mawes, lost his life. Mr. Whitford, who was 19. was a pupil of St. Mawes Council School and after winning a scholarship was transferred to Falmouth Grammar School. On completing his school training, he joined the Royal Air Force at the Eastchurch centre two years ago. He made excellent progress. A fine sportsman. he won a silver cup for securing the most points three times in succession at St. Mawes regatta He also played football and cricket for St. Mawes Club and was a most popular and deeply interested member of St. Mawes Troop of Scouts before joining the Air Force.


The funeral Of Gnr. Douglas Whitford, R.A.F., fifth son of Mrs. A. Whitford, of St. Austell-row, St. Mawes, took place at Maker Church. He was buried with full military honours a Royal Air Force chaplain officiating. He was carried to the church bv his six brothers, and thence to the churchyard. Among the R.A.F present was Flying-Officer Thurston Smith. D.F.C., of the same squadron, who was decorated by the King a short time ago. Gnr. Whitford's mother was unable to attend.

Short S.25 Sunderland Mark I

Sunderland Mk 1






4 Bristol Pegasus XXII engines each generating 1010 hp. Total fuel held in ten self-sealing tanks 2552 gallons (11602 litres) giving up to 18 hours of flight and a range of 2750 miles.

Armament: Nose turret with one .303 Vickers K machine gun, tail turret with four .303 machine guns, two single .303 machine guns firing through hatches in the rear fuselage sides. 2000lb (900kg) payload of bombs, mines or depth charges.

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