Pilot Officer Kenneth Winchcombe BORDYCOTT, 139927  R.A.F.V.R., No. 156 Sqn.



DFM & DFC Citations

Frederick and Counteiletta's son, Kenneth Winchcombe Bordycutt (sic), was born in Ramsbury, Wiltshire on 2 May 1920. Sometime between the wars Frederick changed the family name to Bordycott. Kenneth was educated at King Edward VI School (as a member of Lawrence House) in Southampton between 19 Jan 1933 and 28 Jul 1936. Kenneth joined the RAF as a trainee Observer (Navigator) sometime in Jul/Aug 1939 and was given the service number 755783. After ab-initio training he was posted to 20 Operational Training Unit (OTU) at RAF Lossiemouth on the Moray Firth in Scotland.

On the evening of 24 October 1940, the now Sergeant Bordycott joined his crew to fly a routine night navigation exercise in Vickers Wellington IA L7775. At approximately 2100 hrs that evening this aircraft crashed into Bruach Mhor on Beinn a' Bhuird mountain in the Cairngorms killing 2 of the 7 man crew (those who died were Sgt F Hutson, trainee A/G and P/O H.M. Coombs, Pilot). It is understood that the pilot, P/O D.V. Gilmour, mistook the snow-covered mountain for cloud. The very substantial remains of this aircraft have been largely recovered over the last 20 years and are now scattered across the country in various museums. Pilot Officer Gilmour was the pilot of a 24 Sqn Hudson aircraft that was lost without trace on 16 Dec 41 over the Bay of Biscay. By a most peculiar quirk of fate, my wife's uncle, Lt. Patrick Lainson Field RN, was a passenger on this flight.

Sometime in June 1941, Sergeant Bordycott joined 150 (Bomber) Squadron as a navigator on Vickers Wellington medium bombers. At the time 150 Sqn was based at RAF Snaith in Yorkshire and operated under the command of 1 Group, Bomber Command. During his time on the Squadron Sgt Bordycott flew 27 operational sorties and was promoted to the rank of Flight Sergeant. He was recommended for the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM) by his Sqn CO, Wing Commander J. Mellor on 21 Mar 1942 (the award being announced in the London Gazette on 26 May 1942):

At this time I do not know when Flt Sgt Bordycott left 150 Sqn nor where he went to next, but it can be assumed that he became an instructor of one form or another.

Kenneth Bordycott next appears in the Operational Record Book (ORB) of 156 (Pathfinder) Squadron, based at RAF Warboys in Huntingdonshire, in October 1942. Now navigating for Flt Sgt Harald Roy Andersen (later DFC) and his crew. The first operation of his second tour occurred on 6 November and entailed dropping sea mines from a Wellington III off the Frisian Islands. The Squadron converted to Avro Lancasters in late January 1943 and Bordycott was commissioned with the rank of Pilot Officer on 19 March (with seniority of 23 Nov 1942).

At 2126 hrs on 17 Apr 43, Anderson, Bordycott and the crew lifted off the runway at RAF Warboys in Lancaster GT-D W4854. On this evening 156 Sqn despatched 10 Lancasters on a mission to mark the Skoda armaments factory at Pilsen in Czechoslovakia with Target Illuminators.

The raid proved an abysmal failure with 11% of the attacking force lost and no bombs on target. Of the 36 aircraft that were brought down, 156 lost the aircraft captained by Sgt Gonce (an American from Oklahoma) and W/O Andersen (later commissioned as Pilot Officer). There were no survivors from either bomber. Andersen's Lancaster was brought down by Flak from Rheims-Courcy airfield and crashed at Brimont, on the Marne, 10 km North West of Rheims in France and the crew were buried in the local churchyard.

All told, the Andersen crew completed 21 operational flights with 156 before being listed as Failing To Return (FTR).

  Crew of W4854 on 16/10/1943

Pilot Officer H R Andersen
Sergeant P L Brougham-Faddy
Pilot Officer K W Bordycott
Sergeant B H Gooding
Pilot Officer F Smith
Sergeant J T Stephens
Sergeant W O Woolnough

Grave Photos at Brimont Cemetery 

(Courtesy of P. Cunliffe)


My thanks to Jon Hipkins for supplying the material for this page.