Posted: 15.09.20 at 14:05 by The Editor
TODAY is Battle of Britain Day and a ceremony in Thurrock showed that those heroes who lost their lives in the conflict that played a huge part on the defeat of Germany will not be forgotten.
Covid-19 has put paid to many ceremonies of remembrance but in the Thurrock village of Bulphan a pilot who lost his life exactly 80 years ago today (Tuesday, 15 September) was remembered.
A plaque was revealed and dedicated in the village to honour the memory of Spitfire pilot Gerry Langley.
The service was attended by village dignitaries, including those who researched the history of the airman and what happened to him, local ward councillor Sue Little, representatives of the Royal Air Force association including WWII veteran Jim Gooding, and Rev Sue Mann who conducted the service.
Gerald Archibald Langley was born on 29th July 1916 in Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire and was educated at Wolverhampton Grammar School.
In 1936 the family moved to Northampton and he went to work for the Prudential Assurance Company.
He joined the Royal Air Force Voluntary Reserve in March 1939 as an Airman-under-training Pilot. Called up on 1 September he completed his training on 17th June 1940, was commissioned the next day and tate very same day joined 41 Squadron.
The squadron had spent a busy period flying fighter sweeps over Northern France during the Battle of France and Dunkirk period. The squadron was then transferred South arriving at RAF Hornchurch and they moved straight into the thick of it and saw some very heavy action during the latter half of the Battle over the South East of England.
On September 11th he was shot down by return fire from a Junkers 88 over Sevenoaks, in Spitfire X4325 but baled out, unhurt.
On September 15th, “Battle of Britain Day”, his luck ran out and Langley was shot down and killed in combat with Messerschmitt 109s. His Spitfire P9324 is believed to have come down at Wick House, Bulphan.
He was aged just 24 and is buried at St Peter & Paul churchyard, Abington, Northampton.