David Hirst

Flying Officer, 2 Squadron
Service number 11380
Died 26 May 1943
Buried Brookwood Military Cemetery
Age 28

Headstone Inscription

David was born on 1 January 1915 in Southwark to Abraham Hirshkovitch and Dinah nee Goldstein. David had one older sister named Lilian. In 1939 the family were living at 127 Knatchbull Road in Lambeth where Abraham worked as a gent’s tailor, Lilian was a secretary and typist and David is listed as a civil servant.

David was the pilot of Mustang AG623 which departed from RAF Thruxton as part of ‘Operation Asphalt’, a Ranger sortie, twice postponed already due to bad weather. ‘Asphalt’ was a sortie to carry out armed reconnaissance and any offensive operations on rail movements in the Rennes-Laval-Le Mans-Chateaubriand-Blain-Redon-Rennes area. At 1650 hours ten Mustangs from 2 Squadron took off in bad weather from Thruxton, Hants. The bad weather consisted of a bank of sea fog in the Channel and along the South Coast. Three pilots were part of a formation of 10 aircraft that was heading out for France in line-abreast formation and ordered by the formation leader to climb above the approaching high ground, but they pilots failed to climb fast enough or high enough.

In the right-hand element of the formation David flew in fog into Smedmore Hill, Dorset. Pilot Officer J B McLeod in AP210 crashed nearby and Flying Officer N J Miller in AG550 slightly further away. All three aircraft were destroyed by the crash impact and subsequent fire, and all three pilots killed.

Photo credit Paul McCue