Midshipman Peter James Dewing 759 Squadron 1944
Royal Naval Vol.Reserve
12th July 1944 Age 19
Also his father
FREDERICK JAMES DEWING
Died 4th November 1944 Age 54
“We shall remember them”
DEWING, PETER JAMES
Date of Death:……….12/07/1944
Service:……………….....Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
Grave Reference:……Sec. 54. Grave 157.
Cemetery:…………….....NORWICH CEMETERY, NORFOLK
Son of Frederic James Dewing and Jessie Elizabeth Dewing, of Norwich.
The birth of a Peter J Dewing was recorded in the Norwich District in the January to March quarter of 1925. His mothers maiden name was Blomfield.
Post August 1911 it had become compulsory when registering a birth in England and Wales to also record the mothers maiden name. A check of the General Registrars Office Index of births for England and Wales covering the period 1911 to 2006 produces only one other match for this combination of surname and mothers maiden name. That was a Walter R Dewing, whose birth was registered in the Tendring district of Essex.
Military Career and Unit
The June 1944 Navy List records that a Peter James Dewing was appointed Temporary Midshipman effective 14th January 1944.
759 NAS was first formed on 1st November 1939 at Eastleigh, as a Fighter School and aircraft pool unit. Its original inventory included; 9 Blackburn Skuas, 5 Blackburn Rocs and 4 Gloster Sea Gladiators. On 1st December it absorbed 769 NAS and became the Fleet Fighter School.
On 16th September 1940, the Squadron made the move to RNAS Yeovilton, and soon began to receive examples of the Grumman Martlet, Fairey Fulmar and Miles Master, with the Sea Hurricane also arriving at Yeovilton in 1941.
In 1943 it became a part of the Naval Air Fighter School as the advanced flying training component, and by the middle of that year it had a fleet of over 100 aircraft! From 1944 the Squadron re-equipped with Corsairs, and remained based at Yeovilton until disbandment in February 1946, when it was absorbed into 794 NAS.
On the day
FAA, 759 Sqn, Heron, air crash
CONSTABLE, Peter, Lieutenant (A),
DEWING, Peter J, Midshipman (A),
RITCHIE, Blyth, Lieutenant (A),
SMART, Thomas M, Act/Sub Lieutenant (A)
The death of Peter J Dewing, aged 19, was recorded in the Sturminster District of Dorset in the July to September quarter, (Q3), of 1944 .
The deaths of Peter Constable, (aged 23), Blyth Ritchie, (aged 23) and Thomas M Smart were recorded in the same District and quarter.
Headstone of Lieutenant Peter Constable
From “Aces High:A Tribute to the Most Notable Fighter Pilots of the British and Commonwealth Forces of WW11” by Christopher Shores and Clive Williams.
Ritchie Blyth Lieutenant RNVR
Blyth Ritchie was born in Cambuslang, Scotland, and educated at Dollar Academy, He joined the RNVR early in the war upon leaving school, graduating as a pilot in the Fleet Air Arm. Posted to 800 Squadron as a Sub Lieutenant, he saw service in the Mediterranean in 1942 aboard HMS Indomitable, being involved in the Operation ‘Pedestal’ convoy to Malta in August, for which he received a Mention in Despatches in October. The following month he was again in action, this time against the Vichy French in Algeria during the Operation ‘Torch’ landings. Back in the UK, promoted Lieutenant, and with his squadron converted to Grumman Hellcat fighters, he served aboard HMS Emperor, flying many sorties along the Norwegian coast in 1944, supporting attacks on the battleship Tirpitz. He was awarded a DSC in May 1944 and a Bar to this the following month. Shortly after the announcement of the latter, however, he was reported killed on active service, it is presumed in an accident, for his body was sent home for burial. His brother John was killed as a Sergeant with the RAF in November 1942.
Total: 5 and 2 shared destroyed, 1 and 1 share damaged on water.
(For a break-down see the original source)
This site has a picture of Lt Blyth Ritchie which is believed to have been taken in April 1944. The accompanying text reads that he was killed in a training flight mid-air collision on July 12, 1944, near Sherborne, Dorset after he had left HMS Emperor.
Thanks to Simon at the RAFCommands Forum, who supplied the following information:-
Ray Sturtivant's Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939-1945, pages 315 and 314 respectively, has the following:
Miles Master II DK943 - 759 Sqn Yeovilton, air combat exercise, collided AZ559, Sherborne, Cat. Z 12.7.44 (Lt B Ritchie & Mid PJ Dewing both killed)
Miles Master II AZ559 - 759 Sqn Yeovilton; collided with DK943 on air combat exercise, crashed Sherborne, Dorset, Cat. Z 11.7.44 [sic - note difference in dates] (Lt P Constable & S/L TM Smart both killed)
Both Masters are described as having been transferred from the R.A.F.