First Officer Richard William Purser

6 Ferry Pilot Pool, Air Transport Auxiliary

Died on Sunday, 14th September 1941 aged 22

Personal Information:
Richard was born 5 September 1919 in Wraysbury, the first son of Thomas Albert William Purser (1873-1928) and second wife Cicely Victoria (Vicky) Reffell (1897-1975) who were married in 1918. His younger brother Julian Purser also died during the Second World War at sea.

He was educated at Lancing College and obtained his Aero Club Certificate in July 1939 at Exeter Aero Club. On the outbreak of war he joined the Royal Air Force with the rank of Acting Sergeant and served with them until February 1941 when he failed a flying course in Rhodesia. He transferred to the Air Transport Auxiliary the following April.

On the 14th September 1941, Richard Purser took off from his base at RAF Ratcliffe in Oxford Mk II X6958 for a ferry flight to RAF Burtonwood Repair Depot in Cheshire. Around 1.40pm, the aircraft crashed in bad visibility at Sandon Road Farm, Weston-on-Trent, approximately four miles from Stafford.

The Air Transport Auxiliary was a civilian organisation set up at the start of the Second World War. It ferried new, repaired and damaged military aircraft between various points including factories, assembly plants, delivery points, maintenance units and airfields, but not to naval aircraft carriers. It also flew service personnel on urgent duty from one place to another and performed some emergency ambulance work. Notably some of its pilots were women and from 1943 they received equal pay to their male colleagues, which was a first for the British government.

St Giles, Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire

Richard is buried with his father Thomas.