King G.R. - The OldWinburnians

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G. R. King

Full Names

Rank /Unit  

Years at Q.E.G.S.

George  Roland  King

No. 98 Squadron  
Royal  Air  Force


Date  / Place of Birth

Date  / Place of Death

Age at Death


Monday 17th June 1940
Off St.  Nazaire


George was the son of George & Esther King of Witchampton and the husband of Becky Futcher King (nee Stephens), of South Shields, Co. Durham.
Cpl. King must clearly have joined the RAF in the 1930s but his trade is not known. At the outbreak of the war No. 98 Squadron was at Hucknall, Notts. It moved from there to RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire on the 2nd of March 1940, where it continued to fly the single engined Fairey Battle, a light bomber. On the 16th of April 1940, it arrived at Nantes-Chateau Bougon, as part of the Advanced Air Striking Force in France, where it was held in reserve. Following the German Spring Offensive through the Low Countries, the Allied Expeditionary Forces were, by mid-May, falling back and, large numbers of even slightly damaged aircraft (including some Battles of No. 98 Sqdn),were abandoned.
As is well known, the final evacuation occurred in June, not only via Dunkirk but also at ports all along the North and West coasts of France. No. 98 Squadron suffered a heavy loss of personnel when the troopship "Lancastria" was sunk off St. Nazaire on the 17th of June 1940.  
Cpl. King was one of over 1800 men, of all three services, who lost their lives when this large vessel went down, together with an estimated 4000 civilian refugees.  It is the greatest ever loss of life in the sinking of a single British ship, claiming more lives than the combined losses of the
RMS Titanic and RMS Lusitania. It had also the highest death toll for UK forces in a single engagement in the whole of World War II.
He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial to those who died whilst serving in the RAF and have no known grave.

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