"We do not want to be remembered as heroes, we only ask to be remembered for what we done....that's all"
"I regard it as a privilege to fight for all those things that make life worth living - freedom, honour and fair play"

AIRMEN'S STORIES - Fl/Lt J. C. Mungo-Park

John Colin Mungo-Park was born in Wallasey, Cheshire in 1918. He was educated at Liverpool College and joined the RAF in 1937. He was posted to 74 Squadron at RAF Hornchurch on 4 September 1939. He fought with this squadron all through the Battle of Britain and by the end of November 1940 had twelve confirmed victories. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 15 November 1940.

He had been commanding 'A' Flight of the squadron since 8 September 1940 and was promoted to command the squadron on 10 March 1941 when the existing commander, the famous South African 'Sailor' Malan, was posted to another appointment.

On 16 June 1941 he shot down two Messerschmitt 109's over the French coast but his own aircraft was damaged and he glided back with a dead engine to crash land at Hawkinge near Folkestone.

On 27 June 1941 he was shot down and killed at Adinkerke, Belgium and is buried there. A letter sent to us from a Johny Recour from Belgium who lived close to the location where Mungo-Park crashed and details some new light on the crash:

I have an incredible and yet amazing story to tell you. But first have a look at this picture (below) from my father who wrote on the back : "Remembrance of an English flier fallen during the war 1940-41 at Adinkerke in a glorious fight against enemy superior numbers".


The body of F/Lt Mungo-Park which lay beside the aircraft has been digitally removed for obvious reasons

This picture survived the war despite his captivity in Germany awaiting the execution of his death sentence for sabotage and armed resistance. Some 25 years ago he gave it to me and from that day on I wanted to know who the pilot on the picture was. But since there is very little which can lead to identification, even of the plane, I kept figuring out how to handle it.

On January 16th I went to visit my father in De Panne and he always gives me the local newspaper pages and communal magazine of De Panne before returning to Bruges. In the communal magazine there was a request from a man about the crash of a bomber in 1944. Since I could not help I sent him a copy of my picture and asked if by any chance he could help me. A few days later I received an answer from a local specialist in WW2 aircrashes in our region who immediately told me the picture was of Sq Ldr John Colin MUNGO PARK, CO of 74 Squadron, who was shot down on June 27th 1941, 23 years old, flying a Spitfire V, serial X4668 and buried at Adinkerke Military Cemetery, grave E/17. He also said that the same day Sgt G.G. Hilken (Spitfire W3254) and Plt Off W.J. Sandman (Spitfire W3210) of 74 Sq were also lost.

The most incredible and amazing part is yet to come: my father was there and saw the crash happening. He (then aged 16) and his friends were playing a game of tennis when they heard and saw an airplane in trouble diving down in a lot of smoke. They jumped on their bicycles and speeded as quick as possible to where the plane was going down. When they finally arrived the aircraft had crashed and the pilot lay dead beside the wreck, guarded by a German soldier. My father did not take the picture himself. It could have been done by one of his friends (later the whole group was arrested, all were sent to Germany and unfortunately some did not come back). It could also have been taken by a German soldier or officer, who as many of his fellow soldiers then had his pictures developed by a young man in De Panne, who always made sure to make some extra copies for distribution among friends.

When I called him yesterday evening to tell him the whole story behind the picture he suddenly remembered that two other planes made a forced landing on the beach of De Panne, approximately at the same time, but he said we were more interested in the plane that we saw going down and followed its trail as quick as possible on our bikes. - (the sight of the crash in Adinkerke is about 2 miles from where they were playing tennis) - Can you imagine how astonished I was that after 64 years the pieces fell together.

Met vriendelijke groeten
Kind regards,
Johny Recour, Zeebrugge, Belgium

Fl/Lt John Mungo Park was awarded a Bar to the DFC (i.e. a second award of the same decoration) on 11 July 1941.


AIRMEN'S STORIES - BACK TO MENU


THE QUOTES ON OUR BANNER

"We do not want to be remembered as heroes, we only ask to be remembered for what we done....that's all"
W/C Robert "Bob" Doe British 234 & 238 Squadrons Fighter Command

"I regard it as a privilege to fight for all those things that make life worth living - freedom, honour and fair play"
Pilot Officer William "Bill" Millington Australian 79 & 249 Squadrons Fighter Command

PERPETUATING THE MEMORY
The Battle of Britain Historical Society 2006