Pilots of No.19 Squadron
relax between sorties outside their crew room at Manor Farm, Fowlmere,
near Duxford, September 1940.
Left to right: Pilot Officer W Cunningham, Sub-Lieutenant A G Blake of the Fleet Air Arm, Flying Officer F N Brinsden and Rangy the Spaniel.
During the Battle of Britain, Duxford and Fowlmere had two main jobs - to protect the Midlands and help the fighters of 11 Group when needed.
11 Group was responsible for the south-east of England, including London, and bore the brunt of the fighting in the summer of 1940.
Duxford and Fowlmere, located on the border between 11 and 12 Groups, were well-placed to provide support when requested.
Arthur Giles Blake was born
in 1917 in Northumberland, one of eight known children of John Henry Laws
Blake and Mary Jane Blake (nee Carson).
The couple had married in 1892. Arthur's siblings included: Edith Jane Blake (born in 1893), Nora Garson Blake (1894-1983), Lydia May Blake (1897-1976),
Doris Elizabeth Blake (1904-2005), John Henry Laws Blake (1907-1979) and Margaret Olga Blake (1909-1979).
Arthurís father was at one time a commercial traveller for an asbestos company.
He was educated at Slough
Grammar School. He passed through the Royal Naval College, Greenwich
and joined the Fleet Air Arm, gaining his wings in January 1940. His first posting was HMS Daedalus, a shore station at Lee-on-Solent in Hampshire.
On 15th June 1940 he was
one of the 58 FAA pilots attached to the RAF during the Battle of Britain
and he first attended 7 OTU, Hawarden, to convert to Spitfires.
On 1st July 1940 Blake joined 19 Squadron at Duxford, where his colleagues gave him the nickname 'Admiral'. On 3rd September
Blake damaged a Me110, on the 9th he destroyed a He111, on the 15th he destroyed a Me109, shared a He111 and damaged a Do17
and on the 17th he destroyed two more Me109's.
Blake was acting as weaver
during a patrol over South London on 29th October 1940, when he was shot
down and killed, probably picked off by a Me109.
His crippled Spitfire, P7423, flew on for some time, traveling some twenty miles northwards before crashing in flames in Chelmsford, Essex.
The aircraft came down in New London Road at 5.12 p.m., partially demolishing Oak Lodge (today no. 216), before ending up in the roadway.
New London Road was blocked by the wreckage for a couple of hours but was re-opened at 7.35 p.m. His remains were taken to St. John's Hospital, Chelmsford
and he was subsequently buried at St. Mary's Church in Langley near Slough, Berkshire (row 13, grave 3).
Arthur's father died in 1942; his mother in 1968.
An extract from 'Aces High'
indicating that Blake was on No. 6 Air Course at 20 ERFTS Gravesend.
Richard Cork was also on No. 6 Air Course.
Blake is listed among the 36 Fleet Air Arm aces of World War Two - the
list of Fleet Air Arm and Commonwealth personnel who had 5 or more
enemy aircraft "kills" during WW2 whilst serving with the Fleet Air Arm.
Blake's 19 Sqn Spitfire MKIIa P7423 QV-Y 29th October 1940
Blake is buried in St Mary's churchyard, St Mary's Road, Langley, Slough.
In 2013, Barratt Homes was
asked by a Basildon resident to name the streets of its new development
in Basildon after airmen who fell in Essex.
The property development company is hoping to trace any relatives of Mr Blake to help it to unveil its new street called Blake Way.
It is understodd that they live in the Slough area.
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