Rich, Horace James (No. 170389)

Rich, Horace James (Horace)

Pilot Officer

No. 170389, 125 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Killed in an aircraft accident on Friday 17 March 1944 (aged 25)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England (Panel 212)

BIOGRAPHY

Horace James Rich’s birth was registered in the first quarter of 1918 in Dartford, Kent and he was a son of William Leslie Rich and Lilian (Lily) Ada Rich (nee Judd).  William Rich worked as a steam wagon driver in a flour mill and his marriage to Lilian Ada Judd was registered in the second quarter of 1908 in Dartford.  Their first child, a son named Ernest, was born in 1910.

The marriage of Horace James Rich and Nancy Belle Cole was registered in the first quarter of 1942 in Chippenham, Wiltshire and they lived in Stockley, Wiltshire.  During the Second World War, Horace James Rich served with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

On 17 March 1944, two de Havilland Mosquito aircraft (HK 261 and HK 326) of No. 125 Squadron based at RAF Ballyhalbert were airborne over the Irish Sea on a night practice interception exercise from which they failed to return.  Based on Ground Controlled Interception (GCI) radar evidence from Ballywooden, Bishopscourt it was presumed that the two aircraft had collided, resulting in the deaths of both crews.  Each crew comprised two men and their bodies were never recovered.  They were Flight Lieutenant Eric Augustus Snow (pilot of HK261); Flying Officer Donald Maldwyn Griffiths (navigator aboard HK261); Flying Officer Frederick John Bartlett Reid (pilot of HK326) and Pilot Officer Horace James Rich (navigator aboard HK326).

Pilot Officer Horace James Rich was 25 when he died, and he is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey.