30th September 1940

On the morning of September 30th 229 Squadron took off on a patrol over Biggin Hill, together with No. 1 Canadian Squadron. They encountered a formation of approximately 50 Messerschmitt’s which attacked the Squadron in small groups, and succeeded in breaking up the formation. Two pilots received bullet wounds to the leg and their aircraft crashed. Thankfully both pilots survived. Another pilot received a bullet to the foot but managed to return to base, whilst another aircraft was considerably damaged but also managed to return. Sadly, Flying Officer Malcolm Ravenhill’s aircraft was set on fire and it is believed that he was mortally wounded in the air. His aircraft crashed at Church Road in Ightham, Kent. Despite brave attempts by locals to save him, he died.

Eyewitness Stories

Albert, Lottie (Charlotte) and Betty Shoesmith

In 2015 David Baldwin contacted me with the following story he remembers being told by his grandfather.

“My mother and her parents (Albert and Lottie Shoesmith) lived in Ightham and my grandfather witnessed the Hurricane crash. In fact he was the first to get to the plane as it was in the field next to their house. Unfortunately, due to the fire and the machine gun bullets going off in all directions, even between his legs, he could do nothing which greatly upset him”.

David’s mother, Betty Baldwin (née Shoesmith), was instrumental in detailing exactly where Malcolm crashed and the events of the day. Sadly she passed away in late 2020, but she was thrilled to know that Malcolm’s memorial stone in Ightham was going to happen.

Betty Allingham

A few weeks before Malcolm’s memorial stone dedication on July 1st 2022 I was kindly contacted by Kelly Mussared with the following:

“On the fateful day my grandmother Betty Allingham was working at the Button factory on church lane. It was a big glass building – they had to evacuate the building due to dog fighting, that’s when they witnessed Malcolm’s hurricane in trouble. Miraculously she said he managed to avoid hitting the factory, pulling the aircraft up and over it. She always said he saved countless lives as not everyone was out of the building. Sadly they tried to get him after he came down but were beaten back by the flames and ammunition going off. She never forgot his heroism and would be so pleased he is being honoured at last”.

Betty Allingham

He has since sent me a photo of his grandmother, Betty Allingham, probably taken in 1939.

George Bastable

The following is an extract from the Sevenoaks Chronicle Article in June 1971, sent to me by Adam Sampson, grandson of the late Ken Anscombe who ran the Halstead War Museum in Kent. The article was written at the time of a dig in 1971, televised live for the TV program “Magpie”, to recover the Hurricane of another 229 Squadron aircraft that crashed in a nearby field about 10 minutes before Malcolm’s crash.

There was another one which came down only ten minutes later about 100 yards away. It was alight when we first saw it and was heading for the camp.
The pilot, seeing he would hit the camp, went round again and managed to put the plane down in the field next to the camp but by then the flames had gained such a hold that we could not get near him. He died as we tried to get the cockpit top off with poles. We discovered afterwards that he had been injured in the neck.

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