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Harry Quittenden, was born 03.07.09 and was an LAC with 965 Sqdn. from Nov. 1944 until June 1945. The squadron had been disbanded in summer 1944 but was reformed as the docks at Terneuzen needed serious defence against the threat of German air attacks. The squadron spent some time in Belgium initially before the Germans left Holland and was probably based around Antwerp. It is believed he was a balloon transport driver, some 6 feet tall and was from the London area. Quite a number of people were posted into 965 at the last minute from other squadrons

At some stage he was involved in the bar in the officers mess. There is a story about him 'acquiring' or "liberating" alcohol for the bar.

I believe he was stationed at Terneuzen, because his granddaughter has 2 postcards one of the Ambachtschool and the other of the Grand Hotel Rotterdam also in Terneuzen.

His RAF career was as follows:

1288721 Henry Quittenden DOB 03/07/1909


The following information has been gleaned from his Form 543 RAF.


Described as 6 feet 1/2 inches in height with brown hair, hazel eyes and a fresh complexion. Distinguishing scars were: 3 moles on his back Multiple tiny marks on front and 4 vaccination scars on his left arm. His religion was Church of England. His civilian occupation was Postmen/Driver. He was born at Lewisham, Kent, London.

Married to Ivy Ethel TAFFE 02/10/1939 at Game Park. His home address was 65 Westdean Avenue, Lee, London. They were living at 39 Glen Lee. Keighley, Yorkshire by 1944.

He is listed as having had 3 children before and during his service with the RAF:

Joan Audrey born 26th March 1934, Patricia Ann born 16th June 1938 and John Henry born 18th June 1944. 

He joined the RAF on 13/09/1940 and attended No 1 Receiving Centre Uxbridge. Usually this was taken as an assessment of suitability and often was done using multiple choice question papers meant to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate and then allocate them to a trade to which the exam indicated they were suited. Five days later on the 18th he was sent to No 18 Balloon Center at Bishopsbridge, Glasgow. On the 18th September 1940 he had a posting to 960 Barrage Balloon Squadron, based at Lyness, Scotland, mustering indicated he was given the rank of a Aircraft hand (A.C.H ) also

own as A.C.2 indicating Aircraftman 2nd Class, the pay at the time was started at two shillings per day. This meant that he met Medical Grades I and II and his feet were at least Grade II. His trade on muster entry was Balloon Operator. The RAF tended to carry out an annual appraisal on the last day of the year each December. On the 31st December 1940 he was listed as in a trade of Balloon Rigger/ Fabric Worker, his rank was AC2 (Aircraftman 2nd Class ) and his character listed as VG (Very Good), his trade proficiency was undefined and simply noted as under training (UT). He was posted to 910 Squadron, based at Chigwell, London, on 4th November 1940 and on to 950 and 960 Squadrons on the 7th February 1941. He was posted back to 910 Squadron on the 7th of February 1941 and was sent to a balloon site at Barking Park, Essex.

 On the 1st April 1941 he was promoted to AC1 (Aircraftman 1st Class), the pay at the time was started at three shillings per day. He was reclassified on the 6th April 1941 with a pass mark of 70%. On the 24th July 1941 he was posted to a combined 909/910 Squadron at Chigwell, London. On the 31st December 1941 he was reclassified on the 1st December 1941 with a pass mark of 80%, he was listed as in a trade of Balloon Operator/ Driver, his rank was now LAC (Leading Aircraftman) and was effective 1st December 1941 and his character listed as VG (Very Good), his trade proficiency was stated as “Satisfactory”. He stayed there until August 1942 when he was posted to No 1 Barrage Balloon Unit (BBU) later renamed No 1 Mobile Balloon Squadron.

On the 20th September 1942 he went to 952 Squadron, Sheerness. On the 5th November 1942 he was sent to No 1 Balloon Centre. He obtained his 1st Good Conduct Badge grade “A” on the 13th September 1943.

On the 31st December 1943 he was listed as in a trade of Balloon Operator/ Driver, his rank was now LAC (Leading Aircraftman) and was effective 1st December 1941, the pay at the time was started at four shillings per day. His character listed as VG (Very Good), his trade proficiency was stated as “Superior”. On the 2nd April 1944 he was reclassified on an Administration and Discipline Course the results were declared on 16th April 1944, at the end of the two week course and he was given a classification of “B”for the course.

He stayed there until 3rd April 1944 until he was posted to 952 Squadron. On the 16th April 1944 he was posted to 965 Squadron based at Wythall, Birmingham. He was promoted to an Acting Corporal (unpaid) on the 24th April 1944 but they clearly changed their mind about him because on the same day he was listed as now being Acting Corporal but paid!! The pay at the time was started at four shillings and sixpence per day.


 On the 9th November 1944 he was sent No. 6 Military Transport Company at Glasgow. At this posting the records show he was removed of Acting Corporal rank and reverted to a LAC (Leading Aircraftman) with a change of pay. On the 31st December 1944 he was listed as in a trade of Balloon Operator/ Driver, his rank was now LAC (Leading Aircraftman) and had been effective from 1st December 1941 and his character listed as VG (Very Good), his trade proficiency was stated as “Superior”.

 On the 29th June 1945 he was posted to No.4 Military transport Company at St Johns Wood and on the 16th August 1945 he was posted to No.6 Military Transport Company at Glasgow.

On the 22nd June 1945 he was posted to 102 Dispersal Centre at Cardington, Bedford and on the 19th August 1945 he was dispersed from the RAF leaving finally on the 4th October 1945. He was discharged to the reserves group G and was to be available for recall up to the age of 45 years.


These are his pictures below if you can recognise him or can add more information please contact me at

SOLVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Earlier on I wrote  "Below is a picture of a war memorial in Belgium, however it is not certain to the exact location.

If anyone reading this can come up with an answer as to exactly where it is I and the Quittenden

family would be most grateful!!! Harry Quittenden is on the extreme right of the picture.

The inscription translates as:

Aan Onze

Von Den Oorlog

That comes out to”

“To Our
Fallen (in Battle)
Of the War 1914-1918"


Now if you look further down you will see that this has been solved, Grateful thanks to the hard work of Bertin Deneire and Dave Lam of Belgium, without whom positive identification would not have been possibile.....The Quittenden family are pleased!!!!!

Modern setting for the church


The area around the church has changed considerably but the posh house on the left still stands (it's the Vicarage!), whereas the one further down the street (the one with the special tiled facade) has been pulled down and is now a block of flats. The little square in which Mr Q and his mates is sitting is now a parking space bordering the street. The wall behind the men faces south. The original war monument has been replaced by a newer one, presumably one which mentions the fallen of both world wars.
the picture was NOT in Antwerp but in Oost Vlaanderen. David's mail telling me about Mr Q's unit being stationed in Terneuzen has proved to be the vital bit of information that did it. Assenede is near Zelzate and lies only 2 kms from the Dutch border. As you may see on the map it is quite a distance from Antwerp, almost 50 kms to the west!
I think it is most likely that the men decided to take a picture in the first Belgian village/town after crossing the border, on their way to Antwerp.
PS: Emanual Vidts, the vicar there, has sent a picture of the church making sure he took the same position of the wartime photographer and sent it to me.