ALCOCK Selwyn Henry
Regiment : 83 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service number : 88402
Conflict : WW2
Date of death : 27th January 1944 aged 24
Buried : Hotton War Cemetery, Belgium, Grave V. E. 10.
Relatives : Son of William George Henry and Eva May Alcock; husband of Dorothy May Alcock, of Ellacombe, Torquay, Devon
Memorial : Brockmoor St John the Evangelist Church WW2 Memorial
Awarded Distinguished Flying Cross (D.F.C.)
Selwyn Alcock was born on 16th February 1919 in Edgbaston, Birmingham. He attended Well’s Cathedral School on a music scholarship and was known as a fine chorister. He captained the school’s rugby team in 1935. His father was the Vicar of St John the Evangelist in Brockmoor and after leaving Well’s School, Selwyn attended Durham University. When war broke out in September 1939 he volunteered for the Royal Air Force, moving back to Brockmoor to live and work before he was finally called up in March 1940. On 10th October 1942 he married Dorothy M. Gilbert who he had met whilst he was on a posting in Devon. She moved to Brockmoor and lived with his parents at Brockmoor Vicarage.
Selwyn was recommended for his DFC by his Squadron’s commanding Officer who had written the following to Air-Vice Marshall Donald Bennett, Commander of the RAF Pathfinder Force:
Flight Lieutenant Alcock, as Captain of a heavy bomber, has completed 46 operational flights against the enemy, 15 of these being with the Path Finder Force. Throughout his operational tour he has been detailed to attack most of the heavily defended targets in Germany, including 7 sorties in the Battle of Berlin. Without fail, Flight Lieutenant Alcock has carried out his arduous duties with determination and skill, always courageously pressing home his attack to his utmost. On two recent occasions, when approaching Berlin, his aircraft suffered very concentrated and accurate anti aircraft fire which resulted in an engine being put out of action on each occasion. Despite this, Flight Lieutenant Alcock continued on his bombing runs and marked and attacked his target successfully. His exemplary operational conduct and valour have contributed largely to the success of operations in which he has taken part. I strongly recommend the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Air-Vice Marshall Bennett countersigned the document with ” Strongly recommended.”
Source for additional information:
Pathfinder Pilot The Search for Selwyn Alcock DFC by Roger Perkins, 1992
On the evening of 27th January 1944 Selwyn Alcock was the pilot of Avro Lancaster JB724 which took off from RAF Wyton at 17.52 on a mission to Berlin. As a Pathfinder Squadron their mission was to mark the target areas for the aircraft carrying bombs. Their Lancaster aircraft was delivered from the factory to the squadron on 19th January 1944 and was on its first mission. Returning from the raid on Berlin the aircraft was shot down by a German night fighter and crashed at 23.30 at Sautour, 3 kms South South East of Phillippeville. The crew of seven were all killed and they are all buried in Hotton War Cemetery: Sergeant Stanley Bullamore (Flight Engineer), Flight Lieutenant Eric W. Sargent DFC (Navigator), Flying Officer Robert H. Adamson RCAF (Bomb Aimer), Flight Lieutenant Leslie G. Davis, Warrant Officer, Victor G. Osterich, Flying Officer William H. Hewson RAAF.
Source for additional information: http://www.lostaircraft.com/
Selwyn Alcock’s DFC was awarded posthumously, the London Gazette announcing the award in its edition of 13th October 1944.