13.06.1940150 Squadron Battle I L5524 Plt Off. Alfred Gulley
Operation: Vernon-Poix France
Date: 13th June 1940 (Thursday)
Unit No: 150 Squadron
Type: Fairey Battle I
Base: RAF Houssay
Location: Aigleville, south of Evreux, Department of Eure, Normandy
Pilot: Plt Off. Alfred Richard Gulley 33385 RAF Age 21. KiA
Obs: Sgt. Harold Berry 514724 RAF PoW - Evaded
Air Gnr: LAC Donald Leslie Phillips 545177 RAF PoW - Evaded
Update January 2021 - page under review.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 10:05 hrs from RAF Houssay to attack roads around Vernon/Poix region.
It is believed that L5524 was claimed by Uffz. Heinrich Vollmer, his 3rd Abschuss, of 3./JG3. The aircraft crash-landed and burned out near Aigleville.
Plt Off. Alfred Gulley killed during the attempted landing. Sgt. Berry and LAC. Phillips both captured, badly wounded. Aircraft a write-off.
The date of death of Alfred Gulley is recorded by the CWGC as June 14. LAC Donald Phillips was later reported in hospital in Amiens but subsequently escaped and successfully evaded eventually returning to Liverpool, England on the 04th December 1940, via Gibraltar aboard SS Aquila. Later commissioned on the 19th August 1943 (52730) He was the first RAF airman to be awarded the Military Medal (7th March 1941) for escape and evasion.
David Phillips, the son of LAC Donald Leslie Phillips contacted us in April 2018:
"My father joined the RAF in 1937 aged sixteen. After being shot down in June 1940 he was sent to a military casualty station, then military hospital in Amiens. Transferred to a fortress prison in northern France he escaped two months later, got across France to the Pyrenees and was imprisoned again in Spain. On return to England he gained his commission and was attached to No.3 Group Bomber Command responsible for the radio installations of outgoing bomber sorties. He left the RAF in 1952 to pursue a career in the electronics industry.
It is ironic that he hoped to publish an account of his experiences but was prevented by 'authority'. By the time that virtually everyone was publishing, he was too busy in his job to follow this through although he left some personal memoirs. He passed away in 2001, having previously spent some time visiting the French cemeteries in which other 150 Sqn. members were interred to check on the upkeep of their memorials".
Owing to the severity of his wounds Sgt Berry was repatriated to England on May 19, 1941. Berry was badly burnt on face and hands, escaped from a hospital in Rouen on the 13th September 1940, then proceeded South via Paris, crossing 'the line' on 24th January 1941, passed by the Mixed Medical Board on 21 March for repatriation, left from Gibraltar 2nd June. MiD awarded 11th June 1941
Plt Off. Alfred Richard Gulley. Aigleville Churchyard, Departement d'Eure-et-Loir Centre, France. Grave inscription: “THERE’S SOME CORNER OF A FOREIGN FIELD THAT IS FOR EVER ENGLAND”. Son of Alfred Clifford and Violet Katharine Langston Gulley, of Parkstone, Dorsetshire, England.
This is the only CWGC grave in the churchyard.
On Armistice Day 2023 a new road, Rue Alfred R Gulley, was named to honour Plt Off. Gulley.
Researched for Aircrew Remembered by Michel Beckers - June 2017. Grave photograph courtesy of John Hompens, some wreckage photographs from Loic Lemarchand who lived near the crash site, other photographs from the Michel Beckers collection. Also to David Phillips who contacted us in 2018. Thanks to Richard von Reibnitz, nephew of Alfred R Gulley, who was invited to the road naming in honour of Plt Off. Gulley. (May 2023).
Other sources listed below: