Remembering Flt. Lt. Basil "Wonky" Way 54 Sqn.
Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:42

Remembering the life of Flight Lieutenant Basil H "Wonky" Way of No 54 Squadron RAF who was killed in combat off Dover , this day 78 years ago on 25 July 1940, aged 22 He had just destroyed a Me 109 10 miles east of the Channel port. His body was washed up on a Belgian beach. During the fighting over Dunkirk in late May, he had been appointed to command B flight, having claimed 2 and 2 shared destroyed and 4 and 1 shared probably destroyed.Basil Hugh Way, of Hinton St George, Somerset was born in September 1917 and educated at Malvern College before entering the RAF College, Cranwell in January 1937 as a flight cadet. Whilst there he won the Groves Memorial Prize as the best all-round pilot.

On graduation in December 1938 Way was posted to 54 Squadron at Hornchurch.On February 13th 1940 he shared in destroying a He111 off the north Kent coast. In May he was appointed 'B' Flight Commander and over Dunkirk on the 25th and 26th he probably destroyed two Me110ís.

On 3rd July Way shared a Do17, on the 8th he claimed a Me109 destroyed and shared another, on the 24th two probable Me109ís and on the 25th another Me109 destroyed. Immediately after this victory Way was shot down and killed, crashing into the Channel in Spitfire R6707.(Coded KL-R? possibly coded KL-F?)
There is a painting of the action between F/L Basil 'Wonky' Way and Adolf Galland by Ivan Berryman. Galland is reported to have shot down Way. Galland ended 1940 with around 58 victories including France.

George Gribble of 54 squadron was reported to have said:Damn and blast this bloody war-theyve killed "Wonky" in the book by Alan Deere-Nine Lives.

His loss hit 54 squadron hard and Colin Gray, another ace of 54 Squadron recorded his impact in his own book:Spitfire Patrol.

Flt. Lt. Basil Way was 22 years old. He is buried in Oostdunkerke Communal Cemetery, Belgium. May he be remembered. Rest in peace.

Paul Davies

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