Pilot Officer - Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves - 218 Squadron - Service No. 67083
Ernest Wakefield was born on 5th November 1918 in Strood, Kent. His father was William Spalding Wakefield, a Foreman Engineer at Electrical and Cables works (probably Henley’s), and his mother was Bessie (née Flello). The first school that he attended was Dover Road School in Gravesend.
In 1927 Ernest Wakefield joined The County School for Boys – now known as Gravesend Grammar School. The Head Master at that time was the Reverend Samuel Lister. The County School for Boys was located in Darnley Road, Gravesend close to the Railway Station (now the Victoria Centre for Education). In 1938 the School moved to brand new premises in Church Walk, Milton, Gravesend opposite to Milton Church.
The School’s Admission Register lists Ernest’s address as 151 Park Avenue, Northfleet, Gravesend. Whilst at the School, Ernest was in Downs House, he was a Prefect in 1936, played for the 1st XI Cricket Team, as well as the 1st XV Rugby Team, he was awarded Full Colours and was Junior and Senior Swimming Champion. Two older brothers also attended the School, Sidney (born 1914) and Richard (born 1915).
In 1936 Ernest left the School and started work at Unilever. He was a member of a local Amateur Dramatic Group, the Hartley Players. He left Unilever and went on to Teacher Training at King Alfred’s College, Winchester. In the 1939 Census his address is listed as 351 Singlewell Road, Gravesend.
In July 1940 Ernest enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves, Service Number 67083. After training, he joined 218 Squadron as a Pilot Officer (Observer). 218 Squadron flew in Vickers Wellingtons from Marham, as part of No 3 Group of Bomber Command.
On 15th August 1941, Ernest Wakefield failed to return after a bombing raid over Hanover, Germany. He was 22 years old. He is remembered at Becklingen Cemetery.
Ernest Wakefield was in the same Form as Eric Dawson, who was also killed in action in World War Two.
There are links below to Newspaper Clippings and Photographs from the Gravesend Grammar School Archives.
Below are links to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and a few other websites that might be of interest: