Battle of Britain 70th anniversary – Remembering Bajan RAF ace Aubrey Richard de Lisle Inniss

Remembrance Day stories

Aubrey Inniss from Barbados was one of “The Few”

“Air Ministry, 9th July, 1943.
ROYAL AIR FORCE. ,
The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards: —
Distinguished Flying Cross.

Flight Lieutenant Aubrey Richard de Lisle INNISS (42005), No. 248 Squadron…for gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations.”

Seventy years ago today on August 20, 1940 at 3:52pm, Winston Churchill rose in British Parliament and delivered his famous tribute to the Royal Air Force pilots who kept the Nazi wolves at bay. The same speech was delivered again today in London, and we remember a Bajan RAF pilot who was one of “The Few” who Churchill had in mind when he said Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few” (Wikipedia entry)

You owe it to yourself to stop for a few minutes to consider the young lads of the Royal Air Force in the summer of 1940. Some weren’t out of their teens, but they were willing to give everything they had – and many did.

Although many Barbadian pilots and aircrew fought during World War II, (including our first Prime Minister, Errol Barrow who joined the RAF on December 31, 1940) the Battle of Britain London Monument shows only one Bajan pilot who fought during the summer of 1940:  “P/O A R deL INNISS”

Another website lists the pilot (incorrectly spelled) as…

INNES, P/O Aubrey Richard de Lisle. 42005. Barbados/British. 236 Squadron. (link)

Wikipedia says his surname is also spelled as Inness and that he was awarded a DFC – Distinguished Flying Cross.

Inniss flew Beaufighters during the summer of 1940

From what I’ve been able to see online, Inniss flew a twin-engined Beaufighter (Wikipedia entry) or Blenheim I during the Battle of Britain. Not a sexy Spitfire or even a utilitarian Hawker Hurricane, but according to online searches he had 9 kills during his RAF career and he survived the war to reach high rank at the start of the cold war. On February 1, 1949, he was promoted to Squadron Leader and in 1957 retired as Wing Commander of 248 Squadron.

Although Barbados issued a stamp in tribute to Inniss, weren’t able to find a real photo of Wing Commander Inniss anywhere on the web. If anyone has one, we’d be honoured to include it in this article.

A Google search for his full name Aubrey Richard De Lisle Inniss” reveals more information from other websites here and here. A search for “Aubrey Inniss” returns other articles, so be sure to search under both names. A few excerpts…

BARBADOS
42005 F/O Aubrey Richard De Lisle Inniss DFC.
Barbados-English. RAF 236 Squadron, Blenheim I

Born 21/11/1916 Barbados, West Indies

Nickname: Sinbad

DFC 9/7/1943

Score 8 and 1 shared destroyed. 3 Confirmed 1/3 He111 23/9/40 (236 Sq) 29/1/1943 Shared Ju88 and 10/3/1943 shared Ju88 both with 248 Sq. 29/11/1942 Prob Ju88

APO 6/3/1939 PO 6/11/1939 F/O 6/11/40 F/L 6/11/41 S/L 15/9/44 S/L 1/9/45

Died 30/1/2003

“To add to John’s information, Inniss shared two Ju88s on 29/1/43. His DFC citation mentions 7 kills in total (apparently his logbook shows 8 Ju88s and one shared FW200 whilst with 248 Squadron). He didn’t serve with 83 Squadron, but was CO of 39 Squadron (Beaufighter X) 1943/1944 and became Wing commander Flying at Athens in March 1944.”

And another via Barbados Postal Service…

Wing Commander, Aubrey Inniss, DFC, wartime fighter ace, was born in Barbados on November 21, 1916. He joined the RAF in January 1939 on a service commission and by September when war broke out he had been trained and was posted to 236 Squadron, flying the Blenheim 4Fs on anti-shipping duties. On September 23, 1940 Inniss had his first kill when he shot down a Heinkel He 111. In 1941 he was posted to the 248 Squadron, flying the Beaufighter which was a powerful and much faster aircraft with four 20mm cannon and six machine guns. Patrolling from St. Eval in Cornwall to as far as the Bay of Biscay, he was able to shoot down two Ju 88s in January and March 1943. In July of the same year he was awarded his DFC having added another victim to his tally. He was later promoted to Wing Commander and ended the war with seven (7) kills. Aubrey Inniss retired from the RAF in 1958 and along with his wife Ruth, ran a fishing pub at Sheepwash, North Devon. After his wife‘s death in 1975, he spent most of his time in Barbados and died there on January 30th, 2003 at the age of 86.

“The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. All our hearts go out to the fighter pilots, whose brilliant actions we see with our own eyes day after day…”

Excerpt from the famous Churchill speech (Wikipedia entry here)

9 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, History

9 responses to “Battle of Britain 70th anniversary – Remembering Bajan RAF ace Aubrey Richard de Lisle Inniss

  1. I was named after my uncle (Ian Desmond Bourne, Flight Lieutenant then Squadron Leader 1923/06/12) who joined the RAF at 17 (looked older) in 1940 and was shot down over Berlin in ’43.

    Uncle Ian ejected from his plane only to break his leg landing in a tree, which led to his capture – he assisted in digging the tunnel at Colditz and cried when he was not drawn to go through it (all were shot who did) he was not released until 1945.

    Uncle Ian survived and married Jean Talbot and they had two sons Ian & Jeremy – he died 1953 as an RAF flying instructor off the coast of Denmark with a panicky student who crashed their plane.

    Uncle Ian survived WW II to be brought down by one of his own… I wish I had met him, he’d’ve been 87.

  2. I knew him a bit, towards the end..

    Uncle Bree!!

    Lived out his days as a most unassuming guy, on Palm Beach
    before they developed the whole complex for condos.

    His mortal remains lie
    in the immaculately-maintained Military Cemetery
    at Needhams Point!

  3. Peter Medford

    We had the privilege of living next door to Uncle Bree in Palm Beach for many years and he was always a very generous and accommodating neighbour and friend.
    We have missed his friendliness and always welcoming character and always enjoyed his stories about his life in the WW II.
    We will always remember him.

  4. Pingback: France to honour fallen Barbados RAF pilot George Inniss in May 2011 – Looking for relatives, photos « Barbados Free Press

  5. BFP

    Hello Mr. Medford,

    Would you kindly take a look at our new article about another RAF pilot named INNISS.

    Can you assist?

    Thanks!

    France to honour fallen Barbados RAF pilot George Inniss in May 2011 – Looking for relatives, photos

  6. Laurence Adamson

    I have a picture of Aubrey Inniss taken at the Half moon Inn, Sheepwash in 1975. It is not large and he is not looking directly at the camera but it was taken whilst he was showing us around the property whilst on holiday there. He took us for a memorable days fishing where we caught lots of Mackerel. I also have a hand written entry in my autograph book by him using a fountain pen…
    “The grass is green, the sun has riss, I wonder where the birdies is ?
    The bird is on the wing ! Now ain’t that absurd.
    I always thought the wing was on the bird.” A.L.Inniss Wg Cdr

  7. Andy Bird

    Pilot Officer Aubrey ‘Sinbad’ Inniss – of No 236 Squadron in 1940 will feature in a forthcoming book entitled “Coastal Dawn” to be published this July 2012, by Grub Street Publishing, London.
    “Coastal Dawn” will also feature the only Jamaican to take part in the Battle of Britain, Pilot Officer Herbert Capstick also flying with No 236 Squadron.

    For more information click below:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Coastal-Dawn-Blenheims-Battle-Britain/dp/1906502692

  8. Pingback: Coastal Dawn: New book features Bajan RAF ace Aubrey Richard de Lisle Inniss | Barbados Free Press