Father: William Richard Winn
Ed. Whitgift School, Croydon; St George's School, Harpenden
m. Jul 1925 in Dorking, Surrey, Freda Mary [Phizacklea, b. 3 Mar 1903 in Staffordshire], 4 children (Anne b. 18 May 1926, Phillppa Jane b. 22 Apr 1930, Stephen Richard b. 7 Feb 1933, Nicholas b. 3 Aug 1935)
In 1931, he was in financial trouble, accused of obtaining money by false pretences. He pleaded guilty and, according to the Diss Express, 13 November 1931:
"on oath said that he was a married man with two children, one five years old and the other eighteen months. He was educated at Harpenden and joined the Royal Air Force as a cadet, subsequently obtaining a commission. He resigned this in 1927, and was placed on the reserve.
At the time he resigned he was suffering from neurasthenia and this was in consequence of an experience he had in March 1927. At that time he was with others in charge of aeroplane over the North Sea. The plane came down and he with the others hung on to the side for seven hours till they were rescued.
He had been in receipt of approximately £100 a year reserve pay, but this had ceased, and from time to time he had been assisted by friends. He was in a had way in September and improperly drew cheques. Now he was anxious to make a clean breast of the whole matter. "
He was bound over for a year.
Address in 1941: Carleton Hall, Penrith, Cumbria or Knapp Cottage, Corscombe, Dorchester, Dorset
prev. F/O, RAF and RAFVR, Nov 1925 to Oct 1930; a farmer, and mathematics teacher at a Prep School
prev. exp. 400 hrs on Avro 504, DH9a, Bristol Fighter, Vickers Virginia (!)
He originally applied to the RAF in May 1940, and they decided to give him a flight test.
However, following this the ATA informed him that his flying was judged to be "below the standard required for entry into the ATA" and "In these circumstances, we are unable to offer you an appointment as pilot."
However, by the 11 Jan 1941 the ATA wrote to him, "as a result of the lowering of the entrance standard it has now become possible to reconsider previously unsuccessful applicants.", and offered him another flight test.
He seems to have ignored this letter, but then wrote to the ATA on 11 Mar 1941:
Will you please send information about condictions of service, rates of pay etc in the Air Transport Auxiliary?
I am 40½ & retired from the RAF in 1931. I have about 400-500 hours flying - half of this on twin engined aircraft - but I have not flown for 10 years"
His second flight test on the 9 Apr 1941 went reasonably well: ("Take-off, fair; General Flying, good; Approach, poor; Landing, fair"), although he was rated "Doubtful for Class 2".
"Well-disciplined, keen and likely to prove a useful and capable ferry pilot"
d. 28 Jan 1942 (Died in ATA Service) in Master T8614 which he was ferrying from Prestwick (having been held there for 2 nights by bad weather) to Catterick.
The weather was snowy, cold and cloudy; the aircraft crashed at about 1,500ft near Stainmore, 6 m E of Brough, Westmorland, possibly due to icing.
The aircraft and his body were not discovered until 4 Apr 1942.
Photos of the crash site are here
Buried Maidenhead Cemetery
It turned out that Richard and his wife Freda, shortly before his death, had been declared bankrupt. He left no money whatsoever, and in fact there was an outstanding deficit of £2,349 18s 5d - plus, there were outstanding school fees to pay.
In March 1942, (so, after Richard went missing but before he was found), Freda became very ill and had to go into hospital for a serious operation; during that time Gerard d'Erlanger (ATA Commanding Officer) and his wife, cared for her two girls in their own home.
Normally, the ATA would have paid out £2,000 compensation to Freda under their insurance policy. Unfortunately, this would simply have been swallowed up by the public trustee for the benefit of the creditors.
The ATA Benevolent Fund met, considered her case and agreed to award her £94 4s "to clear the educational arrears of your two boys" and £30 to cover "maintenance for the next six weeks and travelling expenses", together with an offer to interview her and discuss the matter further.
On the 25 August 1942, the ATA's Deputy Chief Establishment Officer, Mr Staple, wrote to Mrs d'Erlanger at Lane Farm:
"Dear Mrs d'Erlanger,
I wonder if you could help me at all over the case of Mrs Winn? You know her well personally I believe, and have shown infinite kindness in taking in her children, and in various other ways, and if you could give me some assistance in her case at the present moment, I should be very grateful.
You know approximately what her circumstances were, how both she and her husband were bankrupt? Captain Stocks, the Flying Establishment Officer, with some assistance from this department, has been taking endless trouble with her affairs, and has been successful beyond all anticipation. He employed my suggestions to ask local [Maidenhead] solicitors, Messrs Smallman and Son, to get in touch with Mrs Winn, and the result of it all - without worrying you with any unnecessary detail - is that we managed to get the Trustees in Bankrupcy to withdraw their claims, so that Mrs Winn now stands to get the bulk of her husband's Insurance money.
All this had been going ahead well, until this morning, when Mr Smallman sends me a letter from Mrs Winn, a copy of which I enclose, and you will see it is to the effect that she proposes to leave Mr Smallman and take certain advice. I cannot stress too much how ill-advised Mrs Winn is to take this action at this time. Her affairs have been admirably dealt with by Mr Smallman, and what is more, she has behind Mr Smallman Captain Stocks, Mr Bathurst and myself looking after them. If she goes and employs, at this stage, some strange country solicitor from the wilds of Cornwall to take over her affairs, she will probably upset the whole apple-cart.
You, I think, have some influence with her. Do you think you could write to her, saying that this has been pointed out to you by me, and urging her to let things go on in Mr Smallman's hands as they have been in the past, and to allow him to complete matters. I think that a letter of that kind coming from you might be effective."
Mr Staple also wrote to Freda, advising her to let Mr Smallman continue with the case, and continued tirelessly working on her behalf. Largely thanks to him, in December 1942, Freda received £568 10s via the Workmen's Compensation Act.
By the following July, she had received the remainder of the £2,000 ATA insurance money.
On 27 May 1946, at St Mary's Church, Bodmin, Freda (age 43) married David Lincoln Bateson USN (age 24), from Boston, Massachusetts. They, together with Stephen, Nicholas and Phillippa Jane, sailed to New York in January 1947.