PRINGLE, Alec Edward DFC

Flight Lieutenant 37299 115 Sqdn., Royal Air ForcePringle115sqn-150

Died Thursday 16th May 1940 (Age 26)

At Rest: Bernay (Ste. Croix) Communal Cemetery, Eure, France
Grave Ref.: R 2. G8.

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A Wellington of 115 Sqdn

A Wellington of 115 Sqdn

 

Alec Edward Pringle was born on the 22nd July 1913, in Ilkeston, Derbyshire. He was the son of Alex Pringle, later the headmaster of Jacksdale School. We know very little of his early years but that, from 1923 to 1928, he was a pupil at the King Edward VI School in Retford.
Late in 1928, the family emigrated to Australia, where Alec studied at the Sydney High School, until 1929. During that year, he took his Cambridge School Certificate, and thereafter moved on to New Zealand and trained to become a teacher.
He was a teacher at the Westport Public School in New Zealand from 1931 to 1932, after which the family returned to the UK, where Alec continued teaching at Bolsover C. of E. School near Chesterfield, until 1935.

In May 1935, Alec joined the RAF and began training to become a pilot. On the 8th October 1935, Alec was given the rank of Pilot Officer (Acting), and the following year, on the 16th September 1936, he was confirmed in that rank. He flew a variety of aircraft during his training, including Heyford, Hendon and Harrow variants. By this time, Alec was flying in the ‘B’ flight of No. 38 Sqdn. from RAF Upwood.
On the 15th June 1937, he was posted to No. 115 Sqdn. based at RAF Marham, near Kings Lynn, Norfolk. 115 Sqdn. was part of the No. 3(B) Group of Bomber Command.

He was promoted to Flying Officer on the 16th April 1938 and, later that year, on the 24th September, married Barbara Joan Osman in the Parish Church, Shirley, Southampton. She moved up to Norfolk with Alec, and lived near Downham Market.

Alec’s active service with 115 Sqdn. began on the 1st December 1939, with a 5-½ hour reconnaissance sweep over the North Sea. In all, Alec was to complete 13 missions, totalling more than 63 hours flying time.

Pringle Wellingtons

On the 16th April 1940, Alec was promoted to Flight Lieutenant, but sadly, on the 16th /17th May 1940, whilst returning from a raid on the oil refineries at Duisburg, Germany, the aircraft (a Wellington Mk1A) was blown off course in high winds, and crashed into hills near Bernay, France.

Alec and all his crew were killed instantly.

 The loss of Alec and his crew were the first RAF casualties of the strategic bombing campaign, and in recognition of this, and the bravery of the crew, Alec was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on the 31st May 1940.

He is buried, with his crew, in the Communal Cemetery in Bernay, Eure, France.

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Photographs of Flt Lt Pringle’s grave kindly taken by James & Julie Parry during their holiday in France 2001.
 

PRINGLE A E (Resized)