Horsfall, Charles Michael

Personal Information

Rank S/L
Forename(s) Charles Michael
Surname Horsfall
Gender M
Age 53
Date of Death 21-11-1942
Next of Kin Son of Joseph and Sophia Horsfall. Husband of Margaret Arnold Horsfall, of Wisborough Green, Sussex.

Aircraft Information

Serial Number

Memorial Information

Burial/Memorial Country United Kingdom
Burial/Memorial Place Hethel (All Saints) Churchyard
Grave Reference

IBCC Memorial Information

Phase 2
Panel Number 184

Enlistment Information

Service Number 75544
Service Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Squadron Hethal
Country of Origin United Kingdom

Last Operation Information

Start Date 30-11--0001
End Date 30-11--0001
Takeoff Station
Day/Night Raid
Operation Died of coronary thrombosis after playing a game of squash.
Reason for Loss Judges summary comments following his widow's attempt to claim an RAF pension: "The Squadron Leader was a man of just under 50 years of age when he re-enlisted in September, 1939, having served during the last war. On re-enlistment he was found to weigh just over 14 stone and to have an abnormally high blood pressure. It is a condition recognised as an advanced degree of arterial-sclerosis, which is a progressive disease of the circulatory system. He was passed fit for Administrative and Special Duties, Home Service only, and was in fact made Station Administrative Officer at an airfield in this country. In that position during 1941 and 1942 he became the Adjutant to a Training Wing at a new airfield at some distance from amenities for sport, and in that position he became responsible, amongst other things, for the recreation and welfare of the air crews under instruction. The airfield had no sports ground, and the only facility for games, apart from billiards, was a squash court provided by the Air Ministry. The facts show that the Squadron Leader took a keen interest in squash and other games and was a man who was very keen on keeping himself fit by taking energetic exercise, and encouraging others at the station to do the same. The Group Captain in Command at one stage appointed him Officer in Charge of Squash. He thereupon organised games of squash and arranged games for the personnel of the station, and thereby helped to improve the general condition of the personnel at the station. That was the position down to the 12th September, 1942. He then became Acting Station Commander, which increased his duties, and on the 21st November, 1942, being Acting Station Commander, he took part in a game of squash at about 5 p.m. in the afternoon. Shortly after the game was over he was overcome and died within two minutes of the doctor being summoned. The Tribunal have found that his death was due to coronary thrombosis brought about by the game of squash in which he had been engaged. The Tribunal have further found as a fact that his condition of arterial-sclerosis had not been aggravated by the previous games of squash in which he had taken part, but that his condition was such that there was always a liability when he was engaged in violent exercise of his having an attack such as he in fact had on the 21st November, 1942."

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Casualty Pack

IBCC is delighted to introduce a unique facility to link the Losses Database to the relevant RAF Casualty Pack on the National Archives website. This project is the result of on-going collaboration between IBCC, the MOD Records Office and National Archives, Kew. This document describes what Casualty Packs are, when they were created, the process of making them available to the public and then goes on to describe the process by which you can view the contents of the packs. Casualty Packs (CPs) were created by the RAF whenever there was serious injury or loss of life associated with operational activity within the RAF. This includes operational flying losses, enemy action due to air raids, road accidents either on station or even off-station if they involved RAF vehicles. Deaths due to natural causes in service or accidents that did not involve RAF vehicles did not generally give rise to a CP.

CPs were originally given a unique reference number by the RAF. Each begins with the letter ‘P’ and is followed by six digits, then an oblique (forward slash) and the finally the year in which the incident took place- for example P396154/42.

The CPs are in the process of being made available to the general public as they are passed from the MOD Records Office, Portsmouth to National Archives, Kew. This process requires some rework to the files which is very time consuming, so the process of making them all available to National Archives will take several years. They are being made available in increasing date order.

Once CPs arrive at National Archives they are assigned a unique AIR81 number, so each CP has both a P-number and an AIR81 number. Both are searchable on the National Archives website under ‘Search the catalogue’ and both are included on the IBCC website.

The AIR81 reference on the IBCC website is a link to the file on the National Archives website. When you click on it, the relevant page will open in a new tab on your browser.

There is currently no plan to digitise AIR81 files, partly because they are fragile and partly because the information they contain can at times be sensitive, even harrowing, since they may contain exhumation reports and even photographs of corpses. Family members wishing to read the AIR81 files relating to their ancestors are advised to exercise caution and be guided by National Archives warnings where appropriate.

There are two means for accessing AIR81 files- to attend in person or to order a copy by post.

To attend in person, the attendee should first create a Reader’s Ticket. This can be done online by following this link: https://secure.nationalarchives.gov.uk/login/yourdetails. Then click on the AIR81 reference on the IBCC website and click Order in Advance. Enter your Reader’s Ticket number and state the date on which you intend to visit. National Archives will have the file ready for you when you arrive, saving you time. When you visit Kew, you must quote the Reader’s Ticket number and take along two forms of ID- one bearing your signature and one bearing your address. When you view the files, you are permitted to take photographs of each page, should you wish.

Alternatively, if you wish to order a copy by post, please be aware that there is a charge for this service based on the number of pages in the file. Click on the AIR81 reference on the IBCC website and then click Request a Copy. There is an £8.40 charge for National Archives staff to access the file and give you a quotation for the copying service. The process takes around 24 days to complete and can be expensive.

IBCC wishes to thank the staff at the MOD Records Office and National Archives for their engagement and assistance in making this facility available to our website users.