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Pilot Officer Percival Gerald Hopkins b. 19 March 1914

On 17 August 1940, 25 years old Percy Hopkins walked through the gates of the RAF's Uxbridge Depot, located on western edge of greater London, to begin his service in the RAF. At Percy's home was his wife Peggy, who was six months pregnant.

Fifteen months later, after training as an aircraft gunner, Percy was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on 8th November 1941. He completed his training as a gunner on 18th November 1941. Still not combat-ready, Hoppy Hopkins underwent further training at Penshore, near Worchester.

In April 1942, he was transferred to No. 142 Squadron, then shortly later to No 103 Squadron at RAF Elsham Wolds. At that time, he was granted leave to visit his wife Peggy and see his eighteen-month daughter Cherry. Peggy was five months pregnant.

Within a week of joining Squadron 103, on 6 May 1942, Percy undertook his first combat mission in a Wellington bomber.

On the night of 27-28 August 1942, the RAF carried out a bombing raid over Germany that involved 289 Allied aircraft. Just before midnight, en route to Kassel, the Halifax bomber P for Peter in which Percy was tail-gunner was shot down by enemy fighter aircraft. The aircraft crashed near Haaksbergen, with all crew being killed.

On that day of 27 August 1942, Peggy Hopkins gave birth to their son John.

Years later, in conjunction of ex-RAF serviceman Douglas Andrews, Hoppy's son John published a book that pays tribute to his father, and to the people in the Netherlands near Haaksbergen who have created and maintain a memorial site at the place where P for Peter crashed.     

The book Hoppy Hopkins - Tail End Charlie ... can be viewed here. It is a large file. over 11 MB, and it may take some time for all pages to appear.

Individuals page

Percival Gerald Hopkins 1941