Leading Aircraftsman Richard Candy RAF

The name ‘R Candy’ on the WW2 memorial was initially a puzzle. There are only three suitable R Candys on the CWGC register for WW2. After elimination, our R Candy turns out to be Richard Stafford Candy commemorated on the Singapore Memorial (column 316). After quite some fruitless searching, it became clear that Richard never went near the Far East…

W Gazette Dec 11 1942
Western Gazette Dec 11th 1942


Richard Stafford, or ‘Dick’ Candy was born 11 March 1918, the son of Stafford Joseph Candy, a Farmer and Hay Dealer and his wife Beatrice in Shillingstone. This means Dick was one of the quarter of pupils who came in to school daily from outside the town. He would have been in one of the last entries to Blandford Secondary School as it changed name to the Grammar School whilst he was there.

The eldest of three children, Dick grew up in a family who had been Farmers in Dorset for generations. That said, his father was also a Special Constable and his maternal grandfather John Collins has been an Inspector with Dorset Police so it is perhaps unsurprising that Dick chose to join the Metropolitan Police in November 1938 at the age of 20.

register of police warrant numbers

Metropolitain police records
Metropolitan Police Warrant Records

Posted to ‘Y’ Division in North London by 1939 Dick was living in the Police House for Edmonton Station and had not the war intervened this could well have been the start of a long career.

W Gazette aug 27 1943
Dick’s father awarded bar to Police Medal

However Dick left the Police for the RAF and was sent by ship to South Africa as a pupil pilot as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. After training flying Airspeed Oxfords at 23 Service Flying Training School at Heany near Bulawayo in Southern Rhodesia (modern day Zimbabwe) on the 8th October 1942 Dick left Cape Town on the MV Abosso bound for Liverpool.

Airspeed Oxford used to train bomber crews

Sailing solo without the protection of a convoy and only with a top speed of some 14 knots after three weeks at sea on the 29th of October the Abosso was torpedoed 590 miles north of the Azores in Mid Atlantic Ocean. 362 of the 393 people aboard were lost only two days before they were due to dock in Liverpool.

National Archives
National Archives

As he was lost at sea, after the war ended Richards name was added to the Singapore Memorial despite never having been there…

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