Grave No21 - Flight Officer P E Barton 1917-1943
Not all war graves are the result of enemy action. This grave is most
notable because the Flight Officer
was an internationally renowned golfer and her death was a result
of a flying accident. This is a marker for Flight Officer
Pamela Espeat Barton. Born in
1917 Pamela joined the WAAF as a wireless operator in 1941 and
was commissioned after 7 months service.
Prior to joining up she
had been an ambulance driver in the worst phases of the London
Blitz. On the 13th November 1943 Pamela was at RAF Station
Detling and about to take flight in a De Havilland Tiger Moth (DH82) MKII, piloted by a Flight Commander of
No 184 (Fighter) Squadron, which was stationed there at that time.
Moth hit a 250 gallon petrol bowser in a hangar and she was killed, although
the pilot may have survived. Her fame was as a golfer, being the only woman
to win the British (1936 and 1939) and American Open titles twice and was
undisputed world champion in her day. She was mentioned in the ‘RAF Manston
History’ under the 1942 chapter –’The 3rd March saw the first arrivals of the new
WAAF section, accommodated in the Ursuline Convent at Westgate. The Officer in
charge was Pam Barton, the famous golfer. Wing Commander Gleave was glad to see
them, he felt they brought a “much needed sense of normality” to the station’.
Potential picture from Gillette’s sporting heroes
for their centenary year (from an article by Chris Sandwell, with
additional research by John T Williams)
Go the rear of the War Graves by the hedge and turning to your left you will
see to the right of the main War Memorial a group of graves that is the German
War Grave section. Alfred Reitzig is the first grave on the right hand side.