152245 Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Eric Fillmore was born on 9th June 1922, the son of Marcel George and Mabel Mary Fillmore. His father was the stationmaster and the family lived at 17 Queen’s Road, Sudbury. Eric attended North Street School before entering Sudbury Grammar School in September 1933. He left in January 1940 after gaining the Cambridge Certificate. On leaving school Eric was employed as a clerk with L.N.E.R, serving at Clare and Barnham railway stations. He was a Sunday School teacher at Trinity Congregational Church, where he was also a member of the choir. Eric was also a very keen musician.
Eric joined the Royal Air Force in 1942 serving in the ranks. He was sent to Canada to train as aircrew on the Commonwealth Air Training Plan, a scheme for training aircrew overseas. He was awarded his wings on 30th May 1943 and flew in Lancaster Bombers being promoted from Pilot Officer to Flying Officer on 28th November 1943 and to Flight Lieutenant on 28th May 1945. In October 1944 whilst serving with 115 Squadron he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, one of the highest air force gallantry awards. The citation reads: ‘In October 1944, this officer piloted an aircraft detailed to attack Cologne. When nearing the target the aircraft came under heavy fire from the ground defences and was hit. Much damage was sustained. One engine was put out of action, the petrol tanks in the starboard wing were pierced and the flaps and a landing wheel were damaged. In spite of this Flying Officer Fillmore pressed home his attack and afterwards flew the aircraft back to base where he effected a safe landing. This officer, who has completed many sorties, has displayed a high degree of skill and determination.’ Eric had flown 30 operational flights.
After the war ended Eric transferred to RAF Staverton in Gloucestershire flying Spitfires. On 18th February 1946 he was killed when he was test flying Spitfire No. LA216. The plane crashed into a hillside in poor visibility at Parracombe, near Barnstaple, Devon. Eric was aged 23.
Eric shares a grave in Sudbury Cemetery with his older brother Kenneth who lost his life serving with the Royal Air Force as a sergeant air gunner and is also remembered on the Sudbury War Memorial.
Eric is also remembered on the Trinity Congregational Church Memorial, now in the United Reformed Church, School Street, Sudbury.
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