F/O James Tillett is still remembered

Last updated on September 3rd, 2023 at 10:47 pm

Sometime ago, I posted an article about a nondescript memorial on a country lane in Hampshire to a Royal Air Force pilot who crashed and died nearby in 1940.  It may not have been a very grand memorial, but it touched me that someone – unrelated to the young man – had taken the trouble to put it there.  I included as much in the article as I could find out about the RAF officer, Flying Officer James Tillett.  It wasn’t much.  He was just 22 when he died, shot down in his Hurricane fighter aircraft whilst trying to defend this land.  Slumped over the controls, witnesses could not get to him before his ‘plane caught fire.

Over time, I was surprised and delighted to receive comments from people who knew the memorial, put flowers on it, kept it tidy – and were able to add some pieces to the jigsaw.  I then received an email from someone whose late mother knew James – Jimmy – very well. She even had a photo of him.  The additional information breathed life into the memory of F/O Tillett.  The article received a major update.

Memorial to James Tillett, Fareham


Then, earlier this year, I was contacted by a member of the Royal Navy Police based at HMS Sultan in Gosport.  He had an idea to get a team together to refresh the memorial.  They have recently sent me some photos of the finished work and have done a fabulous job.  So, of course, I have updated the article again.

Memorial to F/O James Tillett


If you have a moment, take a glance at the revised Memorial to James Tillett.  It is a moving story.  It is also a wonderful example of how the Internet can work in a positive way.  Read the comments.  A modest article on a website about Britain caught the eye of people who care and want to add to the story.  Not only that, but more than 80 years after his death, people still want to honour a young man who gave his life for us and – as far as I know – had no heirs to follow and remember him.

41 thoughts on “F/O James Tillett is still remembered”

  1. HI Mike, I wrote to you previously and I have read your post and know that you have mentioned my dad as the elderly dad who has tendered the memorial , as my dad ROY GOBLE has looked after not only James Tillet but also the memorial of Sgt Adair on top of Portsdown hill, dad has cared for these for 26 years and we went up last week on his way back from his cancer treatment and it was nice to see a more permanent memorial to James Tillet from the Navy Police guys , I just wondered if by any small chance we could at least name my dad instead of saying Tina’ elderly dad??? its just he is now 82 {fighting Cancer} and still going to check on them and I thought this would be a lovely gesture for someone who has done something for so long. kind regards Tina Emmett

  2. artandarchitecturemainly

    I know most of the British, Australian, Canadian, South African and New Zealand soldiers who died in Europe could not have their bodies repatriated, paying respect to those parents who could not afford to fly their sons’ bodies home.

    The Tillett parents would never have recovered from their loss, nonetheless it was and is a wonderful memorial to James Tillett that people can still honour today.

  3. Thank you for both the update and the original post, Mike. As you say, the story of James Tillett is incredibly moving in itself—and it’s striking how intertwined the lives of all the people who have contributed and added details are. Your point about it being an excellent example of how the Internet can work positively can’t be understated. We see and hear so many stories of how the power of the online mob can be marshalled to destroy lives. Your blog is a fabulous case where it is used for good. You’ve built a lovely online community around fascinating work. Thank you!

  4. I have a lump in my throat and my heart is filled at the genuine goodness of others. I remember the post and I’m headed over to read the revised one. Thank you, Mike!

  5. Thank you, these valuable men have to be remembered,
    So much to read in your precious site,
    Keep it going, please
    Kind Regards
    Ida

  6. Read the updated version. Quite a story that has gotten new life due to your efforts.

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