Son of Philip Greville Hugh and Dorothy Constance Way, of Hinton St. George, Somerset, and Merriott House, Merriott, Somerset.
Army VI. School Prefect. Shooting VIII 1934-36 (Capt.)
54 Sqdn. Royal Air Force
The squadron flew Spitfires providing air cover for the evacuation of Dunkirk, and fought in the Battle of Britain. It was based at RAF Hornchurch and used RAF Manston as a forward operating base.
'Perhaps the most distinctive characteristic of Basil Way was his unobtrusiveness. His manner was as quiet as his voice and his slow smile, and at first one might well fail to realise the thoroughness and efficiency which were also part of him.
When he came to Malvern in 1931 he was in the Lower School and so lightly built as to appear frail, so that he seemed unlikely to make much of a mark here :- but by the time he left he was in the Sixth, a School Prefect, and Captain of the Shooting Eight. He was also an exceptionally good slow bowler, and if he had not given so much of his time to shooting, he might well have been in the Cricket XI; while at Football he played an important part in the team which brought the House Cup to No. 7 after a gap of 30 years.
But his heart was set on Flying, and perhaps his happiest years were spent at Cranwell, where in 1938 he won the Groves Memorial Prize for all round efficiency. He showed an exceptional aptitude and skill in handling aircraft, and at the end of his training he achieved his great ambition and was posted to a Fighter squadron. He was equally good under service conditions, and it was while leading a flight of Spitfires over the Thames Estuary last June that he was lost in pushing home a bold attack with his small command against overwhelming odds. R.T.C.' (Malvernian, Mar 1941).
Combat report. 24th July 1940.
I was leading the Squadron on patrol off Deal and N. Foreland. Sighted formation of Bombers to North heading up Thames Estuary. After approaching to within about 5 miles of Bombers, I discovered the presence of numerous escorting fighters, which we were forced to engage.
A general dog-fight ensued during which I got in good bursts at close range, at two ME 109s. The first did a half-roll and vertical dive into cloud, emitting glycol from radiators. The second emitted black smoke and Assumption; stalled and spun into cloud. Later gave short burst and finished ammunition on a third. Result unknown as I had to avoid another on my tail.
The following day on the 25th July 1940, he was seen by P/O Gribble pursuing a Me 109 and that the pilot of the e/a baled out. He was then reported as missing.
Below are further details of his combat reports from February to July 1940:
Combat reports, Feb, May 1940: AIR-50-21-74_1
July 1940: AIR-50-21-74_2