49 Squadron Awards
5/6th JULY 1941:
Shortly after crossing the Dutch coast, Sgt James Flint's Hampden was intercepted by night fighters, receiving some damage before eventually shaking their attackers off. The crew continued on to make a successful bombing attack before returning back across the North Sea. Just 50 miles from the English coast, cannon shells from two German Me110 intruders ripped into the Hampden, mortally wounding the W/Op, Sgt Fitch. Very cartridges were ignited inside the Hampden and on another attack the port engine was put out of action. Within sight of the English coast, the Germans eventually broke off their attack and turned tail. Jim Flint fought valiantly to keep his stricken aircraft airborne but was eventually forced to ditch AD856 just off the Norfolk coast near Cromer.
The pilot managed to escape through the hatch above his seat, but soon realized the navigator had not followed. Re-entering the quickly submerging bomber, Jim found the navigator badly wounded on the aircraft floor. At considerable personal risk and with superhuman strength, he managed to pull the inert body from the wreck, before P-Peter slipped below the waves. Within 50yds of the shore, a soldier came to the airmen's help.
Sadly, the navigator later died of his wounds. At 11.00hrs the following morning, police recovered the body of Sgt Fitch from the beach near Cromer.
For his display of exceptional heroism under continuous attack, Sgt James Flint was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal.
Additionally, in November 1941, for his bravery in trying to save the life of his navigator,
Sgt James Flint was also awarded the George Medal - an extremely exceptional occasion with two gallantry awards being granted for the same action.