Flight Lieutenant Arthur Langham MC

83371 Flight Lieutenant Arthur Cuthbert Langham MC.

In addition to the 5 RAF Regiment Field Squadrons which landed in NW Africa, as part of Operation TORCH in November 1942, there were also 48 officers and 1519 men of the RAF Regiment who were attached to other units of the RAF.

These units were formed into flights and provided defence for RAF fighter wings and air installations – exactly the strategically-important roles for which the RAF Regiment had been formed.

Flight Lieutenant Arthur Langham VR MC
Flight Lieutenant Arthur Langham VR MC

Flt Lt Langham embarked for North Africa as the Ground Defence Officer of No. 322 Fighter Wing on 29 October 1942, and as such he coordinated the LAA defence of Bône (Algeria), which was continually under enemy air attack. On 20 February 1943 he took command of the newly formed No. 4337 Anti-Aircraft Flight, with this unit Langham was at the forefront of the final actions leading to the ultimate capitulation of German forces in North Africa.

Map depicting the movements during Operation Torch, 8-16 November 1942
Map depicting the movements during Operation Torch, 8-16 November 1942.

This officer has commanded his flight during operations in North Africa. On 11 May 43, while moving up to occupy landing grounds in the Cap Bon peninsular (East of Tunis) the flight was subjected to an enemy attack using mortars and machines guns. Flt Lt Langham launched a counter attack on the enemy which was successful and resulted in the capture of 200 prisoners. The enemy strong point was protecting their combined HQ and supply dump. This officer set up his own HQ in the locality securing much valuable equipment. From this HQ he then led a number of patrols in to the hills where the enemy had retreated. Though disorganised, they were still able to offer strong resistance. His patrols eventually cleared the high ground and captured about 900 prisoners. Flt Lt Langham has set a fine example of courage to all in his flight.

London Gazette 21 September 1943

Cpl J Boyd also of 4337 Flight, won the Military Medal for the same operation.

The former solicitor commissioned into the Special Duties Branch of the RAF 2 August 1940. He transferred to the RAF Regiment 1 February 1942 and was posted to Trebelzue (near St Mawgan) on Defence Duties. He was promoted acting Squadron Leader 1 June 1943, Commanding 4337 Flight throughout WWII into Sicily and Italy, and finally in to Palestine. He was released from the Service 21 November 1945.