Sergeant Alfred Penlington

Sergeant Alfred Penlington
1024856, 221 Squadron, RAF

Son of Alfred and Catherine Penlington of Chester, young Alfred played several games in the Chester League, appearing in the Cayzer Shield Final for Rustproof Athletic, before signing for Everton. He quickly impressed and found himself in the first team with fellow ‘B’ Team player Billy Sumner against Manchester City in September 1940. This was still essentially the championship side of 1939, where they lined up alongside the likes of Mercer and Lawton. The match report stated, ‘Everton had two willing youngsters in the outside positions in Penlington and Sumner. They were opposed by international defenders, and were overawed. Nevertheless, I liked the play of Penlington. He will come on.’ In the return game a few days later, both were selected again, where they ‘played with more confidence at the second meeting, particularly the latter who is a fighting footballer despite his tender years.’

In fact, both were brave youngsters who shortly afterwards put their Everton careers on hold to fight for real when they volunteered for the RAF. Alfred was soon promoted to Flight Sergeant and posted to Malta. He was now flying with 221 Squadron, operating Wellington bombers from Malta, specialising in night time torpedo attacks on convoys supplying the Italian and German forces in North Africa. Heading out on an anti-shipping search west of Sicily on 18 April 1943, his Wellington HX487 took off from Luqa, Malta, but failed to return. All six crew were lost and were recorded on the RAF Memorial at Floriana in Valetta, Malta. Sergeant Alfred Penlington was still only twenty-three years of age.

Latest research

Former EFCHS member Peter Jones, who has carried out tireless research on the Fallen of Everton FC and other aspects of both wars (as well a being the co-writer of the Fallen of Everton FC booklet), has carried out further extensive research on Sergeant Alfred Penlington and produced an excellent article, vividly placed in the context of the events of the period. Below is the link to ToffeeWeb where it is hosted.

‘One of Our Aircraft is Missing’ by Peter Jones (ToffeeWeb)

‘Eighty years ago, a promising young outside left was lost over the Mediterranean at the height of WW2. Pete Jones tells his story through the letters his family have preserved and sets his loss against the pivotal period of the war.’

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