George Downer

Bank: Westminster Bank

Place of work: Bognor Regis West branch

Died: 14 January 1944


George Lionel Downer was born on 24 April 1920, the son of Ellen and E Gordon Ross Downer. He was educated at Christ's Hospital and joined the staff of Westminster Bank at its Oxford branch in January 1938. He also served at Abingdon and Bognor Regis branches, before moving to Bognor Regis West branch in November 1939. A bank colleague later recalled, 'His keen sense of loyalty, coupled with the alternating light and shade of a pleasing personality, drew to him many friends in the district and endeared him to all his colleagues at both local branches of the bank.'


In September 1940 Downer left the bank to go on active service in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. He trained as a navigator in Canada, and his first tour of duty saw him earn a DFC, the citation for which stated: 'his initiative and personal example have been responsible for promoting a very fine team spirit among his crew. He has always displayed coolness and courage when faced with danger. This was particularly evident on one occasion when it was necessary to bring his aircraft down on the sea and it sank within thirty seconds. The dinghy failed to operate, and F/O Downer, with two other members of the crew, were in the sea for eighty minutes before being rescued. Throughout this trying experience he maintained a most cheerful confidence and shortly afterwards was on operational duty again.'


Flying Officer Downer was killed an operational flight over Germany on 14 January 1944. He was 23 years old. 


George Downer is commemorated on a bank war memorial at NatWest Bognor Regis branch

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