Harry Sherwood

(1897-1978) – Pilot in both World Wars

Harry Sherwood flew balloons, airships and planes during the war, eventually attaining the rank of captain. Aged 42 when war broke out again, Harry was put in charge of the Plymouth barrage balloon defences and later received an OBE. After his death his uniform was given to Lawrence House Museum.

Credit: Lawrence House Museum, Launceston

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Harry Sherwood was born in 1897 and commissioned as a temporary probationary Sub Lieutenant in the Royal Navy Air Service on 14 July 1915. He went first to the Naval Airship Station at Kingsnorth and in April 1916 was transferred to HM Air Station Polegate.

By September 1916 he had flown ‘free balloons’ for 25 hours, piloted airships for 154½ hours and was recorded as being ‘very clever with wireless’.

Early in 1917 he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Navy and graduated as a pilot at RNAS Cranwell.

Harry Sherwood spent much of 1917 in central London, first at HM Air Station Wormwood Scrubs and then at Crystal Palace. In January 1918 he was transferred to Pulham Experimental Station and, on April 20th, was promoted to Captain in the Air Division of the Admiralty. 

On 28 May 1939, by which time he was about forty-two years old, Harry Sherwood received a commission in the Auxiliary Air Force, and served throughout the Second World War in charge of the barrage balloon defences over Plymouth. He was a Wing Commander at the end of the War, retired as a Group Captain and received the OBE in May 1946.

Harry appears to have died at Stratton in Cornwall in 1978.  His uniform, photos and other information were later given to Lawrence House Museum by relatives.

Credit: Lawrence House Museum, Launceston