Darwin, Charles John Wharton


Born in Durham on 12th December 1894, the elder son of Colonel Charles Waring Darwin CB, of the Durham Light Infantry and his wife, Dorothea, nee Wharton.   He was the brother of Flight Lieutenant Gilbert William Lloyd Darwin DL (C1913-1918).   In 1918 he married Sibyl Renee Rose, the daughter of Charles Marston Rose and became the father of Flight Lieutenant Christopher William Wharton Darwin (C1932-1935) who was killed in action in August 1942 (see individual entry) and two daughters.     On his father’s side he was related to the great biologist Charles Darwin.

He attended Winchester for only three years, showing promise as a cricketer and was a good batsman.  He entered the Royal Military College at the earliest possible age, of 17, in January 1912.

He joined the Coldstream Guards as an Ensign in 1913.   The following year he went with the 2nd Battalion to France and was promoted to Captain.   In 1916 he was attached to the Royal Flying Corps and served with them until the end of the war.  His first assignment was with 27 Squadron flying Martinsydes, and the following year returned to England to instruct at the Central Flying School, Upavon.  He succeeded to the command of the squadron in July 1918.  Between the end of May and September 1918 he shot down four enemy aeroplanes and was instrumental in bringing down a fifth.   In 1919 he received the DSO for his services in the air and was promoted to Major.   He had been twice wounded and was twice mentioned in Despatches.    He remained in the RAF until 1928 when he retired with the rank of Squadron Leader.   He then took up aircraft production and on the outbreak of World War II in 1939 had for some years been London Manager of the Bristol Aeroplane Company, and later Saunders Roe.  During this time he was also retained by the Secret Intellegence Services.  In 1939 he helped set up Bletchley Park and then travelled in Europe briefing agents and setting up a chain of radio transmitters. He rejoined the RAF and was posted to RAF Kinloss.   He was on active service when he died suddenly in London on 26th December 1941.

War: World War 2

  • Surname: Darwin
  • Forenames or initials: Charles John Wharton
  • House: C
  • Years in School: 1908-1911
  • Rank: Squadron Leader
  • Regiment: RAF
  • Date of Birth: 12th December 1894
  • Date of Death: 26th December 1941
  • How Died: Died on Active Service
  • Location in War Cloister: Inner D1
  • Decoration: DSO
  • Burial Site: Commemorated on the Memorial at Golders Green Crematorium, Panel 2