Stormonth-Darling, John Sayer

He was the second son of Robert Stormonth Darling (C1894-99), Writer to the Signet, of Rosebank, Kelso. His mother was Beryl Madeline Stormonth-Darling, sister of A.C. Sayer (B1900). He was also the nephew of Patrick Stormonth-Darling (C1899-05), and brother of both Major Moir Patrick Stormonth-Darling (C1926-31) and Lieutenant-Colonel Sir James Carlisle Stormonth-Darling CBE, MC (C1931-37).

He came from Horris Hill in September 1928, and entered Du Boulay’s, representing his house in many winning teams.  He won his colours for running, stood on dress for VIs, and played for the soccer XI and 3rd XI cricket.

On leaving Winchester in 1933 he entered Barclays Bank.  In 1939 he was sent to Canada, but came back to England in September to join his territorial cavalry regiment, the Scottish Horse, into which he had been commissioned in 1938.

The Scottish Horse were converted into artillery in 1939, and he served with them until being promoted to Captain in 1941. He then volunteered as an Air Observation pilot, spotting targets and fall of shot for artillery units, and was attached to the RAF in 1942, serving with an AOP squadron in both North Africa and Italy in 1943, and acted as a personal pilot for Army HQ in Italy in 1944.

By 1945 he was in command of 655 AOP Squadron RAF in Northern Italy.  By August 1945, 655 was at Ronchi airfield. The war diary records that Stormonth-Darling died near Montefalcone on August 1st, but gives no cause; it also notes his funeral on August 3rd. The announcement of Stormonth-Darling’s death in The Times records that he was accidentally killed, but this does not seem to have been an aircraft accident.

Stormonth-Darling had been outstandingly efficient in the air, winning the DFC, a rare decoration for an army officer. He died at the age of thirty, and is buried in grave III.B.11, Udine War Cemetery.


War: World War 2

  • Surname: Stormonth-Darling
  • Forenames or initials: John Sayer
  • House: C
  • Years in School: 1928-1933
  • Rank: Major
  • Regiment: (Scottish Horse) Royal Artillery attached to 655 AOP Squadron RAF
  • Date of Birth: 1st November 1914
  • Date of Death: 1st August 1945
  • How Died: Died on Active Service
  • Location in War Cloister: Inner F2
  • Decoration: DFC
  • Burial Site: Udine War Cemetery: Grave III.B.11