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Air Commodore R Kellett (16177)

Richard            b: 24 Oct 1905                     r: 10 Apr 1947                     d: 3 Jan 1990

CBE - 1 Jan 1943, DFC - 16 Jan 1940, AFC - 28 Apr 1939, MiD - 7 Jan 1947.

Plt Off: 30 Jul 1925, Fg Off: 30 Jan 1927, Flt Lt: 5 Nov 1930, Sqn Ldr: 1 Apr 1937, Act Wg Cdr: 6 Nov 1939, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Mar 1940, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Mar 1942, Act A/Cdre: xx xxx xxxx,  (T) A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1946, Wg Cdr: 1 Oct 1946 [1 Oct 1941], A/Cdre: Retained.

12 Sep 1923:           Flight Cadet, 'A' Sqn, RAF College.

30 Jul 1925:            Pilot, No 3 Sqn. (Woodcock/Gamecock) (Upavon)

27 Sep 1926:          Attended Signals Course, Electrical and Wireless School, Flowerdown

30 Sep 1927:          Signals Officer, No 84 Sqn. (DH9A/Wapiti) (Iraq) (arrive 13 Oct 1927)

15 Jan 1929:           Signals Officer, No 30 Sqn. (Wapiti) (Iraq)

 5 Aug 1930:           Aircraft Engineering Course, Home Aircraft Depot.

 4 Oct 1932:            Engineering Officer, Aircraft Depot, Iraq.

22 Oct 1934:           Air Staff, HQ RAF Iraq.

 1 Nov 1935:           Flight Commander, No 32 Sqn. (Bulldog/Gauntlet)

xx xxx - 22 May 1937:    Seconded to Imperial Japanese Army.

 9 Jun 1937:            Officer Commanding, No 148 Sqn. (Wellesley) (Scampton)

 6 Dec 1937:           Flight Commander, Long Range Development Unit.

Wellesley of the Long Range Development Unit

23 Jan 1939:            Non-effective (Sick), No 1 RAF Depot

27 Mar 1939:          Group Engineering Staff Officer, HQ No 3 Group.

 2 Nov 1939:           Supernumerary, No 149 Sqn. (Wellington) (Mildenhall)

 6 Nov 1939:           Officer Commanding, No 149 Sqn. (Wellington) (Mildenhall)

12 Feb - 16 Mar 1940:           Admitted to RAF Hospital, Littleport

 8 May 1940:          Non-effective (sick)

xx xxx xxxx:             SASO, No 205 Group

20 Sep 1942:           Prisoner of War (Stalag Luft III)

xx xxx xxxx:             

After leaving Bedford School he entered RAF College, which he represented at Cricket.  As a member of the LRDU, he led the record breaking non stop flight by Wellesleys of the unit from Ismailia, Egypt to Darwin, Australia, a distance of 7,158.7 miles in 48 hours between 5 and 7 November 1938.  As CO of No 149, he was one of the few to escape when his formation was attacked by Bf109's during the daylight attack on Wilhelmshaven on 18 December 1939.  This attack was one of those which ultimately led to Bomber Command to resort to night bombing.

On the night of 13-14 September 1942, he joined a No 70 Squadron crew as second pilot in Wellington IC, Z9044 'B' for a raid against Tobruk.  On the return journey, the aircraft was force landed and the crew began to walk back towards the Allied lines and managed to evade capture until 20 September.  Retired on account of medical unfitness for Air Force service.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross

“Squadron Leader (Acting Wing Commander) Richard KELLETT, A.F.C. (16177).

This officer displayed courage, coolness and determination in. leading his squadron and a combined formation of, aircraft in operations over an enemy naval base in December, 1939, which resulted in the infliction of heavy casualties on enemy aircraft.  In spite of the formidable opposition by aircraft and ground defences, he so controlled the formation for which he was personally responsible that casualties were slight and by his personal example and cool leadership he won the confidence of all pilots under him.”

(London Gazette – 16 January 1940)


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