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Air Commodore Sir Archie Winskill (84702)

Archibald Little                   b: 24 Jan 1917                        r: 18 Dec 1968                        d: 9 Aug 2005

KCVO31 Dec 1979 (CVO – 2 Jun 1973), CBE – 11 Jun 1960, DFC6 Jan 1942, Bar – 27 Jul 1943, AE - 1944, MBIM.

Sgt: xx Apr 1937, Plt Off: 15 Aug 1940, Fg Off (WS): 14 Jul 1941, Act Flt Lt: xx xxx 1941, Act Sqn Ldr: xx Apr 1942?, Flt Lt (WS): 14 Jul 1942, Act Wg Cdr: 21 Dec 1943, Sqn Ldr (WS): 21 Jun 1944, Sqn Ldr: 26 Mar 1946 [1 Sep 1945], Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1953, Act Gp Capt: 1 Aug 1958?, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1959, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1963.

xx Apr 1937:                Sergeant Pilot, RAFVR (740365)

xx Sep 1939:                Staff Pilot, No 1 Armament Training Camp.

xx Aug 1940:                Attended No 7 OTU,

15 Aug 1940:               Appointed to a Commission in the RAFVR.

16 Sep 1940:               Pilot, No 54 Sqn. (to complete operational training)

 3 Oct 1940:                Pilot, No 72 Sqn.

17 Oct 1940:               Pilot, No 603 Sqn.

xx Jan 1941:                Pilot, No 41 Sqn.

 3 Apr 1941:               Admitted to Catterick Military Hospital

xx xxx 1941:                Flight Commander, No 41 Sqn.

14 Aug 1941:               Evading.

xx xxx 1941:                Refresher Course, No 145 Sqn

 1 Jan 1942:                Flight Commander, No 611 Sqn.

xx Apr 1942:               Officer Commanding, No 165 Sqn. (Spitfire Va/b)

xx Aug 1942:               Officer Commanding, No 222 Sqn. (Spitfire Vb)

xx Sep 1942:               Officer Commanding, No 232 Sqn. (Spitfire Vb/c/IX)

 1 Jun 1943:                En-route to UK

xx Sep 1943:               Instructor, Central Gunnery School (Sutton Bridge)

18 Mar 1944:              Officer Commanding, Pilot Gunnery Instructor Wing, Central Gunnery School (Catfoss)

xx xxx 1944:               Attended Army Staff College, Camberley.

xx xxx 1945:                Head of Admin Plans 3, Directorate of Administrative Plans

26 Mar 1946:              Appointed to a Permanent Commission in the rank of Squadron Leader (Retaining his existing rank under war time rules.)  [wef 1 Sep 1945]

xx Aug 1947:               Officer Commanding, No 17 Sqn. (Spitfire FR14E)

xx Feb 1948:               Air Adviser to Belgian Government.

xx xxx 1948:               Air Staff, AHQ Malta

xx xxx xxxx:                Wing Commander- Operations, HQ Fighter Command.

xx xxx 1951:                Scottish Wing Leader, RAF Turnhouse.

13 Sep 1952:              Navigation Staff Officer, HQ Fighter Command

xx xxx 1956:                Officer Commanding, RAF Turnhouse

xx Jul 1957:                 Air Staff, HQ 2nd Tactical Air Force.

 1 Aug 1958:               Group Captain - Operations, HQ RAF Germany.

13 Sep 1960:              Supernumerary, RAF Duxford.

16 Sep 1960:              Officer Commanding, RAF Duxford.

25 Sep 1961:              Deputy Director of ?, Department of the Air Secretary.

28 Feb 1964:              Air Attaché, Paris.

xx xxx xxxx:                Director of Public Relations.

15 Feb 1968:              Captain of the Queen's Flight.

18 Dec 1968:              Captain of the Queen's Flight.

xx xxx xxxx:                Extra Equerry to the Queen

Having enlisted in the RAFVR in 1937, he was called up for service in September 1939, being posted to No 1 Armament Training Camp at Catfoss.  However, the camp was due to close as the airfield at Catfoss was to be redeveloped, so he maybe operated from nearby Leconfield.  He attended a conversion course onto fighters in August 1940 and was commissioned, being posted to No 54 Squadron.  However, he was soon transferred to No’s 72 and 603 Squadrons, until finally being posted to No 41 Squadron.

Shortly after joining No 41 Squadron, on 14 August 1941, he was shot down over France whilst escorting a formation of Blenheims to Lille.  During the raid the bombers were attacked by Bf109’s and he was able to destroy one before being shot down himself.  Baling out, he landed close by a French farmer, who hid him until he was able to hand him over to the ‘Pat’ escape line who eventually returned him to England, becoming the first pilot to use the route through Spain and Gibraltar.  However, this experience led to him being banned from leading any of his units over France, so was given command of No 232 Squadron, being tasked with taking it to North Africa.  On 18 January 1943, he was once again shot down, this time into the sea and he was able to swim ashore, albeit behind enemy lines, and then make his way back to the Allied lines on foot, one of the few to have evaded capture twice.  His final total for the war was four confirmed destroyed and two shared, one probable, one damaged, two destroyed on the ground and one damaged on the ground.

Although he was classed as an Air Adviser on Belgium, he flew Meteors with 1eWing of the Belgian Air Force.  As Leader of the Scottish Wing based at Turnhouse, his personal aircraft was Vampire FB5, WB340, ALW.  He had another personal aircraft later whilst CO at Turnhouse, Vampire FB5, WG833, ALW.  Whilst Director of Public Relations, he had to prepare a press release on the crash of a Whirlwind helicopter of The Queen’s Flight, in which the Captain of the Flight was killed.   Shortly afterwards, he was appointed to the post.

Retiring at his own request, he became the second longest serving Captain of the Queen's Flight and was knighted at a private audience on 20 Feb 1980.  He became a Extra Equerry to HM The Queen in 1973.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

"Acting Flight Lieutenant Archie Little WINSKILL (84702) Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 41 Squadron.

This officer has carried out over 250 hours operational flying and has destroyed at least 3 enemy aircraft. One day in August, 1941, he attacked 2 Messerschmitt l09's which attempted to intercept our bombers. He destroyed one of the enemy fighters and his action certainly saved the bombers from serious attack."

(London Gazette - 6 Jan 1942)

Citation for the award of a Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross

"WINSKILL, Archie Little, S/L, DFC (84702, RAFVR) - No.232 Squadron.

Squadron Leader Winskill has completed a very strenuous tour of duty and has led his squadron on a very large number of sorties in the North African theatre of war. On one occasion his aircraft was shot down into the sea and on another he was forced to leave it by parachute because the engine caught fire.  Undeterred by these harassing incidents, he has continued to operate with great keenness and determination.  Since the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross, this officer has destroyed one enemy aircraft and shared in the destruction of another in the air; in addition he has destroyed two on the ground and completed many successful attacks on enemy transport and machine gun posts.  He has invariably displayed the utmost courage and devotion to duty."

(Source - Air Ministry Bulletin 10937)

This page was last updated on 05/03/24

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