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Air Vice-Marshal E D Crew (74700)

Edward Dixon              b: 24 Dec 1917                     r: 3 Mar 1973                     d: 18 Aug 2003

CB – 1 Jan 1973, DSO – 26 Feb 1944, Bar – 10 Mar 1950, DFC – 29 Jul 1941, Bar – 16 Jun 1942, MiD – 26 Apr 1949,  MA, FRAeS - 1972.

(RAFVR): Plt Off: 3 Oct 1939, Fg Off: 3 Oct 1940, Flt Lt (WS): 3 Oct 1941, Act Wg Cdr: xx Jun 1943?, Sqn Ldr (WS): 29 Sep 1943,  (T) Sqn Ldr: 3 Dec 1946 [1 Jul 1945],  

(RAF): Sqn Ldr: 26 Mar 1946 [1 Sep 1945],Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1952, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1958, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1965, Act AVM: 27 Mar 1969, AVM: 1 Jul 1969.

 3 Oct 1939:           Appointed to a Commission in the RAFVR.

xx xxx 1939:            U/T Pilot, ?  

22 Jun 1940:            Attended No 5 OTU.

 8 Jul 1940:             Pilot, No 604 (County of Middlesex) Sqn.  

14 Jul 1940:           Attached to HQ No 11 Group for R/T Procedures course

xx Oct 1942:           Officer Commanding, Radio Development Flight.

xx Mar 1943:           Flight Commander,  No 85 Sqn. (Mosquito)

xx Jun 1943:            Officer Commanding, No 96 Sqn. (Mosquito XII/XIII)

xx Dec 1944:            ?

xx Jan 1945:            Attended RAF Staff College

26 Mar 1946:          Appointed to a Permanent Commission in the rank of Squadron Leader (retaining rank current at the time) [wef 1 Sep 1945]

 6 Aug 1945:            Staff, Directorate of Operations (Air Defence).

xx xxx xxxx:              Staff, Directorate of Operations

 4 Sep 1947:             Air Staff, HQ Air Command, Far East

23 Jul 1948:             Officer Commanding, No 45 Sqn. (Brigand)

1950 - 52                Attended Empire Test Pilot School?

xx xxx 1952:            Officer Commanding, CF100 OTU, RCAF (Exchange posting).

xx xxx 1954:            Officer Commanding, AWDS, Central Fighter Establishment.

21 Feb 1957:           Deputy Director, Directorate of Policy (Air Staff) (B)

 7 Dec 1959:           Officer Commanding, RAF Bruggen.

xx Jan 1963:            Attended Royal College of Defence Studies

23 Dec 1963:           Staff Officer, Department of the CAS.

xx xxx 1965:            Commander, Air Forces Borneo.

xx xxx 1966:            Director of Operations (Air Defence and Overseas).

 8 Jul 1968:              AOC & Commandant, Central Reconnaissance Establishment.

27 Mar 1969:          Deputy Controller, National Air Traffic Control Services.

Brought up by his step-father, Sir Kenneth Murchison, who was a Tory MP, he attended Felsted School and later Downing College, Cambridge, where he was a member of the University Air Squadron. Graduating in 1940, he immediately joined the RAF and was posted to to No 604 Squadron, equipped with Blenheim If's as a night fighter pilot.  At that time one of No 604's pilots, later flight commander and squadron commander, was John Cunningham, the RAF's finest night fighter pilot of the period.  In the spring of 1941, No 604 the re-equipped with the new Bristol Beaufighter and he soon began to make a name for himself, destroying five enemy aircraft in ten weeks, for which he was awarded his DFC.  When his original radar operator, Sgt Guthrie was posted, he was joined by Sgt Basil Duckett and the pair continued to be successful and with three kills to his credit, whilst paired with Duckett, he was awarded the Bar to the DFC.

In October 1942, he was rested from operations and took command of the Radio Development Flight, but he was back in the frontline, the following spring, when he was a appointed a flight commander in No 85 Squadron.  By the time he joined No 85, it was equipped with the Mosquito NF Mk II and XV.  But his time with 85 was short as in June, he was promoted and placed in command of No 96 Squadron, also equipped with Mosquito night fighters.  Shortly after the D-Day landings, Britain began to hit but what seemed an endless stream of V-1 flying bombs and 96 was one of the units tasked with providing night defence against them.  By the end of World War Two, he had destroyed 12 enemy aircraft, shared in the destruction of one, damaged five and destroyed 21 V-1s.  On one occasion, he and his radar operator were forced to bail out of their Mosquito, when it was damaged by the explosion of the V-1 they had just destroyed.

disbandment of No 96 Squadron at the end of 1944, he attended the RAF Staff College and in 1945 was appointed to a permanent commission.  This was followed by a posting to the Air Ministry and then in 1948, he returned to operational flying when he took command of No 45 Squadron in Malaya.  This was at the beginning of the Malayan emergency, which was codenamed 'Operation Firedog' and eventually lasted until 1960.  He was mentioned in despatches for his work with No 45 in 1949.  In 1952 he undertook an exchange posting with the RCAF and commanded the operational training unit tasked with introducing the CF100 all weather fighter into service.

On his return from Canada, he was appointed to the command of the All-Weather Development Squadron at the Central Fighter Establishment. where he was involved in the trials of the Gloster Javelin.  In late 1959, he moved to Germany and command of RAF Bruggen, which at the time was home to a mix of Canberras in the tactical reconnaissance and interdictor roles and Javelins in the all weather fighter role.  In 1965 he was back in the Far East, this time as Commander of the Air Forces in Borneo, where he was involved in the operations in combating Indonesian incursions during what became known as 'The Confrontation'.

After attending the Royal College of Defence Studies, he held the post of Director of Operations  (Air Defence & Overseas) at the Ministry of Defence, before being appointed Commandant of the Central Reconnaissance Establishment.  His final appointment was as Deputy Controller of the National Air Traffic Service until he retired.  From 1973 to 1987, he was a member of the Planning Inspectorate of the Department of the Environment and having retired from this post he served on the Cotswold District Council from 1991 until 1995.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

“Flying Officer Edward Dixon CREW (74700), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No.604 Squadron.

This officer is a pilot of outstanding ability who has shown tenacity of purpose to engage the enemy which culminated in the destruction of two enemy aircraft in one night  He has now destroyed four and damaged at least a further four enemy aircraft, at night.”

(London Gazette – 29 July 1941)

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

“Flight Lieutenant Edward Dixon CREW, D.F.C. (74700), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No.604 Squadron.

Since the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross in July, 1941, this officer has carried out a large number of operational patrols by night and has destroyed 4 enemy aircraft.  He has now destroyed a total of 8 enemy aircraft at night and damaged a number of others.  By his readiness to fly in any weather and his skill and ability in dealing with the enemy at night, he sets a splendid example to the squadron.”

(London Gazette – 16 June 1942)

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Order

“Acting Wing Commander Edward Dixon CREW, D.F.C. (74700), R.A.F.V.R., 96 Sqn.

Wing Commander Crew continues to display the highest standard of skill, courage and leadership.  In air fighting he has destroyed 13 enemy aircraft and damaged several more. With the advent of the flying bomb attacks on this country, Wing Commander Crew displayed great skill and perseverance in devising tactics to meet the menace.

As a result, he shot down numerous flying bombs, whilst other members of his squadron took a heavy toll of them. This officer has commanded the squadron with outstanding success.”

(London Gazette – 26 September 1944)

Announcement and citation for the award of the Bar to the Distinguished Service Order

CREW, Edward Dixon, S/L, DSO, DFC (74700, Royal Air Force) - No.45 Squadron.

"for distinguished service in Malaya."

(London Gazette - 10 March 1950)

"Squadron Leader Edward Dixon Crew, DSO, DC, has flown 250 hours on Malayan operations.  During the operations in Malaya in 1948-49, as Officer Commanding, No.45 Squadron, he personally led over 100 strikes against bandit camps and hideouts, and also flew 20 sorties on convoy escorts, reconnaissances, etc.  The bandit camps are mostly located in badly mapped jungle and are hard to pin-point, even with photographic reconnaissance cover.  Many are in mountainous country, often partly obscured by cloud and flying conditions are difficult and dangerous.  The responsibilities of a strike leader are heavy in Malaya.  On the one hand, the element of surprise must be obtained if the bandits are not to be given time to disperse in the jungle surrounding their camps.  On the other hand, targets are difficult to locate accurately and the strike leader must always bear in mind the danger of attack on the wrong position, both to our own troops in close support and to a friendly civil population.  Squadron Leader Crew has displayed an almost uncanny knack in balancing the above factors and has succeeded time and again in locating the target and attacking it with accuracy on the first run in.  As a result of his leadership the Malayan bandits have been continuously and effectively harried and have suffered casualties from air attack.  He has displayed great initiative in keeping up a high rate of effort on variable opportunity targets, and proved an excellent leader of ground personnel and aircrew alike, and has maintained a high standard of flying, training and esprit de corps in his squadron.  His determined and gallant leadership has been an inspiration to his squadron and the magnificent results which have been achieved can be largely attributed to the fine example he has set."

(Air Ministry Bulletin 30277)

This page was last updated on 17/12/23

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