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Air Commodore P H Cribb (33360)

Peter Henry                 

b: 28 Sep 1918           

r: 28 Sep 1966           

d: 20 Jun 2011

CBE - 1 Jan 1957, DSO – 12 Jan 1943, Bar – 23 Mar 1945, DFC – 26 Jun 1942.

Plt Off: 30 Jul 1938, Fg Off (WS): 30 Jan 1940, Flt Lt (WS): 30 Jan 1941, Act Flt Lt:  9 Jul 1940, Act Sqn Ldr: xx Sep 1941, (T) Sqn Ldr: 1 Jun 1942, Act Wg Cdr: 28 Jun 1942?, Sqn Ldr (WS): 28 Dec 1942, Sqn Ldr: 1 Jun 1943, Act Gp Capt: 21 Aug 1944?, Wg Cdr (WS): 21 Feb 19451 Nov 1947, Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1950, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1957, Act A/Cdre: 5 Dec 1961, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1962.

Photo - Crown Copyright©

10 Sep 1936:                 Flight Cadet,  'A' Sqn, RAF College.

30 Jul 1938:                 Pilot, No 58 Sqn.

27 Aug 1940:               Instructor, No 22 OTU

 8 Dec 1941:                Pilot, No 35 Sqn.

10-15 Dec 1941:          Attached to No 28 Conversion Flight

xx xxx xxxx:                  Officer Commanding, Bomber Development Unit

xx May 1944:               Flight Commander, No ? Sqn

25 Jul 1944:                 Officer Commanding, No 582 Sqn.

xx Nov 1944:               Officer Commanding, RAF Little Staughton.

xx xxx 1945:                 Officer Commanding, RAF Salbani.

xx xxx xxxx:                  Officer Commanding, RAF Peshawar.

15 Jun 1946:                 Miscellaneous Appointment, HQ, RAF India

15 Nov 1946:               Air Staff, HQ No 1 (Indian) Group.

12 Oct 1946:                Forfeited Seniority as Wing Commander (date adjusted to 21 Aug 1945)         

xx Nov 1947:               Officer Commanding, No 203 Sqn. (Lancaster GR3).

21 Mar 1949:               Staff Officer - Operations, HQ Coastal Command

xx Jan 1951:                 Attended RAF Staff College, Bracknell

11 Feb 1952:                Assistant Director of Technical Intelligence.

29 Jun 1953:                Group Captain - Bombing, HQ Bomber Command.

xx Oct 1953:                Group Captain - Plans & Policy, HQ Bomber Command.

xx Mar 1957:               Officer Commanding, RAF Oldenburg.

xx xxx xxxx:                  Officer Commanding, RAF Ahlhorn.

 1 Sep 1958:                Officer Commanding, RAF Gutersloh.

12 Oct 1959:                Deputy Director of Air Staff Briefing.

xx xxx 1961:                 Director of Air Staff Briefing.

 5 Dec 1961:                SASO, Air Forces Middle East.

23 Nov 1964:               Deputy Director of Joint Warfare.

Born and educated in Yorkshire prior to entering the RAF College at Cranwell in 1936, he served in bombers, including the Pathfinders, throughout WW2.  On one occasion he was involved in an attack on the battleship Tirpitz, anchored in a fjord near Trondheim.   As he approached at low level in poor visibility his Halifax hit the sea,  the tail wheel being ripped off. During the de-briefing he was asked by the intelligence officer at what height he had delivered his attack. Cribb replied: “I don’t know. The altimeter reads in feet, not fathoms.”

Joining the Pathfinder force on its formation, he took part in the first operation carried out by the force,  By January 1943 he had flown 60 operations and was awarded the DSO to go with his DFC.  Whilst commanding No 582 Squadron, he often acted as Master Bomber

When he heard that Bomber Command was going to bomb the Berchtesgaden, Hitler’s Bavarian retreat on 24 April 1945 but that the Lancaster squadron at Little Staughton was not to be involved, he decided to do something about it.   He commandeered a Lancaster and some bombs, put together a scratch crew of his senior executives on his station and took off at dawn.  He managed to catch up with the main force as it approached the target, dropped his bombs, obtaining an excellent aiming point photograph, and set off back in a direct route in order to get back before his participation was discovered by his AOC, AVM Don Bennett.  Unfortunately for Cribb Bennett had tried to contact him whilst he was airborne to be told that ‘he was on a 10-hour navigation exercise’, Bennett was not pleased

head of the Pathfinder Force, had tried to contact him and his deputy, only to be told that they were airborne on “a 10-hour navigation exercise”. It was said that, when he learned the truth, Bennett “hit the roof”.

Following retirement, at his own request (due to his dissatisfaction with the Defence cots of the Wilson government), he settled in Western Australia where he became Administration Manager for Goldsworthy Mining Ltd. until 1968.  He has also held a number of other positions in various bodies including President of the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation of  Western Australia.

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

"CRIBB, Peter Henry, A/S/L (33360, Royal Air Force) - No.35 Squadron

This officer has participated in attacks on a wide range of enemy targets.  These include Oslo, Aalborg, Stavager, Bremen, Hamm and many other important centres.  His devotion to duty, regardless of the opposition, have set a fine example to all."

(Source - RAF Quarterly, December 1942)

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Order

CRIBB, Peter Henry, W/C, DFC (33360, Royal Air Force) - No.35 Squadron - awarded as per London Gazette dated 12 January 1943.  No citation in Gazette.

 "This officer has an outstanding record as a captain of aircraft and has displayed exceptional qualities of leadership in many sorties against the enemy.  He has attacked his targets with unfailing regularity and accuracy.  Wing Commander Cribb has a thorough knowledge of air warfare, and his high qualities combined with his consistent keenness have set a high example to all."

(Source - Air Ministry Bulletin 8877)

Citation for the award of the Bar to the Distinguished Service Order

CRIBB, Peter Henry, G/C, DSO, DFC (33360, Royal Air Force) - No.582 Squadron - awarded as per London Gazette dated 23 March 1945. No citation in the Gazette.

 "This officer has commanded his squadron for a considerable period with distinction and gallantry, and has also proved himself to be an outstanding captain of aircraft,  Since the award of the Distinguished Service Order he has set a notable example to those under his command and has raised the squadron to a high pitch of efficiency.  Group Captain Cribb has recently operated over many of the most heavily defended targets in Germany, fulfilling a responsible role with courage and determination."

(Source - Air 2/9053, drafted when he had flown 88 sorties (464 hours) of which 30 sorties (165 hours) had been since his previous award)

This page was last updated on 18/03/24©

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