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Air Marshal Sir Denis Crowley-Milling (78274)

Sir Denis Crowley-MillingDenis                            b: 22 Mar 1919                     r: 29 Jul 1975                       d: 1 Dec 1996

KCB – 2 Jun 1973, CBE - 1 Jan 1963, DSO – 24 Dec 1943, DFC – 11 Apr 1941, Bar – 29 Sep 1942, AE.

(RAFVR): Sgt: xx xxx xxxx, Plt Off (P): 11 Apr 1940, Fg Off: 11 Apr 1941, Flt Lt (WS): 11 Apr 1942, Act Sqn Ldr: xx Sep 1942, Act Wg Cdr: 4 Jun 1943, Sqn Ldr (WS): 4 Dec 1943,  

(RAF): Flt Lt: 28 Feb 1947 [1 Sep 1945]1, Sqn Ldr: 1 Aug 1947, Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1954, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1959, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1964, AVM: 1 Jul 1967, AM: 1 Jan 1973.

Sir Denis Crowley-Milling

by Walter Bird
bromide print, 16 October 1967
NPG x166912

© National Portrait Gallery, London


xx xxx 1937:           U/T Pilot, RAFVR

xx xxx 1939:           Sergeant Pilot, No 615 (County of Surrey) Sqn Aux AF. (740885)

11 Apr 1940:          Pilot, No 615 (County of Surrey) Sqn.

20 Apr - 14 May 1940:          Attached, No 12 Course, No 5 OTU.

 2 Jun 1940:            Pilot, No 242 Sqn.

13 Jun 1941:           Flight Commander, No 610 Sqn.  

21 Aug 1941:         Evading and Interned in Spain

xx Dec 1941:          Returned to UK

xx xxx 1942:           Flight Commander, No 610 Sqn.  

xx Sep 1942:          Officer Commanding, No 181 Sqn.

 4 Jun 1943:            Officer Commanding, No 121 Wing.  

xx Oct 1943:           Liaison Officer, HQ USAAF.

xx Jun 1944:           Head of OR 1, Directorate of Operational Requirements.

2 Apr 1946:            Appointed to Permanent Commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant (retaining rank current at the time).  [wef 1 Sep 1945]

xx Nov 1947:          Officer Commanding, No 6 Sqn. (Tempest/Vampire)

 6 Oct 1950:           Personal Staff Officer to AOC in C, Fighter Command.

xx xxx 1952:           Wing Commander - Flying, RAF Odiham.

xx xxx 1954:           Directing Staff, RAF Staff College - Bracknell.

xx xxx 1957:           Attended/Instructor, RAF Flying College - RAF Manby.

xx Jan 1958:           Air Staff - Plans, HQ Fighter Command.

 5 Oct 1959:           Group Captain - Operations, Central Fighter Establishment.

 3 Dec 1962:           Officer Commanding, RAF Leconfield.

 3 Apr 1964:           AOC, RAF Hong Kong.

 4 Feb 1966:           Director of Operational Requirements (1).

26 Nov 1967:         Air Attaché, Washington/Commander, RAF Staff - BJSM.

24 Jun 1970:           AOC, No 38 Group.

 3 Jan 1973:            AOC, No 46 Group.

 7 Jan 1974:            UK Permanent Military Deputy, CENTO.

Educated at Malvern, he left school to take up an apprenticeship with Rolls Royce and from 1937 became a member of the RAFVR.  Mobilised at the outbreak of war, he completed his training and was initially posted to No 615 Squadron flying Gladiators, later converting to Hurricanes.  Before returning to Britain he had moved to No 242 Squadron having been commissioned before leaving 615.  Here his previous experience at Rolls Royce was to prove beneficial, when his squadron became separated from it's groundcrews, he was able to service the squadron's aircraft.  With the defeat of the

French, 242 returned to Coltishall and it was here that it received it's most famous CO, Douglas Bader.   Whilst commanding the squadron, Bader usually flew with 'Crow' as his No 2.   'Crow' remained with 242, until he was appointed as a flight commander in No 610 Sqn.  On 21 Aug 1941 whilst with 610, he was shot down over France but was able to evade capture  by the Germans but was arrested by the Spanish and put into a concentration camp.  However, having contracted paratyphoid, he was repatriated to Britain and soon returned to his unit.  In 1942, he moved from pure fighter operations to fighter-bomber ops when he was given command of No 181 Squadron flying Typhoons at Duxford.  By the summer of 1943, he had been promoted to Wing Commander and appointed Wing Leader of No 121 Wing.  However, in October 1943 he developed eye problems resulting in his removable from operations which saw him filling a number of staff appointments until the end of the war.   However, during his operational career he achieved a score of four confirmed and two shared destroyed, one probable and one shared, three damaged and one shared.

Recovered from his eye problems he was awarded a permanent commission in the rank of Squadron Leader  and was given command of No 6 Squadron in Palestine equipped with Tempest F6's.  Two years later the squadron was re-equipped with Vampires and was selected to carry out trials into the operations of jets from sand strips.  For these trials, No 6 was detached to RAF Mafraq in Jordan and as a result it was found that it was possible to operate from this type of strip providing regular maintenance was carried out to the surface but that permanent operations of jets from them would not be possible.

Appointed to RAF Odiham as OC Flying, he arrived during the preparations for the Queen's Coronation Review which was to be held at the base on 15 July 1953.  His part in the flypast was to lead the Meteor contingent drawn from nine fighter Wings, he himself leading at the head of the Tangmere Wing.

Retiring at his own request, he took up the post of Controller of the RAF Benevolent Fund, which he held for six years.  From 3 August 1979 he was a Gentleman usher of the Scarlet Rod.  He held this post until 1985 when he became the Registrar and Secretary of the Order of the Bath until 14 August 1990.  In 1992 he was Master of the Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

“Pilot Officer Dennis CROWLEY-MILLING (78274). Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No.242 Squadron.

This officer has participated in numerous engagements against the enemy over a long period and has shown a fine spirit throughout. On one occasion he pursued a Junkers 88 out to sea and, although his aircraft was severely damaged by a cannon shell early in the pursuit, he continued his attack until the enemy aircraft was on fire and disappeared into cloud 40 miles out at sea.  He has displayed great courage and initiative, and has destroyed at least four enemy aircraft.”

(London Gazette – 11 April 1941)

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

" Flight Lieutenant Dennis CROWLEY-MILLING D.F.C. (78274), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 610 Squadron.

Since being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in March, 1941, this officer has completed many more sorties over enemy, occupied territory and has destroyed at least 1 hostile aircraft. This officer; whose courage and skill have set a splendid example, has always displayed outstanding keenness to inflict losses on the enemy."

(London Gazette - 29 September 1942)

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Order

CROWLEY-MILLING, Dennis, W/C, DFC (78274, Royal Air Force) - No.121 Wing - awarded as per London Gazette dated 24 December 1943.  No citation in Gazette.

"This officer has been actively engaged in operational flying since the beginning of the war.  Since the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross he has taken part in many bombing attacks on enemy airfields in the occupied countries, and has shown himself at all times to be a cool and determined leader, exhibiting the highest skill and tenacity on operations.  His courage, perseverance and devotion to duty have contributed largely to the high standard and fine fighting spirit of the squadrons he has led."

(Source - Air Ministry Bulletin 12374)

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