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Air Commodore D M Strong (37616)

David Malcolm         b: 30 Sep 1913            r: 6 Apr 1966                   d:  21 Aug 2011

CB - 1 Jan 1964, AFC – 24 Sep 1941, MiD - 1 Jan 1941.

Plt Off (P)?: 3 Jan/2 Mar? 1936, Plt Off: 6 Jan 1937, Fg Off: 6 Aug 1938, Flt Lt (WS): 6 Aug 1940, Act Sqn Ldr: 4 Jun 1941, (T) Sqn Ldr: 1 Sep 1941, Act Wg Cdr: xx xxx xxxx, Sqn Ldr: 1 Sep 1945 [1 Jun 1944],  Wg Cdr: 1 Apr 1946 [1 Jul 1943], Wg Cdr: 1 Nov 1947 [1 Jul 1947], Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1955, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1960.

 2 Mar 1936:    Induction Training, RAF Depot

14 Mar 1936:   U/T Pilot, No 3 FTS.

20 Dec 1936:   Pilot, No 166 Sqn.

 6 Jan 1940:     Transferred to RAFO and called up for service (Gazetted 11 Jan 1944)

xx Apr 1940:    Instructor, No 10 OTU (Whitley – Abingdon)

 4 Jun 1941:     Flight Commander, ‘A’ Flt, No 10 OTU/OC, Stanton Harcourt satellite airfield.

 7 Aug 1941:    Flight Commander, No 104 Sqn (Wellington II – Stradishall)

11 Sep 1941:   Prisoner of War.

xx xxx 1945:     Staff, P12 (Officer's Friend).

 1 Sep 1945:    Appointed to a Permanent Commission in the rank of Squadron Leader (gazetted 12 Aug 1947)

xx xxx 1946:     Officer Commanding, RAF Jurby.

xx xxx 1946:     Officer Commanding, RAF Driffield.

xx Jan 1949:     Attended RAF Staff College.

xx Dec 1949:    Staff Officer, Rhodesian Air Training Group.

xx xxx 1952:     Directing Staff, RAF Staff College.

xx xxx 1956:     Attended Air Warfare College.

xx xxx 1957:     Officer Commanding, RAF Coningsby.

 4 Mar 1960:    Director of Personnel (Air).

11 Dec 1961:   SASO, HQ RAF Germany.

xx xxx 1964:     AOC, RAF Halton/Commandant, No 1 School of Technical Training.

Known as “Dim”, he was born in Cardiff  and went to Cardiff High School, excelling at sport. Joining the RAF on a short-service commission he joined No 166 Squadron flying the Heyford. In April 1940 a number of squadrons were converted to the training role to train operational crews and renamed Operational Training Units, No 166 became part of No 10 OTU and he became an instructor on the unit.  On 9 May 1940, he made a crash landing in Whitley K7227 near Pershore, but was uninjured.

He was flying Wellington, W5576 on a raid against Turin on the night of 10/11 September 1941 but the aircraft was struck by lightning, which effected the compass and radios.  Breaking cloud at 300 ft short of fuel over the sea, he forced to ditch.  Rescued by a Danish fishing boat, the crew of which refused to take them to Britain, they were handed over to the Luftwaffe at Esjberg.  After being interrogated at Dulag Luft near Frankfurt, he was sent to Oflag VIB near Warburg he soon joined in the attempts to escape by digging tunnels and in Nay 1942 was ‘rewarded by being sent to Stalag Luft III at Sagan but was soon moved again to Oflag XXXIB at Schubin.

Having joined another tunnelling attempt he was transferred back to Sagan just as the tunnel at Schubin was nearing completion.  At Stalag Luft III he was appointed adjutant of the North Compound and as a result of his good relations with the camp authorities, it was decided he would not be part of the ‘Great Escape’.  During January 1945 he took part in ‘The Long March’ when POWs were forced marched westwards by the Germans to escape the advancing Russians, he was eventually released in May 1945 and repatriated back to the UK.

Retiring from the RAF he joined an intelligence agency for the next ten years.  Having played Rugby for Cardiff and the RAF, he was Chairman of the RAF Rugby Union from  1954 to 1956 and the RAF Golf Society from 1964 to 1966.

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