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Air Commodore E W Wright (64870)

Eric William (‘Ricky’)   b: 21 Sep 1919            r: 21 Jul 1973              d: 5 Nov 2007

CBE - 1 Jan 1964, DFC – 1 Oct 1946, DFM – 26 Nov 1940, KCVSA – 1 Jan 1949.

(RAFVR): Sgt: xx xxx xxxx, Plt Off (P): 18 Dec 1940, Fg Off (P): 23 Oct 1941, Fg Off: 18 Dec 1941, Flt Lt (WS): 6 May 1942, Act Sqn Ldr: xx xxx xxxx,

(RAF): Flt Lt: 1 Apr 1947 [1 Sep 1945], Sqn Ldr: 1 Jan 1949, Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1955, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1960, Act A/Cdre: 6 Dec 1965, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1966.

xx Jun 1939      U/T Pilot, RAFVR (748522)

 2 Jun 1940:     Attended Operational Training Course, No 6 OTU.

 6 Jul 1940:      Sergeant Pilot, No 605  (County of Warwick) Sqn.

18 Dec 1940:   Appointed to a Commission in the RAFVR.

xx xxx 1941:     En-route to the Far East

xx Jan 1942      Flight Commander, No 232 Sqn.

 7 Feb 1942:    Officer Commanding, No 232 Sqn.

xx Feb 1942:    Officer Commanding, No 605 Sqn.

xx Mar 1942:   Prisoner of War.

xx xxx 1945:     Refresher flying course, RAF Weston Zoyland

1 Apr 1947:     Appointed to a Permanent Commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant (retaining rank current at the time) [wef 1 Sep 1945]

xx xxx 1946:     Attended Junior Commanders’ Course.

xx May 1946:   Flight Commander, No 165 Sqn.

xx Sep 1946:    Flight Commander, No 66 Sqn. (No 165 sqn renumbered)

xx Nov 1946:   Officer Commanding, No 91 Sqn. (Meteor F3)

xx Jan 1947:     Officer Commanding, No 92 Sqn. (Meteor F3) (No 91 Sqn renumbered)

xx Nov 1947:   Flight Commander, No 247 Sqn.

xx Nov 1948:   Officer Commanding, No 54 Sqn. (Vampire F1/F3)

xx Jun 1949:     Attended RAF Staff College.

27 Mar 1950:   Admin Plans, HQ Maintenance Command.

xx xxx 1950:    Air Plans, HQ Maintenance Command.

xx xxx xxxx:      Day Tactics, Central Fighter Establishment.

xx Dec 1954    Wing Commander – Flying, RAF Linton on Ouse

xx xxx 1956:     Wing Commander – Flying, RAF Tangmere.

xx xxx 1957:     Attended Misssile Courses, Henlow and Manby.

xx xxx 1958:     Officer Commanding RAF North Coates.

22 May 1959:  Staff Officer, Weapons Systems Branch, SHAPE.

 1 Dec 1960:    Group Captain - Operations 1, HQ Fighter Command.

xx xxx xxxx:      Group Captain - Plans and Policy, HQ Fighter Command.

xx Jun 1963:     Attended Flying Refresher Course, RAF Manby

xx xxx xxxx:      Attended ? Course, RAF Bassingbourne

xx xxx xxxx:      Attended No 230 OCU, RAF Finningley.

 9 Dec 1963:    Officer Commanding, RAF Coningsby.

16 Oct 1964:    Officer Commanding, RAF Cottesmore

 6 Dec 1965:    Director of Flight Safety.

11 Aug 1969:   Air Attaché, Pretoria/Senior Air Liaison Officer, South Africa.

 3 Jul 1972:      Assistant AOA, HQ Strike Command.

Originally an NCO pilot.  He was sent to the Far East in at the end of 1941.  He took over command of 232 when his CO was killed on 7 February and three days later was evacuated to Sumatra and then Java.  Here he reformed No 605 Squadron but at the beginning of March he was ordered  to take his personnel to Tjilatjap for evacuation to Australia.  However, on arrival the port was deserted and he and his personnel were captured by the Japanese.  His final total of victories prior to capture was three confirmed and three shared, three probables and eight damaged and one shared.   He spent most of his captivity actually in Japan on Innoshima Island, where he worked in the shipyards, but was later moved to a camp for Dutch prisoners.  He returned home after release via Guam, the USA and Canada, making the last leg of his journey on the Queen Mary.

He was awarded the DFC for operations against the Japanese in Malaya.  In 1948 he was a member of the Odiham Squadrons’ aerobatic team and was one of the pilots who made the first jet crossing of the Atlantic and then carried out a goodwill tour of the USA.   As Wing Commander, Flying at Tangmere, he led the Wing during its operations from Cyprus during the Suez Crisis of 1956.  He commanded the first Bloodhound surface-to-air missile base when he took command of RAF North Coates.

In 1965, he walked in Churchill's funeral procession as a member of 'The Few'.  He retired at his own request and took up the appointment of Secretary of Moor Park Golf Club.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.

“748522 Sergeant Eric William WRIGHT, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve - No. 605 Squadron.

This airman has displayed fine qualities of leadership, skill and courage. His sound tactics and efficiency have enabled him to destroy at least six enemy aircraft.”

(London Gazette – 26 Nov 1940)

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

WRIGHT,  Eric William, S/L, DFM (64870) - No.232 and 605 Squadrons - awarded as per London Gazette dated 1 October 1946.  Citation in

"This officer served, both as flight commander and commanding officer, in a squadron in Singapore, Sumatra and Java.  He completed many operational sorties during which he destroyed at least eight enemy aircraft.  He also took part in numerous low level attacks against enemy troops in landing barges and on land, with conspicuous success.  Throughout, Squadron Leader Wright led his flight and later his squadron with skill and determination, setting an inspiring example to all."

(Source - Air Ministry Bulletin 22994)

Sabre F Mk 4 as flown by Wing Commander E W Wright


This page was last updated on 05/02/24

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