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Thread: Group Captain D. Wilson

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    Default Group Captain D. Wilson

    Seeking any information on Group Captain D.E.L. Wilson, Station Commander of RAF Holme-on-Spalding Moor Yorkshire during 1943-44. Thank you.
    Norman
    Last edited by namrondooh; 24th May 2009 at 07:15.

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    Norman,

    You may already be aware that he is mentioned in this old thread.

    www.rafcommands.com/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi?az=printer_format&om=15940&forum=DCFor umID6

    Also last SAO at Stalag Luft III (Sagan) (The Great Escapers - Tim Carroll)

    Regards
    Martyn

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    Thank you Martin, I was unaware of this.
    Norman

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    Hello Norman,

    Wilson's Casualty File is available at the National Archives of Australia - NAA: A705 166/43/232

    Some bio detail on A.16 Douglas Ernest Lancelot WILSON RAAF:-

    Born Berowra, NSW 1 Dec. 1898; Duntroon Graduate (Lieutenant, Staff Corps);
    Seconded to the RAAF; Enlisted RAAF 30 Jan. 1923 Number A.16; 1 FTS (1st Course 1923); 1 AD; 1 Sqn.; 1 FTS; RAAF HQ.; 1 Sqn.; 1 FTS; Commanded 22 Sqn. 1936-37; Comm. 4 Sqn. 1937-39; Comm. 6 Sqn. 1939; Comm. RAAF Richmond 1939-40; HQ. Central Area 1940; 2 Training Group 1941-42; AOC. HQ. North-West Area 1942; Comm. 1 Training Group 1942-43. On exchange duty RAF. Comm. RAF Wyton 1943; Comm. RAF Linton-on-Ouse 1943 ?; Comm. RAF Holme-on-Spalding Moor 1943;

    His shooting down, and subsequent POW status are well-known. I won't repeat it here.

    Group Captain Wilson's appointment was terminated on 19 March, 1946. He died on 2 August, 1950.

    Col.

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    Hello Col,

    Thank you for the information. All I knew was that he was posted in to Holme-on-Spalding Moor on 1st June 1943 so it was a very short command. Do you know who took over?

    I recently discovered Gp Cpt Pelley-Fry was Station Commander during Wg Cdr 'Hank' Ivesons command of 76 Sqn so maybe he took over from Gp Cpt Wilson?

    Norman
    Last edited by namrondooh; 25th May 2009 at 18:59. Reason: additional info

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    Hello Norman,

    I believe G/C Wilson's replacement as OC RAF Holme-on-Spalding Moor was, G/C George Stacey HODSON RAF. See the aforementioned: NAA: A705 166/43/232 (p.56 of 89). This ref also mentions that Wilson joined the Station in April 1943.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 25th May 2009 at 19:11. Reason: minor correction

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    Hi Col

    Hodson had been an Air Commodore (acting) since 1 Nov 1942 and from 1 May 1943 was the Base Commander at Holme on Splading Moor, so I assume he took over as a temporary mention pending the appointment of a 'permanent' station commander

    Malcolm

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    From what I gather then, Gp Cpt Wilson took command of Holme on Spalding Moor 1 April 1943 then went on ops 22 June 1943 (shot down, initialy evaded capture, ended up at Stalag Luft III as SBO until liberation) His post at Holme-on-Spalding Moor was taken over by Air Commodore G.S. Hodson untill arrival of Gp Cpt Pelly-Fry early 1944.

    Norman

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    Hi Norman

    That's how I see it

    Malcolm

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    Default G/C Pelly-Fry

    This is where I discovered that G/C Pelly-Fry was one time Commander of RAF Holme-on-Spalding Moor succeeding Air Commodre G/C George Stacey Hodson who succeeded G/C D.E.L. Wilson. I thought it made such interesting reading so I'm posting it in full. His command at Holme was at the same time as Wg Cdr 'Hank' Iveson OC. 76 Squadron

    Biography of JAMES ERNEST PELLY-FRY November 22, 1911 to December 6, 1994. The following is Mr. Pelly-Fry’s obituary that ran in his local newspaper on December 29, 1994. Group Captain James Pelly-Fry, who has died aged 83, led Pelly-Fry’s Hell Divers against Italian targets in East Africa in 1940 and two years later was awarded the DSO for his part in Operation Oyster, 2 Group’s biggest and most complex air attack of the war. In December 1942, as commander of the 88 Squadron of Douglas Boston light bombers, Pelly-Fry led one of the eight squadrons briefed to destroy the Phillips factory at Eindhoven, which supplied Germany with a third of its electronics products. A high-level night attack by Bomber Command had been ruled out in order to minimize civilian casualties, and, at lunchtime on December 6, the force of about 100 light bombers swept low over the Dutch coast. Despite an escort of three fighter squadrons on the homeward trip, the daylight sortie was a risky enterprise. Flying at 250 mph at “zero feet” left no room for error; the ground rushed past, Pelly-Fry recalled, “in a blur of fields, minor roads, streams and farm buildings.” Flocks of birds on the Dutch mudflats were an additional hazard; the aircrafts’ canopies and wings became plastered with blood and feathers. Although attacked by FW 190 fighters, the force pressed on. As Pelly-Fry directed his Boston at the main factory building he was so low that the German anti-aircraft gunners on the roof were actually firing down at him. Hit by the flak, he noticed that part of the starboard wing was sticking up vertically and the fabric on one of the ailerons was shredding in the slipstream. Then the starboard engine began an ominous rattle until, throttled back, it quieted. He then found that there were two FW 190s on his tail. Only Pelly-Fry’s evasive skill and the
    German pilots’ apparent inexperience enabled him to lose them over the North Sea. Losing height, he managed to make a belly landing on one engine. Nine Venturas, four Bostons
    and one Mosquito had been lost in the operation, but the Phillips factory had been effectively demolished. It was six months before it resumed production. When Pelly-Fry visited the works after the war – at the invitation of the Phillips directors – he was congratulated on the havoc wreaked by the raid.

    James Ernest Pelly-Fry was born on November 22, 1911 and educated at Douai School. After the death of his father, a Ceylon tea expert, he entered the accounts department of the P&O Shipping Company at the age of 14. Two years later he was apprenticed to Joseph Tetley and Son. His hobby was aeromodeling; he flew his own designs on Wimbledon Common and became a council member of the recently formed Society of Model Aeronautical Engineers. But he hankered after the real thing. In 1933 Pelly-Fry was accepted for the Reserve of Air Force Officers, and the next year he joined an air charter firm at Heston Aerodrome, Middlesex, to fly Fleet Street newspapers to Paris. The Royal Air Force (RAF) offered him a short-service commission in 1935 and he was posted to the 216 Squadron, flying bi-plane Vickers Valentias in Egypt. In late 1938 Pelly-Fry was selected as personal assistant to Air Commander Arthur Harris, then Air Commander in Palestine. Harris dubbed him “Pelly” and the nickname stuck. In 1939 he went as flight lieutenant to the 223 Squadron, flying Vickers Wellesleys out of Nairobi in Kenya. When Italy entered the war in June 1940 Pelly-Fry was immediately in action, and in August he received command of 47 Squadron, also in the Wellesley wing. He was next posted as Joint Senior RAF Intelligence Officer Western Desert and, in the spring of 1941, was involved in the relief of RAF Habbanya, under siege from the rebel force of the Iraqi potentate Raschid Ali.

    After making a chance recovery of a Me 110 fighter from the Iraqi desert, Pelly-Fry was inspired to set up a small RAF version of the Army’s Long Range Desert Group to gather intelligence in the western desert. In 1942 he returned to Britain where he joined 88 Squadron, whose Douglas Boston light bombers had just arrived from the United States. Pelly-Fry took part in operations over France, including the Dieppe raid, and his squadron established a warm relationship with its fighter escorts. The wing leader would call “Hi-de-hi!” to the fighter pilots who would respond enthusiastically, “Pelly-Fry!” When his crews were billeted at Bickling Hall, the Marquess of Lothian’s house in East Anglia, Pelly-Fry was nicknamed “Baron Fry of Bickling.” After a strenuous tour of operations Pelly-Fry was – to his astonishment – appointed Air Equerry to the King in 1943 and moved into Buckingham Palace. Several months later he discreetly arranged to get back to the war. Now a group captain, Pelly-Fry received command of a Halifax bomber station, RAF Holme-in-Spalding-Moor. In 1945 he was posted in Australia to command RAF Camden, near Sydney. After demobilization in 1946 he flew briefly in Kenya as a charter pilot, but disillusioned with
    civilian life, he returned to the RAF with a permanent commission. He re-entered as a Squadron Leader, until posted to RAF Syerston as Wing Commander Administration. He was appointed to the RAF Personnel Selection Board, and staff appointments in Nato followed.
    In 1955, once more a group captain, he was appointed air attaché in Teheran. His remarkable rapport with leading figures in the Shah of Iran’s regime was of great value to Britain, generating substantial export business for the aviation industry. Pelly-Fry retired from the RAF in 1958, but was engaged by the Commonwealth Office acting as their civil air attaché for Australia and New Zealand until 1962. He then joined the aircraft
    manufacturer Handley Page, but the company soon folded. After training in Harrods’ Food Hall Pelly-Fry opened Epicure of Chichester, a delicatessen in Sussex. In the early 1970s he sold the business and moved to Somerset, where he resumed his building of model aeroplanes. He recently published a volume of autobiography, Heavenly Days. He married, in 1949, Mrs. Irene Ritchie (née Dunsford), who predeceased him; they had a son.

    Norman

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