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Thread: Dick Francis' War Time Service

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    Default Dick Francis' War Time Service

    Dick Francis, the famous ex-jockey and famed mystery driver served in the RAF from 1943-1945. He is supposed to have flown Spifires and Lancasters.

    Does anyone have more details on his war time service?

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    Hi tahnks for this post. I have read several times he was a RAF pilot but with no more details so i will be glad to find you more about his service as he is my fathers favourite writer of detective stories:-)

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Here is a POSSIBLE entry from teh London GAzette that MIGHT be him:

    ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE.
    GENERAL DUTIES BRANCH.
    Appointment to commission.
    As Plt. Offs. on prob. (emergency):
    Leading Aircraftman
    29th July 1944.
    922385 Richard Stanley FRANCIS (163174).

    Gazette Issue 36963 published on the 27 February 1945. Page 2 of 8
    ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE.
    GENERAL DUTIES BRANCH.
    Confirmation and promotion.
    Plt. Offs. (prob.) confmd. in appts. and to be Flg. Offs. (war subs.):
    29th Jan. 1945.
    R. S. FRANCIS (163174)

    Gazette Issue 49583 published on the 30 December 1983. Page 9 of 32
    O.B.E.
    To be Ordinary Officers of the Civil Division of the
    said Most Excellent Order:
    Richard Stanley FRANCIS (Dick Francis), Author.


    Some internet links:
    http://www.dickfrancis.com/site/DIFR/Templates/Gallery.aspx?pageid=16&cc=GB

    Unless some one knows for sure the internet really only seems to contain the statements 'he flew Spitfires and Lancasters (and Wellingtons and ...", I'd imagine that would be strange for a man becoming a pilot only in the Summer of 1944??
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Hi Dennis,

    thanks for info.
    Nice photo there.
    But about the flying... I suppose he was fyling Spitfires and the other planes maybe at some MU or OADU later on... but not operational

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Well, I've been trawling the internet for info for a similar post on my site, and so far I've found him being in North Africa at an (unknown) MU*, Fighter Command, Bomber Command AND Coastal Command - one reference stating that he served in all of them one after the other.

    * I'm assuming it was an MU unit though it could have been repair ground crew of a squadron because The Dick Francis Companion quotes him as saying "We patched and mended the torn bodies of the planes as they landed, getting them back into the air as soon as we could."

    A
    RAF Armoured Car Companies 1920-45 http://www.rafacciraq.com/

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    From the 'Racing Post'

    Richard Stanley FRANCIS

    Shipped to Egypt in late 1940, he hated his early years and every month sent in a request to be transferred to flying school, and in early 1943, he was sent to Southern Rhodesia to train as a pilot.

    He returned to Britain in 1944, the Allies had achieved superiority over the Germans in the air, and he saw little action. He spent much of his time on further training courses as well as his duties as a fighter pilot, escorting bombers.

    He then joined Bomber Command and flew Wellingtons on diversionary air raids over Europe, drawing attention away from the main attacks, before moving to Coastal Command, escorting surrendered German ships into British ports and helping to train navigators.

    I think this seems the most accurate profile so far.

    Mark

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    A few photographs here:

    http://www.dickfrancis.com/site/DIFR/Templates/Gallery.aspx?pageid=16&cc=GB

    Brian

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    "He then joined Bomber Command and flew Wellingtons on diversionary air raids over Europe"

    Surely by 1944 Bomber Command was not using Wellingtons, even for diversionary raids?

    Malcolm

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    Hi,

    I was thinking about the same as Malcolm... and one more question - serving with Fighter Command, Bomber Command and Coastal Command approx. in 1,5 year?

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    How about Wellingtons of the Fighter Interception Unit or similar Unit for these 1944 flights. Perhaps someone has assumed as DF flew Wellington bombers it must be Bomber Command ?

    Ian

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