View Full Version : George Arthur Corby, deceased, Mention in Despatches

14th April 2021, 13:58
The following, unearthed in old files, may be of interest to next-of-kin (if they find it) and an example of awards policy which restricted posthumous awards during the Second World War, necessitating down-grading many recommendations to a Mention in Despatches.

CORBY, George Arthur, Flight Sergeant, deceased (561526) - No.209 Squadron - Mention in Despatches - awarded as per London Gazette dated 20 April 1940 and 11 July 1940. Public Record Office Air 2/9319 has two recommendations for the Distinguished Flying Medal, not awarded because posthumous awards of the DFM were not allowed at this time. The first commenced on 2 January 1940 with a submission by W/C C. Wigglesworth:

For period September 3rd to December 31st, this airman pilot Captain of a flying boat has done 250 hours flying of which 222 hours arduous flying were carried out on anti-submarine patrols and convoy escort from Invergordon, Shetlands, Falmouth and Oban, often under very bad weather conditions with zeal, enterprise and devotion to duty.

On 2 January 1940 (same day) G/C J.H.O. Jones (Commanding Station Oban) added his remarks:

I entirely concur. Flight Sergeant Corby possesses outstanding character and morale.

This lay dormant until 7 March 1940 when A/V/M Charles Breese (Commanding No.18 Group) added the following:

This NCO pilot was the outstanding flying member of a very good squadron. His energy, determination, courage and devotion to duty were an inspiration wherever he went. As no less than 220 hours flying were done on operational tasks in war zones I consider that the Distinguished Flying Medal is the appropriate recognition.

From 4th January 1940 (the date of my last recommendation) until 20th February when he was killed in a flying crash while undertaking an important air escort in very difficult weather this senior NCO performed his flying duties with exemplary courage and devotion to duty. He completed more operational flying tasks than anyone else and these in the best possible manner. His cheerful and determined attitude in the face of difficulties was a fine example to the other flying boat pilots.

His service was essentially of the kind for which the Distinguished Flying Medal was instituted and I very strongly recommend that this be awarded to him.

A further recommendation was raised, noting submissions dated 3 January and 8 March 1940 [sic] followed by these remarks by Breese dated 28 March 1940:

Flight Sergeant Corby was the very finest type of senior NCO pilot. He set an exceptionally fine example in war flying to both the officers and airman pilots of No.209 Squadron in keenness, devotion to duty, unhesitating acceptance of every task offered to him, and most commendable perseverance in the face of very difficult weather conditions.

I recommended him for the Distinguished Flying Medal on the 3rd January 1940, but probably owing to numbers it was not awarded.

He continued in the same excellent manner, carrying out numerous important convoy escort tasks on the West coasts of Scotland for a further six weeks until unfortunately he was killed as a result of an accident when returning to his base on the 20th February 1940.

In view of the exceptional services rendered by this outstanding NCO and the fact that he was recommended for the DFM six weeks before his death and again subsequently (although this has since been ruled to be inadmissible), I very strongly recommend that the award of the DFM to Flight Sergeant Corby, which was put forward with my recommendation on the 3rd January 1940, may be reconsidered and granted.