View Full Version : S/L-W/C-G/C Donald Frederick Edgar Charles DEAN - Nos.77 and 35 Squadrons - DSO, DFC

17th June 2022, 05:31
DEAN, Donald Frederick Edgar Charles, Acting Squadron Leader (42997)- No.77 Squadron - Distinguished Flying Cross – awarded as per London Gazette dated 26 June 1942. No published citation. The recommendation states:

‘This officer has shown vigour and determination in all the attacks he has influence of the very greatest value throughout his duty with the Squadron. When, as a 2nd pilot, he had the misfortune to land in the North Sea, his courage and cheerful spirit under the most arduous conditions proved to be of great help to the fellow members of his crew. I have no hesitation in recommending that his fine operational record be recognized by the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross’.

DEAN, Donald Frederick Edgar Charles, Acting Squadron Leader (42997)- No.35 Squadron – Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross – awarded as per London Gazette dated 6 April 1943.

One night in February 1943, this officer captained an aircraft detailed to attack St. Nazaire. Whilst crossing the Channel, on the outward flight, one of the port engines failed. Nevertheless, Squadron Leader Dean continued his mission. Whilst over the target area his aircraft was held in searchlights and subjected to heavy fire from the ground defences. Despite this, he pressed home a vigorous attack. Shortly after the aircraft was headed for home one of the starboard engines failed. Squadron Leader Dean succeeded in maintaining height and eventually reached an airfield in this country where he effected a masterly landing in difficult circumstances. This officer displayed great courage, skill and determination throughout.

The recommendation states:

‘When engaged upon an operational sortie against St. Nazaire on the 28th February, 1943, Squadron Leader Dean’s port outer engine failed half way across the English Channel. With the propeller feathered, he continued on his mission and approaching the target area at 9,000 feet, his aircraft was picked up and held by searchlights and subject to A.A. fire. Undeterred, Squadron Leader Dean continued to press home his attack and successfully bombed his target. A few minutes after leaving the target area, the starboard inner engine failed also and the propeller was feathered.

“Descending with the crew at ditching stations, height was eventually maintained at 3,000 feet on course for Exeter. Approaching the coast 10/10 cloud was encountered but homing searchlights were seen through the cloud tops and descent was made over a cone. Breaking cloud, an aerodrome was identified with difficulty due to low cloud and circled at 3,000 feet. No indication of the direction of the landing could be seen nor were they able to establish air to ground R.T. communication, but the approach and landing were executed successfully, although the aircraft over-ran the end of the runway on to rough ground and was damaged. The length of the runway was 1,100 yards, with an appreciable slope, and the landing had to be made down wind.

“With commendable courage and skill this officer fulfilled the allotted task though heavily handicapped and then under still greater difficulties returned to a coastal aerodrome and landed in adverse weather conditions. Squadron Leader Dean’s determination and courage on this occasion is deserving of the highest praise, and in recognition, he is recommended for the immediate award of the Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross.”

DEAN, Donald Frederic Edgar – Wing Commander (42997) – Distinguished Service Order – No. 35 Squadron – awarded as per London Gazette dated 7 January 1944. Information from Spink catalogue of 19 July 2007.

This officer has commanded his squadron with notable success over a long period. He has frequently taken part in operations over distant and dangerous targets in Germany including Berlin, Cologne and Duisburg. He has, at all times dis played the highest courage and keenness whilst his enthusiasm and ability have been reflected in the 'excellent operational work performed by the whole squadron.

The recommendation states:

‘This officer has commanded his Squadron with notable success over a long period. He has taken part in operations against some of the most heavily defended targets in Germany and has at all times displayed keenness and courage of a high order. His enthusiasm and ability are reflected in the excellent work done by the whole Squadron and the high standard that it has reached is largely due to his fine example. Hie is strongly recommended for the award of the Distinguished Service Order’.

DEAN, Donald Frederick Edgar Charles, Acting Squadron Leader (42997) – Mention in Despatches – awarded as per London Gazette dated 2 June 1943.

Also recommended for American Silver Star, 4 July 1943 as follows:

“The officer on his second tour of operational duty, at present commands a heavy bomber squadron which is carrying out the highly important duties of Target Marking. His personal example, cheerfulness and courage have been an inspiration to the Squadron he commands, and his efforts have contributed in a large degree to the successful bomber offensive now being carried out. His personal skill and determination in attack are of the highest order. He is strongly recommended for the award of the Silver Star”.

No mention of the award has been traced in the London Gazette, so presumably Dean never applied for, or was granted, official permission to wear the award;

Group Captain Donald Frederick Edgar Charles Dean, D.S.O., D.F.C., born London, and was the eldest son of F.W. Dean, Alderman and Mayor of the London Borough of St. Marylebone; educated at the City of London School; joined the Territorial Army, 1935, and appointed Lieutenant 90th City of London Field Auxiliary Regiment, 1939; transferred to the Royal Air Force with the outbreak of the Second World War; commissioned Pilot Officer, 7.3.1940 and was posted to 77 Squadron (Whitleys), Topcliffe, Yorkshire, June 1941, with whom he flew his 1st tour of operations, mainly against heavily defended German targets including: Aachen (2); Berlin (2); Cologne (3); Dusseldorf, Frankfurt; Hamburg; Kiel; Manheim; Wilhelmshaven (3) and Bremen, 27/28.6.1941 (See D.F.C. recommendation) when his pilot was killed and the crew were forced to bail out over the North Sea; Dean, then 2nd pilot, and the remaining crew survived for three days afloat in an open dinghy until eventually rescued by a motor launch; out of the original attacking force of 35 Whitleys, 11 did not return from Bremen that night; the O.C. of the Squadron at the time was Wing Commander (later Air Vice Marshal) Donald Bennett, later O.C. Path Finder Force and went on to become a close friend of Dean; Flight Lieutenant March 1942; posted 35 Squadron (Halifax’s), Path Finder Force, Graveley, February 1943, and flew in his 2nd tour of operations with the regiment, again mainly over well defended German targets: Nuremburg; Hamburg; Munich; Stuttgart and Essen, 5/6.3.1943 when Oboe was used for the 1st time and extensive damage was inflicted on the famous Krupps works and over 150 acres of the city; Duisburg (2); Munster; appointed C.O., Acting Wing Commander, 35 Squadron, 1.5.1943; Squadron Leader July 1943; the following month he carried out sorties over Mannheim, Turin, St. Nazaire and on 15.9.1943 acted as ‘Master of Ceremonies’ in the strike on the Dunlop Factory at Montlucon, France, where every building within the factory complex was damaged;..appointed O.C. Path Finder Force N.T. Unit, November 1943; returned to serve as O.C. 35 Squadron (Lancaster), Gravely, 25.7.1944-25.2 1945; Acting Group Captain September 1944; his last posting was as Station Commander, Group Captain, R.A.F. Wyton, Huntingdonshire.

Additional information from Spink catalogue of 19 July 2007 when estimated at 2,800-3,200 pounds; transcribed by Huguette Mondor Oates.