75th anniversary of the formation of No6 Squadron commemorative envelope signed by RAF Fighter ace Denis Crowley-Milling DFC (1919-1996), who was at one time Douglas Bader's wingman.
Originally a Rolls-Royce apprentice he joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, he was mobilised in 1937 as trainee pilot and was posted to 615 Sqn as a Sergeant pilot. Originally flying the Gloster Gladiator biplane the squadron converted to the new Hawker Hurricane monoplane fighter. In April 1940 after operational training he was commissioned in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve as a Pilot Officer and posted back to 615 Sqn. In June 1940 he was posted to 242 Squadron and flew during the Battle of Britain, one of The Few.
Using his experience as Rolls-Royce when a number of squadron aircraft became separated from their groundcrew in France, he showed the other pilots how to service the aircraft and they departed just before the advancing German tanks.
The squadron moved to RAF Coltishall and Crowley-Milling flew as No. 2 to the new commanding officer Douglas Bader. On 13 June 1941 he became a flight commander on 610 Squadron. On 21 August 1941 he was shot down over France while escorting Stirling bombers on a raid to Lille, but with the help of the French Resistance he evaded capture. He became ill with paratyphoid in Spain and was repatriated back to Britain where he re-joined his squadron.
He was promoted to Acting Squadron Leader in September 1942 and given command of 181 Squadron, who were operating the Hawker Typhoon in the fighter-bomber role from RAF Duxford. With another promotion to Acting Wing Commander he took command of 121 Wing from June 1943 for four months. In October 1943 he developed problems with his eyesight which saw he removed from operational flying and he filled a number of staff appointments until the end of the war.
During his operational flying Crowley-Milling had four confirmed kills and two shared as destroyed.
WW2 Battle of Britain ace Crowley-Milling signed cover
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