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Carey, Frank Reginald Carey 'Chota'

Date of birth:
May 7th, 1912 (Brixton/London,Great Britain)
Date of death:
December 6th, 2004 (Bognor Regis/West Sussex, Great Britain)
Service number:
561516 / 43132
Nationality:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)

Biography

Carey was born in Brixton, south London, in 1912 and educated at Belvedere School in Haywards Heath in Sussex. At the age of 15 he joined the RAF as a Halton apprentice and qualified as a metal rigger in 1930. Three years later he became a fitter and in 1935 undertook training as a pilot and joined 43 Squadron at Tangmere as a sergeant pilot. He was commissioned in 1940 and went straight to France with 3 Squadron as the Blitzkrieg swept across northern Europe. On 10 May he went into action. Later that month, in his eagerness to see a Dornier 17 end its days, he was hit by its rear gunner and his leg was badly injured. He somehow managed to land his Hurricane and was carried off to hospital at Dieppe, where he played rummy with the Duke of Norfolk, who apologised to him for being there with nothing more than gout.
With the enemy fast advancing, Carey and the Duke were put on a hospital train, which was bombed. The two of them did what they could do for the wounded and then, with others, pushed the burning part of the train a mile along the track. Carey recovered from his wounds in a plush hotel near Nantes and in June got a message that a Bristol Bombay transport plane had been abandoned on a local airfield. With half a dozen others they flew it back to Hendon with Carey acting as the rear gunner. In his absence in France his family had been informed that he had been listed "missing believed killed".
He arrived back for the Battle of Britain. During this period he flew 100 sorties, sometimes six a day lasting up to an hour and a half each.
Heavy fighting in mid-August brought Carey four confirmed and four probable victories in a period of six days, but on the 18th, he was hit himself and "stitched right across the cockpit
He was able to pass on his skills to younger pilots when he was posted to No 52 Operational Training Unit as an instructor. In August 1941 Carey was given command of 135 Squadron, which, in November, sailed for the Middle East, but was diverted to the Far East after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.
At Rangoon, 135 Squadron was soon in action against Japanese raiders over the city. As at Dunkirk two years earlier, the British forces were in retreat and up against vastly superior numbers. On 29 January 1942 he claimed his first Japanese victory when he shot down a Nakajima Ki-27 over Rangoon. By February he was promoted to Wing Commander. His approach to his air crew in the extremely difficult months that followed galvanised them to strike hard against the ever advancing Japanese. He led devastating raids protecting the retreating Allied army beneath him and continued to add to his victories. His last claim was on 25 October 1942 when a Nakijima Ki-43 "Oscar" was a possible victory. He was attacked on take-off from Chittagong by a number of "Oscars" and after a battle at very low level an "Oscar’ flew into a hill.
In November 1944 he took over command of 73 OTU at Fayid, Egypt. At the end of the war he was credited with 25 kills, including 14 German aircraft in four days over the Pas de Calais in May 1940. His tally against the Japanese, where he was often outnumbered five to one, is recorded as seven, but with the Allied armies in retreat and records lost, many who fought alongside him felt he had destroyed considerably more, taking his final score to over 30.
After his time in Asia, he was given a permanent commission and taught tactics at Central Fighter Establishment. A succession of staff appointments followed until 1958 when he became Air Adviser to the British High Commission in Australia. In 1960 he was made a CBE.
He retired from the RAF, after 35 years, in 1962, and joined Rolls-Royce as their aero division representative in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. His final years were spent in Bognor Regis.

1 april 1940: Pilot Officer
1 april 1941: Flying Officer
23 november 1941: Flight Lieutenant
6 mei 1942: Squadron Leader
6 mei 1945: Wing commander

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Sergeant
Unit:
No. 43 (The Fighting Cocks) Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
March 1st, 1940
Citation:
"During January, 1940, with his section leader, this airman engaged an enemy aircraft over the North Sea whilst it was attacking shipping. Again, in February, 1940, while leading a section of two aircraft, he engaged an enemy aircraft over the North Sea and shot it down. Low cloud was present during these engagements but Sergeant Carey's initiative, determination and skill prevented the enemy from taking cover in it and brought the engagements to a successful conclusion."
Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Pilot Officer
Unit:
No. 3 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
May 31st, 1940
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Citation:
"This officer destroyed five enemy aircraft early in the operations in May, 1940, and by his dash and courage set the highest example of gallantry to the squadron."
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Pilot Officer
Unit:
No. 3 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
May 31st, 1940
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Citation:
"This officer has shot down four more enemy aircraft, bringing his total to nine. Throughout the operations he was continuously on the search for enemy aircraft and was an inspiration to all who flew with him. His morale was always of the highest order."

Second DFC awarded as a bar for on the ribbon of the first DFC
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Pilot Officer
Awarded on:
January 1st, 1941
Mentioned in Dispatches
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Wing Commander
Unit:
No. 43 (The Fighting Cocks) Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
March 24th, 1942
Citation:
"When leading the squadron or- wing, this officer has displayed high qualities of leadership and has set a high example by his courage and devotion to duty. Wing Commander Carey has destroyed at least 5 enemy aircraft."

Third DFC awarded as a second bar for on the ribbon of the first DFC
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Group Captain
Awarded on:
January 1st, 1945
Air Force Cross
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Group Captain
Awarded on:
June 14th, 1946
Silver Star Medal (SSM)

Sources