Edward Mortlock Donaldson, the son of a judge was born in 1912 and was one of three brothers, all of who were fighter pilots and who won the DSO. during the Second World War (Squadron Leader John 'Baldy' Donaldson DSO. K.I.A. in June 1940, and Wing Commander Arthur Hay Donaldson DSO. DFC.*, AFC).
He was educated in England and at McGill University, Canada. Donaldson joined the R.A.F. from university in March 1931. He learned to fly at No 2 F.T.S. Digby before being posted to No 3 Squadron at Upavon in 1932. He won the Popham Air Firing Trophy in 1933 and the following year. He led the aerobatic team at Hendon in 1935 and at the Zurich International Rally in 1937.
In November 1938, he was appointed to command No 151 Squadron which he took to France in May 1940. Here he destroyed two enemy aircraft and damaged a third during the Squadron's first combat on May 17th. The Squadron as a whole destroyed a further seven enemy aircraft. More victories followed.
On June 27th Donaldson was shot down by a Me109. The combat lasted up to 15 minutes with both aircraft twisting and turning to gain a firing position. During a head-on attack, Donaldson's Hurricane was hit by shells and his cloths were set alight when the petrol tank blew up. However, he managed to escape, taking to his parachute from round 800 feet.
He was picked up by a rescue boat out looking for a Swordfish pilot who was shot down the previous night. Later he wrote that at the time the vessel sailed in his direction, he wasn'shore wether it was friend or foe, until 'I heard the wonderful sounds of real Cockney.'
He was shot down again on July 12th by return fire from a Do 17. A round hit his engine and rudder. He was able to steers his aircraft to Martlesham. Two days later he shot down a Me109, his last combat victory.
His tour of operations over, Donaldson became Chief Flying Instructor at No 5 F.T.S. He later made a tour of the U.S.A. running gunnery courses.
He ended the war with 11 confirmed victories.
He won the Britannia Trophy for 1946, setting the Air Speed Record at 1001 k.m.p.h. in a Gloucester Meteor IV - the record was set at sea-level. As a result, he was awarded a bar to his Air Force Cross.
During the early 1950s, Donaldson served in Germany and commanded Fassberg and Wunstorf airfields, gaining appointment to C.B.E. in June 1953. From 1956 to 1958 he served as Deputy Commander of Air Forces in the Arabian Peninsula. The Air Commodore’s final appointment was as Commandant of the R.A.F. College, Manby. He retired in 1961, having been created a C.B. in the previous year.
In the same year he started working as air correspondent for The Daily Telegraph and retired in 1979.
But affter his retirement, his health deteriorated and he died at the Royal Hospital, Haslar in June 1992 and was buried at Tangmere along his Battle of Britain comrades.
In June 2004 his medals were sold at an auction for £ 4.800,-
His life and career was written down in the book "RAF Top Gun: The Story of Battle of Britain Ace and World Air Speed Record Holder Air Cdre E.M. 'Teddy' Donaldson CB, CBE, DSO, AFC".
26th June, 1931: Pilot Officer (P)
26th June, 1932: Pilot Officer
26th March, 1933: Flying Officer
1st April, 1936: Flight Lieutenant
1st December, 1938: (T) Squadron Leader
1st Mar 1941: Wing Commander
28th December, 1942?: Acting Group Captain
28th June, 1943: (T Wing Commander (WS))
1st January, 1944: Group Captain
1st October, 1946: Wing Commander
1st July, 1949: Group Captain
xx xxx xxxx: Acting Air Commodore
1st July, 1955: Air Commodore
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