Norman Crookes gained a scholarship to Kings College London University to read history, and in 1941 he joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve. Before completing his degree, he joined 125 Squadron, as a radar navigator on night fighters, mostly Beaufighters and crewed up with George ‘Jamie’ Jameson, pilot, from Christchurch, New Zealand.
One night towards the end of July 1944 they shot down no fewer than four German bombers in twenty minutes.
The Squadron was disbanded virtually as the war ended and he returned home by sea after which he spent his last year of service in command of No.11 Ground Control Unit as Squadron Leader.
Having served with great distinction, Crookes was then declared unfit for regular commissioned service with the post-war RAF because he was colour blind.
He returned to university to complete his degree and to enter teaching. until 1981 when he retired. Crookes also had 30 years service with the Air Training Corsp. He was CO of the 2326 Clay Cross Squadron, 768 Squadron at Brockley, and the William Rhodes Squadron. Then he became Wing Training Officer in Derbyshire and, in a civilian role, became Chairman of the East Midlands Wing.
October 20th, 1942: Pilot Officer (probation/emergency)
October 20th, 1941: Flying Officer (war sub)
October 20th, 1944: Flight Lieutenant (war sub)
November 24th, 1948: appointment to commission (Training Branche)
November 25th, 1953: extension of service for 4 years (Flying Officer)
November 25th, 1957: extension of service for 4 years (Flying Officer)
November 25th, 1961: extension of service for 4 years (Flying Officer)
November 25th, 1965: extension of service for 4 years (Flying Officer)
November 25th, 1969: extension of service for 4 years (Flying Officer)
September 14th, 1976: commission resigned
June 15th, 1974: MBE, awarded for his contribution to the Air Training Corps.
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