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Atcherley, David Francis William

    Date of birth:
    January 12th, 1904 (York/Yorkshire, Great Britain)
    Date of death:
    June 8th, 1952 (Mediterranean Sea)
    Nationality:
    British (1801-present, Kingdom)

    Biography

    David Atcherley and his identical twin brother Richard Atcherley were the son of a Britsh Army Major-General.
    He attended Oundle School before entering Sandhurst Military Academy as he was rejected for the RAF due to medical grounds. In 1924 he was commissioned into the East Lanchashire Regiment. His wish to fly succeeded when he was secunded to the RAF. Proving to be as excellent a pilot as his brother he was able to have his secondment converted into a permanent transfer.
    At the start of the war he was Commanding Officer of No. 85 Squadron.
    He commanded No. 253 Squadron in May 1940 and more postings followed rapidly. His gained his first aerial successes as a night fighter when in command of No. 25 Squadron, which was equipped with Beaufighters, early in 1941. In August 1941 he broke his back as a result of a crash after a take off. However, this did not stop him flying, although it did require six ground crew to get him into and out of his aircraft.
    In 1942/43 he was in charge of night fighter untits duriing the Tunesia Campaign. Back in England later in 1943 more postings and promotions followed.
    Shortly after the end of the war he was killed in a crash in a Meteor jet fighter taking off from Fayid in Egypt bound for Cyprus. His aircraft never arrived in Cyprus, no radio message was received from him and no sign of him or his aircraft was ever found despite an extensive search being carried out by RAF, Israeli, Turkish and USAF aircraft.

    Promotions:

    Army
    2nd Lieutenant: August 27th, 1924
    Lieutenant: August 27th, 1926

    RAF
    Flying Officer: March 19th, 1927
    Flight Lieutenant: November 5th, 1930
    Squadron Leader: February 1st, 1937
    Acting Wing Commander: 1939
    Temporary Wing Commander: March 1st, 1940
    Temporary Group Captain: March 1st, 1942
    Wing Commander: April 14th, 1942
    Acting Air Commodore: July 14th, 1944?
    Group Captain (war sub): December 14th, 1944
    Temporary Air Commodore: January 1st, 1946
    Group Captain: January 1st, 1946
    Air Commodore: July 1st, 1947
    Acting Air Vice-Marshal: January 21st, 1950
    Air Vice-Marshal: July 1st, 1950

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Wing Commander
    Unit:
    No. 25 Squadron, Royal Air Force
    Awarded on:
    July 29th, 1941
    Action:
    Citation:
    "This officer has carried out a large amount of operational flying at night, sometimes under adverse weather conditions. The efficiency of his squadron and the success it has had is due to Wing Commander Atcherley's drive, energy and leadership. He has destroyed three enemy aircraft at night."
    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Group Captain
    Awarded on:
    June 11th, 1942
    Mentioned in Despatches
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Group Captain
    Awarded on:
    September 17th, 1943
    Mentioned in Despatches
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Acting Air Commodore
    Awarded on:
    July 14th, 1944
    Action:
    Citation:
    "This officer has completed much, operational flying and has achieved notable successes. He is-a fearless leader, whose iron determination and unswerving devotion to duty have inspired all under his command. In addition to his work in the air Air Commodore Atcherley has displayed a high standard of organising ability and great drive and his services have been of inestimable value."
    Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Acting Air Commodore
    Awarded on:
    January 1st, 1945
    Mentioned in Despatches
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    January 1st, 1946
    Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Air Commodore
    Awarded on:
    June 27th, 1947
    Details:
    With Palm
    Officier in de Orde van Leopold II
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Air Commodore
    Awarded on:
    June 27th, 1947
    Details:
    With Palm.
    Croix de Guerre 1940

    Sources

    • Photo 1:
    • Photo: Air of Authority
    • - SHORES, CH. & WILLIAMS, C., Aces High, Grub Street, London, 1994.
      - The London Gazette Issue 35232 published on the 29 July 1941
      - Second Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 35586 published on the 5 June 1942
      - Third Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 36175 published on the 14 September 1943
      - Fifth Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 36609 published on the 11 July 1944
      - Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 36866 published on the 29 December 1944
      - Third Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 37998 published on the 24 June 1947
      - Air of Authority
      - Go2War2.nl

    Photo