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39 Squadron

Discussion in 'Allied Bomber Planes' started by themurg, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. themurg

    themurg New Member

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    Picked up a trophy tankard today with --- Sonning Golf Club , Francis cup 1956 Squadron Leader E Gillies

    From "The Scotsman", Thu 31 Jul 2003

    Ewen Gillies

    CONTRIBUTED

    Ewen Gillies, wartime RAF pilot

    Born: 20 August, 1920, in Cromarty

    Died: 12 July, 2003, in London, aged 82

    EWEN Gillies was a modest Black Isle hero, who carried out more than 100 daring mast-height sorties against enemy shipping during the Second World War.

    Cromarty-born Gillies had already completed more than 40 missions as captain of a Beaufort torpedo bomber in the Mediterranean when he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in April 1943. He later carried out 60 sorties in Northern European waters as pilot of a "Torbeau" - a fast Beaufighter aircraft that had been modified to carry torpedos. This led to the award of a bar to his DFC in January 1945, and he was invested with both decorations by the King later that year.

    The former Ross County and Inverness Thistle centre-forward, who had netted four times in a classic tussle with Inverness Caledonian less than six months before the outbreak of war, later won an enviable reputation for scoring with his torpedos in a deadlier game.
    In January 1943, flying from Malta as a newly-promoted pilot officer, he successfully attacked and hit an enemy tanker, despite intense flak from its five escort vessels. The following month he attacked and achieved a direct torpedo hit on another large tanker, which was finished off by following aircraft.

    His DFC citation in the London Gazette stated: "This officer has invariably displayed great courage and keenness."

    He was also described in a contemporary newspaper report as "an outstanding torpedo bomber pilot, who has at all times displayed outstanding keenness, courage and determination."

    The young hero was quoted in another report, after a raid on shipping off Germany in September 1944, as saying: "I dropped my torpedo, then saw the ship go up in a big red flash, and a pall of black smoke, as if it were hit in the engine room."
    In a letter to Gillies�s family after his death, Len Ornellas, from Devon, the navigator on his second tour of operations, wrote: "Ewen was an exceptional pilot, to whom I owed my life.

    "We were very close during 1944-45, during which time we completed 60 operational sorties together. Ewen, of course, had already completed a tour on Beauforts in the Med, and a pilot completing two tours on torpedo aircraft was a rarity."

    Ewen Gillies was the third of six children, and the youngest of three sons, of Hugh and Jessie Gillies, originally from Skye. He was educated at Cromarty School and Fortrose Academy, before beginning his apprenticeship as an architect with R Carruthers Ballantyne, of Inverness.

    He and a fellow apprentice, Iain Cameron, of Telford Road, Inverness, joined the RAF together at the outbreak of war. They both trained as sergeant pilots and were posted to Coastal Command. Both were later commissioned but, sadly, Iain was listed as missing on operations, as a flying officer, aged only 21.
    After the war, Gillies received a permanent commission and remained in the RAF, reaching the rank of squadron leader before retiring to take up a civilian post with the Ministry of Defence.
    A bachelor, he lived in his later years at Maidenhead in Berkshire.
    Gillies is survived by three sisters, Hannah Cameron, Florence Cran and Catriona, and by his close friend of many years, Deborah Jane Sansom, whom he met while serving with the MoD.

    very interesting
     
  2. alieneyes

    alieneyes Member

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