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Flt Lt Desmond Curtis DFC, Legion d'Honneur

Discussion in 'WWII Obituaries' started by GRW, Jul 9, 2024 at 10:38 AM.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    "Desmond Curtis was born on July 16 1923 and educated at Holloway County Grammar School. He enlisted in the RAF in 1940 and trained as a navigator.
    After converting to the Beaufighter, he embarked on a two-year partnership with Doug Turner; they joined 235 Squadron together, flying from Leuchars in Fife at the end of 1942.
    The squadron’s aircraft flew reconnaissance sorties over the North Sea seeking enemy warships. They also escorted torpedo bombers attacking shipping off the Norwegian coast. To counter these operations, the Luftwaffe reinforced its fighter squadrons based in Norway.
    On one occasion, when they were attacked by an enemy fighter, descended to a very low level and began to take evasive action, preventing the pursuing aircraft from firing a shot. Curtis later described the action as “an exhilarating 10 minutes or so”.
    Curtis and Turner left 235 Squadron in March 1943 and left for the remote and bleak airfield at Skitten, north of Wick in Caithness, to join the new, top-secret 618 squadron, equipped with the Mosquito. After their first flight in the wooden aircraft, Curtis described it as “like going from a Morris Minor to a Rolls-Royce”.
    The aircraft was to carry a smaller version of the Barnes Wallis bouncing bomb being developed for 617 (Dam Buster) Squadron, which they used to attack the Ruhr Dams. With the smaller bomb, codenamed Highball, 618 Squadron was to mount a low-level attack against the German battleship Tirpitz moored in Altenfjord in the far north of Norway.
    Curtis left the squadron in January 1945. “The main thing was we both survived, and, with only a few exceptions, we returned the aircraft in the same condition as we got into it,” he recalled.
    After leaving the RAF in 1946 he qualified as an accountant and worked in the oil industry in Nigeria for nine years. Returning to Britain in 1962, he joined Mobil Oil and rose to become relations director in 1973."
    Flt Lt Desmond Curtis, helped to keep the Channel clear of the Germany navy ahead of D-Day – obituary (msn.com)
     

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