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Air Commodore R Berry (78538)


Ronald                         b: 3 May 1917                    r: 29 Jan 1969                      d: 13 Aug 2000

CBE – 1 Jan 1965 (OBE - 1 Jan 1946), DSO – 1 Jun 1943, DFC – 25 Oct 1940, Bar – 2 Mar 1943.

(RAFVR): Sgt: xx xxx 1937, Plt Off (P)  (RAFVR): 1 Dec 1939, Plt Off: 1 Dec 1940, Fg Off: 1 Dec 1940, Flt Lt (WS): 1 Dec 1941, Act Sqn Ldr: xx Dec 1941, Act Wg Cdr: 23 Sep 1942?, Sqn Ldr (WS): 23 Mar 1943, Act Gp Capt: xx xxx 1945, 

(RAF): Sqn Ldr: 26 Mar 1946 [1 Sep 1945], Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1952, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1959, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1966.

xx Apr 1937:           U/T Pilot, RAFVR (740170)

xx xxx xxxx:             Sergeant Pilot, RAFVR.

xx Jun 1939:            Sergeant Pilot, No 603 (City of Edinburgh) Sqn Aux AF.

 1 Dec 1939:           Pilot, No 603 (City of Edinburgh) Sqn Aux AF.

xx Jan 1941:            Flight Commander, 'A' Flight, No 603 (City of Edinburgh) Sqn Aux AF

xx Apr 1941:           Fighter Controller, No 13 Group, RAF Turnhouse.

xx Jan 1942:            Officer Commanding, No 81 Sqn. (Spitfire V)

23 Sep 1942:           Officer Commanding, RAF Wellingore.

22 Oct 1942:           In transit to Gibraltar for N.Africa

8 Nov 1942:            Maison Blanche, Algiers

22 Jan 1943:           Wing Commander - Flying, No 322 Wing.

15 May 1943

 8 Jun 1943:            In transit to the UK.

29 Jun 1943:           Wing Commander – Flying, No 53 OTU.

21 Oct 1943:           Attended Army Staff College.  

 11 Feb 1944:        

xx xxx xxxx:             Visited USA for G-suit testing.

xx Apr 1944:           Air Staff, HQ Fighter Command.

xx xxx xxxx:             Attended Fighter Leaders School.

xx xxx xxxx:             Staff, Central Fighter Establishment.

xx xxx 1945:            Officer Commanding, RAF Acklington.

22 Feb 1946:           Wing Commander - Operations, HQ No 12 Group.

26 Mar 1946:          Appointed to a Permanent Commission in the rank of Squadron Leader (retaining rank current at the time) [wef 1 Sep 1945]

xx xxx 1947:            Officer Commanding, Air Fighting Development Unit.

xx xxx 1950:            Exchange posting, USAF.

xx xxx 1954:            Wing Commander – Plans, HQ Fighter Command.

10 May 1954:          Attended Joint Services Staff College.

19 Nov.1954:

xx Feb 1956:           Attended Valiant Conversion Course, RAF Marham.

xx xxx 1956:            Wing Commander – Flying/Valiant Conversion, RAF Wittering.

xx Aug 1957:           Officer Commanding, No 543 Sqn. (Valiant B(PR)K1)

10 Aug 1959:           Deputy Director of Operations, Maritime, Navigation and Air Traffic Control, Air Ministry.

13 Aug 1962:           Group Captain - Organisation, HQ Bomber Command.

 8 Jan 1965:             Officer Commanding, Military Air Traffic Organisation (Northern Region), RAF Lindholme.

 1 Jul 1965:              Director, National Air Traffic Control Services.

Born and educated in Hull, where he worked for the City Corporation's Treasury Department, joining the RAFVR in 1937, learning to fly at Brough on Blackburn B2's.  Called up in June 1939, he was posted to No 603 Squadron at Turnhouse flying Spitfires and was commissioned in the following December.  During the Battle of Britain he was credited with shooting down 9 enemy aircraft including an Italian Fiat CR42. his final total was destroyed - 14 and 10 shared, probables - 7 and 2 shared, damaged - 17 and 7 destroyed on the ground.

In 1965 he walked in Sir Winston Churchill's funeral procession as a representative of 'The Few'.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

“Pilot Officer Ronald BERRY (78538), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

Pilot Officer Berry has personally destroyed six enemy aircraft, and assisted in the destruction of several others.  Through innumerable engagements with the enemy he has shown the greatest gallantry and determination in pressing home his attacks at close range.  The skill and dash with which this officer has led his section have done much to assure their successes.”

 (London Gazette – 25 October 1940)

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Order

"Acting Wing Commander Ronald BERRY, D.F.C. (78538), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

In the campaign in North Africa, this officer participated in a large number of sorties and displayed great skill and leadership. In addition he has displayed excellent organising ability, which has contributed materially to the success of the wing he commands.  Wing Commander Berry has destroyed 17 enemy aircraft."

(London Gazette – 1 June 1943)

'Ronald Berry- Hull's Spitfire Ace'

"Ronald Berry, of Hull, learned to fly with the RAFVR in 1937 and was selected to fly Spitfires. He fought in the Battle of Britain with 603 Squadron and earned the DFC. After a rest from operations and a period as a Fighter Controller in Scotland he was appointed C.O. of 81 Squadron which had just returned from training Russian pilots to fly their Hurricanes. Berry converted the squadron to Spitfires and joined the Hornchurch Wing with which he completed many sweeps including escort work during the Dieppe Raid. On November 8th 1942 he led 81 as the first Spitfire unit to land at Maison Blanche airfield at the start of Operation Torch. As the Allies gradually exerted control Berry was promoted to lead 322 Wing with five squadrons until victory was secured. He was awarded a second DFC followed by a DSO.  In total he completed 412 Spitfire missions and was never shot down - an extraordinary feat. n the 50s he converted to bombers and commanded 543 Squadron flying Valiants as Bomber Command took on a nuclear deterrent role.  Later he commanded RAF Wyton with Valiants and Canberras.  For his peacetime service Ronald Berry received an OBE which was advanced to CBE. He retired in 1969 as Air Commodore"

Retailing at £8.50, it can be obtained from the author, Don Chester by email or tel:01482 634136.

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