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Air Vice-Marshal Sir Colin Scragg (36121)

Colin                            b: 8 Sep 1908                     r: 5 Sep 1964                     d: 5 Apr 1989

KBE – 1 Jan 1963 (CBE – 5 Jun 1953, MBE – 11 Jul 1940), CB – 11 Jun 1960, AFC – xx xxx 1942, Bar – 9 Jun 1949, ON(O)s - 2 Dec 1947.

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

LAC: xx xxx xxxx, Cpl: xx xxx xxxx, Sgt: xx xxx xxxx, Flt Sgt: xx xxx xxxx, Plt Off (P): 24 Feb 1938, Act Fg Off: 6 Feb 1939, Plt Off: 24 Feb 1939, Act Flt Lt: 11 Feb  – 27 Mar 1939; 24 Apr 1939 – 26 Mar 1940, Fg Off: 3 Dec 1939, Flt Lt (WS): 3 Dec 1939, Act Sqn Ldr: xx xxx xxxx, (T) Sqn Ldr: 26 Aug 1941, Act Wg Cdr: xx xxx 1941, Sqn Ldr (WS): 1 Dec 1941, Sqn Ldr: 20 Nov 1942 [1 Dec 1941], (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1946 [1 Jul 1944], Wg Cdr: 1 Oct 1946, Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1951, Act A/Cdre: xx xxx xxxx, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1957, Act AVM: 1 Dec 1958, AVM: 1 Jan 1960.

xx xxx xxxx:            Aircraft Apprentice, No 1 School of Technical Training, RAF Halton.

xx xxx xxxx:            ?

xx xxx xxxx:            U/T Pilot, ?, (NCO)

xx xxx 1931:           Sergeant Pilot, No 1 Sqn.

13 Jan 1936:           Attended Instructors' Course, Central Flying School (graded B).

23 Feb 1938:          QFI, No 1 FTS

28 Feb 1938:          QFI, No 6 FTS.

xx xxx 1941:            CFI, No 34 FTS. (Canada)

 1 Jan 1941:          Gazetted for rendering valuable services in connection with the war

xx Dec 1943:          Officer Commanding, No 166 Sqn. (Lancaster)

15 Jan 1944:           Prisoner of War.

14 Jul 1945:            Wing Commander – Training, HQ Transport Command.

xx xxx 1946:           Officer Commanding, Transport Command Development Unit.

 4 Jan 1950:            Staff Officer, HQ Coastal Command

11 Dec 1950:          Deputy Director of Operational Requirements (5).

xx Jan 1954:           Attended Imperial Defence College.

xx xxx 1954:           

29 Nov 1955:         Director of Operational Requirements (B).

 1 Dec 1958:           AOC, No 23 (Training) Group.

xx xxx 1960:            Deputy Controller Aircraft, Ministry of Aviation.

Originally entered the RAF as an Aircraft Apprentice in the 10th Entry at Halton, later becoming a NCO Pilot before being commissioned in 1938.  In 1932 and 1933 he was a member of the squadron's aerobatic team, consisting of two pilots in 1932 and three in 1933.  In 1937 whilst serving at the CFS, he was once again selected to take part in an aerobatic team together with two other officers, also destined to reach air rank, Flt Lt H W Mermagen and Flt Lt G D Stephenson. 

On 14 January 1944 he was flying DV404 on a raid against Braunschweig and was shot down by a night fighter in the target area.  He was the only survivor of the subsequent crash.

Retired on account of medical unfitness for air force service.

Citation for the award of the Air Force Cross

"SCRAGG, W/C Colin, MBE (RAF 36121) - No.34 Service Flying Training School, Medicine Hat, Alberta.

This officer as Chief Flying Instructor has shown the highest devotion to flying duty.  In addition to the seemingly insurmountable difficulties contingent upon the opening of a school in a new country and under difficult conditions, he personally had to instruct his staff pilots to become efficient flying instructors, which included the conversion of twin engine flying instructors to single engine flying instructors.  In spite of the hard work and loss of time entailed in carrying out this flying instruction, this officer's aggressiveness and extreme devotion to flying duty resulted in the turn-out of a goodly number of trained pilots on schedule."

(Source - AFRO 185/43)

Air 2/4859 has the original recommendation drafted 14 November 1941 by Gp Capt Augustine ap Ellis: -

"The above-name officer has given, in my opinion, the highest devotion to duty whilst flying, although not in active operations against the enemy.  Had it not been for this Officer’s exceptional experience, ability and keenness as a Flying Instructor, especially having to contend with different conditions in a new country, I feel that the results of pupils’ training would certainly not have been up to the present standard.  In accordance with official information given to this unit previous to sailing that our first course would not commence until one month after our arrival in Canada in order to have the organisation of this Station completed and familiarise ourselves with local conditions and regulations, he was instructed to commence a course with 68 pupils within a few days of arrival at this Station with only a small number of aircraft to commence with.  At the same time he had personally to instruct staff pilots who had been sent out with us, to become Flying Instructors, as well as convert twin-engine Flying Instructors to single-engine Flying Instructors in view of the type of machine we were given at that time.  This he did with energy, efficiency and zeal and by his tireless energy and tact the Flying Wing of this school was able to complete the course to time.  In later courses owing to the shortage of spares there was only an average of 15 aircraft available and often periods occurred when minor unserviceability reduced the number of aircraft to two per Flight, and in our last course there was only an average of eight aircraft per day available for the training of that course, again owing to the shortage of spares.  Nevertheless, this Officer with his determination and loyalty to his Commanding Officer and the excellent way he commanded his Flying Wing, surmounted all these difficulties.  The course passed out to time.

Previous to my leaving England I recommended him for the award of the Air Force Cross but in this instance he was given a Commendation.  I consider now that in view of my previous recommendation for his good work and the excellent work he has carried out in this country, as shown in my above remarks, that he is now well worthy of the undermentioned recognition.  Not only is he an exceptional pilot but is an A.1 Instructor and is exceptional in that Category.  He also sets, at all times, a very fine example to the Flying Instructors, both in flying and ground work.  I therefore strongly recommend that the excellent all round work that this Officer has performed should be recognized by giving him the Award of the Air Force Cross."

On 28 November 1941, AVM A T Cowley (No.4 Training Command) concurred.  The final comment was on 11 March 1942 by Air Marshal Lloyd Breadner (Chief of the Air Staff):

"As Chief Instructor of his unit this officer is outstanding.  He overcame seemingly  insurmountable difficulties during the organisation period of No.34 SFTS, resulting in the completion of flying training programs on schedule.  His extreme devotion to flying duty in the training of Flying Instructors and the efficient manner in which he has commanded his Flying Wing has largely contributed to the output of qualified pilots.  I strongly recommend him for the award of the Air Force Cross."

Air 2/6116 has recommendation for an AFC (apparently not granted) drafted in 1940 when he was a Flight Lieutenant and serving at No.6 SFTS in Britain. The 1940 recommendation is transcribed here for the historical record: -

"This officer possesses exceptional all-round ability and can be relied upon to carry out any flying or instructor’s duties.  He gives the most minute attention to seeing that his pupils are trained and fitted for their various duties before leaving his school."

This was repeated in another submission early in 1941 (Air 2/8887) - again not awarded at that time.

This page was last updated on 03/02/24©

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