Cyril Crowe

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Cyril Marconi Crowe
Nickname(s) Billy
Born 6 January 1894
Oakengates, Shropshire, England
Died 31 May 1974 (aged 80)
Swindon, Wiltshire, England
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Aviation
Rank Major
Unit No. 4 Squadron RFC, No. 8 Squadron RFC, No. 16 Squadron RFC, No. 56 Squadron RAF
Commands held No. 60 Squadron RAF, No. 85 Squadron RAF
Awards Military Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross (United Kingdom)
Other work RAF Wing Commander during World War II

Wing Commander Cyril Marconi Crowe MC DFC (6 January 1894 – 31 May 1974) was a World War I flying ace credited with 15 victories.[1]

Early life[edit]

Crowe was the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Crowe of Saltburn.[2] He attended Mill Hill School from 1907 - 1911.[3]

World War I service[edit]

He earned Aviator's Certificate No. 898 on 14 September 1914.[4] On 1 October 1914, he was commissioned a probationary second lieutenant.[5] On 22 December 1914, he was appointed a flying officer in the Royal Flying Corps.[6]

On 24 April 1915, he was promoted to lieutenant.[7] On 1 December 1915, he was further promoted, from temporary captain to captain.[8]

When the founding Officer Commanding of No. 56 Squadron, Major Richard Blomfield, went recruiting pilots for the new unit, Cyril Crowe was chosen on the basis of his skills to be a flight leader.[9] He came aboard as leader of B Flight on 19 April 1917.[10] He scored his first victory on 24 April 1917; by 30 April, his count stood at four.[11]

Crowe was involved in Albert Ball's last dogfight on 7 May 1917, and was the last British pilot to see Ball still alive.[12] Crowe reported that Ball was last seen flying into a thunderhead.[13]

Upon James McCudden's death on 9 July 1918,[14] Crowe succeeded to command on No. 60 Squadron. By then, his tally stood at 14 victories.[15] On 29 July 1918, he crashed a car into a tree while returning from a party in Dieppe. The accident killed his old schoolmate Owen Scholte, as well as Major Foggin. The resultant courtmartial reduced Crowe to the rank of captain for a month.[16] He was then reinstated in the rank of major and given command of No. 85 Squadron. He scored his last victory for them on 16 September 1918[17]

Cyril Crowe's talents as a fighter pilot were described by one of the pilots in his B Flight of 56 Squadron, Arthur Rhys-Davids: "Crowe is not afraid of anything and goes after old Huns like a rocket and yet he is extraordinarily prudent."

Between the wars[edit]

Crowe married Elena Temperley at Saint John's in Buenos Aires on 21 September 1929.[18] They went on to have four children—Robin, Peter, Sally, and Bettina.[19]

Crowe was commissioned as a flight lieutenant and honorary squadron leader on 20 November 1937,[20] continuing in that status through 7 May 1938.[21]

World War II[edit]

He became a Wing Commander in World War II.[22] He was still a flight lieutenant in the reserves on 24 September 1947.[23]

Honors and award[edit]

Military Cross (MC)

Capt. Cyril Marconi Crowe, R.F.C., Spec. Res.

For conspicuous gallantry and skill as a leader of offensive patrols, many times attacking hostile formations single-handed, and descending to low altitudes under heavy anti-aircraft fire. He has been responsible for the destruction of several enemy machines.[24]

Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)

Capt. Cyril Marconi Crowe. M.C.

This officer has been engaged on active operations over the lines for over twelve months, and has accounted for ten enemy aeroplanes. He is a most successful leader, distinguished for skill and bravery. On a recent occasion he, accompanied by two other machines, attacked an enemy formation consisting of four biplanes and one triplane. Having destroyed a biplane he engaged the triplane at close range and destroyed that also.[25]

Sources of information[edit]

  1. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  2. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  3. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  4. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  5. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  6. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  7. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  8. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  9. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  10. ^ Albert Ball, VC. p. 164. 
  11. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  12. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  13. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  14. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  15. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  16. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  17. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  18. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  19. ^ 14 January 2010.
  20. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  21. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  22. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  23. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  24. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  25. ^ Retrieved 14 January 2010.