David Maltby

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David John Hatfeild Maltby
Born (1920-05-10)10 May 1920
Baldslow, Sussex
Died 15 September 1943(1943-09-15) (aged 23)
North Sea
Buried St Andrew's Church, Wickhambreaux, Kent
Allegiance  United Kingdomf
Service/branch  Royal Air Force
Rank Squadron Leader
Service number 60335
Unit 617 Squadron
Battles/wars World War II  

Squadron Leader David John Hatfeild Maltby DSO DFC RAF (10 May 1920 – 15 September 1943) was a British Royal Air Force pilot,[1] service No. 60335.

Maltby's maternal uncle was the First World War RFC pilot Aubrey Hatfeild MBE.

Born on 10 May 1920 in Baldslow, outside Hastings, Sussex, Maltby was at Marlborough College between 1934 and 1936. In 1938 he began training as a mining engineer in Trenton, South Yorkshire, but resigned at the outbreak of war. He volunteered to join the Royal Air Force (RAF) and was called up on 20 June 1940.

Maltby began his operational career with No. 106 Squadron RAF in June 1941, flying the Handley Page Hampden on five operations. By the end of the month he was transferred to 97 Squadron, flying first Hampdens, then Avro Manchesters and finally Avro Lancasters. He completed his tour in June 1942, and was awarded the DFC.

He then spent six months commanding an Air Bomber Training Section in No. 1485 Target Towing and Gunnery Flight, before returning to active service with 97 Squadron in March 1943. He was given a new crew, most of whom had only just finished training. On 25 March 1943, he and his crew were transferred to 617 Squadron, along with Flt Lt Joe McCarthy and Flt Lt Les Munro and their crews.

Maltby flew in the 617 Squadron Operation Chastise dams raid of 1943. He flew Avro Lancaster J-Johnny, flying as part of the first wave that attacked the Möhne Dam. The first three aircraft to attack the dam (Guy Gibson flying in G-George, Hopgood in M-Mother and Harold Brownlow Martin in P-Popsie) all missed the target. The next, A-Apple (flown by Dinghy Young) hit the dam and caused a small breach; but as this was not apparent from the air, J-Johnny also attacked, scored a hit, causing a large breach.

For his part in Operation Chastise, Maltby was awarded a DSO.[2]

Maltby was killed a few months later during Operation Garlic, a failed attempt at a low-level raid on the Dortmund-Ems Canal. His Lancaster JA981[3] crashed into the North Sea while returning to base after the mission had been cancelled due to fog over the target. It is almost certain that the cause of his death was a collision with a 139 Squadron Mosquito aircraft (DZ598) piloted by Flt Lt M W Colledge and navigator Flg Off G L Marshall, who were returning from an operation to Berlin,and was on a course for Wyton, Cambridgeshire. It was north=east of Cromer when it intersected Maltby's course to Coningsby. His body was recovered and he was buried in the churchyard of St Andrew's Church, Wickhambreaux, Kent.[4]

In the 1955 film The Dam Busters, Maltby was played by George Baker.


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