Edward Mortlock Donaldson
|Edward "Teddy" Mortlock Donaldson|
Edward Mortlock Donaldson
|Birth name||Edward Mortlock Donaldson|
12 February 1912|
Negeri Sembilan, British Malaya
|Died||2 June 1992
Royal Naval Hospital Haslar, Hampshire
|Buried at||St Andrew's Church, Tangmere, West Sussex|
|Service/branch||Royal Air Force|
|Years of service||1931–1961|
|Commands held||RAF Flying College
High Speed Flight
No. 151 Squadron
World War II
|Awards||Companion of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Service Order
Air Force Cross & Bar
Mentioned in Despatches
Legion of Merit (United States)
|Other work||Air Correspondent for the Daily Telegraph|
Air Commodore Edward "Teddy" Mortlock Donaldson CB, CBE, DSO, AFC & Bar (12 February 1912 – 2 June 1992) was a Royal Air Force (RAF) flying ace of the Second World War, and a former holder of the airspeed world record.
Born in Negeri Sembilan, then part of British Malaya, his father C.E. Donaldson was a judge. One of four brothers, three of whom would serve as fighter pilots with the RAF, and gain the Distinguished Service Order (DSO). Educated in England at the King's School, Rochester and Christ's Hospital, he then studied at McGill University in Canada.
In 1932 he was runner up in the R.A.F. Wakefield Boxing Championship, which he won the following year. In 1933 the crack-shot won the RAF's Gunnery Trophy One, known as the Brooke-Popham Air Firing Trophy, and won it again in 1934. In 1935 he became a stunt pilot as a member of the No. 3 Squadron aerobatic team of five Bulldogs, which he led in 1937 and 1938 at the International Zurich Rally.
When the Second World War broke out, Squadron Leader Donaldson was commanding No. 151 Squadron flying the Hawker Hurricane. In their first engagement over France, they destroyed six enemy aircraft, shooting down many more in the following months including at the Battle of Dunkirk. For his leadership of the squadron during the battle and his personal tally of eleven kills, plus ten probable destructions, Donaldson was awarded the DSO.
In desperate need for pilots, the RAF choose to transfer Donaldson to the gunnery instructor school. Posted to Canada, Donaldson self-penned an RAF training booklet titled Notes on Air Gunnery and Air Fighting, which after the United States entered the war, provided the basis for his instruction. As liaison to the US Army Air Force, his booklet was replicated over 7,500 times, and helped teach USAAF gunnery instructors.
During the Second World War, most of the pre-war airspeed records had been broken. The RAF decided to recapture the flight airspeed record with its new generation of jet aircraft, and set up a new High Speed Flight squadron. Group Captain Donaldson was selected to command the Air Speed Flight, established at the start of 1946. On 7 September 1946, he established a new official world record of 615.78 mph (991.00 km/h; 535.10 kn) in a Gloster Meteor F.4 over Littlehampton, although some unofficial Me-262 and Me-163 flights in the Second World War achieved higher speeds. As a result, he was awarded a Bar to his Air Force Cross.
Later RAF career
During the early 1950s, Donaldson served in West Germany and commanded RAF Fassberg and RAF Wunstorf airfields, gaining appointment to Commander of the Order of the British Empire in June 1953, and advancement to air commodore in July 1955 after attending the Joint Services Staff College. From 1956 to 1958 he served as Deputy Commander of Air Forces in the Arabian Peninsula. On return to England, his final appointment was as Commandant of the RAF College, Manby.
Donaldson married Winifred Constant in 1936, and the couple had two daughters. After they were divorced in 1944, in the same year he married Estellee Holland, and the couple had one son. After they were divorced in 1956, he married Anne Sofie Stapleton in 1957, whom he divorced in 1982.
Donaldson retired as an air commodore in 1961, and became the Air Correspondent for The Daily Telegraph, until 1979. He retired to his home in Selsey, and died at the Royal Naval Hospital Haslar on 6 June 1992. Donaldson is buried at St Andrew's Church, Tangmere.
Donaldson's "Star" Meteor is on display at the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum, together with that of later 1953 record holder, Squadron Leader Neville Duke, who flew a Hawker Hunter at 727 miles per hour (1,170 km/h).
Donaldson lived at Iron Latch Cottage, Selsey, where a later blue plaque was placed on the beach at the bottom of Park Lane to mark the event. Donaldson has a second plaque at No. 86, Grafton Road, Selsey.
Donaldson's medals and flight books were sold at auction for £4,800 in June 2004.
|26 June 1931||Appointed to a Short Service Commission. Initial Officer Training, RAF Depot|
|11 July 1931||U/T Pilot, No 2 FTS|
|20 June 1932||Pilot, No 3 Sqn.|
|23 April 1936||Supernumerary, RAF Depot.|
|22 March 1937||Act Officer Commanding, No 72 Sqn.|
|26 July 1937||Flight Commander, No 1 Sqn.|
|1937||Recommended for AFC, turned down|
|29 March 1938||Granted a Permanent Commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant|
|5 May 1938||Attended Instructor's Course, Central Flying School. (graded B)|
|Aug 1938||QFI, No 7 FTS.|
|14 November 1938||Officer Commanding, No 151 Sqn.|
|5 August 1940||CFI, No 5 FTS.|
|Unknown||Officer Commanding, ? School|
|1 Jun 1941||Mentioned in Dispatches|
|30 September 1941||Awarded AFC|
|1941||Liaison Officer, USAAF (USA)|
|Unknown||Supernumerary, Polish Wing, RAF Northolt|
|Unknown||Group Captain, Fighter Control Unit, 2nd TAF.|
|1944||Attended Empire Central Flying School|
|Unknown||Officer Commanding, RAF Colerne|
|Unknown||Officer Commanding RAF Milfield|
|Jul 1946||Officer Commanding, RAF High Speed Flight|
|7 September 1946||Breaks Flight airspeed record, reaching 615.78 miles per hour (991.00 km/h) in a Gloster Meteor F Mk4 over Littlehampton.|
|1947||SASO, HQ No 12 Group|
|12 June 1947||Awarded AFC Bar|
|15 February 1949||Awarded Legion of Merit, USA|
|1951||Officer Commanding, RAF Fassberg|
|Unknown||Officer Commanding, RAF Wunsdorf|
|1 June 1953||Awarded CBE|
|16 April 1954||Director of Operational Training|
|11 December 1956||Deputy Commander, HQ British Forces, Arabian Peninsula|
|12 November 1958||AOC/Commandant, RAF Flying College|
|1, 1 January 1960||Awarded Commander of the Bath in New Year Honours|
|21 March 1961||Retired|
The following table is not complete in numbers or detail.
|17 May 1940||Royal Air Force||Hurricane||2 * Junkers Ju 87||1 * Junkers Ju 87||50miles east of Valenciennes|
|18 May 1940||Royal Air Force||Hurricane||1 * Messerschmitt Bf 110||Over Vitry-en-Artois airfield|
|22 May 1940||Royal Air Force||Hurricane||1 * Junkers Ju 87||1 * Junkers Ju 87||Over Merville|
|29 May 1940||Royal Air Force||Hurricane||1/2 * Junkers Ju 88|
|30 May 1940||Royal Air Force||Hurricane||1 * Junkers Ju 88||Gazetted for DSO|
|1 June 1940||Royal Air Force||Hurricane||1 * Messerschmitt Bf 110||Battle of Dunkirk|
|2 June 1940||Royal Air Force||Hurricane||Squadron moved from France to RAF Tangmere|
|27 June 1940||Royal Air Force||Hurricane||On return from France protecting squadron of Basil Embry, shot down over English Channel|
|12 July 1940||Royal Air Force||Hurricane||Commencement of the Battle of Britain. Shot down over England by Dornier Do 17, lands RAF Martlesham Heath|
|14 July 1940||Royal Air Force||Hurricane||1 * Messerschmitt Bf 109||Over Dover Straits|
|26 July 1940||Royal Air Force||Hurricane||Final flight of Battle of Britain|
|27 July 1940||Royal Air Force||Given leave, on return posted to No. 5 F.T.S. as Chief Flying Instructor|
|TOTALS||5.5 kills||4 probable|
- "Sold by Order of the Sole Beneficiary of the Estate, Medals and Collections of the Late Air Commodore E. M. Donaldson, C.B., C.B.E., D.S.O., A.F.C.". Dix Noonan Webb. 6 July 2004. Retrieved 13 July 2009.
- "The Banking Mortlocks". RJH Griffiths. 2000. Retrieved 13 July 2009.
- "Edward Mortlock Donaldson". rafweb.org. Retrieved 13 July 2009.
- "Edward Mortlock Donaldson". the-battle-of-britain.co.uk. Retrieved 13 July 2009.
- "Supplement to the London Gazette" (PDF). London Gazette. 28 May 1940. Retrieved 13 July 2009.
- "Supplement to the London Gazette, June 12, 1947" (PDF). London Gazette. 12 June 1947. Retrieved 13 July 2009.
- "Edward Mortlock Donaldson". unithistories.com. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
- Thomas, Nick. (2008). RAF Top Gun: The Story of Battle of Britain Ace and World Air Speed Record Holder Air Cdre E.M. 'Teddy' Donaldson CB, CBE, DSO, AFC*. LoM (USA) Pen & Sword Books ISBN 978-1-8441-5685-6