Francis Mellersh (RAF officer)

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Francis John Williamson Mellersh
Park, Mellersh, Stevens, Hall in Calcutta WWII IWM CI 1141.jpg
Air Commodore Mellersh (left), Air Commander of the Strategic Air Force, in discussion with senior officers in the War Room at Headquarters Strategic Air Force, Eastern Air Command in Calcutta
Nickname(s) Tog
Born 22 September 1898
Esher, Surrey, England
Died 25 May 1955 (aged 56)
Itchenor, Sussex, England
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Naval Air Service
 Royal Air Force
Years of service 1916–1954
Rank Air Vice Marshal
Unit No. 9 Naval Squadron/No. 209 Squadron RAF
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Air Force Cross

Air Vice Marshal Sir Francis John Williamson Mellersh KBE, AFC, RAF (22 September 1898 – 25 May 1955) was a World War I pilot in the Royal Naval Air Service credited with five aerial victories, and a senior Royal Air Force commander during World War II. He was killed in a bizarre helicopter accident in 1955.

World War I service[edit]

Mellersh joined the Royal Naval Air Service in 1916. He trained as a fighter pilot and was posted to 9 Naval Squadron in 1917. While flying a Sopwith Triplane on 28 July 1917, he drove down an Aviatik C. He switched to flying a Sopwith Camel and scored victories 15 October 1917 and 12 April 1918; the latter win was shared with squadron-mate Roy Brown. On 21 April 1918, Mellersh was a flight commander involved in the dogfight that brought down the Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen; Mellersh claimed a Fokker Dr.I triplane destroyed on that date. His last victory came two days later.[1]


Mellersh debarked from a helicopter onto a quay on 25 May 1955; he had been invited to cruise on a yacht belonging to the Itchenor Yacht Club. As the helicopter departed, one of its rotors hit the mast of a yacht. As the copter crashed, the main rotor killed Mellersh.[2]


  1. ^ Above the Trenches: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the British Empire Air Forces 1915-1920. p. 280. 
  2. ^ Retrieved 7 February 2010.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
O R Gayford
Officer Commanding RAF Wattisham
1941 – c. 1942
Succeeded by
Preceded by
H C Davidson
Air Commander, Strategic Air Force, Eastern Air Command
1944 – 1945
Formation disbanded
Preceded by
R Graham
Commandant RAF Staff College, Bulstrode Park
1945 – 1946
Succeeded by
D A Boyle
Preceded by
G H Vasse
Air Officer Commanding No. 21 Group
1947 – 1948
Succeeded by
C A Bouchier
Preceded by
S C Strafford
Commandant-General of the RAF Regiment
1952 – 1954
Succeeded by
B C Yarde