Gordon Duncan (RAF officer)

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Gordon Metcalfe Duncan
Nickname(s) Grid
Born (1899-03-25)25 March 1899
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died 7 December 1941(1941-12-07) (aged 42)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1917–1919
Rank Lieutenant
Unit No. 60 Squadron
No. 56 Squadron
Battles/wars First World War
 • Western Front
Awards Distinguished Flying Cross

Lieutenant Gordon Metcalfe Duncan DFC (25 March 1899 – 7 December 1941) was a Scottish flying ace of the Royal Flying Corps in World War I.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in Edinburgh, the son of John Duncan and his wife Isabel Graham née Gibson, he was educated at The Leys School in Cambridge and later at Edinburgh University.

World War 1[edit]

On turning eighteen, Duncan joined the Royal Flying Corps on 20 June 1917[1] as a cadet, and carried out his training with 28 Training Squadron[2] based at Castle Bromwich.[3] He was appointed a probationary temporary second lieutenant on 25 October 1917,[4] and was confirmed in his rank on 18 February 1918.[5]

He was then posted to 60 Squadron, where his first patrol on 10 April 1918 ended with him being forced to land behind the lines. Two months later, on 19 June, he was injured when a mechanical problem again forced him down.[1] Flying the single-seat S.E.5a fighter he then gained eight victories in just twenty-eight days. Five of these were in August during the decisive Battle of Amiens and a further three in the first week of September.[1]

On 16 September 1918 he was appointed a flight commander with the acting rank of captain,[6] to serve in 56 Squadron.

He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 3 December 1918, his citation reading:

Lieutenant Gordon Metcalfe Duncan.
A courageous fighter and skilful leader who has accounted for seven enemy aeroplanes. On 5 September [1918], when on escort duty, he attacked a formation of five Fokker biplanes; one of these he engaged at close range and it was seen to break up in the air; he then drove down a second out of control.[7]

He finally left the RAF, being transferred to the unemployed list on 2 June 1919.[8]

Post war life[edit]

Duncan returned to Scotland to study Civil Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. He married Augusta Mildred Durran at Queen Street Church, Edinburgh, on 7 December 1929,[9] and had two daughters and a son.

He had a successful career as a civil engineer in Kent, but returned to Edinburgh at the outbreak of war in 1939. Following a period of ill health with Bright's disease, he died on 7 December 1941.


  1. ^ a b c d "Gordon Metcalfe Duncan". The Aerodrome. 2014. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "RFC and RAF men in Warwickshire". Midland Aircraft Recovery Group. 2014. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "RAF and RFC flying units in the south Midlands". Midland Aircraft Recovery Group. 2014. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "No. 30361". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 October 1917. p. 11280. 
  5. ^ "No. 30589". The London Gazette (Supplement). 19 March 1918. p. 3572. 
  6. ^ "No. 30947". The London Gazette. 11 October 1918. p. 11974. 
  7. ^ "No. 31046". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 November 1918. p. 14320. 
  8. ^ "No. 31449". The London Gazette. 11 July 1919. p. 8855. 
  9. ^ "Personals: To be Married". Flight. XXI (1091): 1215. 22 November 1929. Retrieved 24 November 2014.