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The Airmen's Stories - F/O R A Chisholm


Roderick Aenas Chisholm was born at Bridge of Allan, Scotland on 23rd November 1911 and educated at Ampleforth College and the Imperial College of Science and Technology.

He joined 604 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force in 1930 and was commissioned in March 1931.Whilst on his final air test on 28th July 1931 with the AOC, Air Commodore McNeece Foster, as his passenger, Chisholm was involved in a landing accident at Tangmere in Wapiti K1379. The aircraft was wrecked but both men escaped serious injury.





In January 1935 Chisholm went on to the Reserve and in 1936 he went to Persia to work in the oilfields there. At the outbreak of war Chisholm was passed as fit for flying at HQ RAF Iraq. He left Teheran in January 1940 and on 23rd February was posted to 3 FTS South Cerney for a refresher course and for conversion to twin-engine aircraft.

Chisholm rejoined 604 Squadron at Northolt on 22nd June.

On the 30th he was detached to 11 Group Uxbridge for short R/T procedure and elementary attacks courses. He returned to 604 on 4th July and served with the squadron throughout the Battle of Britain.

In 1941, with Sgt. WG Ripley as his Radar Operator, he had a run of success. On 13th March they destroyed two He111s at night, on 9th April another two and Chisholm was awarded the DFC (gazetted 11th April 1941).


Above: his portrait was made by Sir William Rothenstein


On the night of 11th April they shot down a He111 and a probable Ju88, on the 29th a He111 and on 8th July destroyed a He111 and damaged another.

At the end of his tour in January 1942 Chisholm was posted as a controller to Middle Wallop and was awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 10th February 1942). He had been a Flight Commander in 604 since August 1941.

Chisholm went to HQ 81 Group in March 1942 to organise the training of night fighter crews at OTUs but in June he was posted to RAF Ford to command the Fighter Interception Unit. During the night of 2nd/3rd July 1943 Chisholm destroyed a Ju88 over the Channel south of Bognor.

Over Mannheim on the night of 18th/19th November 1943 he shot down a Me110.

In late 1943 Chisholm went to a staff job at 100 Group Bomber Command, to develop radio counter-measures and fighter support for the bombers raiding Germany by night.

He was awarded the DSO (gazetted 14th January 1944) credited with nine enemy aircraft destroyed.


Above: he married in September 1945.


Chisholm was stationed in Germany immediately after the war with an RAF interrogation team to investigate German radio and radar measures taken against Allied bombers.

He was made a CBE (gazetted 1st January 1946) and had received two Mentions in Despatches (gazetted 1st January 1945 and 14th June 1945).

He was released from the RAF on 1st January 1946 as an Air Commodore.

Chisholm returned to the oil industry. He retired in 1970 and took up carpentry and furniture-making. His book on his wartime experiences, Cover of Darkness, was published in 1953.

He died on 7th December 1994.

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