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The Airmen's Stories - F/O R N H Courtney


Ronald Noel Hamilton Courtney was born on 25th December 1919 in Bury St. Edmunds and joined the RAFO and began his elementary training on 17th January 1938.

He was granted a five-year commission on 26th March and carried out his flying training at 8 FTS Montrose on No. 9 Course, which ran from 9th April to 29th October 1938.



With his training completed, he joined 151 Squadron at North Weald. He relinquished his RAFO commission on being granted an RAF short service commission in January 1939.

Courtney was posted to France, via Manston, on 13th May 1940 and was attached to 607 Squadron at Vitry-en-Artois. On the 14th he destroyed an unidentified enemy aircraft, on the 17th he destroyed two Ju88's and on the 22nd he destroyed another Ju88. He rejoined 151 Squadron at North Weald on 27th May.

On the 29th Courtney was attacked by Me109's over Dunkirk and baled out, wounded in the back of the neck and the right leg. He was picked up by the corvette HMS Shearwater and taken to Ramsgate Hospital. He returned to 151 Squadron on 18th July 1940 but did not fly again until 4th September.

On 13th December 1940 Courtney is believed to have been posted to the Middle East but no service details have been found. In February 1942 he was posted to 610 Squadron at Hutton Cranswick. On 15th May 1942 he damaged a Do17 and on 4th June he damaged a Ju88.

Courtney was later posted to the Far East. He was given command of 261 Squadron at Chittagong and later Chiringa from July to December 1943. He took command of 113 Squadron in January 1944 at Dimapur and later Tulihal and Palel, India.


Above image via Andrew Thomas.


Courtney was awarded the DFC (gazetted 8th September 1944) the citation stating that he had taken a prominent part in the squadron's operations in the Imphal Valley and had destroyed three enemy aircraft.

He was posted away from 113 Squadron in September 1944.

Courtney was awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 29th January 1946).

He commanded 130 Squadron at Odiham from July 1946 to January 1947, 72 Squadron, also at Odiham, from February 1947 to February 1949 and 32 Squadron at Shallufa, Egypt from November 1951 to May 1952.

Awarded the AFC (gazetted 1st January 1954), Courtney led the 1954 Battle of Britain flypast.

A graduate of the Joint Services Staff College and the RAF College of Air Warfare, Courtney was made a CB (gazetted 1st January 1967) and retired from the RAF on 6th January 1968 as a Group Captain.

He died in December 1986 in Norfolk.


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