The Airmen's Stories - F/O E D Crew
Edward Dixon Crew was born on 24th December 1917 at Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire. He was brought up by his step-father, Sir Kenneth Murchison, a Tory MP, and educated at Felsted School and Downing College, Cambridge, where in 1939 he joined the University Air Squadron. He obtained an MA in Anthropology and English Literature.
Crew was called to full-time service on 8th November 1939. He was posted to 3 ITW Hastings in November and moved on to RAF College FTS Cranwell in January 1940.
With his training completed, he converted to Blenheims, firstly at Andover and later at 5 OTU Aston Down from 22nd June. Crew joined 604 Squadron at Gravesend on 8th July 1940.
He was detached to 11 Group from the 14th to the 19th for short R/T and elementary fighter attacks courses.
On 11th August Crew shared in the destruction of a He59 floatplane 30 miles from Cherbourg and on 11th September he shared in destroying a Do18 flying boat as it was being towed by an E-boat.
In December 1940 Crew teamed up with Sgt. NH Guthrie, as his radar operator, and they had some success.
During the night of 4th/5th April 1941 they destroyed a He111, on the 8th damaged another, on the nights of the 24th/25th and the 28th/29th they shot down He111s.
On 8th/9th May another He111 was damaged and on 7th/8th July a Ju88 and a He111 were destroyed. Crew was awarded the DFC (gazetted 29th July 1941).
Guthrie was posted away from 604 but Crew continued to find enemy aircraft at night. During the night of 2nd/3rd April 1942 he destroyed a He111, on the 26th/27th damaged another and on 3rd/4th May and 4th/5th May he destroyed Do217s.
Crew, who was made 'A' Flight Commander in May 1942, was awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 16th June 1942).
In October 1942 Crew became OC of the Radio Development Flight, conducting radio and radar anti-jamming trials and training. In March 1943 he joined 85 Squadron at Hunsdon, as a Flight Commander, and during the night of 23rd/24th April he damaged a Do217 and on 21st/22nd May he shot down a Fw190.
Crew took command of 96 Squadron at Church Fenton in June 1943.
On 4th/5th January 1944 he shot down a Me410 and damaged another, on 13th/14th February destroyed a Ju188 and on 18th/19th April another Me410. Between June and early August 1944 Crew shot down 21 V1s at night.
On 25th June 1944 he was on the tail of a V1, travelling at high speed, when the force of the explosion as he shot it down split open his own aircraft's nose.
Crew held Mosquito XIII MM499 steady long enough for his radar navigator, WO WR Croysdill, to bail out over land. Then, as the Mosquito became uncontrollable, Crew himself jumped, landing safely near Worthing, in Sussex.
He was awarded the DSO (gazetted 26th September 1944) credited with 13 enemy aircraft destroyed.
96 Squadron was disbanded on 12th December 1944 and Crew went to RAF Staff College in January 1945 and was later granted a permanent commission.
Between July 1948 and February 1950 Crew led 45 Squadron in operations against the terrorists in Malaya. He was awarded a Bar to the DSO (gazetted 10th March 1950).
From 1952 Crew served in Canada, where he commanded an operational training unit and introduced the Avro Canada CF100 all-weather fighter.
After two years there he returned to command the all-weather development squadron at the Central Flying Establishment, with particular emphasis on trials of the Javelin.
Later he commanded RAF Bruggen in Germany, before returning to the Far East in charge of the air task force in Borneo from 1965. His role here was dealing with the Indonesian Confrontation of the mid-1960s.
Subsequently Crew commanded the Central Reconnaissance Establishment, he also served at the Ministry of Defence as Director of Operations (air defence and overseas) and was Deputy Air Controller of National Air Traffic Services.
Crew was elected a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1972.
He retired on 3rd March 1973 as an Air Vice-Marshal. Crew was made a CB (gazetted 1st January 1973).
He joined the planning inspectorate of the Department of the Environment. Serving there until 1987, Crew enjoyed a quiet final retirement in the Cotswolds, where he played golf and served on the Cotswolds District Council from 1991 until 1995.
He died on 18th August 2002.