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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. M E Croskell


Michael Ernest Croskell was born on 13th September 1919 in York and joined the RAFVR in June 1938 as an Airman u/t Pilot. Awarded his flying badge in August 1939, he was called up on 1st September. He went to 11 FTS Shawbury on 27th September 1939 for No. 14 (RAFVR) Course, which ended on 18th November.

Croskell arrived at 12 Group Pool Aston Down on 31st December 1939, converted to Hurricanes and joined 213 Squadron at Wittering on 3rd February 1940.




He was in 'A' Flight of the squadron. On 17th May 1940 the flight flew down from Wittering to Biggin Hill and in the afternoon it escorted a Bombay transport of 271 Squadron across the Channel to Abbeville.

Later in the afternoon the Hurricanes landed at Merville to refuel, taking off again at 17.45 hours to patrol Brussels and Verde-Brain. At 19.50 the flight returned to Biggin Hill, having seen no enemy aircraft all day.

On 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd May 'A' Flight flew to France from Biggin Hill each day, mounted patrols from Lille-Marcq or Merville and returned to Biggin Hill each evening. The flight returned to Wittering on 23rd May.

During this period 'B' Flight of 213 had been operating in France, attached to 79 Squadron at Merville. It also returned to Wittering on 23rd May.

Over Dunkirk on 29th May Croskell probably destroyed a Ju87. At the start of the Battle of Britain 213 Squadron was based at Exeter.

On 11th August Croskell claimed the destruction of a Ju88, a Me109 and probably a second Ju88, on the 26th he damaged a Me110 and on 11th September, flying from Tangmere, he destroyed a Me110.

On 15th September Croskell in Hurricane P3313 engaged enemy aircraft over Edenbridge (other sources have P3313 lost off Holland months before).

He was shot down and baled out, the aircraft burned out in Bates Meadow, Sutton Road, Maidstone and Croskell came down in Rumwood Court, Langley, SE Maidstone.

He was admitted to West Kent Hospital, Maidstone with shrapnel wounds to his head and shoulder, pieces would emerge postwar when he combed his hair. He was nursed by Molly Davies and they were married at Hendon in July 1941.

Croskell was posted to CFS Upavon for an instructors course in February 1941, after which he joined the instructing staff at 6 FTS Little Rissington in April.

In February 1942 he moved to No. 1 Beam Approach School at Watchfield. Commissioned in May 1942, he remained there, instructing, until released from the RAF in March 1947.

He was awarded Aero certificate 23514 on 8th October 1947.

Croskell was commissioned in the RAFVR in December 1947 and instructed, as a civilian, until 1951 when he joined BEA, from which he retired in 1976.



Above: Croskell (centre) with Shoreham Aircraft Museum volunteers at a fund raising event for the London Battle of Britain Monument in 2004.


He died on 15th January 2015.


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