The Airmen's Stories - P/O I J A Cruickshanks
Ian James Alexander Cruickshanks was born in September 1918 and joined the RAFVR about September 1937 as an Airman u/t Pilot. Called up on 1st September 1939, he attended 1 ITW, then 15 FTS till 10th June 1940 when he was commissioned and posted to 5 OTU.
He was posted from 5 OTU to 66 Squadron at Coltishall on 23rd June. On 20th August Cruickshanks shared a Me110 and on 9th September shared a He111. Two days later he made a forced-landing north-east of Ashford after being damaged in a combat and was slightly injured.
Above: photographs of Ian and his wife Margaret courtesy of Lesley Cruickshanks.
He was posted away to 4 Ferry Pilot Pool on 29th September 1940. On 18th February 1941 he joined 19 MU, staying with them until 14th November 1941 when he became a test pilot with Armstrong Whitworth. This posting lasted until 22nd May 1943 when he was posted to HQ 41 Group as supernumerary test pilot.
On 8th June 1945, now a Flight Lieutenant, Cruickshanks was detailed to ferry Halifax JP203 from Hooton Park to Clifton (York) Aerodrome for scrapping. En route one engine had to be feathered. On touching down ground control fired a red flare to indicate that the runway was blocked and the Halifax should go around. Unable to gain height on three engines, the aircraft hit the cross on top of the RC Church in Burdyke Avenue and crashed into the Imperial Hotel car park.
Cruickshanks and F/Sgt. VH Clare DFM were both killed.
Cruickshanks is buried in Milverton Cemetery, Leamington Spa.
Additional research courtesy of John Larder.