The Airmen's Stories - F/O D A P McMullen
Desmond Annesley Peter McMullen was born at Godstone, Reigate on 6th December 1917 and attended Cheltenham College from 1928 to 1931. He joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his initial training on 31st May 1937. He was posted to 6 FTS Netheravon on 18th September.
With his training completed, McMullen was posted to No. 1 Air Armament School at Manby on 9th July 1938 as a staff pilot. He joined 54 Squadron at Hornchurch on 8th September 1939.
Above: Sgt. S Fairweather and McMullen with damage caused to their Defiant by our own AA fire.
Over Dunkirk on 24th May 1940 he probably destroyed a Me109 and shared another, on the 25th he probably destroyed two Me110's, on the 26th he destroyed a Me110 and on the 28th he shared in the destruction of a Do17.
On 4th July McMullen’s Spitfire was damaged by Me109's near Manston. Three days later he made a forced-landing at Manston after combat with Me109's near Deal.
On 24th July McMullen claimed a Me109 destroyed and probably another, on 15th August a Me109 probably destroyed and another damaged, on the 16th a Me109 destroyed, on the 18th a Me110 probably destroyed and a Me109 and a Do17 damaged, on the 24th and 26th two Me109's destroyed, on the 30th a Do17 shared, on the 31st a probable Do17 shared, on 2nd September a Do17 destroyed and probably a Me109 and on the 3rd a probable Me110.
On 11th September McMullen was posted to 222 Squadron at Hornchurch.
He claimed a Me109 destroyed on the 14th, a Me109 destroyed and a Me110 damaged on the 15th, a Me109 shared on 15th October, another destroyed on the 17th, a Me110 shared on the 20th, a Me109 destroyed and another damaged on the 25th, another destroyed and one damaged on the 28th and another Me109 destroyed on 8th November.
McMullen was awarded the DFC (gazetted 1st October 1940).
Above: McMullen after being awarded the DFC at Buckingham Palace, with his mother (at rear) and wife.
On 23rd November 1940 he was posted to 151 Squadron at Wittering as an Acting Flight Lieutenant and 'B' Flight Commander. During the night of 15th January 1941 he probably destroyed a Ju88.
The squadron converted to Defiants and McMullen teamed up with Sgt. Fairweather as his gunner. During the nights of 8th April, the 9th and 10th May they shot down two He111's and a Ju88.
In July 1941 McMullen was posted to 266 Squadron at Wittering. On 19th August he shared a He111, on the 21st damaged one, on 12th September probably destroyed another, on 13th October destroyed a Me109 and damaged another and on the 25th destroyed a Me110.
McMullen was awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 7th March 1941) and a second Bar (gazetted 12th December 1941).
In late November 1941 he was posted to 55 OTU as an instructor. He moved to 57 OTU Hawarden on 5th December 1941.
McMullen returned to operations in April 1942 and was briefly attached to 602 Squadron at Redhill before joining 124 Squadron at Gravesend on 16th May. He damaged two Fw190's on 24th May.
In June 1942 McMullen was posted to 64 Squadron at Hornchurch as supernumerary Squadron Leader. He was given command of 65 Squadron at Gravesend in July and over Dieppe on 19th August he damaged a Do217.
McMullen left the squadron in September and in November he briefly led 324 Wing in North Africa before being given a staff job.
On 8th August 1943 McMullen was posted to 53 OTU Kirton-in-Lindsey as a Squadron Leader, but in September he went to HQ 93 Group for fighter liaison duties.
McMullen retired from the RAF on 16th December 1957 as a Squadron Leader, retaining the rank of Wing Commander.
Above: McMullen with his brother Patrick who was disabled by Polio as a young boy. However he went on to work during the war at the Royal Aeronautical Establishment researching metal alloys and assessing German technology from samples of downed aircraft fuselages.
McMullen died on 1st July 1985.
His portrait was made by Cuthbert Orde (above).
Additional research and all images courtesy of Roddy McMullen (son).