Group Captain Dennis Raymond Stubbs, DSO, OBE, DFC, RAF
(the penultimate to be added to the Monument names)
When the Battle of Britain was recognised as a campaign deserving
of a campaign medal (or as it turned out a Clasp or attachment
to the 1939-45 Star) the task of identifying those eligible for
the award was of course paper-based as were the records of that
time. Modern computers may not have done a better job but of
course it meant that there was the potential for errors where
records were destroyed by enemy action or other means, lost or
Also our research has revealed that some aircrew who qualified
for the award by flying just one or two missions did not feel
that they had "earned" it and failed to seek the award
of the Clasp when it was not issued by the system. And of course
until the advent of the London Monument, where the names will
be recorded in bronze, there was no real requirement for a definitive
After two years of intensive research we felt that a we had
a more accurate picture than had previously existed. It was just
as well that complacency did not set in for in the early part
of 2005 a pilot emerged whose name had never previously been
mentioned in any of the torrent of books, magazines, films and
TV programmes about the Battle.
Nigel Stubbs had held the medals of his father Group Captain
Dennis Raymond Stubbs, DSO, OBE, DFC, RAF since his early death
in February 1973 aged 55.
These clearly held the Battle of Britain Clasp but the name
of Stubbs did not appear on our Master List on the website. Nigel
opened an email dialogue with us and was able to tell us from
his father's logbook that he had flown with 601 Squadron at Exeter
in the last days of October 1940 i.e. within the qualifying period.
As next-of-kin Nigel was entitled to request his father's
service record from the RAF Personnel Agency* and this confirmed
that the Clasp had indeed been awarded. As the name plaques had
long been laid out and were in the casting process we were only
able to add Pilot Officer (as he then was) D R Stubbs to the
St* range but out of exact sequence, an anomaly that may well
puzzle future generations. We are still unaware as to why he
remained 'missing' for so long.
Nigel very kindly provided a synopsis of his father's RAF
career as follows;
My father was born on 7th October 1917 and joined the RAFVR in March
1939 and was mobilised at the outbreak of war. He gained his
wings in July 1940 but was hospitalised after an accident and
did not fly at all in August. He was commissioned on 6 October.
He then flew Hurricanes with 601 Sqn. and then with 238 Sqn.
until the end of the year.
After instructor training at Cranwell
he was an instructor there until being posted out to South Africa
as an instructor. He returned to the UK at the end of 1943 and
undertook operational/conversion training on Lancasters before
joining 9 Sqn as OC A Flight. In June 1944 he was posted to 50
Sqn. as OC B Flight. At this point there is a lot of red ink
in the log book, for example on 24 July 1944 on an operation
to Stuttgart he was flying for 8 hours including 5 instrument
flying. In August he was awarded the DFC after leading a raid
on La Pallice.
In November 1944 he became a Pathfinder
and from January 1945 was Master Bomber with 54 Base (an administrative
sub-unit of a Bomber Group). Targets included the Dortmund-Ems
canal, Munich, oil plants at Politz, Rositz and Bohlen, and Operation
A congratulatory letter on his DFC award from Sir Henry 'Chips' Channon, a wartime government minister and famous diarist).
He was awarded the DSO for his role
as Operations Controller at 54 Base. And that was the end of
After the war he became Chief Instructor
at the Aircrew NCO School. He attended the RAF Staff College
followed by a tour at Air Ministry. In May 1949 flying resumed
with spells as W/Cdr. Flying at Coningsby and Hemswell.
Carrying the Bomber Command Books of Remembrance into Lincoln Cathedral in November 1949.
In August 1951 he joined HQ FEAF. He
was created an OBE in 1954. On his return to the UK he attended
the RAF Flying College and then moved to Wyton as Officer Commanding
Flying Wing. In 1957 he attended the US Air War College in Alabama
and later served on the staff at the USAF Command and Staff College.
He returned to the Air Ministry.
He was appointed Station Commander and
CO of the newly reformed N° 7 Flying Training School at Church
Fenton in March 1962. This was his last flying post and ended
a career that saw him pilot 35 different aircraft types from
Tiger Moth to U3.
Welcoming the Queen Mother to Church Fenton in August 1962.
In October 1964 he became Gp.Capt. Plans
& Ops at LIVE OAK based at SHAPE HQ in Paris. His last posting
before retirement in June 1968 was SOA at N° 38 Group based
My father was one of five brothers all
of whom served in the RAF during the war. Cecil was killed in
action on 21st October 1940. Robert, the youngest, was a rear gunner
with 158 Squadron who went missing on 24th May 1944. He subsequently
spent 300 days as a PoW and never really recovered from the trauma.
Stanley lost an eye. Leslie survived intact but died prematurely
as indeed did my father.