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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. R W Denison


Richard Warren Denison was born on 27th April 1916 in London, the son of Herbert Richard Denison (1888-1955) and Mabel Hamilton Denison (nee Warren 1887-1956).



His father (above) was serving with the 2nd Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles but he later transferred to the RFC and was awarded Aero Certificate 7108 at 32 Training Depot Station Montrose.

The family returnd to Vernon, British Columbia in Canada after the war.

RW Denison joined the RAF on a short service commission in December 1935.

On 14th March 1936 he was posted to 3 FTS Grantham and joined 213 Squadron at Church Fenton on 8th March 1937.

Denison was serving with 236 Squadron by June 1940. During a patrol off the Isle of Wight on the night of 26th/27th June Denison, with WOp/AG P/O AO Price, claimed a He111 probably destroyed. The aircraft was being held by searchlights and he attacked from astern. He opened fire, which was continued by the Blenheim’s gunner. Their sight of the Heinkel was lost when the searchlights went off.

On 17th July, also with WOp/AG P/O AO Price in Blenheim If L8684/D, he claimed a damaged Ju88.

He was recalled from leave after the CO, S/Ldr. PE Drew, was reported missing on 1st August. Denison took temporary command of the squadron from the 4th to the 15th, when S/Ldr. GW Montagu arrived.



Denison was posted away in October 1940 and on the 27th he went to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge to convert to Hurricanes. On 10th March 1941, while serving with 79 Squadron, he claimed a possible Ju88 in Hurricane I V6957.

On 24th April 1941 he was aloft in darkness in Blenheim 1f K7132 from 54 OTU Church Fenton when the aircraft was shot down, probably by Lt. Heinz Völker of 3./NJG2, who was flying a Do17Z-10 from Gilze-Rijen.

Denison was able to bale out, the Blenheim came down on fire near Ackworth, Pontefract in West Yorkshire.

He commanded 80 Squadron in the Western Desert from April to September 1942 and commanded 46 Squadron at Idku from June to August 1944 and again in November/December 1944.

Denison was awarded the AFC (gazetted 1st January 1945). He returned to Canada after release from the RAF and in 1946 joined Trans-Canada Airlines. He went on to join Canadian Pacific Airlines and later Yellowknife Airways.

On 6th February 1951 Denison and Earl Bulmer, a game warden, took off from Yellowknife in Avro Anson CF-EKJ on a charter cargo flight. The aircraft failed to gain height and struck a tall building in the town, both men being killed.

A subsequent enquiry found that the Anson was overloaded by 1400lbs. and had been parked in the open for six days before the flight. The accumulation of frost and snow had not been cleared from the wings and this would have adversely affected the lift they could generate.




His brother P/O Arthur Cecil Denison was killed whilst flying in Blenheim IV N3583 of 57 Squadron which crashed into the Moray Firth during a night cross-country training flight on 2nd September 1940.

Also lost were Sgt. FJL Nicholas and Sgt. RH Cowley.

All are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.



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