The Airmen's Stories - F/O M D Doulton
Michael Duke Doulton was born on 19th December 1908 at Wandsworth Common, then in Surrey. His parents were Orrok Mills Doulton (1880-1922) and Catherine May Doulton (nee Duke 1882-1958).
He was a great great grandson of John Dwight Doulton (1793-1873) one of the founders, in 1815, of Doulton & Watts, the firm that became Royal Doulton, maker of ceramics.
MD Doulton's father, who became Sir Orrok Doulton, worked for the family firm, served as a cavalry officer in the First World and died in 1922, possibly of war wounds.
While employed as a mechanical engineer MD Doulton joined 604 Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force in 1931.
He was reputed to be the tallest pilot in the RAF in his day. John Cunningham, who would later amass a high total of night victories flying with 604 squadron throughout the Battle and following Blitz, joined 604 Squadron in November 1935 and Doulton and he experimented in night-fighting techniques when the squadron converted to Blenheims.
Above image and that below of Doulton with his wife Carol courtesy of the family of F/Lt. RH Scott 604 Squadron.
Michael and Carol (nee Christie) were married on 3rd March 1939 in Shrewsbury.
Doulton went on to the Reserve in September 1936 but because of his engineering background he transferred to the Air Ministry in 1938 to prepare car factories to convert rapidly to shadow factories for the production of aero engines in the event of war. He was called to full-time service with the RAF on 24th August 1939.
Initially posted back to 604 Squadron, he then moved to 601 Squadron on 11th June 1940. On the 11th July he shared a Do17 and on the 20th a He59. On 13th August his Hurricane, P3884, was damaged in combat over Portland but he was able to return to Tangmere unhurt.
On the 15th August he shared a Ju88 and the next day destroyed a Ju87.
Doulton was shot down on 31st August 1940 in action over the Thames Estuary and reported 'Missing'.
He was 31 and was commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial: Panel 5.
However an aircraft excavated south of Wennington Church, near Romford, Essex on 27th April 1984 proved to be Hurricane R4215 and Doulton's remains were still in the cockpit. He was cremated in a private ceremony at Hastings in June 1984 and his ashes interred in Salehurst churchyard, East Sussex.
(Below) In 2010 this website established contact with Paul Doulton, Michael's son, unborn at the time of his death. He gave permission for this poignant letter, written by his mother Carol just two days after Michael's loss, to be published.
The Willie mentioned is F/Lt. William Henry Rhodes-Moorhouse who was killed in action shortly afterwards on 6th September 1940.
(Right click and select 'View Image' to enlarge the text).
(Below): In July 2010 Paul Doulton travelled from his home in Mexico to see his father's name on the monument. He was accompanied by his son Daniel (right), an accomplished microlight and glider pilot.
Above: Paul Doulton passed away on 31st October 2021. After a memorial service at Salehurst Church on 2nd July 2022 he was laid to rest next to his father and mother in the churchyard.