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The Airmen's Stories - S/Ldr. G F W Heycock


George Francis Wheaton Heycock was born on 17th September 1909. He went to Haileybury School and Imperial Service College and entered the RAF College Cranwell in January 1928 as a Flight Cadet.

On graduation in December 1929 he was commissioned and joined 111 Squadron at Hornchurch. Heycock went back to Cranwell on 5th August 1931 as a flying instructor.


Above: Heycock is standing second from right.


In January 1933 he was appointed PA to the AOC Inland Area, Air Vice-Marshal Longmore, at Bentley Priory. On 22nd October 1934 Heycock went to CFS Wittering as an instructor. He joined 823 (Fleet Spotter-Reconnaissance) Squadron on 30th August 1935 on HMS Furious and land-based at Hal Far, Malta.

On 14th January 1938 Heycock went to the Experimental Section at the RAE Farnborough as a test pilot. He was there until 1st June 1940 when he was posted to 5 OTU Aston Down for a refresher course. He then went to 7 OTU Hawarden on 15th June as a Flight Commander.


Above: In December 1938 Heycock married Betty Green, who had set a flying record with F/O AE Clouston, also a Battle veteran.


On 8th August Heycock took command of 23 Squadron at Wittering, leading it until November. After a spell away he commanded the squadron again from January to March 1941.

He took command of 141 Squadron at Ayr on 6th July 1941. From August he converted the squadron from Defiants to Beaufighters. On 1st May 1942 Heycock got a probable Do217 at night.

With his tour completed he was posted away on 9th September 1942 and awarded the DFC (gazetted 29th September 1942).

Promoted to Group Captain, he was appointed Head of Night Operations at HQ 9 Group. From June 1943 to June 1944 he commanded 35 OTU in Canada. Heycock returned to the UK and on 13th August 1944 became Station Commander at West Raynham.

Mentioned in Despatches (gazetted 14th June 1945), he was posted to a Staff course at RAF Staff College at Bracknell in August 1945.



Heycock held a series of appointments at home and abroad, his final one being as Air Attache in Paris from March 1959 until March 1964. For his services there he was made a Commander of the Legion d'Honneur by the French Government.

Created a CB (gazetted 8th June 1963), Heycock retired from the RAF on 1st May 1964 as an Air Commodore.

He died on 27th June 1983.

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