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The Airmen's Stories - F/O J C Melvill


James Cosmo Melvill was born on 12th April 1920 and educated at Eton and Trinity College Cambridge, where he read Mechanical Sciences.

He learned to fly with the University Air Squadron and was awarded Aero Certificate 17021 on 9th February 1939. He then joined the RAFVR in June 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot. Called up on 1st September 1939, he was commissioned in November.



With his training completed, he arrived at 5 OTU Aston Down on 17th August 1940. After converting to Defiants Melvill joined 264 Squadron at Kirton-in-Lindsey on 2nd September 1940.

After being damaged in an engagement at night over London on 8th March 1941, Melvill landed back at Luton. Instead of turning off the flarepath he taxied down it and was struck by a Defiant taking off.

Both he and his gunner, Sgt. WL Butler, were injured. At some time Melvill was treated at Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead and was a Guinea Pig.

From May 1942 until August 1943 Melvill commanded 247 Squadron.

He was instructing in 1944 and received the AFC (gazetted 1st September 1944).

He commanded 174 Squadron from August 1944 until January 1945.

Melvill was released from the RAF in 1946 as a Squadron Leader.

He died in May 2006 in Cambridge.


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