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The Airmen's Stories - F/O D R Turley-George


Douglas Richard Turley-George was born in Finchley, London on 8th August 1918. He joined the RAFVR in 1937 and did his weekend flying at 19 E&RFTS Gatwick. He joined the RAF on a short service commission in August 1938 and, with his training completed, he was posted to the Test Flight at RAF Henlow.

Turley-George joined 54 Squadron at Rochford on 15th July 1940. He made a crash-landing near Dover on the 25th after combat with Me109's and wrote off Spitfire P9387.

On 12th August he made a crash-landing at Denton after again being damaged in combat with Me109's. Turley-George was admitted to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital with shrapnel wounds to the head and eye. After leaving hospital he was grounded and sent on a 2nd Class Navigator's Course, after which he was posted to 54 OTU as a navigation instructor.

He later regained his full operational category and was posted to the Merchant Ship Fighter Unit in September 1941.


Turley-George (left) and F/O C Fenwick (spare pilot) in front of their Hawker Hurricane on board the SS Empire Tide

In June 1942 Turley-George was senior pilot on the Camship Empire Tide in Russian convoy PQ 17. The convoy was ordered to scatter when it was thought an attack by German warships was imminent. After the scatter order came, the ships were subjected to six days of bombing and torpedo attacks, until only eleven remained of the original forty-two.

Empire Tide was one of the survivors. It lay in a bay for two weeks, joined a small Russian convoy and finally reached Archangel on 24th July 1942.

Later in the year Turley-George went to the newly-reformed 198 Squadron at Digby as a supernumerary Flight Lieutenant. In early 1943 he was attached to 231 Squadron as an instructor. It was originally an army co-operation unit which had converted to a fighter-reconnaissance role.

In March 1943 he went on to the squadron strength as 'A' Flight Commander. Turley-George was wounded in November during a ground-attack sortie over Normandy. He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 3rd October 1944).

In December 1944 he was posted to 88 Group Communications Squadron at Turnhouse as a Flight Commander. The unit later moved to Fornebu, Norway. In December 1945 Turley-George took command of the Reserve Command Communications Squadron.

He was released from the RAFO in November 1949 as a Squadron Leader and became a test pilot with an aircraft company.

Turley-George was awarded the Norwegian Medal of Liberation.

He died in 1991.

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