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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. R R Wright


Robert Ronald Wright was born in Belfast on 10th April 1917 and educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. After leaving in 1934, he joined W & T Avery Ltd., the scale manufacturers.

In January 1939 Wright joined the RAFVR in Belfast, as an Airman u/t Pilot and began his flying training at 24 E&RFTS Sydenham. Called to full-time service on 1st September 1939, he went to No. 1 ITW Cambridge on 10th November.

Wright was posted to 9 FTS Hullavington on 27th December, completed the course on 8th June 1940 and went to 5 OTU Aston Down on 10th June, where he expected to convert to Spitfires. Instead he was trained on Blenheims and was posted to 248 Squadron at Dyce on 23rd June.

Wright served with the squadron throughout the Battle of Britain, mostly carrying out long-range sorties to Norway, seeking out the expected German invasion fleet. He was commissioned in January 1941. In mid-June 248 moved to Bircham Newton and had a period of attacking E-boats off the Dutch coast.

In October 1941 the squadron flew out to Malta, via Gibraltar, to give protection to a convoy. It arrived too late to carry out this task and flew on to Fayum, in Egypt. Wright had only 30 hours left to fly to complete his tour and was told he was not wanted, only his aircraft.

He returned to the UK by sea, via Durban and Capetown, reaching New York in January 1942. Here the ship took aboard the first American troops for service in Britain.

Wright rejoined 248 at Bircham Newton in February 1942 and completed his tour on 20th May, when he was posted to CFS Upavon for an instructors course. He went to 2 (Coastal) OTU at Catfoss on 18th June and instructed there on Beaufighters until 23rd July 1943, when he returned to operations, joining 235 Squadron at Leuchars.

The squadron carried out long-range fighter patrols over the Bay of Biscay, protecting anti-submarine aircraft from German fighters. On 16th February 1944 Wright shot down a Ju290, whose position was reported by HMS Biter.

He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 14th April 1944) and on 9th June he shot down a Ju88 whilst patrolling off Ushant.

Later in the month 235 Squadron converted to Mosquitos and became part of the anti-shipping Strike Wing at Banff.

Wright completed his second tour in October 1944 and was eventually posted to AHQ West Africa at Freetown in February 1945 as a Controller. He moved to Port Etienne (now Nouadhibou) in French Mauritania on 8th May as OC of a Staging Post.

He returned to the UK in November and was released from the RAF on 5th December 1945 as a Squadron leader.

Wright returned to work for Averys until his retirement in 1982.

He died in 1997.

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