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The Airmen's Stories - P/O E D Glaser


Ernest Derek Glaser was born on 20th April 1921, the son of a former RFC pilot, and educated at Lancing House and Bloxham Schools.

He was keen to become a pilot after meeting the test pilot Jeffrey Quill who had been a frequent visitor to The Bugle, Glaser's father's pub on the River Hamble in Hampshire.



Glaser joined the RAFVR about June 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot. He was called up on 1st September 1939 and after completing his flying training he was commissioned and posted direct to 65 Squadron at Hornchurch on 13th July 1940.

Glaser was attached to the Hornchurch Sector Training Flight next day for further training and conversion to Spitfires, after which he rejoined 65 Squadron on 8th August. He made his first flight with the squadron on the 9th and flew his first operational sortie on the 15th.


Above: 65 Squadron.

(L to R) - F/O JBH Nicholas, P/O NE Hancock, P/O B Drobinski, P/O ED Glaser, Sgt. GW Tabor, Sgt. CR Hewlett.


Glaser shared in the probable destruction of two He111s on the 18th and probably destroyed a Me109 on 22nd August 1940.

In early 1941 he was posted to 53 OTU at Heston as an instructor. In August he joined 234 Squadron at Warmwell and took part in offensive sweeps over France.

He shared in the destruction of a Me110 on 21st June 1942 and shared a Ju88 on 25th July.

On 28th July Glaser, flying alone in Spitfire Vb BL427, came across a Ju88 attacking a Royal Navy minesweeper off Falmouth. He engaged the Ju88 but was then shot down by the minesweeper's AA.

He baled out into the Channel and almost drowned after becoming entangled with his parachute. The minesweeper picked him up.

At the end of his tour he was awarded the DFC (gazetted 25th August 1942).

In 1943 Glaser was posted to Australia, as OC 'B' Flight of 549 Squadron, flying Spitfires in defence of Darwin.

It was formed at Strathpine on 15th December 1943 as a sister unit to 548 Squadron, formed at Lawton in Queensland on the same day. Both squadrons did not receive their Spitfires until April 1944 and it was not until mid-June that they both moved to Darwin to take up defence duties.

Glaser took command of 548 Squadron at Darwin Civil Airport in February 1945 and held the post until the two squadrons were both disbanded on 9th October 1945, when he returned to the UK.

He was granted a permanent commission in the postwar RAF and joined 64 Squadron at Linton-on-Ouse in 1946 as a Flight Commander.

In 1949 Glaser went on No. 8 Course at the Empire Test Pilots School at Farnborough and afterwards he served at the Royal Aircraft Establishment there.

He retired from the RAF on 26th June 1953 as a Flight Lieutenant, retaining the rank of Squadron Leader, and joined Vickers Armstrong at Hurn, eventually becoming Chief Production Test Pilot.

He was heavily involved in exhaustive production testing of the Valiant, the first of the RAF's four-jet bombers. He also tested the BAC 1-11, one of Britain's best selling airliners.

He received the Queens Commendation in 1953 for military flying and in 1968 for civilian test flying.

Glaser died on 1st July 2001 in Bognor Regis.

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