About Group Captain Walter Myers Churchill DSO DFC
Group Captain Walter Myers Churchill DSO DFC (24 November 1907 – 27 August 1942) was a Royal Air Force pilot during World War II.
He was a brother of Captain Peter Churchill DSO Croix de Guerre, and Major Oliver Churchill DSO MC, both of whom were SOE officers during World War II.
His father was William Algernon Churchill (1865–1947) a British Consul who served in Mozambique, Amsterdam, Pará, in Brazil, Stockholm, Milan, and Algiers. His father was also an art connoisseur, and author of what is still the standard reference work on early European paper and papermaking Watermarks in Paper. His mother was Violet Churchill (née Myers).
Walter was born in Amsterdam in 1907 and was educated at Sedbergh School and Cambridge University where he read Engineering after which he started an aviation precision engineering company Churchill Components (Coventry) Ltd in 1937 The company worked for Sir Frank Whittle, the jet-engine pioneer, and it machined compressor blades for the gas-turbine engines in the early 1940s.
Royal Air Force
Churchill was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in the Auxiliary Air Force on 11 January 1932 and appointed to No. 605 (County of Warwick) Squadron. He was promoted to Flight Lieutenant in June 1937 and transferred from the AAF to the Auxiliary Air Force Reserve of Officers in January 1939. He was recalled to 605 Squadron and full-time service in August 1939. Churchill later served with 3 Squadron and 71 (Eagle) Squadron, and took part in the Battle of Britain as a Squadron Leader. He was subsequently promoted to Wing Commander, then Group Captain.
He was an ‘ace’ pilot credited with seven ‘kills’ and was awarded a Distinguished Service Order and a Distinguished Flying Cross.
He also evaluated various makes of fighter aircraft for the RAF, and played a key role in getting Spitfire aircraft to the defence of Malta.
In August 1942 he was stationed in Malta as Group Captain and on 27 August was killed in action while leading a raid in a Spitfire on Biscari airfield near Gela in southern Sicily.
His company continued under the management of his wife, Joyce, and subsequently by his second son, James. The company is now known as J.J. Churchill Ltd. and is currently managed by James's son, Andrew.
Honours and awards
31 May 1940 Flight Lieutenant Walter Myers Churchill is awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross:
This officer has shot down three enemy aircraft since his arrival in France and has led many patrols with courage and skill.
— London Gazette
31 May 1940 Flight Lieutenant Walter Myers Churchill DFC (90241) is appointed a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order:
This officer assumed command of a squadron shortly after its arrival in France and led it with marked success, inspiring his pilots and maintenance crews magnificently. He undertook the tactical instruction of new pilots, led many patrols successfully and organised his ground defences and crews in an exemplary manner. While under his command the squadron destroyed 62 enemy aircraft and he was throughout the main-spring of the offensive spirit, their excellent tactics and their adequate maintenance results. Only four pilots of the squadron were lost. Flight Lieutenant Churchill has recently destroyed four enemy aircraft, bringing his total to seven