DOE, Robert Francis Thomas  
 
PERSONALIA
 
Name:  Doe, Robert Francis Thomas
Date of birth: March 10th, 1920 (Reigate/Surrey, Great Britain)
Date of death:  February 21st, 2010 (Crowborough/East Sussex, Great Britain)
Nationality:  British
BIOGRAPHY: 
Service number 41908.

The son of a head gardener, Bob Doe was born at Reigate on March 10 1920. A shy, sickly boy, he left school at 14 to work as an office boy at the News of the World. In March 1938 he joined the RAFVR, started to train as a pilot at a civilian flying school, soloing on June 4th. But he struggled to become a pilot, barely passing the necessary exams to gain his wings. He lacked confidence, was poor at aerobatics and disliked flying upside down.
He gained though a short service commission in the RAF in March 1939.
He did his elementary flying training at 15 to 6 FTS, Little Rissington, after which he joined 234 Squadron, on November 6 1939, where he still was at the start of the Battle of Britain.
During the Battle of Britain he achieved great success. He was one of the very few pilots to successfully fly both Hurricanes and Spitfires and was one of the top scorers of the Battle with 14 and two shared victories.
On October 10th, 1940, he was shot down in the Luftwaffe’s last big daytime sortie and baled out of his Hurricane with severe wounds to his leg and shoulder. He rejoined his squadron in December, but on January 3, 1941, his aircraft suffered engine failure during an attempted night interception. He managed a forced landing, but his harness broke with the impact and his head was smashed against his gun sight. He suffered severe facial injuries and broke his arm. Lengthy surgery involving 22 operations was done by the brilliant New Zealand-born plastic surgeon Sir Harold Gillies. Doe resumed flying in May 1941, and joined 66 Squadron as a flight commander.
In August 1943 saw him in 613 squadron flying Mustangs. October 1943 he was posted out to the Far-East, forming 10 squadron, Indian Air Force, which he led on the Burma front. He stayed on in the RAF after the war, retirement in 1966
Once out of the military, e settled in Kent to run his own garage and self-drive car hire firm. He took a passionate interest in his garden and three greenhouses, and in his large family.
He wrote about his wartime experiences in 'Bob Doe, Fighter Pilot' , published in 1989.
Bob Doe died in hospital from pneumonia.

Promotions:
November 6th, 1939: Pilot Officer (Probation)
March 20th, 1940: Pilot Officer
November 6th, 1940: Flying Officer
November 6th, 1941: Flight Lieutenant (war sub)
January 1st, 1949: Squadron Leader
January 1st, 1956: Wing Commander
     
DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS (DFC)
Rank: Pilot Officer
Awarded on: October 22nd, 1940
Action: Citation:
"Pilot Officer Doe has displayed great courage in the many patrols undertaken by his squadron and has destroyed nine enemy aircraft. He has shown outstanding dash and an eagerness to engage the enemy at close quarters."
 
     
DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS (DFC)
Rank: Pilot Officer
Unit: No. 238 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on: November 26th, 1940
Action: Citation:
"This officer has continued to engage the enemy with initiative and success. On one occasion he dived vertically through a strong protective formation of fighters and attacked two four-engined enemy aircraft. He has destroyed a total of 14 hostile aircraft."
Details: Second DFC awarded as a bar for on the ribbon of the first DFC.
 
     
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER (DSO)
Rank: Acting Squadron Leader
Unit: Reserve of Air Force Officers, No. 10 Squadron, Royal Indian Air Force
Awarded on: October 2nd, 1945
 
     
1939-1945 STAR
Details: With "BATTLE OF BRITAIN" clasp.
 
     
AIR CREW EUROPE STAR
 
     
BURMA STAR
 
     
DEFENCE MEDAL 1939-1945
 
     
WAR MEDAL 1939-1945
 
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Picture source:   - Royal Air Force - photo
Information source(s):   - The London Gazette Issue 34976 published on the 22 October 1940
- The London Gazette Issue 35001 published on the 26 November 1940
- Fourth Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 37291 published on the 28 September 1945
- Shores Ch., Aces High - A tribute to the most notable fighter pilots of the British and Commonwealth Air Force in WWII
- The South East Echo
- The Telegraph - Obituaries
- Paul Fraser Collectibles
   
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