SKELTON, Frank Seymour "Bill"  
 
PERSONALIA
 
Name:  Skelton, Frank Seymour "Bill"
Date of birth: August 26th, 1920 (Pirbright/Surrey, Great Britain)
Date of death:  May 24th, 2003
Nationality:  British
BIOGRAPHY: 
Service number 106675.

Bill Skelton was educated at Blundellís School. Skelton left school early and was apprenticed to an accountancy firm. When war came Skelton enlisted in the RAF. He was soon commissioned and specialised in navigation.
With No. 85 Squadron he got linked to pilot Branse Burbridge and the pair developed a close working relation which stood at the base of their successen in the air. Known as "the night hawk partners", they were officially credited with destroying 21 enemy aircraft, one more than Group Captain "Cat's Eyes" Cunningham.
With the return of peace, they left the Service to study Theology, Burbridge at Oxford, and Skelton at Cambridge.
Skelton was ordained an Anglican priest and held several positions in the Anglican church. After a severe emotional breakdown, he decided not to return to the direct service of the Church, and became director of the Lambeth Endowed Charities and later other charitable organisations.

Promotions:
September 20th, 1941: Pilot Officer (probation)
September 20th, 1942: Flying Officer (war sub)
September 20th, 1943: Flight Lieutenant (war sub)
     
DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS (DFC)
Rank: Flight Lieutenant
Unit: No. 85 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on: August 4th, 1944
Action: Citation:
"This officer has participated in a large number of sorties and has displayed a high standard of navigational ability throughout. He is a keen and devoted member of aircraft crew, whose determination to achieve success has won great praise. In addition to his work in the air, Flight Lieutenant Skelton has rendered valuable service in the training of other members of the squadron with good results."
 
     
DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS (DFC)
Rank: Flight Lieutenant
Unit: No. 85 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on: November 10th, 1944
Action: Citation:
"As pilot and observer respectively these officers have completed many sorties and have destroyed 7 enemy aircraft. They have displayed outstanding keenness, great skill and gallantry, setting an example worthy of the highest praise."
Details: Second DFC awarded as a bar for on the ribbon of the first DFC.
 
     
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER (DSO)
Rank: Flight Lieutenant
Unit: No. 85 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on: January 2nd, 1945
Action: Citation:
"These officers are pilot and observer of aircraft respectively. They have completed a very large number of sorties and throughout have displayed keenness and devotion to duty of the highest standard. They have destroyed 14 enemy aircraft, 4 of them during a recent sortie at night. This feat well illustrates their superb skill and unbeatable determination."
 
     
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER (DSO)
Rank: Flight Lieutenant
Unit: No. 85 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on: March 13th, 1945
Action: Citation:
"As pilot and observer respectively these officers have completed well over a hundred sorties and throughout have set an unsurpassed example of determination and devotion to duty. They have now destroyed 20 enemy aircraft at night, successes which are a fine tribute to their outstanding skill and courage. On a number of occasions their own aircraft has sustained damage during a fight with the enemy but each time Squadron Leader Burbridge has flown back to base and landed safely. One night early in January, 1945, was the occasion on which they shot down their twentieth enemy aircraft."
Details: Second DSO awarded as a bar for on the ribbon of the first DSO.
 
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Information source(s):   - Fourth Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 36640 published on the 1 August 1944
- Fourth Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 36788 published on the 7 November 1944
- Eight Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 36873 published on the 29 December 1944
- Fourth Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 36980 published on the 9 March 1945
- The Times - Obituaries
- Trinity Hall Cambridge
- Wikipedia
   
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