BERRY, Ronald "Ras"  
 
PERSONALIA
 
Name:  Berry, Ronald "Ras"
Date of birth: May 3rd, 1917
Date of death:  August 13th, 2000
Nationality:  British
BIOGRAPHY: 
Service number 78538.

Ronald Berry learned to fly with the RAFVR in 1937 and was selected to fly Spitfires. He fought in the Battle of Britain with 603 Squadron. After a rest from operations and a period as a Fighter Controller in Scotland he was appointed C.O. of 81 Squadron which had just returned from training Russian pilots to fly their Hurricanes. Berry converted the squadron to Spitfires and joined the Hornchurch Wing with which he completed many sweeps including escort work during the Dieppe Raid. On November 8th 1942 he led 81 as the first Spitfire unit to land at Maison Blanche airfield at the start of Operation Torch. As the Allies gradually exerted control Berry was promoted to lead 322 Wing with five squadrons until victory was secured. In total he completed 412 Spitfire missions and was never shot down - an extraordinary feat. In the 50s he converted to bombers and commanded 543 Squadron flying Valiants as Bomber Command took on a nuclear deterrent role. Later he commanded RAF Wyton with Valiants and Canberras. For his peacetime service Ronald Berry received an OBE which was advanced to CBE. He retired in 1969 as Air Commodore.

Promotions:
1937: Sgt
December 1st, 1939: Pilot Officer (probation)
December 1st, 1940: Pilot Officer
December 1st, 1940: Flying Officer
December 1st, 1941: Flight Lieutenant (war sub)
December 1941:Acting Squadron Leader
September 23th, 1942: Acting Wing Commander
March 23th, 1943: Squadron Leader (war sub)
1945: Acting Group Captain
March 26th, 1946: Squadron Leader
July 1st, 1952: Wing Commander
July 1st, 1959: Group Captain
January 1st, 1966: Air Commodore.
     
DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS (DFC)
Rank: Pilot Officer
Unit: Royal Air Force
Awarded on: October 25th, 1940
Action: Citation:
"Pilot Officer Berry has personally destroyed six enemy aircraft, and assisted in the destruction of several others. Through innumerable engagements with the enemy he has shown the greatest gallantry and determination in pressing home his attacks at close range. The skill and dash with which this officer has led his section have done much to assure their successes.
 
     
DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS (DFC)
Rank: Squadron Leader
Unit: No. 81 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on: March 2nd, 1943
Details: Second DFC awarded as a bar for on the ribbon of the first DFC.
 
     
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER (DSO)
Rank: Wing Commander
Awarded on: June 1st, 1943
Action: Citation:
"In the campaign in North Africa, this officer participated in a large number of sorties and displayed great skill and leadership. In addition he has displayed excellent organising ability, which has contributed materially to the success of the wing he commands. Wing Commander Berry has destroyed 17 enemy aircraft."
 
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Information source(s):   - ROSS, D. e.a., The Greatest Squadron of them All Volume I Formation to the End of 1940, Grub Street, London, 200.
- SHORES, CH. & WILLIAMS, C., Aces High, Grub Street, London, 1994.
- The London Gazette Issue 34978 published on the 25 October 1940
- Second Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 35923 published on the 26 February 1943
- Fourth Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 36036 published on the 28 May 1943
- The Telegraph - Obituaries
   
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