Gillam, Denys Edgar

Date of birth:
November 18th, 1915 (Teignmouth/Devonshire, Great Britain)
Date of death:
September 1991
Nationality:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)

Biography

Dennys Gillam obtained his flying licence in 1934 and joined the RAF the following year. In June 1938, Gillam received the AFC for flying food to Rathlin Island in very hazardous conditions in a Westland Wapiti.
During the Battle of Britain he served with No. 616 Sqn very successfully. On September 2nd, 1940 Gillam was shot down by a Bf110 but he was picked up though by Air Sea Rescue Launch off Dunkirk. March 1942 saw him forming the first Typhoon Wing at Duxford and subsequently taking command of 20 Sector 2nd TAF in April 1944. In October 1944 he led an attack on the German Staff Conference at Dordrecht which killed many of the senior staff of the 15th Army.
Gillam left the RAF late in 1945 but rejoined 616 Squadron as a Flight Lieutenant in the RAuxAF and became Director and Chairman of Homfray Carpets in Halifax and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire. He then returned to his farm with his second wife, the sister of Air Vice-Marshal Bird-Wilson.

Promotions:
April 16th, 1935: Acting Pilot Officer (probation)
April 16th, 1936: Pilot Officer
November 16th, 1937: Flying Officer
November 16th, 1939: Flight Lieutenant
December 1st, 1940: Temporary Squadron Leader
? Wing Commander
? Group Captain

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Flight Lieutenant
Unit:
No. 616 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
November 12th, 1940
Action:
Citation:
"This officer has been responsible for the destruction of seven enemy aircraft and probably of four more, and has damaged six. On one occasion during a combat with a large force of Messerschmitt 110's, he shot one down and his own aircraft caught fire. He descended by parachute and returned to his station in time to lead the next patrol.
On another occasion Flight Lieutenant Gillam shot down a Junkers 88 and landed within eleven minutes from the time he took off."
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Squadron Leader
Unit:
No. 615 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
October 21st, 1941
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Action:
Citation:
"Recently this officer's squadron has carried out 24 sorties against enemy shipping in which 11 ships were destroyed, 5 were left burning and 18 were damaged. Squadron Leader Gillam led the squadron on 10 of these missions and displayed outstanding courage and enthusiasm, taking every opportunity to seek and destroy enemy vessels."
Details:
Second DFC awarded a s a bar for on the ribbon of the first DFC.
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Squadron Leader
Unit:
No. 615 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
December 12th, 1941
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Action:
Citation:
"This officer has led the squadron with conspicuous success against enemy shipping which, escorted by armed ships, were passing through the Straits of Dover. He has participated in every attack and has displayed fine leadership and enterprise. Throughout, Squadron Leader Gillam has displayed great daring and he has set a magnificent example which has undoubtedly contributed materially to the notable successes achieved."
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Group Captain
Awarded on:
August 11th, 1944
Details:
Second DSO awarded as a bar for on the ribbon of the first DSO.
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Group Captain
Awarded on:
January 23rd, 1945
Action:
Citation:
"Since being awarded a bar to the D.S.O., Group Captain Gillam has completed more than 80 sorties, involving attacks on enemy troop and tank concentrations, ammunition stores, locomotives and other targets on the ground. Within recent weeks, he has led formations of aircraft against several important and heavily defended targets. These missions called for a high degree of skill and resolution and the success achieved is a splendid tribute to this officer's outstanding leadership and ability. He has set an example of a very high order."
Details:
Third DSO awarded as second bar for on the ribbon of the first DSO.
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Group Captain
Awarded on:
October 31st, 1947
Grootofficier in de Orde van Oranje Nassau (ON.2)

Sources