Cracknell, Douglas Aubrey

Date of birth:
December 9th, 1909 (London)
Date of death:
1979 (London)
Service number:
72985
Nationality:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)

Biography

Douglas Cracknell gained his Aeroclub pilot certificate 13459 on the 3rd December 1935 at South Coast Flying Club, Shoreham. Profession given as Architect, Cracknell commenced commercial flying in 1936 with the Railway Air Services, British Airways and on private charter. He was also a flying instructor with Airports Ltd.

Post War, Chief Pilot, Britsh South American Airways (BSAA). Cracknell had logged nearly 6000 flying hours and flew well over 1 million miles.

Do you have more information about this person? Inform us!

Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Squadron Leader
Unit:
No. 49 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
May 14th, 1943
Citation:
"Since completing his first tour of operational duties, this officer has participated in a further 14 sorties. While in the Middle East, he completed a number of attacks on Greek and Italian objectives. All his allotted tasks have been performed in a most skilful and exemplary manner. Squadron leader Cracknell has displayed a marked determination to finish successfully any duty he may undertake. On more than one occasion, engine trouble has failed to prevent him from completing his mission and once when attacking Turin one engine failed before he had crossed the Alps. In spite of this, he continued, bombed the target, and flew the aircraft safely to base. Underterred by fighter attacks and ground defences this officer has displayed the highest courage and devotion to duty."
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Wing Commander
Awarded on:
January 1st, 1945
Mentioned in Despatches
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Wing Commander
Unit:
No. 35 (Madras Presidency) Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
February 16th, 1945
Recommendation:
"Total Hours flown 392, total number of sorties 60.

Wing Commander Cracknell was Captain of an aircraft detailed to attack Dusseldorf on the night of 2nd November 1944. His task was a vital one involving the dropping of target indicators. Long before the target, his aircraft was engaged by most accurate anti-aircraft fire and hit several times, but displaying great coolness and complete disregard of personal safety, this officer made a long and steady bombing run and thus enabled his bomb aimer to achieve the most precise results. The target was well hit as proved by the photograph he obtained.


Even after the bombs had gone and the photograph taken Wing Commander Cracknell's aircraft was still selected as the primary target for the defences and only his great coolness and fine airmanship can have prevented the aircraft from being lost; as it was he returned his damaged aircraft safely to base without further incident.

Wing Commander Cracknell is now carrying out his third tour of operations and has completed a total of sixty bombing attacks regardless of defences and by his fine record of many attacks successfully carried out, together with the thoroughness of his preparation for these attacks, he sets a fine example to the Squadron. In recognition of this Officer's fine record of service I strongly recommend him for the award of the Distighuished Service Order."
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Wing Commander
Unit:
No. 7 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
October 26th, 1945
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Citation:
"Wing Commander Cracknell has now completed 75 sorties and has commanded a very successful Pathfinder Squadron since the early days of January 1945. He has carried out in an exemplary manner, on 18 occasions, the duties of Master Bomber. His overriding confidence, calmness, determination and coolness of judgement have not only made him an outstanding Captain of aircraft, but also a Squadron Commander second to none.

The results of his Squadron can be attributed in no small measure to his excellence as a pilot and Captain in the air and to his discipline and organisation on the ground.I very strongly recommend that this Officer's contribution to the final defeat of Germany should be recognised by the non-immediate award of a first Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Second DFC awarded as a bar for on the ribbon of the first DFC.
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
With "FRANCE AND GERMANY" clasp.
Air Crew Europe Star
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Squadron Leader
Awarded on:
August 12th, 1943
Air Efficiency Award (AE)

Sources

  • - Third Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 36015 published on the 11 May 1943
    - Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 36866 published on the 29 December 1944
    - Fourth Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 36942 published on the 13 February 1945
    - Fourth Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 37324 published on the 23 October 1945
    - 49 Squadron Association : Home