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Al Wright

Allan Richard Wright was born in Teignmouth, Devon on 12th February 1920 and educated at St. Edmunds College. He entered the RAF College Cranwell in April 1938 as a Flight Cadet.

After the outbreak of war Cranwell cadets who had not completed their courses were enlisted in the regular RAF on 7th September 1939 as Airmen u/t Pilots and each given an Airman number.

After completing air gunnery and bombing training at B&GS West Freugh, Wright graduated on 23rd October 1939 with a permanent commission.

He arrived at 11 Group Pool St. Athan on the 24th, converted to Blenheims and was posted to 92 Squadron on the 27th. He joined it at Tangmere on the 30th October.

Although the squadron had recently reformed with Blenheim IV night fighters, it was re-equipped in early March 1940 with Spitfires at Croydon.

Wright was involved in heavy fighting throughout the retreat of British forces from France and the evacuation at Dunkirk and experienced significant successes. Wright destroyed a Me110, possibly another and damaged a third on 23rd May 1940; he got a possible He111 on the 24th and destroyed a Me109 on 2nd June.

92 Squadron was moved to Pembrey in 10 Group to rest but the successes continued. On 14th August Wright shared a He111; on the 29th he shot down a He111 at night over Bristol; on 11th September destroyed a He111 and probably a Me109; on the 14th damaged another, on the 15th probably destroyed a Me109; on the 19th got a probable Ju88 and on the 26th destroyed a Do17.

Wright was appointed 'B' Flight Commander on 27th September as an Acting Flight Lieutenant.

On this day he destroyed a Ju88, shared a He111 and damaged a Do17 and two Ju88s.

On the 30th September he shot down two Me109s but his Spitfire, X4069, was damaged in a later sortie by a Me109 off Brighton. Wright made a forced-landing at Shoreham, slightly wounded by cannon shell splinters in the thigh and was admitted to Southlands Hospital.

He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 22nd October 1940) and on 6th December he shot down a Me109 near Dover.

Allan Wright's success in the air continued long after the Battle of Britain. On 16th May 1941 he shared a Me109, on 17th and 25th June he probably destroyed two more and on the 26th shot down another. He was awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 15th July 1941) and posted away to 59 OTU Crosby-on-Eden to be OC 'B' Flight.

Above: he married in July 1942.

In October 1942 he was sent as one of a group of four experienced fighter pilots to train USAF squadrons about to be posted to the UK. This would prepare them for operations and to minimise the heavy casualties suffered by their predecessors.

After returning to the UK Wright went on a night fighter refresher course at 54 OTU Charter Hall in December. He was posted to 29 Squadron at West Malling in March 1943 as 'A' Flight Commander and he destroyed a Ju88 on 3rd April.

After a short spell as Fighter Tactics Officer at HQ 92 Group, Wright was appointed OC Demonstration Squadron at AFDU Wittering in November 1943 and took command of the unit in December.

He went to the Army Staff College Camberley in August 1944, was awarded the AFC (gazetted 1st September 1944) and in December he was appointed Wing Commander Single Engine Training at HQ 12 Group Watnall.

In February 1945 he was posted to Egypt, to command the Fighter Wing of the Advanced Bombing and Gunnery School at El Ballah. Wright stayed in the RAF postwar and held a number of fighter-related appointments including four years at the Air Ministry responsible for air defence planning. After converting to jet fighters he became Wing Commander Flying at Waterbeach near Cambridge with Hunter and Javelin squadrons under his command. After two years in the Far East and a further two at HQ Fighter Command he was appointed to command the Ballistic Missile Early Warning Station at Fylingdales, near Whitby.

He retired on 12th February 1967 as a Wing Commander, retaining the rank of Group Captain.

Wright moved to North Devon where he spent the next 10 years developing a smallholding and renovating a cottage.

He died on 16th September 2015.

Photo and text courtesy of Battle of Britain Monument website

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