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Hugh 'Cocky' Dundas


Hugh Spencer Lisle Dundas, the son of a colliery director, was born at Doncaster on 22nd July 1920. He attended Aysgarth School in Yorkshire and Stowe School. After leaving he was a trainee solicitor.

He joined 616 Squadron AAF in May 1939 and had carried out some training before called to full-time service on 24th August 1939.


Early in his service with 616 he was christened 'Cocky' as his fellow pilots claimed that, at 6ft. 4ins. and a redhead, he resembled a cockerel.

Dundas was posted to 2 FTS Brize Norton from 616 Squadron on 10th October 1939. He began No. 41 Course but was transferred to the Advanced Training Squadron of No. 40 Course, which ended on 17th February 1940. He flew with 616 Squadron over Dunkirk in late May and early June 1940. On 3rd July he shared a Do17 over the North Sea and damaged one and on 15th August he shared two Ju88s east of Flamborough Head.

On the 22nd August Dundas was shot down in Spitfire I R6926 by Me109s over Dover. He baled out and was admitted to Kent and Canterbury Hospital with arm and leg wounds.

On 15th January 1941 Dundas damaged a Do17. On 8th May, in Spitfire IIa P7827, he was shot down by Oblt. Werner Mölders, his 68th victory. Dundas made a forced-landing at Hawkinge.


Dundas returned to the UK in September 1946 and retired from the RAF on 25th January 1947 as a Wing Commander, retaining the rank of Group Captain. He became Air Correspondent for the Daily Express. Dundas joined 601 Squadron (AAF) in 1946 and commanded the squadron from 1948 to 1950. He was Managing Director and later Chairman of Rediffusion, then Managing Director of the parent company BET. He was a council member of the RAF Benevolent Fund. He became a Deputy Lieutenant for Surrey in 1969, was made CBE (1977), knighted in 1987 and became High Sheriff of Surrey in 1989. Dundas died in 1995. He was the younger brother of JC Dundas, who was shot down and killed on 28th November 1940.



His portrait was made by Cuthbert Orde (above).

In 1988 he published an account of his war experiences, 'Flying Start'.

Dundas died on 10th July 1995.


Photos and text courtesy of Battle of Britain Monument website



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