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Jim 'Black' Morton - 603 squadron

James Storrs Morton was born in Blackheath, London on 24th April 1916 and educated at St. Anselms Preparatory School, Bakewell, Derbyshire then Loretto School, Musselburgh and Pembroke College, Cambridge where he read Physics, Chemistry and Physiology.

Morton joined the University Air Squadron in February 1936 and after leaving Cambridge he transferred to the RAFVR in July 1938. He worked for the Fife Coal Company at Cowdenbeath as a trainee manager. In May 1939 he joined 603 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force.

Above image courtesy of and copyright the David Ross Collection.

Stapme Stapleton recalls of him:

He was nicknamed ‘Black’ Morton on account of his very dark complexion. He had to shave twice a day and still had his permanent 5 o'clock shadow. He was so dark and he stood out against the pale complexion of the redheads and there were plenty of those in Scotland!’ (p58, Ross, ‘RH’). However David Ross points out the real reason for his nickname was that whilst he was at school, there were two Mortons, one with blonde hair and Jim with his black hair. As Jim was the junior, he got the nickname.

Called to full-time service on 28th August 1939, Morton shared in the destruction of a He111 over the Firth of Forth on 16th October, the first enemy aircraft to be destroyed over British territory since 1918. Later the same day he shared another He111 and damaged a second.

For these actions Morton received a Mention in Despatches (gazetted 29th February 1940).

On 15th and 17th July Morton shared in the destruction of two He111s; on 28th August destroyed a Me109; on the 30th probably destroyed a Me110 and damaged another; on the 31st destroyed a Do17; on 2nd September destroyed a Me109; on the 5th damaged a Me109; on the 7th got a probable He111, a probable Me109 and damaged two others; on the 9th damaged a He111; on the 18th damaged a Me109; on the 28th got a probable Me109; and on the 30th he destroyed a Me109, shared another, probably destroyed a third and damaged a fourth.

Morton was himself shot down in combat with Me109s over Dover on 5th October and baled out, burned. His Spitfire, K9807, crashed near Chilham. Morton was admitted to hospital at RAF Hornchurch and did not return to duty until February 1941. He was then attached to Manchester University Air Squadron and in March moved to Sheffield University Air Squadron.

Morton was awarded the DFC (gazetted 29th April 1941).

In August 1941 he re-joined 603 Squadron and in October he was posted to 54 Squadron at Hornchurch as a Flight Commander.

He married Marguerite Campbell in January 1942 (former girlfriend of his deceased 603 squadron colleague, Ken MacDonald).

In August 1944 Morton was posted to the Army Staff College and in December he went to a staff job at HQ Fighter Command, remaining there until 8th November 1945 when he was released from the RAF as a Wing Commander.

In August 1946 Morton rejoined the Royal Auxilary Air Force and commanded 613 Squadron from its reformation on 1st November 1946 until March 1951.

Morton died in 1982.

Photos and text courtesy of Battle of Britain Monument website

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