Personnel Index - Detail
Flew 25 operations with 49Sqn.
This photograph of S/Ldr Cracknell (extreme right) and crew was taken at Fiskerton on 24-3-43 at the end of their tour.
Included (from right to left) are:
S/Ldr D.A. Cracknell (Pilot)
F/Lt M.D. Deloford (Nav)
Sgt W.J. Beesley (F/Eng)
Sgt W.C. White (B/A)
Sgt A.M. MacDiarmid (A/G)
Sgt H. Frost (A/G)
F/Sgt F.C Ball (W/Op)
Plus two 'A' Flt ground crew members.
In June 2014 Wing Commander Cracknell's medals were put up for sale.
The description of the awards and medals is given below (courtesy of www.neatemedals.co.uk)
Medal group of eight:
Distinguished Service Order, GVIR issue, Distinguished Flying Cross, GVIR issue with Second award Bar, 1939 - 1945 Star, Air Crew Europe Star with Bar: France and Germany, Africa Star, Defence Medal, 1939 - 1945 War Medal with Mention in Despatches Oakleaf Emblem (all unnamed as issued), Air Efficiency Award, GVIR issue.
D.S.O. LG: 6/2/1945. Acting Wing Commander Douglas Aubrey Cracknell, D.F.C., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 35 Squadron.
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.
D.F.C. LG: 14/5/1943. Acting Squadron Leader Douglas Aubrey Cracknell, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 49 Squadron
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.
Bar to D.F.C. LG: 23/10/1945. Wing Commander Douglas Aubrey Cracknell, D.S.O., D.F.C., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 7 Squadron.
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.
M.I.D. LG: 29/12/1944. Acting Wing Commander D. A. Cracknell, D.F.C., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Air Efficiency Medal was announced in the rank of Acting Sqn Ldr in Air Ministry Order No. N850/1943: the effective date of the award being 12th August 1943.
Douglas Aubrey Cracknell, born 9th December 1909, London, United Kingdom. Gained 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.
He died in London in 1979.