The truly exceptional New Years Honours List 1946 Flying Instructor's Air Force Cross, and 1939 to 1940 Whitley bomber pilot's Distinguished Flying Medal group awarded to Squadron Leader G.A. Craig, Royal Air Force. A pre-war bomber pilot, on the outbreak of the war he was a Sergeant Pilot with 10 Squadron at Dishforth, and from September through to May 1940 flew operationally in Whitley bomber's participating in 18 hair raising earlie sorties and completing all but one. Initially a part of Air Plan No 14, the propaganda war, his first wartime sortie was to drop leaflets in a 'nickel' sortie on the port of Lubeck on the Baltic on 8th September 1939, his squadron's first sortie of the war. He followed this up by getting married the next day. Craig's most historically recognisable sortie was also his second, the first Bomber Command raid on Berlin that occurred on the night of 1st October 1939, another nickel raid, flown by four aircraft of 10 Squadron.
The one to Berlin was designed to strike at the heart of the German war machine, to prove that the German capital could become a target, and on this occasion the pamphlets were dropped giving the amount of the personal fortunes hidden away abroad by the Nazi leaders. The wartime HMSO publication 'Bomber Command' - pages 30-34 detailing the leaflet raids in a chapter titled 'White Bombs' records the following. 'Weather conditions that night were particularly severe. One aircraft arrived over the German capital at 22,500 feet (this was Craig's). The oxygen supply momentarily failed; two of the crew collapsed and part of the mechanism of the rear turret froze so that the air gunner could not open his door. The pilot carried on and the navigator went back to assist the two unconscious members of the crew. He dragged one twelve feet along the fuselage into the cabin and connected him with the oxygen supply. He then threw overboard two-thirds of the leaflets before collapsing in his turn. The pilot brought the aircraft down to 9,000 feet, and at this height it became possible to open the door of the rear turret. The air gunner climbed through to the assistance of the navigator, who, however, had already recovered and returned to duty. It may be noted that all the aircraft engaged in this operation left at three-minute intervals and returned at the same intervals, a remarkable feat of navigation and timing.'
More 'nickel' raids followed to Hannover, Hamburg, Bremen, and Oldenburg, followed by security raids to Borkum and Sylt before the grim winter of 1939 to 1940 set in. Operational flying did not resume till March, with a couple of 4 Group Training flights to the Ruhr proving extremely hazardous with intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire and searchlight fire. Craig's final round of operational sorties took in the Norwegian Campaign of April to May 1940 when he conducted a number of sorties against, Oslo Fornebu aerodrome, Oslo Fjord, and Keller aerodromes, often pressing onto his target in the face of intense flak and searchlight dazzle, and an one occasion only just making it home. His award of the Distinguished Flying Medal was presented to him in a personal ceremony by His Majesty King George VI during a visit to Dishforth Aerodrome on 5th July 1940.
As one of the most experienced operational bomber pilots by this stage in the war, Craig would spend the remainder of the war as a flying instructor with No.10 Operational Training Unit at Kinloss through to May 1942, and then with No.19 OTU at Kinloss through to the end of the war, training near operational crews in both Whitley and Wellington bombers. Commissioned in late 1941, he was made Unit Master Pilot of 19 OTU in August 1944, and Mentioned in Despatches in the New Years Honours List for January 1945, having most probably been put forward for the AFC. A Flight Leader with 19 OTU from March 1945, he was ultimately awarded the Air Force Cross in January 1946, he having amassed over 3000 flying hours!
Then pursuing a career in civil aviation, he was an Airport Manager at Prestwick Airport, and then from September 1947 was Aerodrome Commandant at Aberdeen Dyce Airport, becoming Airport Manager there in July 1948. He held a number of other postings, amongst them he was Aerodrome Commandant for the Ministry of Civil Aviation's Western Isles Group based at Stornoway Aerodrome, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, and having also held positions at Campbelltown in Argyll, Bristol, and been operations officer at Edinburgh, was in October 1969 posted from the National Air Traffic Control Services headquarters in London to Stansted Airport where Craig was the head of the Civil Aviation Flying Unit through to his retirement in September 1977. During his time spent working in civil aviation, Craig managed to continue to fly, and also held a Glider Pilot's licence. His last recorded flight whilst working officially in aviation was out of Stansted as a second pilot in a Hawker Siddeley HS.125 business jet in 1974.
Group of 6: Air Force Cross, GVI 1st type cypher, reverse dated 1946; Distinguished Flying Medal, GVI 1st type bust; (580069 SGT. G.A. CRAIG. R.A.F.); 1939-1945 Star; Air Crew Europe Star; Defence Medal; War Medal with Mention in Despatches Oakleaf. Court mounted for wear.
Condition: Nearly Extremely Fine.
Together with the following quantity of original documentation and ephemera:
Buckingham Palace Forwarding Letter for the Air Force Cross, issued to: 'Squadron Leader George A. Craig, A.F.C., D.F.M.'
Mention in Despatches Award Certificate, issued to Flight Lieutenant G.A. Craig, D.F.M., Royal Air Force, dated 1st January 1945. This together with forwarding envelope addressed to: 'Flight Lieutenant G.A. Craig A.F.C D.F.M., 35 Kensington Avenue, Loamhead, Midlothian'.
Air Council Campaign Medal Award Slip.
Flying Log Books:
Royal Air Force Pilot's Flying Log Book, inscribed on the cover: 'George Craig Sergeant Pilot, covering the period from 26th November 1935 through to 23rd December 1937.
Royal Air Force Pilot's Flying Log Book, inscribed on the cover: 'S/Ldr G.A. Craig', covering the period from 5th January 1938 through to 25th February 1942.
Royal Air Force Pilot's Flying Log Book, inscribed on the cover: 'S/Ldr G.A. Craig', covering the period from 26th February 1942 through to 11th Jun 1945, with additional on and off entries from October 1947 through to August 1974.
British Gliding Association Pilot's Log Book, issued to Craig of North Harrow, Middlesex, coveting the period from 4th October 1966 to 30th June 1967.
Certificates and letters / correspondence:
University of Oxford - Oxford Junior Local Examination Certificate of Examination in English, Geography, Arithmetic, Mathematics, and Physics. Issued to George Craig, who was examined at Dumfries in 1929.
Letter of recommendation from St Joseph's College, Dumfries, Scotland, concerning his attendance as a resident pupil from September 1926 to July 1932, and detailing his qualities, dated 2nd September 1932.
Air Ministry of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Certificate of Competency and Licence to Fly Private Flying Machines, issued to Craig, dated 3rd January 1936.
Air Ministry of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Pilot's Certificate and Licence for Public Transport or Aerial Work Flying Machines, issued to Craig, dated 3rd November 1938, with pass photo of recipient on the inside.
Air Ministry of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Aircraft Navigator's Certificate and Licence, issued to Craig, dated 3rd November 1938.
United Kingdom Ministry of Civil Aviation Private Pilot's Licence (Flying Machines), issued to Craig, dated 21st April 1943.
Royal Aero Club Gliding Certificate, issued to Craig, dated September 1966.
Royal Air Force Officer's Medical Record Card, issued to Craig, circa 1941.
Ministry of Civil Aviation Letter notifying Craig that with reference to his recent interview, he has been selected as suitable for appointment, addressed to him at 35 Kennington Avenue, Loanhead, Edinburgh, dated 16th August 1946.
Ministry of Civil Aviation Letter notifying Craig that on his appointment to Airport Manager Grade II he should report for training at Orangefield Hotel, Prestwick Airport, Prestwick, Ayrshire on 23rd September 1946, and after a period of one week there he is to proceed to Croydon Airport on 30th September, followed by Hurn Airport on 7th October, and then to Headquarters in London on 14th October 1946. Dated 12th September 1946.
Ministry of Civil Aviation Letter notifying Craig of his promotion, he being then on duty at Exeter Aerodrome, Honiton Clyst, Exeter, Devon, he is congratulated on his impending promotion to Aerodrome Commandant, and as the letter reads: 'On the precept of ‰ÛÏScotland for the Scotts‰Û, we shall probably be putting you to Aberdeen or Inverness. Would you please let my know which of these two you would prefer.' Dated 4th September 1947.
Ministry of Civil Aviation Letter notifying Craig of his posting to Aberdeen (Dyce) Airport on promotion to Aerodrome Commandant Grade III, dated 3rd October 1947.
British Red Cross Society First Aid Qualification Certificate, issued to Craig, dated 30th June 1948.
Civil Service Commission letter notifying Craig that his Certificate of Qualification for the post of Airport Manager in the Ministry of Civil Aviation has been granted, dated 15th July 1948.
Ministry of Civil Aviation letter issued him a certificate of qualification in the grade of Airport Manager is to be issued, dated 20th July 1948.
Ministry of Civil Aviation letter approving his appointment as Airport Manager, dated 29th October 1949.
Ministry of Civil Aviation letter of congratulations on winning the Divisional Fire Drill Competition, sent to Craig, addressed to him as the Aerodrome Commandant, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Western Isles Group, Stornoway Aerodrome, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis. Dated 25th October 1950. Another similar letter, dated 27th October 1950.
Official copy of a Letter of thanks from Coastal Command to Air Commodore Murray reference a Preliminary Survey of Airfields. In the letter, special appreciation is requested to be passed to Craig for his services as Airport Commandant, Western Isles. Air Commodore Murray was the head of the Scottish Divisional Headquarters of the Ministry of Aviation. Dated 25th September 1951. Together with a letter forwarding the copy directly to Craig, this sent by Air Commodore Murray, dated 28th September 1951.
Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation Letter of Authority to fly in CAFU aircraft, issue to Craig, dated 25th September 1957.
Invitation Card to attend the Sixth Air Navigation Conference Delegrate's Cocktail party, to be held on 15th April 1969 at Montreal, Canada.
Board of Trade Authority to Fly as Passenger in Aircraft of the Civil Aviation Flying Unit, issued to Craig, valid through to 30th September 1971, dated 12th September 1969.
Letter to Craig from a G.W. Stallibrass of the National Air Traffic Control Services, thanking him for his work at the Air Traffic Control Services headquarters in London, he having now moved on to Stansted Airport where Craig had been appointed head of the Civil Aviation Flying Unit. Dated 6th October 1969.
Civil Aviation Authority Letter of Thanks on his retirement, dated 30th September 1977, sent to Craig, addressed 41 Central Avenue, Pinner, Middlesex.
Ephemera and photographs:
Propaganda leaflet titled 'Wolkiger Beobachter' (Cloud Observer), as dropped by the Royal Air Force onto German occupied countries. One copy of the run printed '1. Jahrgang Nr.1' and printed in 1939. This is the very first of the 'Wolkiger Beobachter' propaganda leaflets dropped. One of a print run of 495,000 of these leaflets that were dropped by Bomber Command over Hamburg and Bremen by Bomber Command on the night of 20th November 1939, and over Frankfurt and Stuttgart on the night of 21st November 1939. This now bearing fold creases, overall fair condition.
Five original copies of the Propaganda leaflet titled 'Wolkiger Beobachter' (Cloud Observer), as dropped by the Royal Air Force onto Germany and occupied countries, print run '1. Jahrgang Nr.7' and printed in 1940. One of a print run of 2,209,000 of these leaflets that were dropped by Bomber Command in air raids on the night of 29th February to 1st March 1940 and on the night of 6th to 7th April 1940. Slight creasing overall fair condition.
Propaganda leaflet titled 'Wolkiger Beobachter' (Cloud Observer), as intended to be dropped by the Royal Air Force onto Germany and occupied countries. One copy of the run printed '1. Jahrgang Nr.7/A' and printed in 1940 but never in fact used. This now bearing fold creases and some tears.
Five original copies of the Propaganda leaflet titled 'Der FÌ_hrer spricht' 'The FÌ_hrer Speaks' One of a print run of nearly 3,000,000 of these leaflets that were dropped over Germany by Bomber Command and also by balloon. They were first dropped by aircraft on the night of 10th/11th November 1939 and last dropped on the night of 12th/13th March 1940.
Five original copies of the Propaganda leaflet titled 'Hamburg - das 'for zur Welt'' HAMBURG - the "GATE OF THE WORLD"? One of a print run of 360,000 of these leaflets that were dropped over Hamburg by Bomber Command on the night of 4th/5th January 1940.
Five original copies of the Propaganda leaflet titled 'VELKÌ BRITANIE ESKÌäMU NÌ RODU' 'GREATBRITAINTOTHECZECHPEOPLE' One of a print run of nearly 630,000 of these leaflets that were dropped over Prague in Czechoslovakia by Bomber Command on the night of 4th/5th January 1940. by Bomber Command and also by balloon. They were first dropped by aircraft on the night of 12th/13th January 1940 (324,000) and on the night of 23rd/24th February 1940 (306,000).
A King's Crown Squadron embroidered blazer jacket for 10 Squadron. The reverse inscribed in ink 'Sgt. Craig'.
Whitley Operational Training Manual - For Official Use Only, Copy No. 921, published in 1941.
Wartime HMSO publication 'Bomber Command' - pages 30-34 detail the 'White Bombs' - the Leaflet Raids, with some additional handwritten notes inserted by Craig.
Pilot's Notes for Chipmunk T10. Small booklet prepared by direction of the Minister of Supply.
The Aeroplane Magazine for 9th December 1949, page 796 details Craig as Commandant of the Western Isles Airport. Article titled: 'Stornoway Developments'. Together with another copy of the magazine from the same date.
British Gliding Association Booklet titled: 'Laws and Rules for glider pilots', second edition, published 1964, covered inscribed: 'G. Craig'.
A large format panoramic group photograph of the aircrew of No.10 Bomber Squadron taken at Dishforth in September 1938. Craig identified front row sixth from left.
Photograph of the recipient taken circa 1948 to 1949 whilst on holiday on Stornoway in the Western Isles of Scotland.
An album of photographs - some bearing the Flight Magazine stamp on the reverse mostly of aircraft, some aerial shots possibly taken from Craig's aircraft, many showing Whitley's of No.10 Bomber Squadron. An excellent photograph of Craig being presented with his award of the Distinguished Flying Medal by King George VI - this being stamped by the News Chronicle, another is card mounted of the same event - showing The King actually in the process of pinning it on - the brief write up below states that the event occurred during 'The King's Visit to Bomber Stations on July 19: (19th July 1940) His Majesty Decorating Sergt. G.A. Craig with the D.F.M.' Another photograph shows the Craig and other aircraft standing in front of a Whitley, this being taken in October 1939 after the first raid over Berlin. A couple of group shots, both of which has Craig identified. A group photograph of 10 Squadron aircrew in 1936. There is another of the RAF School of Administration and Accountancy No.109 Intermediate Course No.1 Syndicate 27th June 1945 to 25th July 1945, with Craig identified, he being then a Squadron Leader, front row third from left. A couple of images of a crashed Whitley that occurred on 1st October 1939. A newspaper cuttings titled 'Enemy Couldn't Stop Him' detailing his presentation of the award earned for pressing home his attack despite heavy opposition on Oslo Aerodrome, this cutting dated 20th July 1940. Photograph of the recipient in flying gear taken in 1936. A couple personal shots of the investiture of his DFM. 37 photographs in all.
The Royal Air Force Magazine 'Air Clues', Volume 29 No.3 for March 1975, page 86 contains an article on No.10 Squadron, and mentions the fact that on the night of 2nd October three of No.10's Whitley's became the first RAF aircraft to fly over Germany in wartime when they carried out a leaflet raid on the German capital in very adverse weather conditions. Craig has personally annotated the names of the three pilot's, he being one of them.
Also a small selection of original documentations relating to the recipient's father, Sergeant William Craig, Royal Marines, who saw service during the Great War, and was aboard the light cruiser Glasgow in the Adriatic when he died of pneumonia on 19th October 1918.
1) Parchment Certificate of Service in the Royal Marines, issued to William Craig.
2) Photo card of the warship Latona, as sent to by William Craig to his sweetheart, Esther, nee Henderson, they subsequently married. Posted dated 4th July 1907.
3) William Craig's final letter to his wife, dated 30th September 1918 (he died on 19th October 1918) and sent from him whilst serving aboard the light cruiser Glasgow in the Adriatic Sea.
4) Admiralty Letter notifying his widow that he died from pneumonia on 19th October 1918 whilst serving aboard Glasgow. Sent to his widow, Esther Craig, at 10 Camden Street, Forton Road, Gosport. Dated 21st October 1918.
5) Duplicate Certificate of the Inspector of Seamen's Wills, issued in the name of the widow, Esther Craig, of 10 Camden Street, Gosport, dated 26th November 1920, her husband having died 'intestate' on 19th October 1918.
War Saving's Association Card, print date for June 1916, issued in the name of War Savings Association of St Margaret's Road Congregation Loanhead with numerous sixpence savings stamps, these bearing the swastika symbol for good luck.
George Alexander Craig was born on 23rd August 1914, the son of William and Esther Craig of Gosport, Hampshire, his father was serving in the Royal Marines, and died of pneumonia on 19th October 1918 whilst serving aboard the light cruiser Glasgow in the Adriatic.
Craig, who was of Scottish heritage, then returned with his widowed mother to Scotland and was educated at Saint Joseph's College in Dumfries from September 1926 to July 1932, gaining a Oxford Junior Local Examination Certificate of Examination in English, Geography, Arithmetic, Mathematics, and Physics in 1929. His old headmaster wrote of him in September 1932, 'he is much above average intelligence and has always proved himself a methodical and diligent student'. Craig had gained the Leaving Certificate of The Scottish Education Department, and had also been a member of the school's Rugby XV.
Craig had decided to follow a career in the Royal Air Force, and having enlisted as an Aircraftman 2nd Class (No.580069) was selected for pilot training, and posted to Brough Civil Flying School in November 1935, his address being then given as Lodge Farm, Skillings Lane, Brough, East Yorkshire. Craig underwent his initial flying training in Avro Tutor aircaft, and gained his Air Ministry Pilot's Certificate of Competency No.8846 on 3rd January 1936. Posted to No.10 Flying Training School at Ternhill in February 1936, he then learned to fly the Hawker Hart, and flew his first solo on type on 27th February 1936 as part of 'B' Flight. On 22nd April 1836 he underwent his Central Flying Instructor's test and passed. Craig then immediately progressed to the Advanced Training Squadron at Ternhill, progressing onto the Audax aircraft with 'D' Flight. As of 7th August 1936 he was rated as an 'average' pilot, and had gained his Pilot's Licence.
Craig was promoted to Sergeant Pilot and posted operational to join No.10 Squadron at Boscombe Down, as a member of 'A' Flight from late August 1936, flying the Handley Page Heyford twin-engined biplane Bomber, the last biplane heavy bomber to serve with the Royal Air Force. He initially held the position of second pilot, but by the middle of September was flying the aircraft himself, officially qualifying as a first pilot on 4th December 1936. In January 1937, No.10 Squadron moved to Dishforth as part of the newly formed No.4 Group of RAF Bomber Command, and in May 1937 converted to the monoplane Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bomber. By July 1937 Craig was flying with 'B' Flight, and from early 1938 with 'A' Flight. By August 1938 his monthly assessment was rated as an 'above the average' heavy bomber pilot and navigator. During the years leading up to the outbreak of the war, Craig was mostly employed on local flights, sometimes ferrying aircraft, other times practice bombing. As of 1939 there is an indication that the war was considered imminent, and on 18th April he flew a survey of the Middlesborough blackout. With the development of his aircraft, as of that same month he qualified on the Whitley IV. Then on the 18th May he flew in the wing formation over the northern route for the Empire Air Day.
The Second World War officially began on 3rd September 1939. 10 Squadron which had recently returned from a posting in Scotland as part of the annual bombing and gunnery training camp at Evanton on the Moray Firth, was still a part of No.4 Group, and would remain as such throughout the war, operating from Dishforth to the east of Ripon and north east of Harrogate in North Yorkshire. 10 Squadron now found itself a part of Air Plan No 14, the propaganda war.
In addition to attacking the German Fleet when and where it could be found, the heavy bombers were also given another task, that of dropping leaflets over Germany. Leaflets were part of the Government's propaganda campaign and were used from the very outset of the war. The first leaflet raid was made on the night of 3rd/4th September, when the conflict was not yet 12 hours old, and seven such raids took place on the first seven nights of the war. These preliminary raids were in the nature of an experiment, but by 16th September it was decided, in the light of experience gained, that they were a success and that the leaflet campaign should be carried on.
The justification for such a policy was twofold. Apart from the value in themselves of the pamphlets which were dropped, the first was a statement by the late Mr. Chamberlain, Prime Minister as he then was, setting forth the reasons why the British and French Empires were at war with Germany, the value to the Royal Air Force was very great. In the first place information about all kinds of objectives which might at any moment become the object of attack was obtained; crews were able to become familiar with the whereabouts of aerodromes, factories, power stations, roads and railways in conditions very similar to those in which they were subsequently bombed. This information, combined with that obtained by the Advanced Air Striking Force in its reconnaissances over the western part of Germany, enabled a very complete picture to be built up for future use. Secondly, such raids proved of great importance in the training of air crews. They were carried out at night; they were carried out in all weathers; they lasted anything between six and twelve hours. As tests for navigation and endurance they had no equal.
The bombers were not technically equipped to drop leaflets and they had to be dropped by hand through the flare-chute which was specially adapted for the purpose. The leaflets were packed in bundles secured by a piece of string which is cut before the bundle was pushed over board, and once it entered the slipstream the leaflets were scattered far and wide.
No.10 Squadron's first operational sortie of the war was on one of these leaflet raids on the night of 8th September 1939, and Craig flew as first pilot, in and aircraft with a Flying Officer Parkin as his second pilot and navigator. By now Craig was an extremely experienced peacetime bomber pilot, with over 820 flying hours to his total. This first sortie on the night of 8th to 9th September 1939 would last 6 hours and 20 minutes, 3 hours being solely on instruments in cloud, the target being the port of Lubeck on the Baltic, which they found successfully and canvassed.
The very next day, the 9th September 1939, Craig got married, but was back flying again from 13th September. On the night of 1st October however Craig would go into history as one of the very first aircrew to fly a sortie to Berlin, once again with Parkin as second pilot / navigator and the crew. In all during September 14 leaflet or 'nickel' raids had been completed by Bomber Command, the second for Craig, and the first to Berlin however was designed to strike at the heart of the German war machine. It was on that occasion that pamphlets were dropped giving the amount of the personal fortunes hidden away abroad by the Nazi leaders. The wartime HMSO publication 'Bomber Command' - pages 30-34 detailing the leaflet raids in a chapter titled 'White Bombs' records the following. 'Weather conditions that night were particularly severe. One aircraft arrived over the German capital at 22,500 feet (this was Craig's). The oxygen supply momentarily failed; two of the crew collapsed and part of the mechanism of the rear turret froze so that the air gunner could not open his door. The pilot carried on and the navigator went back to assist the two unconscious members of the crew. He dragged one twelve feet along the fuselage into the cabin and connected him with the oxygen supply. He then threw overboard two-thirds of the leaflets before collapsing in his turn. The pilot brought the aircraft down to 9,000 feet, and at this height it became possible to open the door of the rear turret. The air gunner climbed through to the assistance of the navigator, who, however, had already recovered and returned to duty. It may be noted that all the aircraft engaged in this operation left at three-minute intervals and returned at the same intervals, a remarkable feat of navigation and timing.'
In all four aircraft had taken part in the sortie to Berlin, all from 10 Squadron, and three had made it to the target, these being flown by Wing Commander W. Staton, Sergeant G.A. Craig, and Flight Sergeant A.S. Johnson. The aircraft which did not complete the sortie was that piloted by Pilot Officer Alsop, which dropped its leaflets over Denmark and was then lost over the North Sea on the return journey. Amongst Craig's archive of ephemera is the wartime HMSO publication 'Bomber Command' - with pages 30-34 detailing the leaflet raids in a chapter titled 'White Bombs'. Additional handwritten notes inserted by Craig in the book give an idea as to his personal experiences of this difficult sortie in which his 'aircraft arrived over the German capital at 22,500 feet' and the oxygen then failed. He notes that his Air Speed Indicator froze, along with the Blind Flying Panel. The Altimeter froze at 20,000 feet - with the oil sticking. The aircraft ran out of oxygen, and Parkin as the navigator passed out. The aircraft had needed to ascend to 24,000 feet to get over the weather, and this caused the equipment to freeze, but it had cleared as they neared the target, and everything was ok after they had descended to 10,000 feet. The sortie lasted 9 hours of which 5 hours was flown on instruments in cloud.
On the 15th October Craig took part in a leaflet dropping sortie to Hamburg, of 4 hours 50 minutes duration, 3 hours were flown in cloud. On 24th October he flew in a leaflet dropping sortie to Hanover, and on 31st October he flew a reconnaissance sortie of Hamburg, Bremen, Oldenburg, landing at Driffield on his return before flying back to Dishforth. On the 22nd November Craig flew to Kinloss, and flew back to base on the 28th November, and he has subsequently annotated that this was the 'Deutschland Search'. In fact back on the 15th November the German heavy cruiser Deutschland had been recalled and passed from the North Atlantic through the Denmark Strait, and arrived back in a safe Baltic port on the 17th November. The Deutschland was to be renamed Lutzow in January 1940, both to confuse enemy intelligence and to avoid the potential damage to national pride that would occur if a ship bearing the name of the country were to be sunk in action.
On the 6th December whilst still with the same crew Craig flew another 'nickel raid' on Hamburg. In mid-December the Whitley crews of 10 Squadron were tasked to carry out security patrols at night over the seaplane bases of northern Germany, and the first of these that Craig participated in was to Borkum on the 17th December, with another to both Borkum and Sylt on the 31st December. The dreadful winter of 1930 to 1940 however seriously curtailed operations, with Dishforth being covered in ice and snow - and was later to become water-logged as the thaw set in.
In February 1940 new instructions came from Bomber Command tasking the Whitley squadrons to carry out reconnaissance sorties against the German transport system, and on 3rd March Craig together with his usual crew flew one of these as ordered, it lasted a duration of 5 hours. On 16th March he flew a reconnaissance mission of the Ruhr, and landed in France at Villeneuve, before flying on back to base. This was detailed as a No.4 Group Training Flight, and during the trip intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire was encountered, but no damage was sustained to Craig's aircraft. A very useful reconnaissance was carried out in the face of intense searchlight activity which caused considerable difficulties in making pinpoint observations.
Then on the 19th March he flew a bombing sortie to Hornum airfield at Sylt, dropping all bombs on target, but having to take evasive action owing to terrific fire from the light anti-aircraft guns. His aircraft suffered wireless failure during the sortie. On the 22nd March he flew in another No.4 Group Training Flight, a recce of the Ruhr and returning via Villeneuve. This was a successful reconnaissance that was carried out despite severe weather conditions and terrific anti-aircraft fire. The searchlights were also very intense. In spite of engine trouble which necessitated Craig having to keep close to the frontier in the event of a forced landing, the aircraft eventually landed at ÛÏSister the code name for Villeneuve, and made its way back after a sortie of 9 hours and 15 minutes.
With the German invasion of Norway, Craig then found his attentions diverted there, and on 15th April attempted to fly a sortie to Stavangar, but had to return early owing to faulty intercom's. On 18th April however he took part in a reconnaissance and bombing sortie to Oslo Aerodrome and shipping in the fjord there. These were however cloud covered and he began his return journey without having dropped his bombs, but had to then jettison them over the sea when the starboard engine cut out. Despite the fact that severe icing had prevented his aircraft from climbing out of the anti-aircraft fire, he eventually successfully landed at Leuchars before flying onto base after a 9 hour sortie.
On 23rd April he flew a sortie to bomb shipping in Oslo Fjord, and also Forneby and Kjella Aerodromes. During a 9 hour and 40 minute sortie he succssfully attacked the aerodrome at Forneby though no results were seen owing to anti-aircraft activity and searchlight dazzle. Two fires were later seen in the centre of the aerodrome and the report stated that these were most probably caused by bombs from Craig’s aircraft. Owing to unfavourable weather conditions at base he had to divert to Kinloss on his return. On 30th April he flew another sortie to Forneby Aerodrome the target being successfully attacked but the results could not be pinpointed and he again bought his aircraft safely back despite a heavy concentration of anti-aircraft fire. On the 15th May he flew his first actual bombing mission to Germany being detailed to bomb the oil plants and marshalling yards but the specific target could not be found and in accordance with instructions given prior to take off he instead opted to attack a military target this being a convoy of thirty vehicles about twenty miles south west of Dusseldorf though the identification of the target was made difficult owing to ground haze. Craig's final operational sortie was made to Bremen on 17th May 1940 when he was detailed to bomb the oil refinery there with a mixture of high explosives and incendiaries. These were seen to cause a considerable fire and despite heavy and light anti-aircraft fire and numerous searchlights he once again brought his aircraft safely back. Craig had taken part in 18 operational sorties and completed all but one and his tour was now over he being immediately attacked to No.78 Squadron another Whitley unit base at Linton-on-Ouse in North Yorkshire. It is unclear what his exact role was with 78 Squadron though he flew in numerous local flights as a pilot with various crews and it is probable that his experience was being used to pass on to the crews as few pilots of Whitley's had successfully completed the number of operational sorties that Craig had managed to notch up by this stage. 78 Squadron was posted to Craig's old airfield at Dishforth in July 1940 and it was here on 19th July 1940 during the King's visit to Bomber Stations that he was personally decorated with the Distinguished Flying Medal. On this day King George VI made a hundred mile tour of stations of a Bomber Command Training Group visiting five aerodromes where he saw every type of bomber in use and he took the time to decorate two Flight Lieutenant's and two Sergeant's one of whom was Craig 'for gallantry when piloting a Whitley' as newspapers reported the photograph of Craig being presented with his award are relatively well know. Up to this stage in the war only a very small number of Distinguished Flying Medal's had been given out. The original recommendation made for his award had occurred on 12th March 1940 but this was clearly unsuccessful and it does not survive however the surviving recommendation makes note of this having been the case and adds 'In addition to the particulars submitted under the pro forma dated 12th March 1940.
8 (eight) further missions have been performed as follows:- 'On 16th March 1940 Sgt. Craig was detailed to processed on a No.4 Group training flight down the Ruhr and during the trip intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire was encountered but no damage was sustained. There was intense searchlight activity which caused considerable difficulties in making pin-point observations. A very useful reconnaissance was carried out. On 19th March 1940 the operation detailed was the night bombing of Hornum (Sylt). The machine dropped all its bombs on the target but was unable to note the results as the captain had to take evasive action to avoid the terrific fire from the light anti-aircraft guns. Despite a W/T failure the aircraft returned safely to base. On 22nd March 1940 the mission set was also a No.4 Group training flight. A completely successful reconnaissance was carried out despite severe weather conditions and terrific anti-aircraft fire. The latter and searchlights was very intense. In spite of engine troubles which necessitated the captain keeping very close to the frontier in the event of a forced landing the aircraft eventually safely landed at Sister. On 18th April 1940 the mission was the bombing of Oslo aerodrome and shipping in the fjord. These were cloud covered and the aircraft had to start the return journey without dropping its bombs. Later these had to be jettisoned as a result of the starboard engine cutting out. Despite the fact that severe icing-up prevented the machine climbing out of the anti-aircraft fire it was eventually safely landed at Leuchars. On 23rd April 1940 the missing was the bombing of shipping in Oslo Fjord Fornebu and Keller aerodromes. The aerodrome at Fornebu was successfully attacked. No results were seen owing to A.A. activity and searchlight dazzle. Two fires were later seen in the centre of the aerodrome and were probably caused by the bombs dropped from this aircraft. Owing to unfavourable weather conditions at base the Captain safely landed at Kinloss.
On 30th April 1940 the mission was the bombing of Fornebu aerodrome. The targets were successfully attacked but the results could not be pin-pointed. Despite a heavy concentration of A.A. fire the Captain again safely brought his machine back to base. On 15th May 1940 this Captain was detailed to bomb the oil plants or marshalling yards in the Ruhr. The target could not be found but in accordance with instructions given prior to take-off Sergeant Craig attacked a military target - a convoy of thirty vehicles about twenty miles south west of Dusselfdorf. Identification of target was difficult owing to a ground haze. On 17th May 1940 the mission was the bombing of the oil refinery at Bremen. The target was successfully bombed with high explosive and incendiaries. These were seen to make a considerable fire. Despite heavy and light A.A fire and numerous searchlights this Captain once more safely brought his machine back to base.' Craig's award of the Distinguished Flying Medal was announced in the London Gazette for 9th July 1940 and the following day he received a personal telegram from the commander-in-chief of Bomber Command Air Marshall Portal. In July 1940 Craig was posted to No.10 Operational Training Unit as a member of 'E' Flight. This OTU was a part of No.8 Group and based at Abingdon training night bomber crews. Craig was employed as such training new crews on Whitley aircraft and by 1941 was serving with 'A' Flight of the same unit he having been promoted to Flight Sergeant. From June 1941 he was with 'C' Flight and remained as such into 1942. Craig was granted a wartime emergency commission as a Pilot Officer (No.47605) into the General Duties Branch on 11th December 1941. Posted to No.1652 Conversion Unit he conducted an air test in a Halifax on 22nd March 1942 and then returned to 10 OTU with 'C' Flight and in May 1942 transferred to No.19 Operational Training Unit at Kinloss once again readying night bomber crews for active service as part of 'A' Flight and continuing to fly in Whitley's. Attached to the Central Flying School from mid July 1942 he flew in Oxford's and in August joined the Beam Approach Training Course at No.7 Flying Instructor's School he being rated at the end of the course as 'above average' as a beam approach pilot. Craig then returned to Kinloss to continue his work with 19 OTU and was promoted to Flying Officer on 1st October 1942 being around them posted to ‘A' Flight. Craig was promoted to Flight Lieutenant on 11th December 1943. In August 1944 Craig was still with the unit in 'A' Flight when he was appointed Unit Master Pilot and it was at this time that 19 OTU converted to Wellington aircraft. Craig who was probably first recommended for an Air Force Cross was however Mentioned in Despatches for gallant and distinguished services in the London Gazette for 1st January 1945 and having remained as the Unit Master Pilot till March 1945 when he was given command of a Flight he having been appointed to acting Squadron Leader and he had his last flight with the unit in a Wellington on 11th June 1945 by which time he had amassed 3059 flying hours! It was for his work with 19 Operational Training Unit that Craig was eventually successfully recommended for the award of the Air Force Cross the award recommendation reading as follows: 'Squadron Leader Craig was posted to this unit in May 1942. In August 1944 he was appointed Unit Master Pilot holding this important position until March 1945 when he was given command of a Flight. In both these appointments he has shown great efficiency and has fostered a fine spirit of keenness and enthusiasm for instructional flying amongst the junior instructors.' Craig's award of the Air Force Cross was published in the London Gazette for 1st January 1946. Craig appears to have then immediately resigned his commission and joined the Ministry of Civil Aviation he being appointed an Airport Manager 2nd Grade on 23rd September 1946 on his being appointed to Prestwick Airport and then from 22nd September 1947 he held the position of Aerodrome Commandant at Aberdeen Dyce Airport becoming Airport Manager there on 15th July 1948. He held a number of other postings amongst them he was Aerodrome Commandant for the Ministry of Civil Aviation's Western Isles Group based at Stornoway Aerodrome Stornoway Isle of Lewis and having also held positions at Campbelltown in Argyll Bristol and been operations officer at Edinburgh was in October 1969 was posted from the National Air Traffic Control Services headquarters in London to Stansted Airport where Craig had been appointed head of the Civil Aviation Flying Unit. Craig retired from work at Stansted in September 1977 and latterly lived in Pinner Middlesex. During his time spent working in civil aviation Craig managed to continue to fly and also held a Glider Pilot's licence. His last recorded flight whilst working officially in aviation was out of Stansted as a second pilot in a Hawker Siddeley HS.125 business jet. Craig who had spent a remarkable 42 years in military and civil aviation died in Loanhead Midlothian on 10th June 1996." The truly exceptional New Years Honours List 1946 Flying Instructor's Air Force Cross, and 1939 to 1940 Whitley bomber pilot's Distinguished Flying Medal group awarded to Squadron Leader G.A. Craig, Royal Air Force. A pre-war bomber pilot, on the outbreak of the war he was a Sergeant Pilot with 10 Squadron at Dishforth, and from September through to May 1940 flew operationally in Whitley bomber's participating in 18 hair raising earlier sorties and completing all but one.