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This page is part of my effort to remember my great-uncle, David Crooks. Originally this page was on another site but that site is closing down. I hope that this information is educational.


Flight Lieutenant David Alexander Cummings Crooks, DFC
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Brief Biography

David Crooks was my great-uncle, my maternal grandmother's brother. He was a pilot in the RAF and was killed during World War II. This page is my small act of remembrance for him.
David joined the RAF in 1938. In May 1940 he was flying a Fairey Battle bomber for 226 Squadron in France. The Battle's performance was massively inferior to that of the German fighters of the day and the Battles suffered severe losses. Despite those losses David was willing to accept the risks necessary to try and slow the German advance. On May 28, 1940 "...Pilot Officer Crooks carried out an extensive reconnaissance of the Amiens-Albert road with great determination and gallantry. At a low altitude and under heavy fire from the ground, he bombed a large convoy of enemy armoured vehicles, obtaining direct hits with his bombs. Although his aircraft was hit by heavy pom-pom fire he succeeded in reaching his base." For this action David was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).
At some point he transferred to 263 Squadron, a fighter squadron that had been almost obliterated in the German attack on Norway. With 263 Squadron, David flew a Westland Whirlwind.
On April 1, 1941, he and his squadron leader flew a mission to attack a bomber. On his attack pass, he was apparently hit by return fire from the bomber, and his plane crashed, killing him. He is buried in Row 1, Grave 1 of the war graves in St.Illogan Churchyard, Illogan, Cornwall, England.





David's entry in the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.
David's name is in the Book of Remembrance in the Peace Tower.
Recently (in 2013) my parents found this video on YouTube which tells the story (as much as is known) about all the servicemen and woman buried in the War Graves at St. Illogan.
On July 10, 2012 I visited David's grave site, along with my mother, father, wife, and daughter.



The web site of the Air Force Association of Canada has the following information on David:
CROOKS, P/O David Alexander Cummings (40678) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.226 Squadron - awarded as per London Gazette 25 June 1940. Born in Toronto, 17 January 1913; educated Upper Canada College and University of Toronto. Appointed Acting Pilot Officer on Probation, 7 May 1938. Killed in action 1 April 1941 with No.263 Squadron (Whirlwinds). Specifically listed in AFRO 1292/41 dated 7 November 1941 as a Canadian in the RAF who had been decorated as of that date. Air Ministry Bulletin 941 refers. Cited with Sergeant Thomas Clifford Davies and LAC William Reginald John Green (both awarded DFM). The following from Public Records Office Air 2/4097 (Advanced Air Striking Force Operations, 1940):
During a day in May 1940, Pilot Officer Crooks carried out an extensive reconnaissance of the Amiens-Albert road with great determination and gallantry. At a low altitude and under heavy fire from the ground, he bombed a large convoy of enemy armoured vehicles, obtaining direct hits with his bombs. Although his aircraft was hit by heavy pom-pom fire he succeeded in reaching his base. Sergeant Davies, an air observer, has been a member of Pilot Officer Crooks' crew on all missions, and has used his gun most effectively during low flying bombing attacks on convoys. He has also shown exceptional navigational ability under difficult conditions by day and night. As Wireless Operator/Air Gunner in Pilot Officer Crooks' aircraft, Leading Aircraftman Green has displayed considerable gallantry in attacking ground targets from a low altitude with his rear gun. Pilot Officer Crooks and his crew have shown initiative and exceptional devotion to duty in many missions undertaken by night and under adverse weather conditions. They have pressed home their attacks invariably from low altitudes, in spite of enemy opposition from the ground and from the air.
(http://airforce.ca/awards.php?keyword=&page=13&type=rafww2 Retrieved in November 2013.

The Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) " ... is awarded to officers and Warrant Officers for an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty performed whilst flying in active operations against the enemy." ( From the Veterans' Affairs web site, http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/remembers/sub.cfm?source=collections/cmdp/mainmenu/group01/dfc).
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On the left, my Great-Uncle David's medals, minus the DFC, which was donated to Upper Canada College, his old school. Beside his medals, a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)

A notation regarding David's death:

01-04-1941

Westland Whirlwind I P6989 HE-J of 263 Squadron from RAF Portreath attacked a Dornier Do215 off the Lizard but was hit by return fire and crashed near Helston. The aircraft was destroyed killing F/Lt David Alexander Cumming Crooks 40678 DFC.

from the Crash Log of RAF Davidstow Moor
Further Information
Wikipedia entry for the Fairey Battle
Wikipedia entry on the Westland Wirlwind
Wikipedia entry for RAF 263 Squadron
Information about the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall, where David crashed.

Last updated November 9, 2013. Moved to Wikispaces June 30, 2014.