Crawford DFC AFC, George (No. 72986)

Crawford, George

Distinguished Flying Cross

Air Force Cross

Squadron Leader

No. 72986, 53 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Killed on active service on Wednesday 7 June 1944 (aged 29)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England (Panel 200)


In the CWGC Debt of Honour it is recorded that George Crawford (aged 29) was the husband of Leslie Crawford of Marino, Co. Down.  George Crawford was the only son of Mr and Mrs Hugh Crawford of Mulberry Cottage, Ham, Richmond in Surrey.  Hugh Crawford had been a Captain in the Indian Army and in 1901 he got married in Bombay.

During the Second World War George Crawford served with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and on 3 September 1941 he was promoted from Flying Officer to Flight Lieutenant.  He was awarded the Air Force Cross in 1942/43 and on 7 January 1944, as Acting Squadron Leader with 53 Squadron in Coastal Command, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.  His citation read:

‘This officer was the Captain of an aircraft detailed for an anti-submarine patrol recently.  In spite of difficulties, Squadron Leader Crawford persisted in his mission and eventually a U-boat was sighted.  Coolly and skilfully Squadron Leader Crawford pressed home his attack with great determination.  Undeterred by accurate and concentrated anti-aircraft fire he made two runs over the vessel straddling it with his depth charges on the second run.  In this action Squadron Leader Crawford displayed skill, courage and resolution of a high order’.

On 7 June 1944 Squadron Leader George Crawford (No. 72986) was one of a crew of ten aboard a Consolidated B-24 Liberator aircraft (BZ778/M) that took off on an anti-submarine patrol.  They were hit by flak when they attacked a surfaced U-boat and their aircraft crashed with the loss of all on board.  In addition to Squadron Leader George Crawford, the other nine crew members who died that day were:

  • Flying Officer Douglas Gordon Biggs (Royal Canadian Air Force)
  • Pilot Officer Robert John Martin (aged 29) from Headington, Oxfordshire
  • Flying Officer John Geoffrey Smith
  • Flying Officer H. Richardson DFM (aged 26) from Weston-super-Mare, Somerset
  • Sergeant Ronald Stoten (aged 22) from Haywards Heath, Sussex
  • Warrant Officer Bruce George Barton aged 21 (Royal New Zealand Air Force)
  • Sergeant Kenneth Vaughan Jones
  • Warrant Officer Harry Ashley Corns
  • Warrant Officer Robert Alexander O’Kane (aged 23) (Royal New Zealand Air Force)

The body of Squadron Leader George Crawford DFC AFC was never recovered, and he is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.  His effects amounted to some £10,376 and probate was granted to his father.

Four months after her husband died Leslie Crawford (nee Boyd) gave birth to a son in Johnston House, Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.  Her son was born on 29 October 1944 and she named him George David Hugh Crawford.