Saturday, November 04, 2006

Cdr Robert.M 'Mike' Crosley DSC* RN(rtd) 1920-2010

Commander Mike Crosley DSC* Royal Navy

Fleet Air Arm Ace Mike Crosley joined the carrier HMS Eagle in late 1941, one of four FAA pilots flying Sea Hurricanes in defense of the Malta convoys, scoring 2 victories. In August 1942, during Operation Pedestal, he was lucky to escape with his life after the carrier was torpedoed and sunk by U73. She capsized within 7 minutes. He later joined HMS Biter flying Sea Hurricanes in Operation Torch, and Seafires during D-Day. Appointed CO of 880 Squadron FAA, he finished the war in the Far East, with 5 ½ victories.

Mike Crosley continued flying after the war and subsequently became the CO of the Naval Test Squadron at Boscombe Down, where he was involved with the introduction of Britain's first carrier-borne jet aircraft, where the angled flight deck, steam catapult and decklanding mirror sights were developed and tested. At Boscombe down he developed the 'hand's-off' launch technique for the Buccaneer which saved it from probable cancellation at a very difficult time for British naval aviation. He was the first British pilot to fly the Mcdonnell F-4 Phantom