Friday, December 04, 2009

S/Ldr Ronald “Taffy” Ecclestone DFC AFC 1923-1954

Squadron Leader Ronald Vivian (“Taffy”) Ecclestone DFC was Handley Page deputy chief test pilot.
He flew Stirlings and Lancasters in Bomber Command, and also Hurricanes and Spitfires in the Bomber Defence Tactical Unit. Later he was engaged in development flying, successively at Marham, Boscombe Down and Farnborough; he had completed the Empire Test Pilots School course and had served for a year in the Directorate of Operational Requirements at the Air Ministry. He had joined Handley Page, Ltd., less than three months before the crash of the Victor Prototype WB771 in which he was killed along with Mr E. N. Kenneth Bennett, 29, the company's chief flight observer (he joined them in 1946); and two other H.P. observers, Mr. Bruce Heithersay, 28 (ex-R.A.A.F.), and Mr. A. B. Cook, 24 (formerly with Aero Research, Ltd., and Glosters).