Bill Crawford-Compton

Air Vice Marshal William Vernon "Bill" Crawford-Compton, CB, CBE, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar (2 March 1915 – 2 January 1988) was a New Zealand-born pilot and air ace of the Second World War. After the war, he went on to serve as a senior commander in the Royal Air Force.

William Vernon Crawford-Compton
Wing Commander Crawford-Compton at Merston, Sussex, on the morning of D Day
Born(1915-03-02)2 March 1915
Invercargill, New Zealand
Died2 January 1988(1988-01-02) (aged 72)
AllegianceNew Zealand, United Kingdom
Service/branchRNZAF, Royal Air Force
Years of service1939–68
RankAir Vice Marshal
Commands heldNo. 22 Group RAF (1966–68)
RAF Gamil (1956–59)
RAF Bruggen (1953–56)
No. 64 Squadron RAF (1942–43)
Battles/warsSecond World War
AwardsCompanion of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Service Order & Bar
Distinguished Flying Cross & Bar
Silver Star (United States)
Chevalier of the Legion of Honour (France)

Early life and career

Crawford-Compton was born in Invercargill, New Zealand on 2 March 1915. He joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1939. In 1941 he was commissioned into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve as a pilot officer. He was then posted as a pilot to No. 485 Squadron RNZAF. He is credited with shooting down 21.5 enemy aircraft,[1] and for bravery was awarded the French Chevalier of the Legion of Honour and United States Silver Star. He took part in Operation Overlord and destroyed four enemy aircraft in July 1944 during that operation.

Post-war career

Following the end of the Second World War, Crawford-Compton transferred from the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve to the regular Royal Air Force. After several staff tours, he commanded RAF Bruggen and then RAF Gamil. After several more senior appointments, he was promoted to air vice marshal and took up the post of Chief of Staff at HQ British Forces in Cyprus. His final tour was as Air Officer Commanding No. 22 Group RAF.


  1. "Bill Crawford-Compton – NZ Pilot". Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2007.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
Military offices
Preceded by
Albert Case
Air Officer Commanding No. 22 Group
Succeeded by
Graham Magill
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