Spitfire flypast for Crowborough war hero


RAF No 44 Squadron organised a Spitfire flypast over Crowborough Beacon Golf Club last week as part of the commemoration of the life of Flight Lieutenant Patrick Dorehill, a member of the Club, who died in June aged 94.

Spitfire taken over Crowborough Beacon Golf Course (Courtesy of Chris Coates)
Spitfire taken over Crowborough Beacon Golf Course (Courtesy of Chris Coates)

The flypast on Saturday 25th June coincided with the Captain’s weekend Stableford competition and the players all stopped for one minute in respect as the plane circled the fairways.

Patrick was the second pilot in a Lancaster which was part of a daring daytime attack on the MAN submarine-engine factory in Augsburg.  Six Lancasters from 44 Squadron flew over France, five of which were shot down when they strayed near a Luftwaffe airfield.  Patrick and his pilot, Squadron Leader John Nettleton sustained aircraft damage from enemy fire but flew at rooftop height and managed to drop their bombs on the factory before returning home.   John Nettleton was awarded a VC and Patrick earned a Distinguished Flying Cross.

Following the Augsburg raid, Patrick was given his own Lancaster and flew more than 30 operations before becoming an instructor at a heavy-bomber training unit.  He returned to 44 Squadron in 1943 and carried out 7 raids on Berlin.  During one of these, his plane was badly damaged by canon fire which destroyed the hydraulic system.  Despite this, he managed a skilful crash landing on his return for which he was awarded a bar to his DFC.

After the war, Patrick was seconded to BOAC and then had a 31 year career as a pilot with British European Airways and its successor British Airways.

Patrick was a keen golfer and twice achieved a hole in one, the second aged 90.  He was awarded Honorary membership of Crowborough Beacon in January 2015 having been a member for 22 years.

Flight Lieutenant Patrick Dorehill died 7th June 2016.



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