Name: Ralph Havercroft
Joined 92: 13 March1940
Left 92: June 1941
Died: 6 May 1995
Ralph Havercroft, known as "Tich" because he was only 5'2" tall (Ralph is the shortest pilot in the pic), joined the RAF volunteer Reserve in 1937.
In 1939 he spent two months training with an operational squadron and this included his first flight in a Spitfire. A few days before the declaration of war, he was called up to full time service. He transferred to 92 Squadron in March 1940 just days after it had been re-equipped with Spitfire Mk I aircraft. The squadron became fully operational in May 1940 moving to RAF Northolt then Hornchurch. They were kept very busy over the Channel including at the evacuation at Dunkirk.
In June 1940, they moved to Pembrey in south Wales to defend the Welsh ports and parts of the south coast. August 1940 saw increased activity from the Luftwaffe so 92 Squadron began operating from both Pembrey and Bibury in Oxfordshire. This involved landing at night for which the Spitfires and airfields were ill-equipped. The result was several aircraft requiring repair including, on the night of 31st August including N3249 QJ-P . In September 1940, 92 Squadron was posted to Biggin Hill in Kent where it was very active in the ongoing Battle of Britain.
In June 1941, after 21 months continuously on fighter operations and with 173 operational missions, "Tich" was posted away. He became a test pilot, both in England and the USA, then Chief Test Flying Instructor at the Empire Test Pilots School. Other postings followed then promotion to Wing Commander in charge of the first Valiant V-Bomber squadron. His career ended after posts with NATO, based at Fontainebleau, and the Air Ministry in Whitehall. He retired from the RAF in 1963 having flown 171 types of aircraft and amassed nearly 3000 hours at the controls.
Ralph "Tich" Havercroft finished the war with :
- 6 enemy aircrafts destroyed (1 in collaboration, 2 not confirmed)
- 1 enemy aircraft probably destroyed
- 4 enemy aircrafts damaged (1 in collaboration).
(With the kind authorisation of J. HAVERCROFT)