Sqn Ldr Michael Gill of 52(C) Entry passed away peacefully, at home, on the 26th April 2022 aged 92.
In July 1945, he joined Halton as a “Fitter II Engines” at the age of 15 passing out in 1948 with Distinction and winning a General Duties (Flying) cadetship at RAF Cranwell. He was noted to have been an outstanding shot winning countless prizes representing the RAF in various inter-service competitions. (He went on to win many medals for his shooting, including the prestigious Queen's medal in 1957 and was a valued member of the RAF Small Arms Association).
Michael commenced flying training in 1949 and was awarded the Dickson Trophy (Tours Schneider Cup) as the cadet showing the most proficiency in applied flying. He was also awarded the Philip Sassoon Memorial Prize for best all round cadet and the John Anthony Chance prize for the cadet obtaining the highest marks for Service subjects. He marked the occasion by proposing to his future wife on the eve of his graduation!
Clocking up 2,245 hours of flying time in a wide variety of types, in 1953 he was a member of the Meteor flight in the Queen's Coronation Ceremony fly-past. He was also a member of the 65 Sqn aerobatic team, 'The Fabulous Four', flying Meteor F8s while at RAF Duxford in 1954.
While flying Javelins in the 60s, he and his navigator gained membership of both the Martin Baker Ejector Seat Tie Club (no. 86) and the J. Irvine Parachutes Caterpillar Club for successfully ejecting from a Javelin which safely crashed into farmland with no loss of life (9th March 1960). It was later established from the wreckage at RAF Farnborough that an electrical spanner had been left in the engine compartment causing his loss of instrumentation.
Following promotion to Sqn Ldr in 1960, his many postings included a three-year exchange posting in 1961 to the Royal Canadian Air Force in North Bay Ontario flying the CF100 and Voodoo. This was followed by a posting to HQ RAF Rheindahlen in Germany in 1966 followed by RAF Upavon where he was Station Commander from 1969 to 1971.
He retired from the RAF on 31st March 1975, remaining on the reserves list until 1989. Michael immediately started a new career with HM Customs and Excise, heading up a VAT team in Exeter until his retirement in the mid-1980s. He will be sorely missed by his family and all who knew him.