Bill Compton





William Vernon Crawford Compton, 21.5 victories.

William Vernon Crawford Compton was born in New Zealand on the 2nd of March, 1916. He was educated at New Plymouth High school, upon leaving school he worked at a local store, his heart was set on flying and towards the end of 1938, he got a job on a transport vessel as a ships carpenter, with the object of making it to England so he could join the RAF. He arrived three days before the outbreak of World War II and volunteered for the RAF, he was accepted to train as a fighter pilot and in due course he went to various flying schools. He was posted to no 603 sqn at Hornchurch as a Sergeant pilot and spent the next few weeks learning the tactics of aerial combat. By the end of 1941, Compton was commissioned as an acting pilot officer and posted to 485 sqn, a New Zealand sqn flying Spitfires. He first saw action on the 21st of September 1941 where he fired several bursts at a ME-109, it went down with black smoke pouring from it, but before Compton could finally see what happened he was attacked by more 109's. By  November 1942 Compton had shot down 10 enemy aircraft, he became wing commander of the Hornchurch Spitfire wing in July 1943. And during the next six months he flew on nearly 200 escort missions with the American 'Heavies' on day light raids deep into enemy held territory. The Americans thought so highly of Compton that they awarded him with the Silver Star.



On the 13th of December 1943 Compton was sent the USA, to give lectures on RAF tactics, he returned to England in April 1944. On the 7th of June he shot down his only bomber a JU 88, but not before the rear gunner had put a hole in each one of his Spitfires wings. Compton narrowly escaped death when on one occasion, enemy fighters strafed the airfield in which he was driving his car. In all Compton flew 453 sorties and destroyed 21.5 enemy aircraft.