Above and Beyond: Ronnie Churcher

Ronnie Churcher was Guy Gibson’s deputy on the night the Dambusters pilot was lost forever. Graham Pitchfork examines Churcher’s career and DFC actions

Ronnie Churcher was just 18 when he started training as an RAF pilot in 1940. The following year, he joined 106 Squadron, then still equipped with the prewar Handley Page Hampden bomber. He flew several minelaying sorties to the Baltic and bombed targets in the Ruhr, before the squadron was re-equipped with the ill-fated Avro Manchester.

During the spring of 1942, future Dambusters leader Guy Gibson arrived to command the squadron and, over the following weeks, Churcher attacked targets across Germany. On May 30, he flew a Manchester during the first thousand-bomber raid, when the target was Cologne and, two nights later, he took part in the second of the three sorties, this time to Essen.

Become a Premium Member to Read More

This is a premium article and requires an active Key.Aero subscription to view.

I’m an existing member, sign me in!

I don’t have a subscription…

Enjoy the following subscriber only benefits:

  • Unlimited access to all KeyAero content
  • Exclusive in-depth articles and analysis, videos, quizzes added daily
  • A fully searchable archive – boasting hundreds of thousands of pieces of quality aviation content
  • Access to read all our leading aviation magazines online - meaning you can enjoy the likes of FlyPast, Aeroplane Monthly, AirForces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, Aviation News, Airports of the World, PC Pilot and Airliner World - as soon as they leave the editor’s desk.
  • Access on any device- anywhere, anytime
  • Choose from our offers below