David Moore Crook : biography
David Moore Crook DFC (24 November 1914 — 18 December 1944) was a British fighter pilot born in Huddersfield, England.
He left a widow, Dorothy Margaret Crook, of Shrewsbury, Shropshire. He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. His name is displayed on the Battle of Britain Monument in London, and a plane flown by Crook is on display at the Imperial War Museum in London.
He wrote an autobiographical work about his experiences during the battle entitled Spitfire Pilot, published by Faber and Faber in 1942. Crook also wrote Pursuit of Passy, a work of fiction about an RAF pilot who crashes in France and joins the Resistance, published in 1946 by Herbert Joseph. Crook's flying log book is stored at The National Archives in Kew, and is available for public viewing.
After attending Cambridge University, he was mobilised as part of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force on the outbreak of war. Flying the Spitfire Crook participated in the Battle of Britain, flying with No. 609 Squadron RAF (at the time this was a squadron of the Auxiliary Air Force). He initially joined the squadron on 22 September 1938 as an Acting Pilot Officer, this rank was confirmed on 4 May 1940, and later further back-dated to 9 December 1939. He destroyed a Junkers Ju 87 of Sturzkampfgeschwader 77 (StG 77) on 9 July, and a Jagdgeschwader 53 (JG 53) Messerschmitt Bf 109 on 13 August. On 15 August 1940, he mistakenly shot down a Blenheim fighter, although the crew was only slightly injured. Two Bf 109's were claimed on 30 September 1940.
Crook was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions during the battle. The official notice of this award in the London Gazette of 1 November 1940 said he had, "led his section with coolness and judgment against the enemy on many occasions. He has destroyed six of their aircraft besides damaging several more."
On 8 November he was sent on an Instructor's course at the Central Flying School. He was promoted to Flying Officer with effect 9 December 1940. In April 1944 he was posted to AFU Wheaton Aston, and in July to AFU Ternhill. He served with 41 OTU in September, then 8 (Coastal) OTU at Dyce.
Flying Spitfire IX EN662 on 18 December 1944 on a high level photographic sortie, Crook was seen to dive into the sea near Aberdeen. He was officially listed as Missing in action.
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