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ERNEST WILLIAM (BILL) TACON

ROYAL AIR FORCE.

31st May, 1940

The KING has been graciously pleased to

approve the undermentioned awards: —
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Pilot Officer Ernest William TACON (36196).

---------------------

TACON, F/O Ernest William, DFC (RAF 36196) - Air Force Cross - No.407 Squadron - awarded as per London Gazette dated 11 June 1942. Born 6 December 1917 in New Zealand; next of kin living in Hastings, New Zealand. Awarded DFC, 31 May 1940 for services with No.233 Squadron. Ferry Command crew cards (Directorate of History and Heritage Collection 84/44-3) report him ferrying Fortress AN519 to Britain, April-May 1941 and Hudson AM813 to Britain, July 1941. The card states he had acquired 802 hours on multi-engine aircraft, 602 hours on Hudsons. DHist file 181.009 D.2620 (RG.24 Volume 20628) has recommendation dated 9 February 1942.

This officer has single handed trained 32 pilots of this squadron on Hudson aircraft, a task which was rendered more difficult by the fact that all these pilots are fresh from the School of General Reconnaissance and had not flown as pilots for periods extending from four to eight months. Moreover, some of these pilots had flown less than 100 hours solo on all types. In addition Flying Officer Tacon has converted onto Hudson aircraft 17 pilots of another squadron.

From 16th July to August 31st, Flying Officer Tacon flew 133 hours, principally on instructional work in Hudson aircraft. During all this time, neither he nor any of his pupils were involved in any accident. In addition he lectured all pilots of the squadron on the handling and operational tactics for Hudson aircraft.

I consider that the operational efficiency of this squadron owes a great deal to the enthusiasm and hard work of Flying Officer Tacon.

In a letter dated 12 September 1941 (Wing Commander Styles to Officer Commanding RAF Station North Coates), further detail is given:

It is strongly recommended that the above officer should be awarded the Air Force Cross for outstanding good work and devotion to duty on non-operational flying. This officer has single-handed trained 32 pilots of this squadron on Hudson aircraft - a task which was rendered more difficult by the fact that all these pilots are fresh from the School of General Reconnaissance, and had not flown as pilots for periods extending from four to eight months. Moreover, some of these pilots had flown less than 100 hours solo on all types.

In addition, Flying Officer Tacon has converted onto Hudson aircraft 17 pilots of No.59 Squadron. The following are the dates and figures - 16th July to August 4th, 12 pupils trained in 407 Squadron; August 4th to August 12th, 7 pilots trained in 59 Squadron; August 14th to September 6th, 20 pilots trained in 407 Squadron; September 6th to September 11th, ten pilots trained in 59 Squadron. From 16th July to August 31st, Flying Officer Tacon flew 133 hours, principally on instructional work in Hudson aircraft. During all this time, neither he nor any of his pupils have been involved in any accident. In addition he has lectured all pilots of the squadron on the handling and operational tactics for Hudson aircraft. Since the squadron has commenced night operational flying on September 6th, three ships have been attacked and hit by night and one enemy aircraft attacked by day. I consider that the operational efficiency of this squadron owes a great deal to the enthusiasm and hard work of Flying Officer Tacon.

Wing Commander Stratton, commanding 59 Squadron, has agreed with this recommendation in a telephone conversation.

To the above, the Commanding Officer, RAF Station North Coates, replied on 14 September 1941:

I regret I am not permitted under the regulations to forward this recommendation at the present time. This comes under the heading of Periodical Awards, and they can only be submitted when called for, which up to date has been twice a year. I have however made a note of it, and as soon as the necessary instructions are received I will let you know.

Awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal

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