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Albert Gerald "Lew" Lewis


DFC   &   Bar

Born in Kimberley South Africa, 10 April 1918
Took a Short Service Commission in August 1938
Commisioned on  29 October 1938 a/P/O (#41303)
Posted to 616 Squadron
Confirmed as P/O on 29 November 1939
Posted to 504 Squadron in March 1940
Then to France and 85 Squadron in April
Flew in the Battle of France with 85 Sqn.
Returning to the UK on 20 May 1940
Flew in the Battle of Britain with 85 Sqn.
Posted to 249 Squadron, 14 September 1940
Shot down again, 28 Sept., this time being severely burned
CO of C Squadron at 57 OTU in May 1941
Posted to 261 Squadron in Ceylon in March 1942
Shot down again, 9 April 1942, by Zeros
He returned to the UK in June 1942
Joined 56 OTU as S/L in April 1943
Posted to HQ, 9 Group in August 1943
Albert "Lew" Lewis
He did no further comabt flying & left the RAF in 1946


Dickie Lee & Lew Lewis
Lewis (right) with his very close friend from 85 Squadron, Richard Hugh Anthony "Dickie" Lee [KIA 18Aug40], during the battle of France



Distinguished Flying Cross

Pilot Officer Albert Gerald LEWIS (41303)

Pilot Officer Lewis has, by a combination of great personal courage, determination and skill in flying, shot down five enemy aircraft, single-handed, in one day. He has destroyed in all a total of seven enemy aircraft, and by his example has been an inspiration to his squadron.


The following photo shoot was taken at castle camps in July 1940, with Hurricane P2923 "VY-R".
Some of these were featured in Time Magazine.

VY-R minding her own business
Hurricane P2923 "VY-R" just minding her own business

VY-R being called to action
VY-R & "Lew" Lewis being called to action

Start up
Start up & 'chute up

Head Gear
Grabbing the headgear

Mounting up
Mounting up & strapping in

Heading out
Heading out

Back again  

Back again. Whew, tough mission.
Good thing we got that on camera eh lads?


Photo shoots like these were always staged. Sometimes comically so. But no matter, I like the pictures anyway !



Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross

Pilot Officer Albert Gerald LEWIS, D.F.C. (41303)

One day in September, 1940, this officer destroyed six enemy aircraft; this makes a total of eighteen destroyed by him. His courage and keenness are outstanding.


Legless Flyer Heads List Of Leading British Aces; Bags Are From, 15-30 Huns

London, Jan. 9, 1941 — (UP) — The Royal Air Force disclosed today the identities of its ten leading aces. One is a former financial clerk in a newspaper office, another, a former South African sailor. One has artificial legs; one is only 22 years old; one shot down six German planes in six hours.
Each has shot down from 15 to 30 German planes. All have been decorated, some three times. They are veterans of the battle of France, the evacuation of Dunkirk and of countless air fights over south England. All but one are still active.
Scores of other R.A.F. men have shot down from five to ten German planes, but these are the top ten:
Squadron Leader Douglas Bader, thrice decorated leader of the Canada squadron. He lost both legs in an accident ten years ago and learned to manipulate artificial legs before the war started.
Squadron Leader Roland Tuck, thrice decorated, has 23 swastikas and two Italian flags painted around the cockpit of his plane, signifying that many victories. He also has an Iron. Cross, the gift of a wounded German pilot he had shot down.
Pilot Officer H. M. Stephens, thrice decorated, formerly a financial clerk on a London evening newspaper; he and a colleague shared a pool for shooting down the 600th German plane destroyed by their squadron.
Squadron Leader Adolph Gysbert Malan, thrice decorated, formerly a South African sailor.
Flight-Lieut. John Ignatius (Iggy) Kilmartin, an Irishman, formerly attached to the advanced air striking force in France, credited with having shot down 15 German planes.
Flight-Lieut. J. S. Dundas, recently posted as missing and believed dead, credited with 15 German planes, one of which he chased from Winchester to Cherbourg, France, before destroying it.
Pilot Officer Geoffrey Allard, formerly a sergeant-pilot, commissioned because of his outstanding fighting, credited with 15 German planes.
Flight-Sgt. George Cecil Unwin, credited with from 15 to 20 enemy planes; last September, flying alone, he charged into a formation of 15 German bombers escorted by 30 German Messerschmitt fighters and shot down two Messerschmitts before he ran out of ammunition.
Flight-Lieut. J. H. Mungo-Park, veteran of Dunkirk and sharer with Stephens of the 600-plane pool.
Pilot Officer Albert Gerald Lewis, of South Africa, who shot down more than 20 German planes, including six in six hours.


Victories Include :

12 May 1940

19 May 1940

18 Aug 1940
31 Aug 1940
15 Sept 1940

17 Sept 1940
18 Sept 1940
27 Sept 1940

one Me109E
one He111
two Me109Es
  3  Me109Es
one Me110
one Me109E
one He111
1/2 He111
one Me109E
one Me109E
two Me110s
one Me110
one Me109E
one Me109E
one Ju88
two Me109Es

destroyed &
destroyed &
destroyed [1]
destroyed &
destroyed &
destroyed [2]

19 - 17 / 1.5 / 2

2 in France (no details) - stats from Aces High [Shores & Williams]

Ace-In-A-Day twice

[1] Two seperate sorties. He was shot down after the second one
[2] Four seperate sorties. He was shot down the next day by Rolf Pringle GK of I/JG26, who was then shot down by John M.B. Beard. Pringle survived.


Back to

--- South African Aces ---

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Thanks go out to

grandson Joe Lewis for the photos & infos !

On these pages I use Hugh Halliday's extensive research which includes info from numerous sources; newspaper articles via the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation (CMCC); the Google News Archives; the London Gazette Archives and other sources both published and private.

All content on this site is probably the property of unless otherwise noted.     Mail