Basil Embry

Basil Embry was born in 1902. As a child he developed a desire to fly and in 1921 he joined the Royal Air Force. The following year he was sent to Iraq where he served under Arthur Harris and Robert Saunby. In January 1926 Emby was awarded the Air Force Cross.

Promoted to flight lieutenant, Emby returned to Britain in 1927 where he took up a post as an instructor at the Central Flying School in Uxbridge.

In 1934 Embry was posted to India where he served in the Indian Wing at Kohat on the North West Frontier. He served in India for five years and returned to Britain in 1939. On the outbreak of the Second World War Embry was given command of No 107 Squadron in 1939.

Embry saw action during the German campaigns in Norway and France. On 26th May 1940, Embry was shot down over St Omer while providing air cover for the British Army during the Dunkirk evacuation. He was captured by the German Army but succeeded in escaping and was on the run for two months in occupied France but eventually got back to England via Spain and Gibraltar.

As sector commander of Fighter Command he took part in the Battle of Britain. In October 1941 he was seconded to the Desert Air Force and saw action in the Desert War.

Embry returned to Britain in March 1942 and served in 10 Group Fighter Command until being given command of the No 2 Group in the 2nd Tactical Air Force in June, 1943. He continued to fly operational missions, including three precision bombing raids on Gestapo headquarters in Aarhus, Copenhagen and Odense.

After the war Embry was appointed Commander in Chief of Allied Forces in Central Europe. He was Commander in Chief of Fighter Command (1949-53) and retired from the Royal Air Force in 1956. Basil Embry, the author of Mission Completed (1956) died in 1977.

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