Anthony Desmond Lovell

Anthony Desmond Lovell DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar and American DFC was born on 9th August 1919 in Portrush, County Antrim and joined the Royal Air Force in November 1937. He became a Fighter Ace during World War 2 flying Spitfires and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 26 November 1940. His citation states: “This officer has flown continuously on active operations against the enemy since war began. He has shown a fine fighting spirit and has led his flight and on occasions his squadron with great courage, coolness and determination. He has destroyed seven enemy aircraft.”

On 10 February 1942 he was awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross as acting Squadron Leader commanding with No. 145 Squadron RAF. His citation states: “This officer is a fearless and skilful fighter pilot. His keenness to engage the enemy, combined with fine leadership, both in the air and on the ground have set an inspiring example. In November 1941 Lovell shot down a Junkers Ju 88 some 35 miles off the Yorkshire coast. In January 1942 in the same area and in difficult weather conditions he intercepted another Junkers Ju 88 and shot it down into the sea. This officer has personally destroyed at least 11 hostile aircraft and has damaged others.”

Lovell was awarded the Distinguished Service Order on 30 October 1942 as Squadron Leader commanding a fighter squadron during the Battle of Malta. His citation states “This officer is an outstanding squadron commander who has played a considerable part in the defence of Malta. One day in October 1942 he led his squadron in an attack against six Junkers Ju 88s escorted by a number of fighters. In the combat Squadron Leader Lovell shot down a Junkers Ju 88 bringing his total victories to nine. On many occasions his skilful leadership has enabled his squadron to intercept enemy air formations bent on attacking Malta. This officer’s gallantry and determination have set an example worthy of the highest praise.” He was appointed to lead 242 Group as acting Wing Commander, promoted full Squadron Leader on 9 April 1943, led the 322 Wing over Corsica and then 244 Wing during the invasion of Italy and the South of France. He was awarded the American Distinguished Flying Cross on 14 November 1944.

On 23 February 1945 he was awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Service Order as a Wing Commander and fighter leader. His success as an Air Ace is recorded as 16 enemy aircraft destroyed, 6 shared destroyed, 2 probably destroyed, 9 damaged, 4 shared damaged and 1 destroyed on the ground accomplished during 5 operational tours. Tragically Lovell was killed on 17 August 1945 when he crashed into a field adjoining Old Sarum airfield having lost altitude whilst doing acrobatics in a Spitfire Mark XII (serial number “EN234”).