18th January 1944 9 (Coastal) OTU Beaufighter IC T4772 W/Cdr. Milligan DFC
Operation: Solo night practise
Date: 18th January 1944 (Tuesday)
Unit: No. 9 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit. 17 Group
Type: Beaufighter IC
Base: RAF Crosby-on-Eden, Cumbernauld
Location: Crew Crag - see map
Pilot: W/Cdr. David Neville Milligan DFC 40553 RAF Age 27. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 10:05 hrs for a practice flight and failed to return. His aircraft was found five days later by a shepherd 500 feet up 1300-foot high Crew Crag, 2 miles from Bewcastle. The weather at the time of the accident had been poor with 9/10ths cloud.
Burial and personal details:
Buried on the 28th January 1944
W/Cdr. David Neville Milligan DFC. Chester Cemetery (Blacon). Sec. A. Grave 499. Born on the 19th December 1916 at Wellington. Worked as a clerk for Tourist and Publicity Dept, Wellington prior to service. Selected for a short service commission on the 17th August 1937. Embarked for England on the 30th October 1937. Pilots badge awarded and joined 220 squadron flying the Anson on the 17th September 1938. Embarked for and joined 36 squadron on the 01st July 1939 flying the Vilderbeest. Moved to 230 squadron flying the Sunderland on the 20th October 1939 based in Egypt. After various attachments flew a Dakota to England on the 10-16th December 1943. Son of David and Jessie Isobel Milligan (née Hall), of 17 Victoria Street, Wellington, New Zealand. Total of 2139 flying hours logged.
Grave inscription: 'Affectionately Remembered By All Relatives And By The Men With Whom He Served'.
DFC Citation LG. 02nd June 1942:
'This officer is a most courageous and determined pilot. He has completed a large number of sorties, and on three occasions when his flying boat developed engine failure, his superb airmanship was responsible for the safe return of his aircraft and its passengers. On the first occasion, one of the engines shed its propeller and then caught fire. Although the aircraft was vibrating badly (making it impossible to read the instrument panel), and despite bad weather, Flight Lieutenant Milligan succeeded in flying his heavily laden aircraft to Kalafrana. Two days later, whilst flying to Malta, he experienced another engine failure but he succeeded in reaching Kalafrana where he made an emergency landing without the aid of a flare path. On 9th March 1942, whilst taking off from Malta during a heavy raid, a large bomb burst close to his aircraft. The explosion apparently affected the port engine cowling, for after about an hour in the air the main cowling became partially adrift, causing the aircraft to lose height. Flight Lieutenant Milligan regained control and flew safely to Tobruk. On each of these occasions, this officer has magnificently overcome extremely severe tests'.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, other sources as quoted below: