Fl/Lt. Luther Donald Procter Born 25th July 1908 Hull, England. Died 2nd August 1970 Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. Age 60.
Fl/Lt. Luther Donald Procter (known as Donald) 149326 RAFVR – eldest son of Luther and Ella Marie Anne Procter. Born on 25th July 1908 in Hull, England where he qualified as a Chartered Accountant. Shortly afterwards moved to Dorset after marrying in 1931 to Edith Muriel Roberts. He then commenced a career in local government which took him ultimately to Deputy County Treasurer of Gloucestershire County Council.
Right: Donald served initially in the Home Guard in Dorchester.
Donald Procter enlisted in the RAF on 19th October 1941 which was coincidentally his son Dudley’s sixth birthday. His initial training was at Oxford, followed by training as an Observer (Radio). Posted to 409 night fighter Squadron of the Royal Canadian Airforce at RAF Coleby Grange on 14th October 1942.
Three months later he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant to begin training as a Navigator. Having qualified as a navigator he was then posted to 488 night fighter Squadron Royal New Zealand Air Force at RAF Ayr on the 20th April 1943 – commissioned as a Pilot Officer on 11th July 1943.
He saw further service with his Squadron at RAF Drem and RAF Bradwell Bay before promotion to Flying Officer on 11th January 1944.
During an operation to France on the 16th August 1944 with his usual pilot, Fl/Lt. William R. Cooke NZ/411375 they engaged and claimed as damaged a Ju88.
His Squadron was posted to Amiens in November 1944, but Donald was unable to go with them due to a diagnosis of kidney stones in October 1944. On 9th January 1945 he was assigned to accountancy duties at RAF Warmwell in Dorset close to his family who lived in Dorchester. This enabled him to make a surprise visit to his daughter Gillian on her seventh birthday which coincided with VE day on 8th May 1945. Promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant on 11th July 1945 before his discharge from the RAF on 24 August 1945.
Donald twice experienced the personal tragedies of warfare. In June 1942 his younger brother Bob Procter was killed when Wellington X3725 was shot down over the North Sea, North West of Callantsoog, Holland on a mission from RAF Snaith to bomb Essen. The full story can be read here.
Later that year his pilot and great friend Bernard (‘Bernie’) Higson Barber died following an accident when two Beaufighters collided on training flights in mid-air over Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. The full story can be read here.
488 Squadron RNZAF 02nd February 1944
Rear Row: Sgt. Edwards, FAl/Sgt. Watson, F/O. Prescott, Fl/Sgt. Marshall, Fl/Sgt. Mitchell, Fl/Sgt. Church, F/O. Hunt – squadron intelligence officer, Lt/ Bale, Sub Lt. Richardson, Sub Lt. Pickthall, Sub Lt. Linstead, Sub Lt. Hardern, Fl/Sgt. Concannon, Fl/Sgt. Patrick, Fl/Sgt. Green, F/O. Somerville, F/O. Rowbotham – Squadron Medical Officer.
Second Row: F/O. Procter, Fl/Sgt. Clark, F/O. Clarke DFM, F/O. Broodbank, F/O. Bishop, Fl/Sgt. Moore, Fl/Sgt. Earl, F/O. Folley, Lt. Davies, Fl/Lt. Bowman – Squadron Navigation/Radar leader, Fl/Lt. Read DFC, F/O. Crookes, P/O. Ryan, F/O. Skudder, F/O. Nagle, F/O. Warner, Fl/Sgt. Riley.
Front Row: Fl/Sgt. Hughes, F/O. Riwai, F/O. Robinson, F/O. Scott, F/O. Bergemann, Fl/Lt. Westcott – Squadron Adjutant MBE, Sq/Ldr. Watts – Officer Commanding A Flight, W/Cdr. Haine – Officer Commanding DFC, Sq/Ldr. Bunting – Officer Commanding B Flight DFC, Fl/Lt. Jameson DFC, F/O. Knox, F/O. Wilson, F/O. Fleming, Fl/Sgt. McCabe. ‘Bruce’ and ‘Becky’. (List of personnel retyped in order to make this information searchable by other relatives)
Luther Donald Procter married Edith Muriel Roberts at the Wesleyan Church, Princes Avenue, Hull on 20 August 1931. They had two children: Dudley, born in 1935 and Gillian, born in 1937.
Right: At the wedding of his son, Dudley in 1962.
One of the bridesmaids at the wedding was Muriel’s second cousin Dorothy Frankish Spencer, known as ‘Dilly’. Dilly later married William Charles E Emmett (known as Charles) in Leeds in 1940, but they must have been separated for much of the WW2.
Left: Charles Emmett taken in 1975.
On the 25th October 1944 whilst with 158 Squadron, Charles was flying as flight engineer on an operation to Essen. Halifax III MZ945 NP-U was hit by flak and crashed near Bedbug, Germany.
The pilot, Fl/Lt. Geoffrey Winston Woodward 139497 RAFVR DFC and Bar was killed, the remainder taken PoW. Sgt. Emmett 1686014 RAFVR Remained in camp Stalag Luft Bankan, PoW number 1103.
Anyone who remembers or indeed served with Donald are invited to contact his son (via our help desk) We will then forward your details to Dudley and family.
Summary of RAF Career:
19 October 1941: Enlisted. Initial training at Oxford – AC2 (Aircraftsman 2). Then trained as Observer (Radio)
31 January 1942: Rank of LAC (Leading Aircraftsman) commenced training as Observer (Radio)
14 October1942: Posted to Coleby Grange, Lincs – Squadron 409 RCAF (night fighters) Motto: Media Nox Merides Nostra meaning “Midnight is our noon”
31 December 1942: Rank of Sergeant No: 1600892 trained as Navigator (Radio)
20 April 1943: Posted to Ayr – Squadron 488 RNZAF (night fighters) Motto: Ka Ngarve Ratau meaning “We shake them”
11 July 1943: Granted Commission for the emergency as Pilot Officer (London Gazette 14th September 1943)
3 August 1943: Squadron moved to Drem near Edinburgh & 1 month later to Bardwell Bay, Essex
11 January 1944: Promoted to Flying Officer. Subsequently at Colerne, Wiltshire.
The squadron was posted to Amiens in France in November 1944, but Donald did not go with them – see next entry
28 October 1944: Medical Board resulted in urinary investigation which revealed kidney stones
9 January 1945: Assigned to accountancy duties at RAF Warmwell, Dorset
11 July 1945: Promoted to Flight Lieutenant
24 August 1945: Discharged after the end of the War
26 November 1954: Commission relinquished with retention of the rank of Flight Lieutenant.
Page compiled by his son, Dudley Procter in remembrance of his father.
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