Sqd Ldr Donald Kingaby DSO AFC DFM and 2 Bars
7 January 1920 - 31 December 1990
Donald Ernest Kingaby DSO DFC(US) AFC DFM & Two Bars Croix de Guerre (Belgium) was a British flying ace of the Second World War. He was the only RAF pilot to be awarded the DFM three times. During an operational career of some 300 operations, Kingaby scored 21 air victories against enemy aircraft, as well as two shared kills, six probable kills and 11 damaged during the war. 14.5 of his kills came against the Messerschmitt Bf 109.
He was a member of the illustrious and immortal Few who defended freedom by fighting and winning the defining air battle of World War 2 during the tumultuous days of the Battle of Britain.
A clergyman's son, he attended Kings School in Ely, England. Kingaby joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in April 1939 when 19 years old. In June 1940, as a sergeant pilot, he joined 266 Squadron flying the Supermarine Spitfire Mark I. During the initial stages of the Battle of Britain he damaged two Junkers Ju 88 bombers and a Bf 110 fighter before being transferred to 92 Squadron, in September 1940. A Bf 109 of 4./JG 26 was claimed on 30 September, while Kingaby claimed four enemy aircraft, (three Bf 109s) in the second half of October. In November he shot down six Bf 109s, four of them (including 1 'probable') in a single day on 15 November.
During 1941 RAF Fighter Command went onto the offensive with its fighter sweeps over occupied Europe. With 92 Squadron, Kingaby claimed a dozen more kills and was dubbed by the press the '109 specialist'. On 22 November 1941, he was granted an emergency commission as a pilot officer (probationary), and rested from operations.
In March 1942 he was back on operations with 111 Squadron. That April, Kingaby joined 64 Squadron, with which he shot down another couple of German fighters. He was promoted to the war-substantive rank of flying officer on 30 June. Later in the year Kingaby was posted to 122 Squadron as flight commander and then squadron commander. On 20 January 1943 Kingaby shot down Unteroffizier Hellmuth Peters of 6 Staffel Jagdgeschwader 26 (JG 26), who was killed in action (see Kracker Luftwaffe Archive on this site). On 2 February, he was promoted to flight lieutenant (war-substantive). In March, he was promoted to lead the Hornchurch Wing.
After a rest period at Fighter Command HQ he was back as a wing leader in the summer of 1944 over the invasion
beaches of France. His last kill was a share in a Bf 109 on 30 June, bringing his total to 21. On 24 July, he was promoted to the rank of squadron leader (war substantive), and was posted to the Advanced Gunnery School at RAF Catfoss, remaining there until the end of the war. An acting wing commander at the war's end, Kingaby was awarded the DFC from the United States Government on 15 May 1945, and the Croix de guerre from Belgium on 15 June.
After the war, Kingaby was granted a permanent commission as a flight lieutenant in the RAF on 29 November 1946, with seniority from 1 September 1945, but retained his war substantive rank of squadron leader until 1 January 1948, then spent a year as a flight lieutenant before being promoted to the permanent rank of squadron leader on 1 January 1949. From February 1949 until April 1952 he commanded 72 Squadron, flying the de Havilland Vampire. On 5 June 1952 he was awarded the Air Force Cross.
He served in the RAF until his retirement on 29 September 1958, retaining the rank of wing commander. Kingaby subsequently moved to the United States, where he resided until his death in Massachusetts.
He leaves his wife, the former Helen Watkinson; two daughters, Patricia K. Kingaby of Lansing, Mich., and Susan M. Reome of West Springfield; and three grandchildren.
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