M.B.E./D.F.C. GROUP OF 8 MEDALS TO WNG. CDR. J.A. WRIGHT, R.A.F. (BEAUFIGHTER 2 CONFIRMED DESTROYED)

** NEW ** Night fighter pilot’s’ D.F.C. group of eight medals awarded to Wing Commander J. A. Wright, Royal Air Force, who flew in Beaufighters, Havocs and Mosquitos with 604 Squadron, and accounted for two enemy aircraft - the last despite being wounded and having to bale out when his ‘aircraft had started to blow up’. M.B.E. (Military Division); Distinguished Flying Cross George VI with reverse dated 1945; 1939-45 Star; Air Crew Europe Star; WWII Defence Medal; WWII War Medal; General Service Medal with Palestine 1945-48 to Sqn. Ldr. J. A. Wright, D.F.C., R.A.F.; 1953 Coronation Medal.
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Description

D.F.C. Gazetted 26 Oct 1945: "S/L. J.A. Wright commenced operations in Mar 1941 with 604 Night Fighter Squadron. On his second sortie he destroyed a Ju88. In May 1941 he attacked a He.111; during this combat he was injured and his aircraft damaged. Despite this, he pressed home his attack until the enemy aircraft was destroyed. He then commenced to fly home with one engine stopped and on fire and had almost reached base when the aircraft started to blow up, and his navigator baling out safely from a low altitude. In all he completed 43 defensive night fighter patrols. In Sep 1943 he went to Malta with No.256 Squadron and carried out 13 Fighter and Convoy patrols. He started Bomber Support operations with 100 Group in Oct 1944 and completed 31 offensive sorties. His keenness to operate has always been of the highest order throughout every phase of his career. With the introduction of any new operation, including low level attacks on aerodromes, his infectious keenness, coupled with his skill and judgment, has had a very marked effect on all crews."

M.B.E. (Military Division) Gazetted 10 June 1954.

James Alan Wright was born in Feb 1920. He served with the Royal Air Force during the Second War, and after initial training was posted as a Sergeant Pilot for operational flying with 604 Squadron (Beaufighters), Middle Wallop, in March 1941. The Squadron was employed as a Night Fighter unit, and Wright flew in 43 operational sorties with them, in a variety of aircraft including Beaufighters, Havocs and Mosquitos. A contemporary of John ‘Cat’s Eyes’ Cunningham, also flying with the Squadron at the time, Wright achieved his first victory on only his second sortie. The latter being a Ju.88 destroyed. Flying regularly with Sergeant Vaughan as his navigator, Wright added to his total when he destroyed a He.111 off Portland, 7 May 1941. As the Squadron’s Operations Record Book records, this dog fight was not without incident:

‘7.5.41 10 patrols were carried out by the Squadron. S/Ldr Cunningham D.S.O., D.F.C. engaged and destroyed a He.III near Yeovil. F/O Joll detected an e/a but was unable to engage as e/a took violent evasive action. Sgt. Wright detected and engaged an e/a but was himself attacked and slightly wounded. However, his attack on the e/a was successful, but when trying to return to base his port engine burst into flames so he and his operator descended by parachute and were uninjured other than slight wounds to the pilot. Their a/c was completely destroyed by impact and fire.'

Wright was commissioned Pilot Officer in Aug 1941 and was posted to 256 Sqn. as Flight Lieutenant in Sep 1943, tasked with the Defence of Malta, operating from Luqa. Returning to the UK, Wright flew again operationally in 169 (Bomber Support) Squadron (Mosquitos) in Oct 1944, flying a further 31 sorties into 1945, including the attack on Jagel airfield on 2 May 1945. After the war, Wright was advanced to Wing Commander in Jan 1959 and retired from service in Oct 1966.