A HEROIC fighter pilot who played a key role in the Battle of Britain is featured in a new online service.
Details of David Moore Crook, from Edgerton, are among 28,000 records and 13,000 photographs of flying men and women being made available on Ancestry.co.uk
All the featured pilots qualified during the so-called golden age of British aviation, 1910-1950.
Their Royal Aero Club (RAeC) Aviators’ certificates are available on the internet for the first time.
Mr Crook flew a Spitfire with RAF squadron 609, at the time an Auxiliary Air Force squadron.
He played a decisive part during the Battle of Britain two years later – destroying six German aircraft – and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions.
The official notice of his award was featured in the London Gazette of November 1, 1940.
It said he had “led his section with coolness and judgement against the enemy on many occasions. He has destroyed six of their aircraft besides damaging several more.”
Mr Crook was promoted to Flying Officer in December 1940.
He was killed in action on December 18, 1944 and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey.
His name is displayed on the Battle of Britain Monument in London and a plane he flew is on display at the Imperial War Museum in London.
Mr Crook wrote an autobiography about his battle experiences, called Spitfire Pilot, which was published in 1942.
He also wrote Pursuit of Passy, a work of fiction about an RAF pilot who crashes in France and joins the Resistance, published in 1946.
The RAeC was founded by Frank Hedges Butler, one of the first car owners in the UK and Charles Royce, of Rolls-Royce fame.
It was the first organisation responsible for licensing and controlling flying.
Ancestry.co.uk Website managing director Simon Harper said: “This collection is a fantastic record of a golden age in British aviation history and is a great opportunity for people to discover more about these adventurous men and women, many of whom gave their lives in the pursuit of their passion.”
RAeC trust spokesman Andrew Dawrant added: “There has been a long held interest in both our pilots and their early aviation achievements, which the online launch of this collection provides the opportunity for all to explore.”
The Ancestry.co.uk collection includes the index cards of pilots, with details about their flying lives and exploits.
It is searchable by name, date of birth, location and rank or profession.