Battle of Britain London Monument – P/O P W Dunning-White THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN LONDON MONUMENT "Never in the field of human
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Privacy Statement The Airmen’s Stories – P/O P W Dunning-White
Peter William Dunning-White, the son of an industrialist, was born at Hadley Wood near Barnet on 16th April 1915 and educated at Harrow from 1929 to 1933. He gained a place at Jesus College Cambridge, where he spent most of his time playing golf and billiards. He also learned to fly, gained his pilot’s licence and obtained his own aircraft.
In August 1938 he joined 601 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force at Hendon and made his first flight there in an Avro Tutor on 5th August. On joining the squadron, the billiard-playing Dunning-White attracted the nickname ‘Stunning Black‘.
He was called to full-time service on 24th August 1939 and posted later to 6 FTS Little Rissington. He went to 5 OTU Aston Down on 6th May 1940 and after converting to Blenheims joined 29 Squadron at Drem on the 27th.
Dunning-White was attached to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on 28th June to convert to Hurricanes. Whilst there he was posted from 29 to 145 Squadron on 2nd July and he joined the squadron at Tangmere on the 5th.
On 18th July he shared a He111, on the 22nd shared a Do17, on 8th August destroyed a Ju87 and a Me110 and damaged a Me109, on the 11th probably destroyed a Me109 and probably another on 29th October.
On 10th January 1941 Dunning-White shared in the probable destruction of a Ju88. He went to 615 Squadron at Kenley on 13th March as a Flight Commander. After shooting down a Me109 over Dungeness on 15th April Dunning-White’s Hurricane IIa Z2410 was severely damaged and he baled out over Dymchurch and was picked up by an ASR launch.
In early May 1941 he was posted to 59 OTU Crosby-on-Eden as an instructor. Dunning-White was awarded the DFC (gazetted 6th June 1941) and was decorated by the King at Buckingham Palace on 17th July 1941.
He was attached to 409 (RCAF) Squadron in early 1942 for night-flying experience and in March he went to 255 Squadron at High Ercall.
In November the squadron went to North Africa and in March 1943 Dunning-White was promoted to Acting Squadron Leader and made a Flight Commander. He returned to the UK in September 1943 and was posted to the staff at HQ Fighter Command. Dunning-White moved to 100 Group Bomber Command in July 1944 to oversee night-fighting training. He was released from the RAF on 8th October 1945 as a Wing Commander. He was re-commissioned in 601 Squadron in 1946.
Dunning-White went on to be a landowner in Scotland and enjoyed country pursuits. He was a keen shot and fisherman and for 15 years was the field master of the Dumfriesshire Foxhounds. Its likely that his wartime service, in particular the loss of five colleagues lost in one day in August 1940, were to have a lasting and profound effect on his life.
He died on 27th December 2008 aged 93. His wife Mary (married 1949) died in 1969 and a son survives him.
(Above: Peter Dunning-White DFC (right) is welcomed by ACM Sir Michael Stear KCB CBE DL FRAeS RAF Ret (Deputy Lieutenant for Devon) on the occasion in 2004 when a memorial plaque was unveiled at Teignmouth Community College in memory of a RAF pilot, Flight Lieutenant Edgeworthy, who had attended the College).
Photo courtesy of Mark Andrew.