Churchill, Walter Myer, born 24-11-1907 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, to William Algernon Churchill, a British diplomat, and singer Violet Churchill (born Myers). William served as a British consul in Mozambique and Pará in Brazil prior to Walter’s birth, and in Amsterdam, Stockholm, Milan, Palermo, and Algiers in Walter’s youth. William was also an art connoisseur, and author of what is still the standard reference work on early European paper and papermaking, Watermarks in Paper.
Wailter’s brother was British Army Captain Peter Morland Churchill, DSO (14-01-1909 – 01-05-1972) a British Special Operations Executive (SOE) officer in France during World War II. His wartime operations, which resulted in his capture and imprisonment in German concentration camps, and his subsequent marriage to fellow SOE officer, Odette Brailly Sansom Hallowes, received considerable attention during the war. Peter Churchill died 01-05-1972, age 63 , in Antibes, Departement des Alpes-Maritimes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France. A third brother was William Oliver Churchill, DSO, MC (1914–1997) a Special Operations Executive (SOE) officer during the Second World War. Shortly after the Italians had switched allegiance to the Allies in September 1943, he was parachuted into German occupied Corfu to inform the Italian commander that the Allies would support him. In August 1944, he was parachuted into northern Italy behind German lines to act as British Liaison Officer with the partisan leaders. William survived the war and died in 1997 (aged 82–83) in Cambridge, England
Walter Churchill was named after his uncle Walter Myers, an eminent physician and bacteriologist who died on 20-01-1901, aged 28. He was educated at Sedbergh School, and in 1926 read Modern Languages at King’s College, Cambridge. He then became an aeronautical engineer with Armstrong Siddeley Motors, Coventry, after which he started an aviation precision engineering company, Churchill Components (Coventry) Ltd, in 1937, which supplied machined parts such as exhaust valves for radial aero-engines to Armstrong Siddeley. After being blitzed out of Coventry in 1941, the company re-located to Market Bosworth. The company worked for Sir Frank Whittle, the jet-engine pioneer, and it machined compressor blades for the gas-turbine engines in the early 1940s.
Churchill was commissioned as a pilot officer in the Auxiliary Air Force on 11-01-1932 and appointed to No. 605 (County of Warwick) Squadron . He was promoted to flight lieutenant in June 1937 and transferred from the AAF to the Auxiliary Air Force Reserve of Officers in January 1939. He was recalled to No. 605 Squadron and full-time service in August 1939, and commanded the squadron from June to September 1940, when he was succeeded by Archie McKellar. Churchill later served with No. 3 Squadron and No. 71 (Eagle) Squadron and took part in the Battle of Britain as a squadron leader. He was then promoted to wing commander, then group captain.
During his tenure as Squadron Commander with 71 (Eagle) at RAF Debden, he instructed his pilots to land the outdated Brewster Buffaloes with their tail wheels unlocked, causing damage to the aircraft after which Hurricanes were issued to the squadron.
Churchill was an ‘ace’ pilot credited with seven “kills”, and was awarded a Distinguished Service Order and a Distinguished Flying Cross.
Death and burial ground of Churchill, Walter Myers.
He also evaluated various makes of fighter aircraft for the RAF and played a key role in getting Spitfire aircraft to the defence of Malta. In August 1942, he was stationed in Malta as a group captain. On 27 August, Churchill was killed in action while leading a raid in a Spitfire on Biscari airfield near Gela in southern Sicily.
Extract of letter from Air Vice Marshal Sir Keith Park, Air Officer Commanding, RAF Mediterranean, who died on 06-02-1975, aged 82, in Auckland, New Zealand, to his widow Joyce:
“Dear Mrs Churchill,
I am writing because I feel that it may be some comfort to you in your great loss to know that your husband met his end leading a fighter formation in a most successful attack on the enemy. Although Walter Churchill has passed on, his fine example and inspired leadership will live on in Malta to the end of the war. He arrived in Malta leading a formation of reinforcing Spitfires to protect the last vitally important convoy. During his all too short stay in Malta Walter Churchill was an inspiration to the fighter squadron in the air and on the ground.
If it was ordained that Walter Churchill was to give his life for his country I feel sure he would have chosen to end it as he did, leading a fighter formation on a daring and most successful fighter sweep over enemy territory”
The company continued under the management of his wife, Joyce, and subsequently that of his second son, James. The company is now known as J. J. Churchill Ltd. and is managed by James’s son, Andrew. Churchill, Walter Myers gravestone at Syracuse War Cemetery, in Sicily.