Squadron Leader Walter Hunt Longton DFC and Two Bars, AFC
Squadron Leader Walter Hunt Longton had an adventure-filled life. He moved from his home in Prescot to work for Alldays & Onions Ltd, a motor company in Birmingham where he also acted as a factory racer, competing in the T.T. races.
He enlisted with the Queen’s Own Worcestershire Hussars and then later joined the Royal Flying Corps; he was appointed Flying Officer on 12 July 1916 when he completed his pilot’s training.
His witty letters home to his family in Prescot, on display here, give a fascinating insight into his experiences of service in Egypt and are a sharp contrast to the impersonal multiple-choice Field Service postcards also in use.
In 1918 he was posted to 85 Squadron, piloting Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 biplanes and quickly became an ace with 11 aerial victories under his belt. He was awarded the Air Force Cross and the Distinguished Flying Cross with two Bars for subsequent honours. His DFC was awarded for leading a formation to attack and destroy enemy scouts, and destroying 7 enemy aircraft in as many weeks; his first DFC Bar for carrying out 12 reconnaissance missions and bringing back valuable information as well as displaying great gallantry in attacking enemy troops on the ground; his second DFC Bar was awarded in 1919 “for services rendered during the war”.
When the Royal Air Force was formed, he re-enlisted after the war with a permanent commission as Lieutenant. He participated in RAF pageants and entered many flying competitions, races, trials and performed aerobatics; a programme from his penultimate flying meeting is on display. On 6 June 1927, Walter was tragically killed in an accident during a flying meeting near Bournemouth.