Biplane fighter aces


Flying Officer George Stanley Milligan, RAF Nos. 742070 (NCO); 87030 (Officer)

1919 – 30 April 1941

Milligan was born in 1919 and was from Cambridge.

He enlisted in the RAFVR in September 1938, completing his training prior to the outbreak of the war in September 1939, when he was mobilised.

In October he was posted from the 11 Group Pool to 263 Squadron as a Sergeant.
He took part in the unit’s both expeditions to Norway.

He didn’t make any claims during the first disastrous campaign.

At 10:30 on 26 May, Flight Lieutenant Alvin Williams and Sergeant Milligan took off together. They caught an aircraft, which they identified it as a Ju 88, which were bombing the new airstrip at Skaanland. They attacked together simultaneously from above and literally cut it to pieces when they overhauled it by cutting across its turn. During the first attack the port engine caught fire. In the subsequent pass the port wing broke off and the starboard wing disintegrated. The stricken aircraft fell into the sea and burst into flames. Their victim was in fact an elderly Do 17 F of 1(F)./123, which Feldwebel Anton Schairer had just flown up from Stavanger-Sola to Trondheim because 1(F)./120 was short of aircraft and personnel. Sent off immediately to Narvik, Schairer and his crew of two were all lost as the aircraft crashed near Skaanland.

At 09:00 on 27 May, Sergeant Milligan took off on patrol, attacking two He 111 at 6000 feet between the airfield and Narvik. He was in turn attacked by a third bomber, so turned his attention to this and made four passes at it. Pouring smoke it dived into a valley in low cloud, and as with so many other aircraft, which were not seen to crash during combat, was later confirmed by the Norwegians to have crashed. The loss can’t be confirmed with German sources.

At 11:00 29 May, three He 111s from KG 26 attacked Bardufoss airfield from only 600 meters. Sergeant Milligan was scrambled at once and was able to catch Unteroffizier Paul Richter’s He 111 H-4 from 1 staffel over Narvik. This aircraft had climbed steadily to 4,600 meters, but here Milligan was able to close to 230 meters and fire for 10-15 seconds. Many pieces flew off, but before he could see any results his engine began to malfunction – possibly having ingested debris from the Heinkel – and he had to break away. Richter had to belly land his damaged aircraft near Ankenes, where the whole crew (Observer Unteroffizier Alfred Kull, wireless operator Obergefreiter Günter Steffen and air gunner Unteroffizier Josef Ratajczak) were captured and shipped to the UK.
The Heinkel had taken off from Vaernes.

Milligan was one of the pilots who was evacuated from Norway back to England with the MV Arandora Star, thus avoiding the loss of HMS Glorious.

On returning to the UK he was commissioned on 29 October 1940 and promoted to Pilot Officer and later to Flying Officer.

263 Squadron converted to Whirlwinds.

On 30 April 1941 Flying Officer Milligan took off from Harwell in Westland Whirlwind P7008 to carry out practice attacks on a 15 OTU Wellington. When he broke away sharply from his fifth attack the Whirlwind suffered structural failure when the tailplane broke off and a wing detached. The aircraft crashed about half a mile east of Aldermaston, killing the pilot.
At this that time Milligan had 757 hours solo time, of which 144 hours were on Whirlwind.

At the time of his death Milligan was credited with 2 biplane victories.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  26/05/40 11:45 ca 1/2 Ju 88 (a) Shared destroyed Gladiator II   Skaanland 263 Squadron
1 27/05/40 09:00 1 He 111 (b) Destroyed Gladiator II   near Narvik 263 Squadron
2 29/05/40 11:00 1 He 111 (c) Destroyed Gladiator II   Narvik 263 Squadron

Biplane victories: 2 and 1 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 2 and 1 shared destroyed.
(a) Actually, a Do 17 F of 1(F.)/123. Feldwebel Anton Schairer and his crew perished.
(b) Confirmed by Norwegians but not confirmed with German sources.
(c) He 111 H-4 of 1./KG 26 belly-landed near Ankenes. The crew became PoWs.

Deutsche Luftwaffe Losses & Claims -series - Michael Balss
Fledgling Eagles - Christopher Shores with John Foreman, Christian-Jaques Ehrengardt, Heinrich Weiss and Bjørn Olsen, 1991 Grub Street, London, ISBN 0-948817-42-9
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Those Other Eagles – Christopher Shores, 2004 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-904010-88-1
Whirlwind: The Westland Whirlwind fighter - Victor Bingham, 1987 Airlife, ISBN 1-85310-004-8 kindly provided by Jan Kuzee and Juha Vaittinen
Additional information kindly provided by Paul McMillan

Last modified 12 December 2023