Biplane fighter aces

The Commonwealth

Flying Officer Kenneth Henry Osborne Young DFC, RAF no. 40654

On 26 March 1938, Kenneth Henry Osborne Young was granted a short service commissions as Acting Pilot Officers on probation (gazetted on 12 April 1938).

On 17 July 1940, he was promoted to Flying Officer (gazetted on 3 September 1940).

In June 1941, Flying Officer Young was part of ‘X’ Flight, which had formed at Habbaniya on 6 June. This unit was equipped with Gloster Gladiators under the command of Young and had been formed to take part in Operation’Exporter’, which was an invasion in French-held Syria.

On 7 June, the unit flew to Amman in Transjordan.

At 09:52 on 18 June, seven D.520s from GC III/6 set off to escort a Potez 63-11 of GAO 585 over the Quneitra-Sheikh Meskine-Kissoué area. They were led by Capitane de Rivals-Mazeres, but he was obliged to return early due to engine trouble, Sous Lieutenant Pierre Le Gloan taking over the lead. In consequence the formation became somewhat confused, circling over the area while Le Gloan dived down to investigate a group of vehicles seen near Kissoué. At this point five ‘X’ Flight Gladiators appeared on the scene, led by Flying Officer Young. Six had taken off, but one of these too had returned due to engine trouble. Enjoying the advantage of altitude, the British pilots dived on the unsuspecting French, who were at 8,000 feet, and at once Lieutenant Boiries No. 389 was shot down in flames, crashing near Abu Kemal. Sergeant Pimont made the mistake of attempting to turn with the Gladiators, and his No. 52 was also hit, causing him to crash-land. Both pilots were captured. The three remaining Dewoitines became involved in a 15-minute dogfight during which again they found the biplanes to be too nimble for them, although their superior speed allowed them to depart, having been unable to inflict any damage whatsoever on their attackers. Le Gloan, meanwhile, had missed the whole engagement.
One of the victories was credited to Young, but the identity of the second victor was not disclosed.

After the end of hostilities in Syria, X’ Flight returned to Habbaniya, where it was disbanded and the personnel and aircraft being amalgamated with 127 Squadron to form a new 261 Squadron.

On 17 July 1941, Young was promoted to the war substantive rank of Flight Lieutenant (gazetted on 19 September 1941).

He was decorated with a DFC on 10 October 1941.

He was transferred to the reserve as a Flight Lieutenant on 17 January 1942 (gazetted on 23 May 1944).

On 1 July 1943, Young was promoted from Flight Lieutenant to Squadron Leader (temporary) (gazetted 14 July 1943).

Young ended the war with 1 biplane victory.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
1 18/06/41 09:52- 1 D.520 (a) Destroyed Gladiator   Kissoué area ’X’ Flight

Biplane victories: 1 destroyed.
TOTAL: 1 destroyed.
(a) Claimed in combat with D.520s from GC III/6. ‘X’ Flight claimed two victories without losses. GC III/& lost two aircraft without making any claims.

Dust Clouds in the Middle East - Christopher Shores, 1996 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-898697-37-X
The London Gazette

Last modified 12 August 2007