< More Atcherley family photos
Twins David and Richard Atcherley were born on 12 Jan 1904 at York, sons of Major-General Sir Llewellyn William Atcherley, C.M.G., C.V.O. and his wife Eleanor Frances (Micklethwait) and grandsons of Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Topping Atcherley.
Air Marshal Sir Richard Llewellyn Roger Atcherley, KBE, CB, AFC and Bar, was widely known as “Batchy” but his nickname within the Atcherley family was “Snick.” After winning the King’s Cup Air Race in 1929 he broke the world air speed record, flying at a speed of 332.63 miles per hour, during that year’s Schneider Cup race. He is pictured standing to the right of his Schneider Cup team mates in the photograph above. (Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.)
Batchy went on to give demonstrations of ‘crazy flying’ at the National Air Races in America in the early 1930s, making headlines in newspapers around the world. The photo above (which I have cropped below) the shows him in Cleveland in 1932, sitting to the left of Jean Assolant (France), Lieutenant A Placidio (Portugal) and Clarence Young (Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Aeronautics, USA).
Bibliothèque Nationale de France have a copy of this photo – see europeana – which is shown as being in the public domain. The images above are from my own copy of the photo.
Resuming more serious RAF duties, Batchy experimented with in-flight refuelling. In 1936, with Herbert Rowley, he went to Germany to learn what he could about the Luftwaffe, and reported back to the UK Government recommending a British strike force of Wellingtons and Blenheims, supported by Spitfires and Hurricanes. During World War II Batchy developed the Drem lighting system for airfields to guide pilots safely home, and his actions in Norway earned him the country’s highest gallantry decoration, the War Cross. Towards the end of the war, at Batchy’s suggestion, a Central Fighter Establishment was formed and he became its first Commandant. Batchy went on to command the fledgeling Pakistan Air Force and it was during his time there that he visited Australia, and also New Zealand (where he is pictured above at Hobsonville in 1949). The full list of Richard “Batchy” Atcherley’s achievements and exploits is enormous. (Photo credit: Air Vice Marshal Richard Atcherley, chief of Royal Pakistan Air Force and officers at Hobsonville. Whites Aviation Ltd: Photographs. Ref: WA-23311-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22741225)
Air Vice Marshal David Francis William Atcherley, CB, CBE, DSO, DFC started his military career in the Army but managed to get a secondment to the RAF and then a permanent transfer. The citation for the award of his Distinguished Flying Cross, published in the London Gazette, reads: “Wing Commander David Francis William ATCHERLEY (05168), No.25 Squadron. This officer has carried out a large amount of operational flying at night, sometimes under adverse weather conditions. The efficiency of his squadron and the success it has had is due to Wing Commander Atcherley’s drive, energy and leadership. He has destroyed three enemy aircraft at night.” The picture above, used under the Imperial War Museum Non-Commercial Licence, shows David (far left) with Group Captain P G Wykeham-Barnes, Wing Commander H P Shallard and AVM Basil Embry. (Image © IWM (CL 2739).)