10 Fighter Wing

German Air Force

Sabre Mk.6


7th December 1960

JG 71
(Richthofen Wing)
Flight Lieutenant Richard W (Dickie) Millward
exchange officer
acting as the NATO Fighter Tactics Advisor to JG 71


Richard (Dickie) Millward AFC

1933 - 1987

Richard Walter Millward (Dickie) was born in Lambeth South London on 12th of March 1933. At the start of the Second World War, Dick and his Mother moved to Chichester in Sussex to escape the bombing.

Dick was educated at the Chichester High School for Boys where he eventually won a languages scholarship entry into the Royal Air Force as an Officer Cadet pilot with No 63 Entry, The RAF College Cranwell.

Dick’s first official flight in his RAF career was in January 1953 in a Chipmunk trainer, although his log books show he had already flown over 50 hours with 461 Squadron, the Air Training Corps, as a passenger, by this time. At the end of his 3 year training, Dick graduated as a Senior Flight Cadet on the 14th December 1954. As a cadet, he won the Dickson Trophy and the Michel Hill Memorial Prize. During this period, and throughout his flying career his flying ability was consistently assessed as `above average` and it was no surprise that he was `creamed off` to fly the newly emerging jet fighters.

The normal training route via Operational Conversion Units led him first to fly the Hawker Hunter with 257 and 263 Sqns at RAF Wattisham. Then, in 1958 he was posted to 4 Sqn at Jever in West Germany, again, flying Hunter Jets. At the end of this tour his fluency in German led to a post as a NATO fighter tactics advisor to the embryonic West German Air Force, The Luftwaffe.

Flying the Canadian built F86 Sabre Jet with  JG71 (Richthofen) Wing at Alhorn,  Dick found he was providing fighter tactics advice to none other than Erich Hartmann  the highest scoring fighter ace of all time (over 350 kills)!  He and Hartmann, being of like mind, became good friends during this time. Later in this tour, Dick ejected from an F86 following an engine fire at altitude. Luckily he was unhurt!

Dick (and new wife Dorothy), returned to the UK in 1962 to a Fighter Development post flying Hunter, Lightning and Javelin fighters for a short while before his fluency in French (as well as German) led to him being selected to attend the French Test Pilots School at Istres in Provence, the first English pilot to do so. On graduation from Istres, he was posted to Aero Flight at RAE Bedford. It was here he was able to fly the FD2, BAC221, SC1, HP115 and numerous other experimental aircraft. He also managed to demonstrate many vintage aircraft of the Shuttleworth Collection – Here he specialised, as ever, in fighters - SE5a, Bristol Fighter, etc. He was promoted to Squadron Leader in Command of Aero Flight and was awarded the Air Force Cross whilst at Bedford.

In 1969, Dick was posted to a ground tour. This was not much to his liking and so in November 1970 he left the RAF, having amassed over 6,000 hours flying time, mainly in jet fighters and experimental aircraft.

From 1970 until 1983 Dick had a variety of flying jobs, ranging from demonstrating and selling Britten-Norman Islanders, to proving new locations for civil airports by flying light aircraft into small spaces (London Docklands & Paphos - Cyprus being just two) For a while, he was employed as an accident investigator with British Airways and he acted as technical advisor for the TV series “Airline”.

On the 15th April 1983 Dick flew his last official flight. Sadly, an engine failure on take off led to a nasty crash which destroyed the light aircraft he was flying and broke both his legs. Whilst in hospital recovering, he developed diabetes and this brought a premature end to his flying.

 By this time Dick had more than 11,000 hours as a pilot in over 178 different aircraft types, including Fighters, Bombers, Experimentals, Airliners, Freighters, Hovercraft, Airships and Helicopters. After such a fantastic career in aviation, he took up a second one in event coordination and management. He approached this with the same enthusiasm as he did his flying and continued in this profession until his untimely and unexpected death in 1987.  He was aged only 54.




This photo of Richard Millward's "Boss"  Erich Hartmann was presented to him in March 1961, a few weeks after Dick had ejected from the F-86 Sabre.

On the reverse he wrote
"To my 'best bail out' tactical advisor 'Dick' in the new 71st 10F Wing GAF and the best guy I know
. . ."





"Farewell to  JA 239!"

The crash site of JA 239

Germany's first post war squadron Jagdgeschwader 71 (JG71) was formed in June 1959. Equipped with 50 Canadair Sabre Mk.6s and stationed at the former RAF Ahlhorn it formed part of the NATO air deterrent against the Warsaw PACT.

Amongst its top ranking officers was the legendary WW2 German Ace, Erich Hartmann.
The interchange of NATO personnel for training and other purposes found RAF Flight Lieutenant "Dickie" Millward attached to the squadron as a fighter tactics advisor with Hartmann as his "boss".

On Wednesday 7th December 1960, half an hour after beginning an air test of one of 10 Wing's Sabres the engine seized and an engine fire developed. Flt Lt Millward had no other option than to eject using the North American Ejection Seat. His logbook records the "bale-out" and contains photos of the remains of the stricken aircraft.
Dick lamented the aircraft's loss and wrote under the crash site photo
"Farewell to JA 239!"
and reveals that he also became a member of G.Q.'s Golden Wings Club having used one of their parachutes and in the margin he sketched a small parachuting pilot

Remains of JA 239's engine

His brother Geoff recalls,

"Happily, Dick suffered no lasting effects and went on to become an accomplished test pilot and eventually was OC Aero Flight at the RAE Bedford engaged in Concorde development amongst many other projects.

Squadron Leader R W Millward AFC  retired from the RAF in 1970 continuing in civil aviation for several years until his untimely and sudden death from natural causes in 1987, He was only 54 years old."



                                                                    photo via Geoff Millward

Dickie Millward during his period test flying boarding the BAC 221 (Concorde wing test bed)

I am grateful to Geoff Millward, the late Sqn Ldr Millward's brother for providing details of the ejection and permission to include the obituary and photos.

 page created 29th February 2008
last updated Sunday, 02 March 2008 18:39