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
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
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
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. . ."
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
lamented the aircraft's loss and wrote under the crash
"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
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