This page is dedicated to the memory of:
William Alan Curtis
801 Squadron Fleet Air Arm
Alan Curtis made a significant contribution to the Falklands air war victory. He joined the Sea Harrier world after serving in the Royal New Zealand Air Force as a Qualified Flying Instructor, flying Skyhawks and before that serving in the RAF, flying V-bombers. By the time we went to war, he had proved himself as a true gentleman, a dedicated team member and an excellent tactician. With no intelligence of the enemy air being provided to HMS Invincible from any source, including the Flag’s Staff, his broad knowledge and experience proved invaluable to 801 Squadron’s Air Warfare Planning Team. So much so that I accorded him Air Warfare Instructor status. One of his strengths was his readiness to tell me when he thought that I was wrong: something I respected and always appreciated from my pilots.
On day one of combat, Alan proved his full worth in the air by conducting an autonomous interception of Canberra aircraft at low level ingressing towards the carrier battle group. His look-down handling of the Blue Fox radar was superb and resulted in him shooting down the lead Canberra aircraft with a sidewinder missile. He coped with the pressure of the moment immensely well despite his very low fuel state.
Alan lost his life a few days later while taking the fight to the enemy and attempting to intercept a fast moving very low level target in abysmal low cloud weather conditions.
I shall always remember him with great respect and fondness as a shining light and Top Gun of Her Majesty’s Fleet Air Arm. May he rest in peace.”
Alan received a Posthumous “Mention in Dispatches”
Nigel D MacCartan-Ward DSC AFC Commander RN
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