13 September 1909 – 12 November 1998
Ronald Gustave Kellett, was an English flying ace in the Second World War. In the Battle of Britain who had the privilege to command the legendary Polish 303 Squadron which shot down more German planes than any other RAF squadron – despite not joining the battle until August, two months after it had begun.
The Battle Colours were sewn in secret in occupied Poland, smuggled to Britain, and a coded message relayed back to let the women who had made the Battle Colours that they had been awarded.
He earned a Distinguished Service Order for his leadership at this time. The citation reads:
Squadron Leader Kellett as commander of his squadron has built up and trained his personnel to such a fine fighting pitch that no fewer than 113 enemy aircraft have been destroyed in the space of one month, with very few casualties sustained by his squadron. He has frequently led the wing formation with judgment and success. The gallantry and fine leadership displayed by Squadron Leader Kellett have proved an inspiring example.
Kellett also earned a Distinguished Flying Cross at this time with the citation reading:
By his excellent example and personality this officer has been largely responsible for the success of his squadron which in one week destroyed thirty-three enemy aircraft, of which Squadron Leader Kellett has destroyed three. His leadership and determination in attacking superior numbers of enemy aircraft have instilled the greatest confidence in the other pilots of his squadron.
He himself wrote of this time and the Polish fighters under his command: “We fought together through the great offensive of 1940 and I then knew that the pilots of No. 303 Squadron were not only the best but would also see me through any troubles. In the month of September, 303 Squadron was on top — no squadron from the Empire could equal the courage and skill of our pilots, no bombing could daunt our airmen.”
Later, he served in the defence of the docks at Liverpool.
He was rested from operations at the end of 1942. With a tally of kills for the war at 5 confirmed 2 probable and 1 damaged, Kellett held the status of a flying ace.
He then became involved in pilot training and in 1943 was sent to Turkey to teach at the Turkish Air Force staff college in Ankara.” (Michael J Hawkins)