Flight Lieutenant Richard ‘Dickie’ Lee DSO, DFC (RAF)

Hurricane Pilot during Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain.

‘Dickie Lee’ (source unknown)

Whilst serving with 85 Squadron RAF during Dunkirk, on 21 November he destroyed a Heinkel III over Boulogne and after being shot down he evaded capture and return to his squadron. On 10 May 1940 Lee destroyed a HS 126 and shared in the destruction of a Junker 86 and during the same action was credited for damaging a Junker 88. The following day, after shooting down two enemy aircraft he was shot down over the sea by flak and was rescued after being in the sea for over an hour.

‘Dickie’ Lee after being awarded the DFC and DFO

On 18 August 1940 during the Battle of Britain, Squadron Leader Townsend and Flying Officer Arthur Newman were flying ten-miles north-east of Foulness and were short on fuel when they saw ‘Dickie’ chasing a Messerschmitt bf 109 out to sea. Townsend shouted over his radio several times “Dickie come back!” but he continued to chase the Messerschmitt across the channel. Later that day Richard ‘Dickie’ Lee was reported missing presumed dead and neither his body or the wreckage of his Hurricane has been discovered.

At the time of his death ‘Dickie’ Lee was 23-years-old and is believed to have destroyed nine enemy aircraft.

Author: Alan Malcher

Military historian and defence commentator

6 thoughts on “Flight Lieutenant Richard ‘Dickie’ Lee DSO, DFC (RAF)”

  1. Dick Lee was a friend of my mother’s, I have two RAF Christmas cards signed by him as well as a couple of old photographs when they were teenagers living in Peacehaven, East Sussex. His half brother, David Selby-Lowndes was also killed during the war I believe he was a radio operator based on the Isle of Man. I always think it must have been awful for their mother Esme, losing her husband, Dick’s father, Dick was only 2 or 3 at the time, and then losing both sons. I think she lived until about 1968. My mother told us she was engaged to Dick Lee though I think it’s more likely that he said to her “when I come back from the war I’ll marry you Mary” and she believed him, she was 3 years younger than him. She did keep a copy of a photo she found in a magazine which shows a man who looks uncannily like Dick Lee in a German concentration camp. Please feel free to email me.


      1. One of many similar stories I imagine. I’d love to know whether the Selby-Lowndes family still have the medals he was awarded.


    1. I did read somewhere about a museum in Yorkshire which had some of his and his fathers items. They mentioned the RAF uniform but not the medals.


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