Group Captain Joscelyn Forgan Houssemayne du Boulay CBE DFC
Published on 15/12/2006 - Cumberland News
Joc Du Boulay was a former OC 103 Sqn at Elsham Wolds and a prominent figure so I have reproduced this item in full.
"A superb flyer and a decorated pilot of wartime bombers, Joc du Boulay was a man who could turn his hand to other things including rearing Herdwick sheep. While he served the RAF and later worked in business in different parts of the world, he maintained strong links with the Lake District and with his mother’s own particular corner of it. She was the daughter of Canon Askew of Greystoke, near Penrith.
His full name was Joscelyn Forgan Houssemayne du Boulay and he was descended from the Protestant Huguenots who fled Roman Catholic persecution in France centuries ago.
Born in Burma, he was the son of a Border Regiment officer and he was just a year old when the family left Burma and arrived back in Britain to live in Folkestone, where his grandparents lived and where he grew up with his two brothers and two sisters.
His father, Major Thomas William Houssemayne du Boulay, almost immediately went away to fight in France during World War One.
In 1921 when he was only nine his father died and the family moved to Cumberland to live with his maternal grandmother in Greystoke, at what is now Howard House. His mother eventually became the matron at the Eden Hall School.
Young Joscelyn – or Joc as he was known – was educated at Wellington College, in Berkshire, as was his brother, Patrick, who went on to Sandhurst and became a Grenadier Guards officer.
However, their careers diverged when Joc joined the RAF in the late 1920s and became a cadet at Cranwell, where he made a name for himself as a very able student. He graduated from the college in 1932, having rapidly qualified to fly solo.
In service as a flight lieutenant he was posted to Afghanistan and to flying patrols on the notorious North West frontier of India and it was there that he crashed – in the Khyber Pass.
A year later he as sent back to Britain on medical grounds and he served at home until World War Two
began. He then became a Vickers Wellington medium bomber pilot and was OC 103 Sqn at Elsham Wolds in 1942.
During two tours he took part in many missions over occupied Europe and was on both of the RAF's famous 1,000 bomber raids. Between tours, he served as a very successful flying instructor.
A brave man, he was awarded the DFC and, sometime later, became a CBE, in recognition of his service in Bomber Command.
Promotion had been rapid, from acting Wing Commander in 1941 to substantive Wing Commander a year later.
In 1944 he was promoted to Group Captain and was based at the Supreme HQ of the Allied Expeditionary Force, located in liberated France. He was present when the German surrender was signed, at Rheims.
When he eventually left the RAF, he retained close contacts with flying as assistant secretary of the Royal Aero Club and then he joined a Cambridge-based company, that serviced and refurbished aircraft, as its aviation sales manager. In this job he travelled the world and his work often took him to countries in the Middle East.
He took early retirement at 60 and returned to Cumberland, making his home at Thornthwaite, near Keswick. A man of many parts, he later bought Blease Farm, where he reared sheep before eventually moving to live in Threlkeld, where he became a member of the congregation at the local church. He also worshipped at St John’s Church, Keswick.
Mr du Boulay was 93 when he died in Keswick Hospital and his funeral took place at St Andrew’s Church, Greystoke. He was buried in the churchyard close to the Askew family tomb.
He leaves his wife of 39 years, three sons, two daughters, eight grandchildren and a great granddaughter."
Note. If anyone has a goodf photo of this gentleman I shall be most grateful for a jpeg file for inclusion in this item. David Fell