DUEL OF EAGLES ILLUSTRATED
Group Captain Peter Wooldridge Townsend C.V.O., D.S.O., D.F.C. & Bar ( November 22nd, 1914 - June 19th, 1995 ) was born in Rangoon ( formerly known as Burma, present - day Myanmar ). From 1928 to 1932, he was educated at Haileybury and Imperial Service College ( Hertford Heath, Hertfordshire, England ).
Peter Townsend joined the R.A.F. in 1933 and trained at R.A.F. Cranwell ( Lincolnshire, England ). Commissioned a Pilot Officer ( July 27th, 1935 ), he joined No. 1 Squadron at R.A.F. Tangmere ( West Sussex, England ). A year later, he was posted to No. 36 Squadron in Singapore.
Promoted to Flying Officer ( January 27th, 1937 ), he returned to Tangmere and was posted to No. 43 Squadron. Peter Townsend was promoted to Flight Lieutenant on January 27th, 1939. Taking off from R.A.F. Acklington ( Northumberland, England ) on February 3rd, 1940, three Hurricanes of " B " Flight, led by F/Lt Peter Tonwsend, shot down a Heinkel He 111 near Whitby ( North Yorkshire, England ). It was the first enemy aircraft to crash on English soil during the Second World War.
By May 1940, Acting Squadron Leader Peter Townsend was one of the most capable leaders of the Battle of Britain, serving throughout the battle as C.O. of No. 85 Squadron, flying Hawker Hurricanes. His wartime record was 9 aircraft claimed destroyed, 2 shared, 2 probables and 4 damaged. Peter Townsend ended the war as Equerry to King George VI, holding the temporary rank of Wing Commander ( permanently promoted on January 1st, 1949 ).
Group Captain Peter Townsend served as Air Attaché in Brussels ( Belgium ) from 1953 to 1956, when he retired from the R.A.F.
Also well - known because of his relationship with Princess Margaret in the early 1950's, ex - Group Captain Peter Townsend spent much of his later years writing non - fiction books. His books include Earth My Friend, Duel of Eagles, The Last Emperor ( a biography of King George VI ), The Girl in the White Ship, The Postman of Nagasaki and Time and Chance.
( sources : Wikipedia, Ciel de Gloire )