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Name: REYNOLDS, George

Birth Date: 1903

First Date: 1933

Profession: General Motors

Area: Nairobi

Book Reference: Aero

War Service: RAF

General Information:

Aero - Flying Officer George Reynolds was awarded the DFC at the end of 1942 "for his tenacity and dogged perseverance in preparing for and taking part in high altitude flights at the age of 39." He had learned to fly under the Aero Club of East Africa's subsidy scheme which gave some 60 pilots their ab initia training for the RAF. Reynolds arrived in Kenya in 1933 when he was just 30 years old to work for General Motors Ltd. He soon became a prominent owner-pilot member of the Club, flying a Waco. During the Abyssinian campaign of the Second World War he was personal pilot on communications, to the GOC of the 12th African Division and did much useful work. Inevitably, George Reynolds' Bridge was named after him when he discovered it, making it possible for supplies to reach Divisions Headquarters during the Battle of the Lakes. Later he was transferred to the Middle East, concentrating on high-altitude flying in pursuit of the formidable Junkers 86s, making nearly 30 ascents to heights of between 40,000 and 50,000 feet.
It was not only dangerous work, but extremely trying on the lungs and heart. The German Junkers 86s, with their powerful diesel engines, were designed to fly in the stratosphere and attain ceilings far above those of any existing fighters of that time. Without fear of destruction they could take photographs of strategic value. In one month, in specially prepared Spitfires, Reynolds went up to 40,000 feet 25 times, and after damaging several Ju 86s, achieved his first definite victory. Day after day, at cockpit temperatures falling to 67 degrees below zero, with perspex, instruments and control column all coated with ice, and legs and arms paralysed, he harassed the Junkers until the opportunity came to him at last to follow one out over the Med. And engage it in combat. When he ultimately returned to base he was three hours overdue after running out of petrol and force-landing in the Delta to refuel. In his letter of congratulation, Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder conveyed his "admiration of the skill and determination and endurance shown by Flying Officer Reynolds."

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