Military Cross recipient pilot dies, aged 96

A war hero who was awarded a Military Cross after evading capture has died.

Rae Walton, who was born in Tynemouth, died on December 28, aged 96.

He was seconded to the Royal Air Force as a pilot in April 1940, carrying out bombing and reconnaissance missions across the North Sea and Scandinavia.

On one mission in May 1942, his aircraft was damaged by enemy aircraft fire and had to ditch in the sea. He and the three other surviving crew members managed to reach the Lofoten Islands after two days in a dinghy.

They managed to evade capture by the occupying German forces and, with help from several brave locals, made their way across the mountains to neutral Sweden over the course of the following few weeks, where they were interned before being returned to the UK.

In recognition of his leadership and courage, he was awarded the Military Cross in December 1942.

In 1945, he moved on to 232 Squadron based in Delhi, India, where he acted as Lord Louis Mountbatten’s personal pilot while he was Supreme Commander of Forces in South East Asia, rising to the rank of Squadron Leader.

After the war, Mr Walton trained to be a solicitor with Stanton & Lambert in Newcastle. He formed his own solicitors’, Rae Walton & Hogg, with offices in Northumberland Square, North Shields, where he practised until the early 1980s.

He subsequently became a District Judge in the courts in Newcastle and surrounding areas.

He was elected chairman of the Newcastle Law Society in 1981. He retired from the law in 1991 at the age of 72.

Throughout his life, Mr Walton also took on many volunteer positions, including as an independent councillor with Tynemouth Council during the 1960s and as vice-chairman of the North Tyneside Health Authority.

He sailed dinghies and yachts for most of his life. He was a long-standing member of the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club at Blyth, where he kept a yacht until the early 2000s.

He played rugby for Percy Park during his teens, squash at Tynemouth Squash Club and latterly, golf at Tynemouth Golf Club. He was an active member of Tynemouth Regent Club.

He and his wife Anne, who survives him, married in 1952 in Tynemouth.