© 2009 454 & 459 RAAF Squadrons

Percival Proctor

Large numbers of Proctors were built, because of their enclosed cabin design, as wireless trainers and communications aircraft during the Second World War.

The Proctor was a military version of the well known Vega Gull sports and light touring plane. The Proctor I three-seat communications aircraft made its maiden flight on 8 October 1939. 245 were delivered to the Royal Air Force.

This was followed by the Proctor II and III which were built as a radio trainers.

The final version of the Proctor in Royal Air Force service was the MkIV. This had a re-designed fuselage which allowed four persons to be carried together with operational radio equipment to train radio operators. Many of these Proctor Ivs were later converted into communications aircraft.

When No.31 Squadron re-formed in 1948 Proctor IVs and Avro Ansons were chosen as equipment. This unit provided an air taxi service for the Royal Air Force from Hendon for a number of years.

From the diary of John Simmonds - [RAF] RAAF 459 Squadron, he writes; "we graduated to the Proctor, a single engined monoplane, a trim little aircraft with spats on its wheels.  The cabin was just big enough to take the pilot, the pupil and an instructor.  The big thing now was to learn back tuning.  Without going into a lot of detail this entailed tuning in to a ground signal and then tuning your transmitter to that signal so that you could send a message back and be understood.

It wasn't easy at first but I soon got the hang of it.  We also learnt direction finding."