Born: December 23, 1918; Died: November 20, 2012.
Wing Commander William Hoy, who has died aged 93 in Australia, was a distinguished and courageous night fighter pilot in the Second World War who flew dangerous missions with the RAF. In a sortie in July 1942 he shot down a Heinkel bomber off Land's End and, in the following year, accounted for two more, damaging a third off the Yorkshire coast.
Later in the war, after he had been promoted to Flight Commander, he led an attack on an enemy reconnaissance aircraft, which was shot down and destroyed. His bravery was acknowledged when he was awarded a DFC in 1943.
William Hoy was born in Edinburgh on December 23, 1918 and educated at George Watson's College where he showed both academic and sporting abilities. He won a scholarship to the RAF College, Cranwell, graduating as a pilot in 1939.
In the first years of the war, Wing Cdr Hoy patrolled the North Sea principally monitoring the German ship movements off the Norwegian coast – an important area in the sea war as many German battleships were anchored in the fiords.
He also built up a deserved reputation as a night pilot after he spent several months in 1941 dropping aerial mines. It was a hazardous – and not entirely successful – operation: the mines were attached to piano wire in the hope that enemy bombers would fly into the wire, causing the mines to explode.
After being awarded his DFC, he was transferred to a Mosquito squadron when he flew extensively over the channel shooting down a V1 rocket in 1944. In the last years of the war, he returned to night flying from RAF Church Fenton in Yorkshire.
He remained in the RAF in peacetime and from 1955 worked as an instructor flying and making important test flights in long range aircrafts at the RAF flying college. In 1956 he flew a Canberra PR 7, Aries V on extensive test flights in West Africa. The final examination – at various altitudes and under differing temperatures – was the 2,760-mile return trip from Dakar to its base in Linolnshire.
A year later, he made a remarkable record-breaking 4,211 miles flight from Tokyo to London via Alaska and the North Pole. It was acknowledged as, at the time, the longest ever made by a RAF jet aircraft. The flight took just under 18 hours and was a considerable feat of physical endurance and aeronautical skill. He was awarded an AFC for his work at the RAF Flying College.
After some years in the Middle East, he served with Nato and at the Air Ministry. His last appointment before retiring in 1966 was as station commander at RAF Manston in Kent.
In retirement, he worked as the station manager for Invicta Airways which operated out of Manston. He then joined the construction company, Tunnel Portland Cement, where he worked in the sales department. He finally retired to Bedfordshire before moving to Australia to live near his daughter.
He married, in 1945, Monica Evans. She and a son predeceased him. He is survived by his daughter.