G/C B D Sellick CBE DSO DFC and bar.
Boyd Drayton Sellick, known to one and all as "Shrub", was a colourful, popular and respected character with a liking for the occasional tipple. During a long and distinguished RAF career he was OC 576 Sq in 44/45 at Elsham Wolds and then Fiskerton.
Born at Shahjahanpur, India; educated at All Hallows School, Honiton and King's College, Taunton. He joined the RAF in 1935 and was posted to No.2 Flying Training School, Digby. His first posting seems to have been 215 Squadron flying Harrow bombers. There is a named 215 group photo in a Flight magazine of the time showing a young F/O Sellick. Also featured is S/L H A Constantine who we know well. Notable amongst the other pilots in the group are the legendary Percy Charles Pickard and also Pathfinder pioneer Hal Bufton. ( See pic below )
He flew his first tour with 215 Squadron on Wellingtons and his second with 15 Squadron on Stirlings. He was OC 7 Squadron in 43 also on Stirlings and then Lancasters from July 43.
He succeeded W/C G T B Clayton DFC and bar as OC 576 Squadron in June 44. He was promoted G/C and appears to have been appointed OC RAF Snaith before the end of the war.
Sellick was awarded the DFC, 17 January 1941 and a Bar to DFC, 26 May 1942 for services in No.15 Squadron.
His DSO was gazetted on the 11th May 45 for the completion of three tours. This was clearly a much merited award for a man who served the RAF with great distinction in WW2 from start to finish.
"He has shown iron determination coupled with sound judgement, and his example has inspired all with whom he has flown. His splendid work both in the air and on the ground has won great praise."
Extract from DSO citation LG May 45.
Sellick flew 9 ops with 576 Sqn and he must have flown the equivalent of 2 tours with 214, 15 and 7 Squadrons. He certainly put in a lot of war flying. He is featured in the Cozens’ film Night Bombers along with Basil Templeman Rooke. There is a screen shot of Sellick from that film around and about the internet which I took years ago.
Post war he continued his career in the RAF which seems to have been all related to Transport Command.
Around 47/48 he was OC 217 Squadron on Yorks and Stirlings and was heavily involved in the Berlin Airlift.
In the mid 50s he was OC 216 Squadron which was the first RAF unit equipped with the De Havilland Comet. This must have been a very high profile and prestigious appointment. A notable early flight was to Moscow in 1956 with a plane full of top brass including ACM Sir Ronald Ivelaw-Chapman, another Elsham old boy.
Shrub received the CBE in Jan 1960 and retired as G/C in 1966.
This is a good photo featuring Shrub pre war when he was with 215 Squadron. He is 4th from the right. The tall chap in the front row is Hugh Constantine. Also in the pic are Percy Pickard and Hal Bufton who both had splendid careers. Apologies for not giving a credit but I cannot recall where that pic came from.
Written by David Fell