Terence Malcolm Bulloch

Squadron Leader Terence Malcolm Bulloch of Lisburn, Co. Antrim became one of the most successful U-Boat destroyers in the Royal Air Force's Coastal Command.

Squadron Leader

Terence Malcolm Bulloch

Known as "The Bull", Squadron Leader Terence Malcolm Bulloch of Lisburn, Co. Antrim was the most successful U-Boat destroyer in RAF Coastal Command during the Second World War.

Squadron Leader Terence Malcolm Bulloch served in the Royal Air Force during World War Two. Born on 19th February 1916, he was the second son of Samuel Bulloch and Elsie Bulloch of 'Montreagh', 1 Belsize Road, Lisburn, Co. Antrim. Terence had a twin sister Yvonne Bulloch.

The family did not stay in Lisburn, moving first to Malone Park, Belfast, Co. Antrim and then to 23 Ormiston Crescent, Belfast, Co. Down. Terry’s education took place at Mourne Grange School, Kilkeel, Co. Down and Campbell College, Belfast, Co. Down.

Before the outbreak of World War Two, Terence worked in the linen industry. He was also an active member of the Irish Hockey Union, the Shakespearian Society, and his local Reform Club. He married Elsie, a woman with Huguenot ancestry.

The Bull in the RAF

Bulloch enlisted in the Royal Air Force in 1936, becoming a Pilot Officer in May 1937. By the outbreak of war on 3rd September 1939, he was an experienced Coastal Command Pilot with RAF 220 Squadron at RAF Bircham Newton, Norfolk. He soon transferred to RAF 206 Squadron at the same airfield flying American-built Lockheed Hudsons. His first tour of operations was mainly over the North Sea along with a short detachment to Coastal Command at RAF Aldergrove, Co. Antrim. From this airfield, the RAF conducted convoy escorts and anti-submarine patrols over the Atlantic.

By December 1940, “The Bull” was a Flight Lieutenant and due for a rest. This rest period, he spent in the USA training to fly American bombers to the United Kingdom. On 13th April 1941, he piloted the first Boing B-17 across the Atlantic for use by RAF Bomber Command. He also trained in the USA on flying the B-24 Liberator and flew one to the United Kingdom on 21st June 1941.

In August 1941, Terry returned to operational flying, joining the newly reformed RAF 120 Squadron at RAF Nutts Corner, Co. Antrim. They were the first Coastal Command squadron to make use of American-made Liberators. Terry had experience in flying these American planes. He helped train other pilots including fellow Ulstermen Brian Bannister, Eric Esler, and Jack Harrison.

Bulloch developed new techniques for attacking U-Boats while with RAF 120 Squadron. Eventually, parts of Coastal Command’s Operations Manual was rewritten as a result. His “perfect vision” was an asset that enabled him to spot German U-Boats earlier than most other pilots. He transferred to other squadrons throughout the war and by 1945 held the record for the destruction of the most U-Boats of any pilot. During the Second World War, he received a Distinguished Service Order and Bar, and a Distinguished Flying Cross and bar. He became one of the most decorated pilots in the Royal Air Force’s Coastal Command.

Terry and his crews are officially credited with sinking 4 U-Boats and damaging many more. His first was U-597 on 12th October 1942 while flying Liberator AM929 out of Reykjavik. Although flying from Iceland, he was on a detachment of RAF 120 Squadron based at RAF Ballykelly, Co. Londonderry at the time. His final U-Boat was U-514 on 8th July 1943 while flying Liberator BZ721 with RAF 224 Squadron.

Life after the War

By the end of the Second World War, Squadron Leader Terence Malcolm Bulloch had completed 350 operational missions. This totalled 4,569 flying hours including 1,721 hours on B-24 Liberators. After 1945, he joined British Overseas Airways Corporation and continued to set records. By his retirement, he was the fastest pilot to cross the Atlantic, an ocean he had crossed 1,113 times.

Terry enjoyed his retirement, living near London with his second wife Linda. He played golf regularly despite suffering back problems attributed to the many hours spent at the controls of the B-24. In 2012, he appeared on the BBC documentary ‘Dig WW2’ alongside historian Dan Snow. His older brother Flying Officer Hugh Larmour McLean Bulloch died on a bombing raid on 2nd January 1940.

Squadron Leader Terence Malcolm Bulloch died on 10th December 2014 aged 98 years old. He was cremated at Chiltern Crematorium London. A replica of the Squadron Leader’s medals is on permanent display at the Ulster Aviation Society, Long Kesh, Co. Antrim.