602 Squadron Spitfire IX NH366 Fl/Sgt. Hugh Graham Ellison
Operation: Armed Recce
Date: 26th August 1944 (Saturday)
Unit: No. 602 Squadron (motto: Cave leonem cruciatum - 'Beware the crossed lion'). 125 Wing; No.83 Group; 2nd Tactical Air Force
Type: Spitfire IX
Base: B.19/Lingèvres, France
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Hugh Graham Ellison NZ/415304 RNZAF Age 23. Evaded
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking part in an armed reconnaissance in the morning over the Seine-Maritime area.
During the patrol 23-year-old, Fl/Sgt. Lauritz Thomas Menzies NZ/411016 RNZAF was attacked by mistake by a USAAF Thunderbolt. In taking evasive action his Spitfire IX PL264 ran out of fuel and he crash-landed at Torigni-sur-Vire, Manche which was behind allied lines. He escaped with no injuries.
Fl/Sgt. Ellison was hit by flak and baled out successfully. Although behind enemy lines he evaded capture.
His evasion report:
'The name of the Frenchman who ran to meet me was Monsieur Sachet Pierrecourt. He gave me clothes and food and hid me in the orchard. At about noon that day M. and lore. Royer, Blangy-sur-Bresle arrived and Madan Boyer took me away in her car. She was a doctor and allowed to be in possession of one.
I was taken to Monsieur Marcel Begrugillier, Saint-Rémy-Boscrocourt, near who hid me in the farm until 1 Sep.
During this time we received word that the Boche were going to collect 30 men and take them to Abbeville, so we all hid in the woods until the danger was past. On the afternoon of the 01st September, we left to go to Fourcarhot as we were told that the Americans were there. We found, however, that it was the Poles who were going through the village'.
Fl/Sgt. Hugh Graham Ellison: Born on the 04th November 1921 in Auckland and enlisted on the 28th September 941 at Levin. Trained at 4. Service Flying Training School at Whenuapai. Awarded his pilot's badge and promoted to sergeant on the 21st December 1941. Embarked for Canada in April 1942 being sent To rside later that year. Further training with RCAF, 9 Service Flying Training School, Summerside, Prince Edward Island. Unlike many of his peers, he was not immediately posted overseas. He was held back in Canada for a time. Young Ellison was posted to RCAF, 1 Flying Instructor School, Trenton, Ontario immediately following graduation in January 1943. He was soon made an instructor upon completing that training. W/o. Elison was sent to England as an instructor with 55 Operational Training Unit. Posted to 602 squadron on the 04th August 1944.
In April it joined the newly formed 2nd Tactical Air Force, whose task was ground support for the Army and Allies in the coming invasion of the continent. Before D-Day, though it was briefly returned to Scotland from January to March 1944, which is suggestive that the move may have been part of the deception plan involving the invasion, keeping the enemy off guard. The unit was once again returned south prior to and in anticipation of the invasion. Posted out of No. 602 Squadron with effect from 25th March 1945, to No. 55 Operational Training Unit. Left service as a W/O. Died on the 21st April 2001, age 79 and ashes were laid at Kaikohe Public Cemetery, Northland New Zealand. RSA Block D, Plot 20.
Fl/Sgt. (later F/O.) Lauritz Thomas Menzies: survived the war. Born on the the15th March 1920. After the war was operations manager for the topdressing company James Aviation Ltd. Lived in Mill Street, Westport, New Zealand. Died 09th June 1985, age 65. Cremated and his ashes are placed in Maunu Cemetery where his brother Thomes Robert Menzies is also buried. Moved to Te Kuiti New Cemetery Block RSA, Plot 83. on the 15th November 2001.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Medals Re-United of New Zealand for grave and relative investigations, Mile E for a grave photo. The extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, Air Museum of New Zealand, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, 'For Such Deeds' Gp. Cpt. C.M Hanson, Air Force Museum of New Zealand, Wigram, Whites Aviation collection, Grant Board for Menzies grave photo, Peter Lewis and New Zealand Aviation Forum, other sources as quoted below: