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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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30th July 1942 122 Squadron Spitfire Vb BM242 Sgt. McPherson

Operation: Ramrod

Date: 30th July 1942 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 122 Squadron (motto: Victuri volamus - 'We fly to conquer'). 11 Group

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: BM242

Code: MT-?

Base: RAF Hornchurch, Essex

Location: St. Omer, France

Pilot: Sgt. Alfred Montgomery McPherson NZ/411917 RNZAF Age 25. Killed


Just a few weeks earlier on the 08th June, taking part in Circus 191 (diversion sweep) Sgt. McPherson flying Spitfire BM130 MT-V was shot down over the English Channel, he baled out and rescued by high speed launch together with Sgt. W.E. Dunsmore who had been flying Spitfire BM589 MT-F. Another pilot from the squadron was sadly listed as missing believed killed, 25 year old P/O. John Lawrence Crisp 37387 RAF, flying BL814 MT-B.

Taking off with 11 others ar 18:20 hrs. to escort bombers to St. Omer.

Understood to have been shot down by ant-aircraft fire and coming down at Porsenle near St. Omer in France. 4 aircraft drom 122 squadron lost during this operation. (see below)

A bad day for the RAF losing some 16 aircraft on the Saint-Omer Operation:

122 Squadron:- Spitfire Vb BM266 Flown by Sq/Ldr Leon Prevot evading capture and returning to England in September. (died 28th April 1994) Spitfire Vb BM352 Flown by 38 year old, P/O. Jack Garfield Durkin J/15103 RCAF - Missing believed killed. Spitfire Vb BM244 MT-A Flown by Sgt. Tore Skjeseth - Killed.

154 Squadron:- Spitfire Vb BM194 Flown by P/O. Charles Edward Hurt 48425 RAF - killed

174 Squadron:- Hurricane IIb BP768 Flown by Sgt. Horace Arthur Ernest Charman 1330642 RAF taken PoW Camp Stalag Luft Sagan and Bellaria, PoW No: 918. Hurricane IIe BE684 Flown by Sgt. W.Y. Denison R/82771 RCAF PoW No. 25129 camp Lamsdorf. Hurricane IIe BE552 Flown by Sgt. Maurice Boyer - crashed in the English Channel and rescued.

340 Squadron:- Spitfire Vb AR363 Flown by Sq/Ldr. Joseph Lambert evaded capture. Spitfire Vb BM584 Flown by Adj. Yves André Georges Debac - Killed.

350 Squadron:- Spitfire Vb BM176 Flown by P/O. Henry E. Marchal 87678 - wounded but safe.

374 Squadron:- Spitfire Vb BM374 21 year old, Sgt. Ian Maclaren Dawson 778410 RAFVR from Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia. Buried at the Dunkirk Town Cemetery.

402 Squadron:- Spitfire VI BM513 Flown by Flown by 25 year old, Fl/Sgt. Alister McLean Skinner J/16082 RCAF of Nova Scotia, Canada - crash landed, safe. Killed later on the 17th January 1943.

616 Squadron:- Spitfire VI BS108 Flown by P/O. Robert G. Large - baled out and rescued. Spitfire VI BR167 Flown by Sgt. Michael H.F. Cooper baled out and rescued. Spitfire VI BR597 Flown by P/O. J.R. Mace - Killed but no further details found. Spitfire VI BR243 Flown by Sgt. Donald Lee 1068365 RAFVR Killed during a crash landing at RAF Biggin Hill.

Burial and personal details:

Sgt. Alfred Montgomery McPherson. Dunkirk Town Cemetery. Plot 2, Row 3, Grave 30. Born on the 05th February 1917 at Roxburgh. Worked as a truck driver for Alexandra Carrying Company prior to service. Enlisted at Levin on the 23rd March 1941.

Right: The Otago Daily Times July 30th 1947

Attached to No. 1 Elementary Flying Training School joining 03rd May 1941and carried out his first solo flight on the 16th May 1941. Embarked for Canada on the 22nd July 1941 ON THE 'Dominion Monarch'. Further training with No. 6 Service Flying Training School starting on the 18th August 1941. Pilots badge awarded on the 07th November 1941 and promoted to sergeant. Embarked for England on the 14th November 1941. Joined 52 Operational Training Unit on the 10th March 1942 for training on the Spitfire. Joined 122 squadron on the 12th May 1942. Son of Archibald John (died 05th October 1968, age 87) and Isabella Montgomery McPherson (nee Hogg - died 23rd May 1945, age 64), of Roxburgh, Otago, New Zealand. A total of 299 flying hours logged and on his 24th operational sortie.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 20-08-2021

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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