16.09.1943 No. 485 Squadron Spitfire LF.IX EN529 F/O. Metcalfe
Operation: Ramrod 223
Date: 16th September 1943 (Thursday)
Unit: No. 485 Squadron 11 Group (motto: Ka whawhai tonu - 'We will fight on')
Type: Spitfire LF.IX
Base: RAF Biggin Hill, Kent
Location: La Ferté-Fresnel, France
Pilot: F/O. Murray Metcalfe NZ/413876 RNZAF Age 20. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 16:50 hrs, escorting USAAF Maruaders that were to bomb the airfield at Beaumont-Le-Roger.
F/O.Metcalfe shot down one of the enemy fighters attacking the bombers but almost immediately was himself shot down. The aircraft was seen to explode when it struck the ground at around 18:00 hrs. However, he did survive the crash, but sadly succumbed to his burns shortly afterwards
During the same operation 26 year old, Fl/Sgt. Bernard Griffiths Mulcahy (1) 405923 RAAF flying Spitfire XII EN617 from 91 Squadron was also hit. He called to say that he was 5 miles off Le Havre and that he would would try and glide back to base. Signal was received from him that he was baling out over the Channel. Others, from the squadron saw him bale out successfully at around 8 miles from Le Harve and his position fixed at 18:00 hrs. Weather was very good and the sea calm at the time. A report was sent out over the 'International Broadcast System' that he should be picked up. The Germans responded and obliged. He survived as a PoW No.518 at camp Stalag Luft Heydekrug.
A tragic day for another RNZAF Squadron. At 06:35 hrs, 13 Typhoons of 486 Squadron took off on a 'Roadstead' operation to Dieppe-Le-Havre. Three failed to return and all three New Zealand pilots killed, all victims of the fierce anti-aircraft fire.
Typhoon IB JP485 SA-M Flown by 24 year old, P/O. Norman Edward Preston NZ/41937 RNZAF - Missing - believed killed.
Typhoon IB EK225 SA-N Flown by 21year old, P/O. Murray Osborne Jorgensen NZ/413086 RNZAF.
Typhoon IB EJ976 SA-V Flown by 22 old, Fl/Sgt. David Bennett NZ/413531 RNZAF.
F/O. Murray Metcalfe. Ecorcei Churchyard. Grave 1. Born on the 17th March 1923 at Wellington, the son of Robert Arbor Metcalfe and of Ethel Muriel Metcalfe (née Thompson), of Hastings, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. A total of 558 flying hours logged and on his 109th operational sortie.
P/O. Norman Edward Preston. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 198. Born on the 18th October 1918 at Wellington, the son of Arthur Edward Preston and of Lucy Winifred Preston (née Wood), of Island Bay, Wellington, New Zealand. A total of 627 flying hours logged and on his 246th operational sortie.
P/O. Murray Osborne Jorgensen. St. Marie Cemetery. Divn. 67. Row G. Grave 2. Born on the 07th May 1922 at Auckland, the son of Knud Christian and Millicent Elizabeth Catharine Jorgensen (née Johns), of Auckland City, New Zealand. Prior to service worked as a warehouseman for Carpet Import Company. A total of 594 flying hours logged and on his 209th operational sortie.
Fl/Sgt. David Bennett. Pont-Audemer Communal Cemetery. Row C. Grave 22. Born on the 13th October 1920 at Christchurch, the son of David and Mary Gertrude Bennett (née Carmichael) and husband of Josepha Ella Bennett (née Gollop - later Simpson), of Karamea, Nelson, New Zealand. A total of 408 flying hours logged and on his 88th operational sortie.
(1) W/O. Bernard Griffiths Mulcahy. Born on the 27th May 1918 at Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Next of kin listed as Florence Griffiths Mulcahy (mother), the Grange, Wanange, Queensland. Prior to service a grazier/farmer. Returned to United Kingdom on the 06th May 1945. Discharged from the RAAF on the 15th November 1945. No details what happened to Bernard Mulcahy after his release. Always interested to hear more from relativies?
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:
Ecorcei Churchyard holds just 12 Commonwealth War Graves, the others:
2 crew from 138 Squadron Halifax II BB334 NF-X Special Operations Executive, 3 crew taken PoW with 2 others evading capturer. (Pilot: WO2. Scott Roderick Alexander R/78434 RCAF - 12th August 1943).
5 crew from 138 Squadron Halifax II JD179 NF-F Special Operations Executive, 2 others buried elsewhere. (Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Norman Wood Hayter AUS/412439 RAAF - 17th August 1943).
4 crew from 10 Squadron Halifax II HR920 ZA-L, 2 crew of the crew taken PoW with 1 other evading capture (Pilot: P/O. James Miller Dunlop159470 RAFVR - 15th September 1943).