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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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08th November 1941 72 Squadron Spitfire VB AB855 Fl/Sgt. White

Operation: Ramrod

Date: 08th November 1941 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 72 Squadron (motto: 'Swift'). 11 Group

Type: Spitfire VB

Serial: AB855 (Swipem one - presentation Spitfire)

Code: RN-?

Base: RAF Gravesend, Kent

Location: English Channel

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. David Richard White NZ/402232 RNZAF Age 24. Missing - believed killed


Taking off at 10:40 hrs. with 10 others to escort a flight of Hurricane fighter bombers on a ramrod to St. Pol, the target the distillery. As the Hurricane made their dive bombing attack 72 squadron circled Hesdin then flew to Le Touquet and orbited again waiting for stragglers.

Here they were attacked by a large formation of Bf 109's, engagements continued over the Channel. P/O. Francis de Naeyer 101479 RAFVR probably destroyed a BF 109, Sgt. J.F.T. Dykes flying Spitfire VB AB893 (Lilepe) suffered an engine failure and was forced to ditch about 19 miles off Dungeness fortunately he was picked up after spending a couple of hours on the water.

Sadly P/O. Noel Edwin Bishop 65578 RAFVR flying Spitfire VB W3511 and Fl/Sgt. David Richard White were not so lucky, both shot down and lost without trace over the Channel.

Burial and personal details:

Fl/Sgt. David Richard White. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 63. Born on the 09th June 1917 at Taihape. Worked as a farmer on his fathers sheep station prior to service. Enlisted at Levin on the 28th July 1940. Trained at No. 1 Elementary Flying Training School joining on the 26th August 1940 and then to No. 1 Flying Training School joining on the 26th October 1940. Pilots badge awarded on the 16th January 1941 and promoted to sergeant on the 08th February 1941. Embarked for England on the 27th February 1941. Joined 53 Operational Training Unit on the 28th April 1941. Joined 66 squadron on the 10th June 1941 and completed 23 operational sorties. On the 26th July 1941 joined 72 squadron. Son of Robert Owen White (died 02nd December 1959, age 78) and Elizabeth Ann Gertrude White (nee Davies - died 07th August 1948, age 62), of Maxwell, Wellington, New Zealand. A total of 344 flying hours logged and on his 53rd operational sortie.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and 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 14-08-2021

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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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Last Modified: 14 August 2021, 13:56

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