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Thread: Spitfire XIV RB188, 350 Sqn, 19 March 1944

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    Default Spitfire XIV RB188, 350 Sqn, 19 March 1944

    I have a note that the 'Spitfire Profile' (which I can't lay my hands on right now) records that Spitfire RB188 of 91 Sqn (Drem) crashed 20 miles south of Turnhouse on 19 March 1944, killing the pilot (name not known). This incident is not mentioned in the Drem ORB.

    However, Morgan & Shacklady state that RB188 of 350 Sqn (Eindhoven-based by that time) crashed in bad weather near Turnhouse on 11 February 1945, killing F/S Ritchie. Morgan & Shacklady go on to say the a/c went to Air Service Training at Hamble and was sold to Vickers-Armstrong thence to the Royal Thai Air Force.

    Does anyone know please if there is a mix up here? Was RB188 really rebuilt and sold on or was it some other a/c. I can find no trace on CWGC of a F/S Ritchie being killed this day - but it is possible he was actually Belgian and Ritchie was probably his nom de guerre.

    Keith

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    Hi,

    The 350 Squadron website has no Ritchie listed in either its Belgian or British pilots.

    The Morgan and Shacklady information matches that in the on-line Spitfire production list.

    According to the 350 Sqdn website the unit had no personnel casualties on 11th Feb. 1945, but four of its aircraft were damaged or lost :

    RB186 MN-W. Cat. AC. Repaired and sold to the BAF as SG-40.
    RB188 MN-T. Collided, repaired.
    RM676 MN-H. Cat. AC. Sold to the BAF as SG-21.
    NH685 Shot down by flak. Pilot POW.
    NH695 Cat. AC (ops). (Repaired and written off in a ferry flight. Engine failure, ATA pilot killed, 19/3/46.)

    There is something in the M&S / Spitfire production data that makes me wonder. In February 1945 350 Sqdn was in Europe, as you say, and had been there since early Dec. 1944. The squadron did not return to the UK until 18th March '45 in order to attend Armament Practice Camp at Warmwell. While not completely out of the question, it seems odd that one of 350's aircraft should be in Scotland in February.


    a15.
    Last edited by angelsonefive; 11th January 2013 at 17:05. Reason: spellin

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    Default Spitfire XIV RB188, 350 Sqn, 19 March 1944

    Thanks a15; the mystery continues!

    Keith

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    Hello,

    No idea if there is any connection with your query, but the following is mentioned in Peter Hall's, No.91 'Nigeria' Squadron:

    On 12 March (1944), Flt Sgts Sayer and Ritchie were scrambled to assist a Liberator bomber struggling to reach its base, which they did successfully. Nothing more was heard from Charles Sayer, however, until the unit was informed that a Spitfire had crashed near RAF Turnhouse. The fighter proved to be Sayer's RB172, and it had buried itself deep in the ground. Initially, no trace could be found of the pilot, but the sad news came through next day that the body had been discovered in the cockpit.

    Appendix 4 - No.91 Sqn Roll of Honour.

    12/3/44

    Flt Sgt Charles Edward Sayer. Failed to return from scramble and crashed south of Edinburgh in Spitfire XIV RB172. He was buried in St Thomas' (Exwick) Cemetery, Exeter.

    See:
    No.91 'Nigeria' Squadron.
    Hall,Peter.
    Osprey:Botley,2001.
    pp.91 & 119.

    The mention of F/Sgt Ritchie is interesting.

    Col.

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    Hi Keith,
    I have RB188 crashing near Turnhouse due to bad weather on 11.02.1945, Pilot F.Sgt J. Ritchie. Also have RB172 of 91Sqn crashing on Carwath Golf Course on 12.03.11 Pilot F.Sgt. C.E Sayer.

    Alan.

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    Default Spitfire XIV RB188, 350 Sqn, 19 March 1944

    Hello,

    350 Sqn ORB mentions that P/O Leva flew two missions on 11 February 1945 on RB188.

    Best regards,


    Serge

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