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Thread: Spitfire Mk.IX EN522

  1. #1
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    Default Spitfire Mk.IX EN522

    Hello,

    Seeking details of the loss of Spitfire Mk IX EN522 ?
    Lost while with 611 Squadron on the 28th July 1944.
    Pilot was Flg/Off. John Thomas CLIFFORD who was Killed.

    From what little I have it seems that the a/c was on a Ground Attack mission near Pontivy, France.

    Anything about the reason for the loss and how the pilot met his maker please i.e, is it known if he survived the crash and was he captured before his death ?

    Alex

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    From Aldon Ferguson's excellent 611 sqdn web pages,

    On 28 July 1944 at 1700 hrs Flt Lt John T Clifford and seven of his comrades under the command of Squadron Leader William Douglas took off from their base "Bolt Head" in the South of England for a sortie over Occupied France.

    A pilot with six years experience in the Royal Air Force, John Clifford was taking part in a “Rhubarb" operation over Brittany to reconnoitre and destroy German military objectives and road traffic.

    Whilst attacking a lorry of the German TODT Organisation the Spitfire of John Clifford struck a tree with the tip of its right wing. The plane crashed in a wood by the Josselin-Pontivy road close to the town of Reguiny.

    On Friday 28 July 1944 some residents of Reguiny proceeded to the crash site to render assistance, but were prevented in doing so by German troops from a nearby camp. The flames of the crash attracted the attention of a passing German convoy. A German officer, wounded, with his arm in a sling looked at the body of the young British officer. He instructed that the Red Cross or civilian authorities should be advised, and recommended that a formal burial should be carried out, stating "He is the same rank as myself. He then ordered the German troops to return to their camp, leaving the people of Reguiny to attend the scene. Two days later on 30 July 1944 a numerous crowd assembled to accompany the funeral cortege.

    At the church, Monsieur Joachim Roscoet, Mayor of Reguiny, placed a tricolour wreath on the coffin in homage to the sacrifice of a young British officer who gave his life for the liberation of France.

    Finally, at the cemetery the grave was covered with flowers.

    The grave of the pilot is situated in the cemetery of Reguiny. A plaque at the entrance records the presence of a British military grave.

    Regards,

    Ian

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