25.07.1944 No. 453 Squadron Spitfire IX NH494 Fl/Sgt. Allan Dowding
Operation: Armed recce
Date: 25th July 1944 (Tuesday)
Unit: No. 453 Squadron
Type: Spitfire IX
Base: Advanced Landing Ground B.11 Longues, France
Location: Near Lisieux, France
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Allan William Dowding AUS/425139 RAAF Age 24. PoW No: 658 Stalag Luft Bankau (Bakow, Poland), near Kreuzburg (Klucsbork, Poland) (although for the final months at Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria - he was promoted the following month to W/O.)
We are indebted to Mr. Paul Watts who's father served with 453 Squadron and sent Aircrew Remembered over 400 photographs of the Squadron in January 2018. Anyone interested in the Squadron and are able to identify any of the pilots / ground crew are invited to contact us.
REASON FOR LOSS:
During armed recce attacked by Me109 and the hit by ant-aircraft fire. Aircraft became uncontrollable and the pilot was forced to bale out. During this he struck the tail plane injuring his hip and shoulder. Landed in the middle of a German artillery position and was captured immediately.
As was normal at the time his family were notified and as they had no information as to his fate he was listed as missing.
It wasn't until late August they learnt that he was alive and taken PoW. The information came from 22 year old, F/O. Colin Russell Leith AUS/411790 RAAF who was also shot down on the same operation. Flying Spitfire PL313 he was forced to crash land, captured and then managed to escape and make his way back to England. He had been held initially with W/O. Dowding.
Also lost during this operation from the Squadron, 21 year old W/O. 'Clarrie' Clarence Alfred Seeney AUS/414519 Spitfire PL227. Hit power lines whilst strafing troops on the Argenton - Vimoutiers Road at 06:45 hrs and killed instantly. Further information here.
None - survived the war as PoW. W/O. Allan William Dowding was born on the 19th August 1921 and lived at 'Fairlands'. Goodiwindi, Queensland, Australia. 'Liberated' by the Russians in April 1945 and returned to England in mid May 1945 - left for Australia on the 08th August 1945. Left the service on the 25th January 1946 we understand. Prior to service worked as a Chauffeur but his trade lists him as a Stockman.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Paul Watts and sources as quoted below: